Disclaimer: These are works of fan-fiction created for entertainment. It is not the intention of the author to infringe on anyone's copyright. No rights infringement intended.
Warning: General Audience

The Sharpe Fan Fictions of Paul K.

Bernard Cornwell’s


Richard Sharpe and the Battle of the Nive

Screenplay Written by Eoghan Harris and Bernard Cornwell.
Novel Adapted by Paul Kaster


November 1813

Chapter 1

Jane Gibbons Sharpe lies in bed with her husband Major Richard Sharpe. Major Sharpe commands the Prince of Wales’ Own Volunteers, formerly the South Essex, regiment. Outside the bedroom, a bugle calls troops to ‘stand to’. It also wakes her.

It is a cold November morning in France. Winter-like weather has arrived with storms that have blown in from the Atlantic. A week before, when the British moved into France after defeating Soult at The Nivelle River, Sharpe sought a comfortable house for Jane. When he was a junior officer, he often had served as a quartermaster. One of his duties was finding lodgings for officers. He had ridden ahead of the battalion and served as his own quartermaster to pick the location for Jane and him as well as for his men.

Jane and he were now in a comfortable room on a second floor with a stable to keep the mares that they both ride. The room has its own fireplace and the lodging fee included a steady supply of firewood. With the cold weather, they have kept a fire burning in it whenever they are in the room.

The room also has a very comfortable down bed with comforter. Richard lies n the bed on his side facing away from Jane. He rolls over to stroke her stomach. Jane takes his hand to stop him. He rolls back away from her. They have not had much ‘honeymoon’ time since they have been married. Jane and Richard were married only three weeks before in Spain.

Jane was surprised when Richard asked her to marry him. She is fifteen years younger than he. She knew him only from the good things reported in the newspapers and the bad things that her uncle said about him. But, when she was faced with returning to her uncle’s home to be beaten for helping Sharpe and then to be married to Lieutenant Colonel Girdwood, a man she despised, or marrying Sharpe, she chose Richard.

Richard kept her protected until he could arrange for a ship that would take Jane and the replacements that he ‘liberated’ from Simmerson to France to keep the South Essex alive as a regiment. Simmerson had one time raised and commanded the South Essex regiment. At the battle of Talavera, Simmerson had behaved cowardly and was relieved of his command. Since returning to England, he used the regiment recruit men to sell illegally to other regiments.

Jane’s father was a saddler and her mother was sister to Sir Henry Simmerson’s wife. Her father and mother had died when Jane was thirteen. She had been left as a ward of her uncle. While at Simmerson’s home, she was a witness to her uncle’s illegal training camp.

Her brother Christian served under Simmerson when he commanded the South Essex. Also, at Talavera Christian had died valiantly helping Harper and Sharpe to seize a French Eagle. So she believes. Jane does not know that Harper killed her brother who had tried to kill Sharpe. But Harper had killed Christian before he could strike Sharpe.

In England, Jane had helped Richard to escape the training camp run illegally by her uncle. Now she is here in France with him.

“Don’t you hear your bugle?”

Richard rolls towards Jane. Jane rolls away from him to try to sleep. He nuzzles her neck. She remains uninterested.

“I can hear it.”

continues to kiss her neck and ear.

“I can put something in your ear, so you can’t hear it.”

Jane smiles and turns her head so that Sharpe can kiss her mouth. As they kiss, outside a rooster crows.

Sharpe starts to rub Jane’s belly, then tickles her. Jane giggles and laughs.

“Stop it.” She reaches to the night stand, grabs a water pitcher. As she rolls back towards Richard, she dumps the remaining contents on him.

There is not much water, but enough to dampen his hair. He rolls her full around to the other side of the bed, then holds her by the waist and to look at her.

Jane puts a hand behind his head to hold him there. She smiles and looks at him with joy in her eyes. They kiss again. The rooster continues to crow.

Richard says, “Bagpipes could be worse.” His face is lit with the joy of being there with Jane. Jane playfully taps his shoulder as she continues to look at him with delight.

Jane lightly strokes Richard’s hair. “I hate the bugle because I hate the army. Because I hate the war.”

In the three weeks that Jane has been an army wife, they have not had much time together. Sharpe has fought a battle at The Nivelles. The South Essex was involved and lost several of the veterans as well as the new recruits that they brought back to Spain from England.

Although Colonel Girdwood was listed as the commander of the battalion, it was really Richard’s. At the battle, Girdwood broke down mentally and was relieved. Richard now commands.

In the time before the battle, Jane had come to know some of the men. The loss of some of those, made her sad. She has come to know that war is not all the glory that is celebrated in the newspapers and society.

Richard hears the sadness in her voice, pauses and with sadness now in his face says “We all hate the war.”

Jane looks at him with more seriousness, “No you don’t. You love it.”

“I’m a soldier. It is what I do. And, I am good at it.”

Jane has had time to think about what their life will be when the war is over. From the time she was a girl, she has lived a comfortable life. The estate of her uncle had servants. She had access to books and schooling. Sometimes, she would accompany her aunt to London. The city was a place of awe for her. She dreamed of chances to attend museums, to host parties and discuss literature with learned people. While Richard can read and write, he is not interested in the finer arts, as she is.

“What will you do when you go home, Richard?”

Richard doesn’t know how to answer.

Jane rises from the bed and goes to the window. She turns back to him “You’ll still be a soldier.”

Outside a church bell is now ringing.

“But there won’t be a war.” Jane uses a towel to dab water from her face. She looks wistfully out the window.

She continues to dry her face. “And if there is no war, you won’t be happy.”

“What will you do all day?”

Sharpe lies in the bed. He plays with his fingers and looks at them.

He guffaws, “Well I’ll do what every other officer does. what every husband does. Whatever that is.”

He gets out of bed. He pulls on his pants and walks past Jane.

Jane turns to him “I’ll tell you what they do Richard. They ride. They hunt. They gamble. They play cards. They look after their gardens. Their dogs.”

As if on cue a dog starts to bark. Sharpe stands at a window and looks out.

“Dogs would be good..” He says. ”Work the land.”

Jane continues with a dreamy look. “Their libraries. They wine and dine and make polite conversation.”

She pauses. “They cut a figure in society.”

Richard turns his head towards her. He knows that he is crude. Society in the army does not accept him very often. Society in London, when he has visited, has accepted him even less despite his fame.

“Is that why you married me, Jane?” He turns away from her. He goes to the wash basin.

“To cut a figure in society?”

He washes his hands and looks into the mirror. He can see her behind him. “Don’t you love me for what I am?” Sharpe was born to a prostitute in London who died when he was three. He went to an orphanage until he was thirteen. He ran away when he was sold to a chimney sweep. For three years he lived in a London slum and earned his keep by picking locks and stealing. After he killed a man, he ran away to Yorkshire. In less than a year there, he killed another man and once again ran. This time, the army found him. For nineteen years he has been in the army. Although he is an officer, very few of the other officers welcome him as he is not from society. Jane knows this history of him.

She doesn’t know that when he was much younger, he was with a woman from society who carried his child. She loved him, but died with the child in childbirth. The family took the money that he had from jewels he collected in India. Then the family tossed him out. He worries that Jane will want to have a life with these kinds of people and would choose that life over one with him.

Jane starts towards him.

“You know I love you.”

She hugs his waist from behind. “And you know I love you for yourself.”

“I just picture you in my minds eye back home. And I wonder how you will fit in. And would you be happy making polite conversation about art and literature. Would you be able to discuss Wordsworth, for example.”

Sharpe snorts. “You mean will I be able.”

He turns around to drape his arms over her shoulders.

“So, what does this fellow Wordsworth do when ‘e’s home?”

“So, what do you think he does?”

“Em, paints?”

Jane huffs. She is disappointed that Richard doesn’t know for which of the arts Wordsworth is known. She turns and walks away from him.

Sharpe turns too and leans his arm and head against the wall. “Aww you bloody fool Sharpe. Ya shoulda known he was a bloody philosopher.”

Jane has returned to the bed to lie on it. She looks at Richard. She has heard Richard’s mumbled self-criticism.

“Richard, I’m a stupid silly snob. Can you forgive me?”

Richard turns his head in surprise. He smiles mischievously. “Can I forgive you over there?” He starts to walk towards her.

Jane, too, smiles mischievously. Sharpe kisses her and leans her back onto the bed. Before they continue they are interrupted by a call from outside.

“Major Sharpe? Major Sharpe?”

Jane drops her hand onto the bed, then rises.

“Do your duty Richard. I’m going to bathe.” She walks away from him.

Sharpe sits on the bed to watch her go. He rises and walks to the open window. “Bloody army.”

Outside Chosen Man Harris stands by the courtyard pond. “What is it Harris?”

“Beggin’ your pardon Major Sharpe. You are to report to General Wellington’s tent at nine o’clock.”

Sharpe wonders what Wellington has for him this time.

Behind Harris, Rifleman Daniel Hagman and Sergeant Major Patrick Harper are unloading a four-wheeled small wagon. Harper helps a young woman to get down from the rear of the cart.

“Pat, what are you doing?”

Harper trots over to a spot below the window.

“Shhh, just a carryin’ out orders, sir. Nosey told us to fraternize with the local population.” Pat grabs an apple from another cart and takes a bite.

“In future, when you fraternize with the local women, make sure they are women over forty.”

With a bite of apple in his mouth, “I’ll think of that, sir.” Harper returns to the cart.

Sharpe returns his attention to Harris.


“Sir” Harris grasps the hand of a woman he has been talking to and has her join him beneath Sharpe’s window.

“You heard of somebody named Wordsworth?”

“Oh yes sir. William Wordsworth. He’s a poet.”

“He’s not a philosopher?”

“Um no sir. Is that all sir?”

Sharpe turns back into his room. “Yeah.” He puts his face in the wash bowl and washes his head.

Harper bites on his apple while he watches Harris and the woman he is with. Harper is married and expecting a child. Harris turns to the young woman with him. Conchita is a gypsy with the dark, attractive features of her people. She turns up to kiss him. Behind in the wagon, Hagman sits with Conchita’s mother, who looks very much like Conchita, but could be mistaken for an older sister.

Harper envies Harris and Hagman and the attention the women are giving them. Things with his wife have been cold lately. “Dan. Harris. A word?”

Hagman and Harris assure the women they will return soon and stroll over to Harper.

Harper, Hagman and Harris have been together as riflemen for six years. Harper, who stands six foot four, towers over both.

“Isabella is angry with me, Dan. You talk with her. Do you know why?”

Hagman, a former poacher, is the best shot and the oldest man in the battalion. At something over fifty years old and of medium height around five foot six, with long brown hair with many streaks of grey, he looks much older than the others. Many of the company and the camp followers confide in him as they would a father.

“No idea, Sergeant ‘arper.” He turns towards the part of the camp where Isabella would be.

“’arris, do you know anything?”

Harris is Hagman’s shooting partner in the field. He is almost the same height as Hagman five foot seven, but has red curly hair that recedes from the front of his head to mid-crown. Harris is educated and speaks several languages, including Spanish. He often speaks in Spanish with Isabella.

“No, Sergeant. She has not confided anything about your life to me”

Harper rescued Isabella at the siege of Badajoz. She has followed the battalion as Harper’s girlfriend since. All the company and the followers knew Isabella. In May, she told Harper that she was carrying his child and wanted to marry. After Vitoria, they married at a cathedral. Isabella is likely to give birth in a month. For the past month, she has become distant. When they talk, she is angry.

“Well, she is angry with me about something. “

Harris asks, “Have you asked her why?”

“No! She gives me that angry look and rattles off in her language when I try to talk with her.”

“She maybe will talk with you. When you are with her, try to find out why she is angry with me, eh?”

Harris looks at Hagman. Both of them are uncomfortable to get between Harper and Isabella. But, they know that Harper won’t accept a ‘no’ answer.

“Yes, sergeant.” They reply, then quickly return to the women who are waiting at the wagon for them.

Sharpe walks through the battalion’s camp. To each side of him are tents with fires lit to cook breakfasts. Most fires have a kettle of tea brewing. Sharpe stops at one of the first fires to get a mug of tea. The men start to stand to attention. Sharpe waves them to sit. “Good morning Charlie, Angel.” Charlie is one of the new recruits that came from England. Angel is a Spaniard that joined Sharpe and Harper on a mission before the battle of Vitoria. He proved to be a very good shot with a Baker rifle and decided to stay with the British army.

“May I get a mug o tea?”

“Yes, sir.” The men knew that Sharpe would make up for what he would take. Sharpe scoops his mug through the kettle and looks to see if anyone has sugar or milk. One of the other men offers some of both. He reaches in his satchel and gives the man a folded paper that contains some of his ration of tea leaves.

He sips the tea slowly. “Ah! Charlie for someone who only started to drink tea, you know how to brew it just right.”

Charlie smiles. “Daniel taught me proper, sir.” Charlie refers to Daniel Hagman who made tea for the rifle-armed men of the Light Company until he was wounded. A dog comes up behind Charlie while they are talking.

“God, Charlie, but Boney is an ugly dog. Why do you still keep him?”

Charlie grins as his dog is a favorite of the company even though he is an ugly dog. Charlie wanted to name him Buttons, but the other men called him Boney because he is small and ugly like Napoleon Bonaparte, or Boney.

“I can’t get rid of him, sir. He’s so ugly, no one would take care ‘o him. He’d starve.”

“Very well Charlie. He’s not the only ugly dog in this army.”

“Sir, how long do you think we will be here? Do you think we will have to fight again? We are in France. The people here have been nice, like Spain. How much longer will they fight?

“Well Charlie, the people are nice. But, Napoleon still rules the country. As long as he says fight, then we fight. Now if he was like YOUR Boney, maybe the war would be over.”

Sharpe grins and walks off sipping his tea.

The next section of tents is home to the camp followers – the wives, companions, prostitutes and trades people who depend on the army. Sharpe approaches another section of fires, but these are being used to boil water to wash clothes. Several women tend the large pots and buckets that contain the washing. One of them is Isabella Harper, Patrick’s wife. Isabella is a small woman at barely five feet tall with a dark complexion and black hair. When she was only sixteen years old she met Patrick Harper and Richard Sharpe. Harper rescued Isabella from looters after the siege of Badajoz Since then, Isabella lived with and traveled with Patrick.

Isabella is busy washing clothes in a large wooden bucket. The work is difficult for her as she is eight months pregnant.

As Sharpe approaches her, he greets her airily. He is in a good mood, despite not knowing Wordsworth.

“Good morning Isabella.”

He stops next to a pile of clothes that have been washed, dried and folded. He picks up two shirts.

“Thanks for these.”

Isabella ignores him. She washes the clothes in the bucket even harder and splashes water on herself and Sharpe. Isabella often is friendly with Sharpe, but not today.

Sharpe turns to her. “Is there something the matter?”

Isabella continues to wash the clothes as if he is not there. Sharpe looks around to see if Patrick is nearby. When he sees no sign of him, “Something to do with Patrick?”

Isabella finally acknowledges Sharpe. She stands up and angrily pushes the clothes in her hands into the water, then wrings the cloth dry, as if wringing the neck of a chicken. She turns to Sharpe.

“Can I tell you?” Isabella speaks English with a North Ireland accent. When she met Harper, she spoke only Spanish. Since then, she has learned English from Harper, mostly, and the other women that follow the army.

Sharpe looks down, then to try to soften her demeanor, looks up at her with a grin. “Of course you can.”

“Things are not good in bed between Patrick and me.” Her face shows the creases of the worries she has.

Sharpe did not expect this, particularly as Isabella is pregnant. While Sharpe has been sexually active with several women, and with women that like to be in bed with him, he has never been with a pregnant woman. Nor has he heard of a pregnant woman who wanted to have sex – particularly a woman as pregnant as Isabella. Unsure how to answer, he looks at his feet. “Well, you know, we all have our ups and downs.”

“Not me! No ups. No downs.”

Sharpe chuckles.

Isabella points to a place in the nearby woods. Harper, Harris and Hagman are dancing in line to a tune Hagman plays on a fiddle. Beside Harris, the woman that Sharpe saw at the wagon outside his room dances while holding his arm. She glances back to Harper who follows closely behind Harris and plays a fife.

“Look.” She gestures with her hand. “Patrick Harper. My husband. Making a fool of himself over a gypsy girl.”

“hmmf she exhales.” She turns her head to Sharpe. Her eyes are filled with malice. “You know what I like to do to her?”

She does not answer, but wrings the item she is washing again as if wringing a chicken’s neck. Then she stares evilly towards the girl.

Sharpe hears her, looks to Patrick, and then turns his head away from both of them. He is friends with both Patrick and Isabella. This day has started strangely with regards to two married lives Isabella’s and Patrick’s and Jane’s and his. Marriage does make things more difficult. He purses his lips while he tries to decide how to reply. Thinking of nothing to say that can help, he walks away.

After retreating from the Spanish border, the French army arrayed itself in front of Bayonne. The lines extend from the Atlantic’s Bay of Biscay coast to east of Bayonne. Bayonne lies on the south bank of the river Adour and along the west bank of the river Nive. Reille’s corps defends the area between the Bay of Biscay and the Nive. Clausel’s corps defends the center from Bayonne and D’Erlon’s corps defends the east bank. General Eugene-Casimir Villatte commands a reserve division behind Reille’s corps and is bivouacked west of Bayonne. Soult has a string of fortified camps that runs in a semi-circle from the Nive to the Adour. These camps serve as the outer defense to Bayonne. From Camp Beyris another string of camps extends to Rocha Fort and then to Biarritz on the Bay.

Napoleon is occupied retreating from the Battle of Leutzen where he lost to the Austrian-Prussian-Russian army. He needs a victory that will stop the allied armies from advancing further into France. Since the end of 1812, the French have retreated westward starting at Moscow.

The Sixth Coalition, as with all of the others before, is driven by British money. The European mainland countries’ finances have been hurt by France’s policies. So, they welcome the British. The Eastern allied armies are bigger than his. Although bigger, they have often been defeated on the battlefield. The Russians chose to keep fighting after Moscow. The commanders of the coalition armies have been more successful when they oppose Bonaparte’s marshals only.

Earlier this month, the Allies proposed peace to Napoleon in the Frankfurt Proposals. Bonaparte would remain Emperor of the French. France would return to its ‘natural borders’ which would include Belgium, Savoy and the Rhineland. All other territory would be given up. He did not like these terms.

Napoleon believes that if he could win a battle against one of the Allies, he could get better terms. If he can defeat the British, the other Coalition members may be willing to negotiate a peace without Britain. He believes that the alliance of Spain and Great Britain is fragile. If Wellington’s army can be thrown back, he can focus his forces on the eastern borders.

Bonaparte chose Britain to defeat and to use Soult’s army. Napoleon is not satisfied that Soult can hold Wellington out of France. However, while Soult saved the French army after Vitoria, he has lost battle after battle from the frontier to Bayonne. Wellington was able to cross The Nivelle and now is outside Bayonne. Soult will need help to win.

General Jean-Baptiste Calvet commands a demi-brigade in Villatte’s Division. Calvet is a brute of a man and a seasoned warrior who joined the army when he was eighteen. While fighting against the Austrians he distinguished himself and was made an officer. He continued to lead troops well so that he was given command of a brigade when the Grand Armee invaded Russia. During the retreat from Moscow, he kept his brigade together through the terrible conditions. He would often mention that to sustain his troops, he served his men meat from the bodies of comrades who had died.

Calvet was sent to Spain to command a demi-brigade composed of non-French troops, mostly Germans from Nassau. He and his faithful sergeant now are trying to make these conscripts into a fighting unit. Calvet’s brigade is camped near Anglet to the west of Camp Beyris.

General Calvet is a big man, both tall and broad with a paunch like a barrel of gunpowder. His broad, scarred face is burned with powder stains that appear as if they are dark tattoos. Like many that have served for many years, he has a bushy, black moustache. He has lost the hair in the center of his head, but retains his dark hair around the sides of his head from ear to ear. He is wearing his best uniform coat. It is adorned with gold braid epaulettes and cuff trim. . He has been a soldier a long time. The general also likes to eat and considers himself to be a connoisseur.

A troop of cavalry arrives outside General Calvet’s tent. One of them is a colonel dressed in the best uniform of an officer of Napoleon’s Guard Cavalry. His knee-length boots are gloss black. His spurs glimmer. Even after riding, there appears to be no dust on his uniform coat or pants nor the bearskin on the top of his head.

He dismounts his horse and strides to Calvet’s tent. All the troops that attend to Calvet outside the tent, snap to attention as he approaches. He ignores their salutes.

At the entrance to the tent, he reaches to the top center of his bearskin, removes then tucks it under his arm. From the opening, he can see that Calvet has just started to eat his meal. The servant has brought the latest course on a covered silver plate and removed the cover. Calvet holds his fork and knife in his clenched fists that are the size of small cannonballs.

The colonel announces himself to the General. “General Calvet. I am Colonel Cresson.”

He steps two paces into the tent.

“I have orders from the Emperor.” He reaches under his arm to present the rolled up orders to Calvet.

Calvet looks up at the colonel and wonders. “Another fancy dressed as a guard. Am I to be impressed by the uniform? By the fact that he says these are from the Emperor?” Only after a long pause does he reach out to accept the orders.

While he reads the orders, his servant, a sergeant that has been with him for many years, prepares a dish on the table.

Without looking at the colonel, Calvet explains in his rumbling voice. “Mushrooms. I teach him…” He nods towards the sergeant. “which ones are poisonous.”

The sergeant samples a mushroom from the bowl then hands it to the general. Calvet looks to the colonel then to the orders. He is in no hurry. He will eat in his own time.

Cresson is impatient for Calvet to read the orders. “My orders are very clear.”

While his sergeant continues to sample the food he has prepared for the general, Calvet responds. He looks up to the colonel. “The Emperor wants you to capture Major General Nairn -- Wellington’s Chief of Intelligence. How will you do that? He looks at the colonel with a smirk on his lips. He will enjoy hearing the colonel’s plan.

Colonel Cresson has been with the Guard cavalry for the past year. Napoleon learned that Cresson has a connection to a British officer that could be used to learn of Wellington’s plan to attack Soult. Before coming to Calvet, Cresson reviewed the plan with Soult who recommended that Calvet fill a role in the plan.

“I have a plan.” He returns confidently.

“You have?”

Before the colonel can explain, the Sergeant bites another mushroom. He chews it slowly, then begins to gag and grab his mouth and stomach. He doubles over.

Calvet turns to the Sergeant with alarm. He starts to rise from his chair.

“Gaston? Gaston?” Calvet places a hand on Gaston’s shoulder. He beats his other hand on Gaston’s back.

Suddenly, Gaston stands up, laughs and points at Calvet. He has played a joke that they have played before.

Calvet roars with laughter and raises his hand to acknowledge that his friend has played his role well. Calvet slaps Gaston on the belly. Gaston slaps Calvet’s shoulder. They both laugh at the joke while Colonel Cresson stands impatiently and angry that they waste his time. He is not amused by their joke.

Calvet composes himself then sits. He reaches for the bowl of mushrooms. He pushes it towards Cresson. Cresson looks down at the table. Contemplates that this is a challenge. He pushes the bowl back to Calvet.

Calvet looks down, then up to Cresson. “You learn quickly. Maybe you will be able to capture Major General Nairn.”

“With your help, General Calvet.”

“The Emperor asks me to give you every assistance.”

“I command a brigade. We defend the Rocha fort and powder magazine for General Reille’s Corps. How can we help to capture Nairn?”

“Nairn is an old fox. He must be made to leave his den.”

“I have a way, but it all depends on you my general.”

Calvet pauses. He looks to the table and picks up an apple and takes a large, loud bite.

Cresson watches him eat and explains his plan for capturing General Nairn. After, Calvet rises, chooses a chicken leg from a dish and walks with Cresson out of the tent.

Colonel Cresson walks with Calvet. Sergeant Gaston walks behind them

“I need two groups. One of them sheep”

Calvet eats from the chicken leg joint while they walk. He stops to look at Cresson.


“Men who have no desire to fight.”

Calvet waves his hand in understanding.

“We have plenty of those.” Calvet’s brigade is composed of French allies. As Napoleon has lost battles in Eastern Europe, these soldiers have become less reliable. The military police have collected deserters from all over the Bayonne region. They were collected to be sent to Villatte’s division. Villatte gave them to Calvet to guard.

“Secondly, a larger group of men with courage who would like a chance to man the fort.”

“Man the fort? I have a garrison there now. I am sure that it would take a large force to take the fort. This Nairn, he is smart, n’est ce pas vrai? Would he not come with a large force? If so, how will you capture him?”

“We will provide him information that the fort is held with only a small, weak force. I am sure that the men you have there now would be able to withstand the attack of a very large force. To make this plan work, we will replace your very capable men with ‘the goats’.”

They stop in front of a group of men. There must be a full battalion of men seated on the ground inside a picket line. “Are all these men deserters?”

With a mouth full of chicken Calvet mumbles, “The war goes badly.”

Two groups of men that total about fifty men each have separated from the main group.

“And these, men, General?”

“French from the countries that border France to the North.”

Cresson looks at the men. “How do you distinguish the sheep from the goats?”

“The goats? Ah! The sheep from the goats.”

Calvet pauses. He thinks about the question. Then he turns to the group of prisoners and throws the remains of his chicken joint towards them. Thirty to forty men dive towards the joint.

“There. There are your sheep..”

“and,” he points to those that remained seated when the joint was thrown.

“There are your goats.”

Cresson considers the two groups, then nods. Forty sheep to bait the trap. Sixty to garrison the fort until it is time to trap Nairn.

‘C’est bon.”

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