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In the Barn

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In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:21 am

"Take a seat, Sharpe."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:24 am

Sharpe sat stiffly, feeling uncomfortable. The fact he'd been asked to remain behind was not going to down at all well with Edrington.

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Richard Sharpe
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:32 am

Wellesley waited for a heartbeat before he began.

"I did not wish to ask in company, because I imagine the answer would embarrass me as much as it would embarrass you. What, exactly, was the nature of your disagreement with Sergeant Hakeswill? What is it that has made him take it to himself to go on a personal vendetta against you that has lasted ten years?"

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:35 am

"I told you, sir. I wouldn't give in to him when I was in the ranks, and then I was taken down from the triangle. And now I reckon I'm an officer, that's just made it worse. He don't like having to knuckle under to me, when I was a Private under him, once."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:52 am

"Not like it enough to try and kill you?" Wellesley glowered at the lieutenant. "An why did your being taken down from the triangle anger him more? What did it have to do with him? And what does it all have to do with you now?"

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:56 am

"I don't remember the original disagreement, sir, but the reason he wanted me out of the way in India was that I was... was walkin' out with a girl he wanted to sell to Naig, remember him? And 'cause I was in his way, he wanted me out of it. And I reckon that 'cause he couldn't kill me then, he wants to now, more than ever. He never managed it in India, see, though he tried more than once."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:18 am

"Even if it means eliminating proper officers who get in his way?" Wellesley took a few paces away across the barn. "No, I do not believe he would. I know Hakeswill as well, you'll recall. I believe him to be a dangerous man, unhinged and a terror to the rank and file; but he has always been nothing but deferential to officers which is, as you yourself say, how he survives. Why would a man who survives on good relations with officers attack a potential ally? It does not make sense."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:24 am

"Unless he no longer saw the Captain as an ally, but simply as someone between him and what he wants, sir. I believe it was Hakeswill who attacked me, and when he didn't get what he wanted, he blamed an innocent soldier, who Padstowe then defended. Hurt the Captain and he hoped to hurt me." He shrugged. "And I apologize if I sound... self-important, sir. But you and I are the only men here who know him - unless there are men still serving in the 33rd who were in India. And you're the General and I don't think he's got any grudge against you."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:10 am

"He would be a damned fool to even think of having one," Wellesley rumbled. "Any man with an ounce of self-preservation would see that. What concerns me is that which started out as a private vendetta within th erank and file has followed you out of it - and is starting to get out of hand. Has there not been any incriminating evidence against Hakeswill? Ever?"

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:14 am

Sharpe shook his head. "Can't think of any, ever. He's far too fly for that, sir."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:20 am

The General drummed his fingers against the back of the other chair.

"Odd that he hasn't been the victim of an unfortunate accident by now," he said flatly. "Especially being so vile to the rank and file."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:23 am

Sharpe looked up at him. "I thought you knew the belief he has, that he's drummed into them. He can't be killed. Apparently they tried to hang him and he escaped, God knows how, and he swears he can't be killed. Might be true at that. I tried twice in India."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:30 am

At this Wellesley snorted.

"No man is immortal, Sharpe. And it's usually those that think they are that find it out sooner than most."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:35 am

"Ten years - more. And how many men have been killed in them ten years who didn't think they were goin' to live forever?"

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:48 am

"So what would you propose?" The General met Sharpe's gaze levely. "You know as well as I do that action cannot be taken against a man with no evidence to suggest his guilt save suspicion. That would be foolish in the extreme."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:51 am

"Quite." Sharpe shrugged. "I don't know what we can do, sir. Even if he believes he can't be killed, he's too canny to get caught alone in the dark."

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:06 am

The General arched an eyebrow, unnappreciative of the 'we', and the implication that he would directly be party to the murder of a man in his army, however unhinged or horrid.

"That is your opinion," he said curtly. "I personally do not care whether Hakeswill lives or dies at this moment; so long as when Captain Padstowe rejoins us he will be in no further danger from... certain parties."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:10 am

"I beg your pardon, sir. I thought you wanted my opinion, as I don't know what else I can offer you."

He hoped that Padstowe would face no more danger from Hakeswill. It was the first occurrence of Hakeswill attacking an officer that he was sure of; there was the murder of Colonel McCandless, after Assaye, but even now he did not know whether that was Hakeswill or Dodd, who had deserted from the East India Company to take service with one of the Indian warlords.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:22 am

"Just keep your eyes and ears open," Wellesley said. "Something which you are good at. And try to keep your peace with Lieutenant Waldegrave, whichyou may find far more difficult."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:24 am

"I intend to keep as far away from Waldegrave as I can," Sharpe said. He would be sorely tempted to pound the bastard into the ground otherwise, which would not sit well with either Wellesley or Edrington.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
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Richard Sharpe
Captain

Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:26 am

At this Wellesley gave a thin smile.

"Which may work well enough; as long as Waldegrave intends to keep away from you."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:28 am

That was the problem, wasn't it? "He'd better," the Rifleman growled darkly.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
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Richard Sharpe
Captain

Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
Number of posts : 2686
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:36 am

"Be mindful of your manners if he does not," Wellesley said sharply to the lieutenant, his blue eyes growing cold. "Because I wish the attachmernt of Rifles by Division to be proven an indisputed success. I know that such a combined force has potentil - I do not wish to find my Line and my Lights at each others' throat - and that includes their officers."

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Re: In the Barn

Post  Richard Sharpe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:38 am

"I'll try, sir." He couldn't say fairer than that, could he? Although it was his experience that the so-called 'gentlemen' were the ones who were lacking in manners.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
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Richard Sharpe
Captain

Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
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Re: In the Barn

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:44 am

"Good."

He'd wanted Sharpe to promise him that much, because he knew from experience that if Sharpe made a promise to him, then the rifleman would do his utmost to keep it.

"Then, I believe, that will be all."

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Re: In the Barn

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