Sharpe's Antonia Chapter 8

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sharpshooter1
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Sharpe's Antonia Chapter 8

Post by sharpshooter1 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:18 pm

Sharpe’s Antonia – Chapter 8
Homage and respect to their creator Bernard Cornwell, they belong to me only in my dreams Please note if you haven’t read the book ‘Sharpe’s Gold’ I have tried to fill you in on the background, hopefully, without boring those who have read the book. I cannot recommend the Sharpe books too highly.
As always for CM ~ Soul Sister ~ Hugs

Patrick took a long swallow of water from his canteen; it had been lying in the sun and the water was now warm, not refreshing but at least wet. He soaked his kerchief and rubbed it over his face.
‘Right better think on this, that young lad must be a close relative; he’s a ringer for that brute El Catolico.’ He paused then quickly crossed himself.
‘Nasty bruise on his face, he can only be about sixteen poor lad. Much too young to have known Richard but old enough to have heard stories about what happened. He can’t be living alone, a lad that young, he must have family around here that means there may be more of the Jovellanos’ clan still alive. They will not have forgotten Richard and heaven help us if they are anything like El Catolico and want revenge.
If I turn up and tell Richard I followed him in case he had trouble on the way or when he got here I can just hear himself, daft fool will get furious and start shouting and complaining that I mollycoddle him, that he can cope on his own. Well he bloody can’t.’ He drew another massive sigh.
‘Best thing is I go and have a talk with Pablo and see if he knows or has heard any rumours, I was going to stay the night anyway. More trouble. By all the saints trouble follows him and God Bless him he doesn’t deserve it. Well all that will have to wait a wee while. There’s one thing I know I need right now and that’s some food, fresh water and to get out of the sun - my brains are getting boiled.’
He scrambled up drank a sip of his tepid water and poured the rest over his head. Half an hour later saw him wending his way up to Pablo’s village.
It was a small village; poor with shabby meagre houses crouched low in the dusty earth.

ooooooOOOoooooo

Pablo was a spare man of few words; he nodded smiled and invited Patrick in. The little house was cool and Pablo put a skin of cold water, bread and white cheese on a rickety table.
‘Beinvenidos a mi casa’ he said. Patrick smiled, thanked him then took great swallows of the cool water. Finally he gathered his thoughts and asked in his limited Spanish about the Jovellenos family. Pablo started to reply and the angry words suddenly gushed out.
‘Bad people, greedy people. They steal our land little by little, moving fences, poisoning wells, stealing stock and if you complain – well some people say they have a secret cave where they hide the bodies of the ‘disappeared’. They have many allies amongst the other wealthy landowners – they look after each other.’
‘What do the people say about the gold and the English officer? I think you know what I am talking about.’
‘Some whisper he was a good man, especially for his rescue of Don Ramon and his family. They say Teresa was a clever woman and would never have accepted him if he was a man with out honour. They believe the gold did go to help fight the French.’ Pablo paused and shrugged his shoulders
‘Yet?’
‘The rich ladrones* say he took the gold for himself, that he murdered El Catolico, that their daughter is a bastard and no one will offer for her hand. Gossip says they thirst for revenge’
‘I see, so Sharpe could be in danger?’
‘Is in danger’
‘Pablo who is the young thin boy about sixteen I glimpsed today, he looks like a Jovellenos, he looks just like El Catolico?’
‘Joaquim? He is the ‘bastard’ son of El Catolico; he raped a young village girl who died birthing his son. To save face his uncle took the boy in and they have kicked him around since then. They will not give him any of the land that belonged to his father so he works like a tied labourer and sleeps in the barn. I have seen him but I do not know him. Some people have said he has a gentle heart like his poor mother – but again I do not know if this is true.’
Sighing Patrick thought of what he had heard and learned about Sharpe’s childhood. Sharpe’s pain, the ugly whispers and Sharpe’s struggle to raise himself up. He looked down at the dusty floor remembering how he had been fooled into marrying Ramona by a good priest. He shook his head, how could he have been so blind then? Now he thanked God each day that his children were growing up without shame and pointed fingers. Best of all his wife, his Ramona, was admired, respected and walked tall like a queen. He shook away his thoughts of the past.
‘Take your rest Patrick we will talk later. I will ask around the village what the gossip is about the arrival of the English officer. My wife will be back later she is visiting her sick aunt who has the busiest tongue in the village she may have heard something.’ Shrugging he continued ‘As for me I say, watch your friend’s back, those Jovellenos never forgive nor forget.’
Patrick gratefully sat on a bench outside in the shade. His thoughts jumbling and tumbling his anxiety for Sharpe stirring the past and present together. As his eyes closed he muttered
‘Best stay for a few days make sure there are no problems. I will keep my promise Lucille and bring him safely home.’ I’ll just rest my eyes for a few minutes’ fitfully he dozed in the shade.

ooooooOOOoooooo

Slowly filled with dread and with a wrenching unhappiness in his heart that made him sick with pain he entered the courtyard. His cheek still throbbing from the backhander his uncle had dealt him that morning. He stopped and faced the menacing figure.
‘So boy. You know what is wanted of you. If you do not agree, simple, she dies. If however you help us to clear our honourable name and take our rightful revenge, get back our gold, I will let her live. You will have her as your reward she can work in the house or the fields and live with you in the barn. Why so sad Joaquim? Maybe one day I will give you a few fields for you and Teresa Moreno’s bastard girl.’ He smiled and started laughing ‘A fine pair, two outcasts raising a family of bastards together. Ha! A joke, a very good joke.’ Laughing he watched him, enjoying the pain on his nephew’s face.
‘I will obey and do as you say Don Jorge because her life is precious to me.’ He paused fighting back his tears then added whispering ‘You will keep your promise?’ he bowed his head.
‘Oh I will, for this revenge is sweet and will last a lifetime. Now go, do what you have been told to do. Now. Move you cur.’ The kick sent Joaquim flying into the dust; slowly he got up and limped away.

ooooooOOOoooooo

The short nap had refreshed Sharpe. He got up and looked out of the window down into the inner courtyard. Preparations for the fiesta it seemed, pale blue ribbons were being tied to the bushes. Some men were dragging in huge earthen pots full of flowers. Smiling he watched the slim figure of Antonia helping, hindering and arguing with Carmen where this, that and t'other should go.

He saw for minute Teresa as a young girl; she had had so little time to be frivolous and joyful, so little time to fuss and fret over flowers and ribbons. To see Antonia so happy was to realise he and his men had not fought and sacrificed in vain. Their lives hadn’t been wasted; sometimes they had helped good things to happen. He pictured Lucille and the children visiting, the little ones running around the courtyard chasing, laughing, and playing with their sister Antonia. Yes, broken hearts had been mended and wounds had been healed. She looked up at him smiling and calling him to come down.

He went down the wide staircase enjoying the smell of the sunshine full of warm sweet perfume. He found himself smiling, thinking this growing older lark was fun; he liked having the time to be a father, a husband and a farmer. Ramon came out hurrying out of his office laughing and waving a paper
‘Richard where is Antonia look I have a letter just come from my older brother Antonio, you know, the famous judge.' He added proudly. 'He has written that he and his wife have arrived safely in Badajoz and will be with us in a few days time to honour us at Antonia’s quinceanero fiesta. He is bringing my very special surprise gift for a girl who has filled my life with joy. Also for you a special gift dear old friend. Her famous father and her famous uncle now let anyone say a word about her.’

Sharpe blushed and smiled but his smile hid an angry realisation that some people had not respected his daughter and by extension her mother.
‘Well’ he thought ‘Just a word or a whisper and I will show you how a real bastard behaves.’
Antonia was hugging Ramon ‘Mi papi, mi querido Tio Ramon y ahora mi Tio Antonio, how lucky I am. What a wonderful night we will have.’
She then turned to her father holding out a hand
‘Now we can talk, I want to know all about you and my mother and all your adventures.’
Sharpe took her hand and laid a kiss on her palm then hand in hand they went into Ramon’s office.

Normandie

The day was fine and they gathered some wild strawberries from the edge of the fields. As they children ran ahead Lucille saw how they had grown 'More sewing' she thought. Then 'Come home my beloved your children grow taller each day and I dream of you working in our fields and I am bringing you your lunch, you stop, look up and smile at me with your mouth and your eyes. Hurry home and make my dream come true.'

tbc

* ladrones - thieves
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Post by mjcd1951 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:33 pm

I enjoy your writing. Keep it up! :-D :-D :-D
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:15 pm

So pleased you are enjoying it so far, I love writing Sharpe, Harper etc. :-D
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Post by Way2prickly » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:18 am

mjcd1951 wrote:I enjoy your writing. Keep it up! :-D :-D :-D
:agree:
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Post by Moominmamma » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:14 am

Lovely that you have updated. This is such a sweet and moving little story. I like it very much. :-D
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Sharp's Antonia chapter 8

Post by pthalo » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:25 am

So beautiful Sharps, I almost didn't want to start reading it because I didn't want to finish - if that makes any sense at all

:congrats: You never disappoint with this story
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:42 am

Dear Moominmamma and pthalo ~ thank you so much for your kind comments - they are much appreciated. It is a joy to write Sharpe and to imagine him being a hero in different ways.
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Post by Czechmade » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:56 am

:flower: :flower: :flower:
For you - I found it now, being naughty and using the situation, Ivana is away for a while...Will write!
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:42 am

Moje zlatíčko ~ hope you enjoy ~ hugs x :-D
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Post by Czechmade » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:24 pm

Yes, broken hearts had been mended and wounds had been healed.
Oh yes, zlatíčko, this is written with your heart! :flower: :flower: :flower:
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:28 pm

CM ~ Oh yes there must always be hope and finally healing and wholeness.
Hugs x
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Post by hmmsharpe » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:27 am

:highfive: Thanks so much for posting another chapter! I really enjoy your writing. I hope RL will let you continue and post more sooner rather than later.
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Thanks to Govi for icon and banner.
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:02 am

hmmsharpe
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, it is such a pleasure to contribute in a small way to TMB and please some of the wonderful people I have met here. Yes, I have the next chapter plotted and will get down to writing it asap. :-D
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Post by Astrid Hagen » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:45 am

Great story, Sharps! :congrats:

You are writing like a professional, you should think about writing something completely your own :bow:
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