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.‘Oh yes!’ The child seized on the question eagerly again: it saved her from immodesty, for a guess; but also (if she was normal) she properly preferred men to women now, for another guess.‘My great-great-great-grandfather was killed here, you see.In 1812, at Salamanca, Mr—‘ she floundered momentarily.‘”Ian”,’ Jenny supplied the Christian name tartly.‘He answers to “Ian”, Cathy.But … your great-great … grandfather was killed … here?’‘Oh?’ The child blinked at her for another moment.But then her years increased again as she measured Jenny up, and took in her slightly battered condition to even up the reckoning.And then turned back to Ian coolly.‘Not actually here, I mean.’ She smiled at Ian and then swung on her heel and pointed away past the rocky headland of the Greater Arapile towards the distant ridge behind it, on which a long line of scrubby trees marked the skyline.‘That’s where the British cavalry charged.And my great-great-great-grandfather was in the charge: he charged right through two whole French divisions … before he was killed, right at the end.So this is our special family battlefield, do you see?’Wow! thought Jenny: Ian had wanted an answer to his ‘why’—and he had got it to the last syllable.‘Like … the Charge of the Light Brigade—?’‘No—not at all!’ Ian’s voice was stiff with contempt.‘He must have been in General Le Marchant’s charge—‘ He began by addressing her, but then dismissed her, to turn the words back to Cathy Audley ‘—and General Le Marchant was killed up there, too—in the moment of victory—?’‘That’s right—gosh!’ The child was quite enchanted by this supremely useless piece of information.‘You know about the battle, Mr Robinson?’‘I know about Le Marchant, Miss Audley.’ Whether Ian really knew about ‘General Le Marchant’ hung in the balance for an instant: it could be either that he had always known, because it was the sort of thing he knew: or it could be that he had just done his homework last night, to know just enough, but no more than that.‘He was the one man in the army who was a scientific soldier—? A Guernsey man—from the Channel Islands?’‘That’s right!’ Cathy Audley positively bubbled with pleasure.‘You really do know about the battle, don’t you!’ Then she frowned.‘But that’s silly, isn’t it!’‘Silly?’Not silly, thought Jenny, amending her previous contempt abjectly as she realized what Ian was doing—and what he had done, which she hadn’t even thought to do—‘I don’t mean you—gosh! I mean me.’ Cathy hunched her shoulders.‘I mean … you wouldn’t be here, traipsing around like this, if you weren’t interested in the battle.So … you’re probably a historian—are you a historian?’ She cocked her head at Ian, but not coquettishly: it was a simple, straight question, as unfeminine as it was unshy, but with logic behind it.‘Or are you a dragoon?’‘A—?’ Ian was good, having done his homework.But he wasn’t that good.‘A … dragoon, Miss Audley?’‘My father was a dragoon, in the war … Not the Peninsular War, I mean … but his war.’ Cathy threw out her inadequate chest with filial pride.‘He wasn’t on a horse, of course—he was in a tank … He doesn’t even like horses … But, then, he doesn’t much like tanks, either.Even though he’s always talking about them.’ Pride quite vanished beneath honesty.‘But … my great-great-great-grandfather was a horse-dragoon, you see.And he was shot right beside General Le Marchant—in “the moment of victory”, just like you said … And my father says all British dragoons should come here, because this was one of the best charges they ever made.But, of course, he wanted me to see it because of great-great-great-grandfather … Are you a historian, Mr Robinson?’‘Not a historian, Miss Audley.Or a dragoon.But we are writers, Miss Fielding and I.’ Ian smiled and nodded at the child.‘And we are thinking of writing a book on Spain—aren’t we, Miss Fielding?’‘Possibly, Mr Robinson.’‘And if we do, we shall certainly mention the battle of Salamanca, Miss Audley—General Le Marchant’s charge.’‘And the dragoons, Cathy.’ It was Jenny’s turn to smile.‘At least, we will if your father will tell us all about them—would he do that, do you think?’‘Oh … yes—‘ Cathy looked up towards the Greater Arapile ‘—well, I don’t see why not.’ She came back to Jenny.‘So long as you make allowance for him not being in a very good mood, I mean.’ She made a face at them both.‘He’s been like that ever since—‘ She stopped abruptly.‘Ever since—?’ Ever since they tipped him off that there was trouble back home, thought Jenny.It was only to be expected.And with Fielding and Robinson on the loose it was doubly to be expected.‘Something he ate, dear?’‘Oh no!’ Cathy was quite disarmed by the fatuousness of the suggestion.‘He just got a phone call from home [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]