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Михаил (19.04.2017 - 06:11:11)
книге:  Петля и камень на зелёной траве

Потрясающая книга. Не понравится только нацистам.

Антихрист666 (18.04.2017 - 21:05:58)
книге:  Дом чудовищ (Подвал)

Классное чтиво!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ладно, теперь поспешили вы... (18.04.2017 - 20:50:34)
книге:  Физики шутят

"Не для сайта!" – это не имя. Я пытался завершить нашу затянувшуюся неудачную переписку, оставшуюся за окном сайта, а вы вын... >>

Роман (18.04.2017 - 18:12:26)
книге:  Если хочешь быть богатым и счастливым не ходи в школу?

Прочитал все его книги! Великий человек, кардинально изменил мою жизнь.

АНДРЕЙ (18.04.2017 - 16:42:55)
книге:  Технология власти

ПОЛЕЗНАЯ КНИГА. Жаль, что мало в России тех, кто прочитал...

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СЛУЧАЙНОЕ ПРОИЗВЕДЕНИЕ

Мы сидели у костра!
Дождик моросил.
Дождик кончился. УРА!
Начинаем пир!

Взяли в руки инструменты,
Нашу песню вспомнили.
Для девчонок наших нежных
Мы её исполнили.

Взял Серёга бас-гитару,
Дрюня шестиструнку,
Дали Вове барабан,
Ну а Жене дудку.

Песня спета. Просьба: «Бис!».... >>

13.05.10 - 05:18
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Sharpes Escape   ::   Корнуэлл Бернард

Страница: 4 из 110
 
Sharpe had walked to the eastern edge of the small hilltop, but, denied the height of the platform, he could no longer see the dragoons. Had they wheeled away? Perhaps, if they had hoped to capture the signal tower intact, they would have decided to abandon the effort when they saw the smoke boil off the summit.

Lieutenant Slingsby joined him. "I don't wish to make anything of it," he said in a low tone, "but you spoke very harshly to me just now, Sharpe, very harshly indeed."

Sharpe said nothing. He was imagining the pleasure of disemboweling the little bastard.

"I don't resent it for myself," Slingsby went on, still speaking softly, "but it serves the men ill. Very ill indeed. It diminishes their respect for the King's commission."

Sharpe knew he had deserved the reproof, but he was not willing to give Slingsby an inch. "You think men respect the King's commission?" he asked instead.

"Naturally." Slingsby sounded shocked at the question. "Of course!"

"I didn't," Sharpe said, and wondered if he smelled rum on Slingsby's breath. "I didn't respect the King's commission," he went on, deciding he had imagined the smell, "not when I marched in the ranks. I thought most jack-puddings were overpaid bastards."

"Sharpe," Slingsby expostulated, but whatever he was about to say dried on his tongue, for he saw the dragoons appear on the lower slope. "Fifty or so of them," Sharpe said, "and coming this way."

"We should deploy, perhaps?" Slingsby indicated the eastern slope that was dotted with boulders which would hide a skirmish line very efficiently. The Lieutenant straightened his back and snapped his boot heels together. "Be an honor to lead the men down the hill, Sharpe."

"It might be a bloody honor," Sharpe said sarcastically, "but it would still be bloody suicide. If we're going to fight the bastards," he went on, "then I'd rather be on a hilltop than scattered halfway down a slope. Dragoons like skirmish lines, Slingsby. It gives them sword practice." He turned to look at the shrine. There were two small shuttered windows on the wall facing him and he reckoned they would make good loopholes if he did have to defend the hilltop. "How long till sunset?"

"Ten minutes less than three hours," Slingsby said instantly. Sharpe grunted. He doubted the dragoons would attack, but if they did he could easily hold them off till dusk, and no dragoon would linger in hostile country after nightfall for fear of the partisans. "You stay here," he ordered Slingsby, "watch them and don't do anything without asking me. Do you understand that?"

Slingsby looked offended, as he had every right to be. "Of course I understand it," he said in a tone of protest.

"Don't take men off the hilltop, Lieutenant," Sharpe said, "and that's an order." He strode towards the shrine, wondering whether his men would be able to knock a few loopholes in its ancient stone walls. They did not have the right tools, no sledgehammers or crowbars, but the stonework looked old and its mortar was crumbling.

To his surprise his path to the shrine door was barred by Major Ferreira and one of the civilians. "The door is locked, Captain," the Portuguese officer said.

"Then I'll break it down," Sharpe answered.

"It is a shrine," Ferreira said reprovingly.

"Then I'll say a prayer for forgiveness after I've knocked it down," Sharpe said and he tried to get past the Major who held up a hand to stop him. Sharpe looked exasperated. "There are fifty French dragoons coming this way, Major," Sharpe said, "and I'm using the shrine to protect my men."

"Your work is done here," Ferreira said harshly, "and you should go." Sharpe said nothing. Instead he tried once more to get past the two men, but they still blocked him. "I'm giving you an order, Captain," the Portuguese officer insisted. "Leave now."

The civilian standing with Ferreira had taken off his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeves to reveal massive arms, both tattooed with fouled anchors. So far Sharpe had taken little notice of the man, other than to be impressed by his imposing physical size, but now he looked into the civilian's face and saw pure animosity. The man was built like a prizefighter, tattooed like a sailor, and there was an unmistakable message in his scarred, brutish face which was astonishing in its ugliness. He had a heavy brow, a big jaw, a flattened nose, and eyes that were like a beast's eyes. Nothing showed there except the desire to fight. And he wanted the fight to be man to man, fist against fist, and he looked disappointed when Sharpe stepped a pace backwards.

"I see you are sensible," Ferreira said silkily.

"I'm known for it," Sharpe said, then raised his voice. "Sergeant Harper!"

The big Irishman appeared around the side of the shrine and saw the confrontation. The big man, broader and taller than Harper, who was one of the strongest men in the army, had his fists clenched. He looked like a bulldog waiting to be unleashed, and Harper knew how to treat mad dogs. He let the volley gun slip from his shoulder. It was a curious weapon, made for the Royal Navy, and intended to be used from the deck of a ship to clear enemy marksmen from their fighting tops. Seven half-inch barrels were clustered together, fired by a single flintlock, and at sea the gun had proved too powerful, as often as not breaking the shoulder of the man who fired it, but Patrick Harper was big enough to make the seven-barrel gun look small and now he casually pointed it at the vast brute who blocked Sharpe's path. The gun was not cocked, but none of the civilians seemed to notice that. "You have trouble, sir?" Harper asked innocently.

Ferreira looked alarmed, as well he might. Harper's appearance had prompted some of the other civilians to draw pistols, and the hillside was suddenly loud as flints were clicked back. Major Ferreira, fearing a bloodbath, snapped at them to lower their guns. None obeyed until the big man, the bare-fisted brute, snarled at them and then they hurriedly lowered their flints, holstered their weapons and looked scared of the big man's disapproval. All the civilians were hard-looking rogues, reminding Sharpe of the cutthroats who ruled the streets of East London where he had spent his childhood, yet their leader, the man with the brutish face and muscled body, was the oddest and most frightening of them. He was a street fighter, that much was obvious from the broken nose and the scars on his forehead and cheeks, but he was also wealthy, for his linen shirt was of fine quality, his breeches cut from the best broadcloth and his gold-tasseled boots were made from soft expensive leather. He looked to be around forty years old, in the prime of life, confident in his sheer size.

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