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Sharpe Speaks, Part 1

Whether you're an avid reader and watcher of the Sharpe series, or just an occasional consumer, it is all too easy to forget Bernard Cornwell has given his character a full life, rather than just an episodic one. While it is noticed that the daily life of an up-from-the-ranks officer was never simple or pleasant, in the case of Richard Sharpe, his life was made all the harder for him simply because he was not born a gentleman. No matter what he did, neither his peers nor his superiors ever let him forget that. His own personal behaviour was something that few of them could understand given his propensity towards scruffiness and a preference for life the way it was when he had been an enlisted soldier. Learning to read and write as an adult while imprisoned by the Tippoo Sultan gave him a foundation from which to grow and learn, however, putting thoughts to paper was not part of his education and he was not of a nature likely to do so. Many of his non-fictional contemporaries did write a number of memoirs following the Napoleonic wars based on their recollections. In the case of Sharpe, we can only imagine what he would have written and offer this version of events in "his own words".

Content Warning: Some sections may contain strong, crude language and/or language of a sexual nature.

To read chronologically, from the beginning, start at the bottom of this page and read the entries from bottom to top before going to the next page. Continue at the bottom of the next page.

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November 25, 1809

I'll be damned if we dint come 'cross near twenty o' our lads reconoitrin' abaht the Frog lines, lookin' fer a way te git past them. They got stranded hind the lines somehow and were lookin' fer a way te git back to our Army. I snatched 'em up joost te keep em out o' trouble. Got a couple of right good shots among 'em. Good lads all round 'cept fer two good-fer-nuthin gutless bastids. Found us a way thru. Joost 'ave te wait till dark. Guess I wasn't as lost as the lads all thought I was. Wished I'd known 'arper were makin' book on me.

November 22, 1808

Thet Jewel Weed sure worked wonders. Hagman says it be good for any kind er itch and rash. As gud as thet Gennulmen's Powder they flog in Lundon for two-pence a tin, says 'arris. Harper seems ta think the leaves were called Jewel Weed as they protect a man's jewels. That warn't what he said yesterdiy though. He'd sed summat abaht Touchin' me balls or me being Quick in me hands or sumthin'.

Coops started on abaht me dress again sayin' if I gave up wearin' me wool britches and wore me dress instead, I wouldn't need it at all. Gets on me nerves it does. It warn't a dress...it were me disguise! Told him if it were a dress, it woldn't have had pockets fer a picklock. Which started him goin' on abaht his picklock again. Told 'im that it twere a fair traid seein' as how the cuttin' up me sash fer socks was his idea. Ah swear... Chosenmen... I'd choose more like Tongue. Knows when ter keep his gob shut!

Other than being mouthy, the men are shapin' up gud. Go, me! This oficerring lark ain't that bad. Jest mustn't let on that I think we're too far East again.

I'll have to learn how to find more Jewel weed. They sure worked a treat. Turned me balls green though.

November 20, 1808

Harper came over and asked if he could 'ave what was left o' me jewels. Was abaht to smack him upside the head when Hagman said the weed he'd handed me was jewels. Was abaht to smack him upside the head when 'arris said t'was the name of the leaves, jewel weed. Poison Ivy antidote it were, and it worked too. Now why couldn't they have just said so up front? All this pussyfarting round with Touchin' n Quick this n that n Jewels and stuff. Coulda joost sed it were fer the rash on me arse. Talk abaht murderin' the English language!

Ah'll sleep good tonight. God that poison ivy were enuff to make me daft. Harper said it were fer me impure thoughts abaht usin' pages frum teh Bibel ter wipe me arse. Pah! Thet Methodist minister musta gotten to him. Speaking o' which... I got me suspicions abaht him an his old lady.

November 19, 1808

Christ on a stick... I'm gonna die... this damned rash hurts! Hagman fell out t'march but before I could write him up he coom back an' gave me a handful o' leaves. Fer the poison he said. Said te rub me arse an' all round with 'em. Maybe afore I bed down in a bit I'll do it. Hope he ain't joost takin' the mickey out o' me.

Finally found out what 'appened to me sash. Damn Chosen Men! Damn thieves more like it. No wonder they ain't been complainin' abaht cold feet! Not with red silk stockings on. Damn sash was long enough to make socks fer each one o' them. Shame abaht them tassels tho. Coops said they worked right smart fer a shavin' brush, after he cut them down a bit. I'd niver 'ave guessed if it 'adn't been fer catchin' 'arris sewing up the sole o' Tongue's shoe. Niver knew the Army to issue red socks afore. At least I knows now that Tongue couldn't lie to save 'is life. Now I'll 'ave to steal me another sash. Them Frog ocifers got right smart lookin' sashes...

November 17, 1808

Used the wrong stuff today te wipe me arse. Turned out to be some sort of poison ivy or summat. Can’t sit still fer a minute. Bloody 'arris fer not sharin' 'is bloody book! Bloody leaves!! Bloody books!!! Bloody Pearly Gates!!!!

Saw ‘arper walk funny like too. ‘e must ‘ave used the same arsewipe. ‘agman told me that the antidote for the poison ivy grows next ter it. NOW ‘e tells me. Bloody riflemen!! Bloody advice!!!! Bloody world!!!! Bloody war!!!!

November 14, 1808

Awright! So I don't know how to read a map. But Ahm gettin' better. Only got us lost twice terday and then it weren't too far out t'way. Leastways we ain't been meetin' no Frogs on this here track. Came close to the main road once and heard some guns and cavalry bein' moved towards Oporto. Wonder what's on abaht there? Mebbe a big offensive?

Oh, an all 'arris has is a copy o' the drill book for the light infantry and he's signed for that. Its on some list somewhere's against his name. Asked 'arper 'bout usin' that Bible for me necessary payper. He says te trade it wit 'arris anyways, cuz its easier to explain to the Quartermaster abaht a missing drill manual than it is to explain to Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates why I used a Bible to wipe me arse. Guess its damned if I do, and damned if I don't. Best 'urry, tho, as that squirrel stew 'agman wipped up last night is doin' a gallows dance on me guts.

November 11, 1808

T'were fookin' cold last night, but the men ain't complainin' abaht cold feet. I don't rightly understand it, usually they'd be whinin' abaht summat like that all day. It were a long day's marchin', but ahm glad it didn't rain.

That Patrick 'arper can swear worse than me! You'd think 'im bein' a Catholic an' all .... Oh well, I can at least ask 'im abaht usin' that Bible and cum te think of it, need te do it fast too ..... And then find me sash!

November 10, 1808

Ahm abaht fed oop wit' this sash business. Its gone missin' agin. I know I took it off afore beddin' down last night, but this mornin' its gone. Somthin' strange is goin' on cuz when I went cursin' abaht it the lads all tried to look all innocent like.

Used the last o' me arse-wipin' Frog book to wipe me arse this mornin'. All I have left is a Bible that Reverend Parker done foisted off on me. Wonder what would happen if I used it to...naw, nivermind...joost a thought. I'd surely burn in hell for wipin' me arse with Bible pages. I'll see if I can't trade it off to 'arris for a Shakspeer or Voltear or summat.

November 6, 1808

Explorin' Officer, my dyin' arse! Callin' a spade a spade, that 'ogan ain't nuthin' but a damned spy. Some Portuguese feller found us and give 'im a message and now he's gone off with Miss Teresa, the preacher and their lot. Said we'd be meetin' up agin in 2 weeks back at Welliington's 'eadquarters. At least he left me a map, fer all the good that will do. Miss Teresa said if I get lost agin te stop and ask a local fer directions. Ha! Me? As if! I'm a man, damnit! Men never ask fer directions. Reckon I can't go wrong if I follow the sun to the ocean and 'ang a left. Should take me right into Oporto.

November 3, 1808

Well, found us a nice little village te hole up in till we get some rest and clean our weapons afore we head out. Been thinkin' on how things went. Night afore the mission, I were startin’ te get second thoughts abaht it, but now that its over ahm feelin’ really good abaht me. We took that church with only a handful of men and a straggle o' Spaniards and by gawd we planted that rag on top of it. That Mizz Teresa can really stand ‘er ground. Pity ah still think she’s such a cockteaser, but ‘oo knows, ah may get lucky yet. Its gonna be a long war.

That Blas Vivar bloke were no mean swordfighter. ‘e had te kill ‘is own brother fer ‘is country. Dunno if ah could ‘ave done such a think. Pat, that's Sargeant 'arper's Christian name, ‘as found us a drop ‘o brandy te celebrate. Hope ah can keep 'im around. He's right 'andy, he is. It’s funny that ah seem ter ‘ave lost me sash again. ‘ope ah’ll find it ‘efore I ‘ave te report te Nosey.

October 30, 1808

Dang women. Her idea mah foot. Ah bet it were 'ogan's idea. Ah tole her ah forbid it but did she lissen ta me? Nooo... So it worked. But she coulda gotten herself kilt is what! I"ll 'ave te watch meself with her, tho. Right blood-eh butcher with a knife, she is. She took down that first froggie like a pissed-off gran with a knittin' needle. Hmm...mebbe 'at's what I'll call her: The Needle. Wonder what that is in Spanish

Well, no time fer me ta be reapin' no rewards from Miss Teresa. Frogs are all abaht this territory. Best we be hotfootin' it back to our own lines. Good think 'ogan is with us 'cuz I still ain't got no clue where we are. Found me sash again. Damn thing is 'arder te keep track of than the Frogs. Think I'll keep Cap'n Murray's sword afterall. Right nice butcher's blade it was durin' that fight. Slid into Froggy guts nice an' slick. Good fer bashin' in brains too.

Almost fergot...made Perkins a Chosen Man. He's right young but a good shot and a hard worker. Reminds me of some o' those ensigns, the ones what always get kilt when they 'ang abaht me. Wonder how come I'm such bad luck when it comes to those poor little buggers?

October 29, 1808

Not sure 'ow I did it, but I've got me my very own sargeant now. Sargeant 'arper. As old McCandless used te say "We've 'ad a meetin' o' the minds". That 'arper's a sly fox, but not so sly as 'ogan. That bastid sent Miss Teresa off on a fool's errand. I joost knows she'll be kilt. 'arper called 'im right; he's a right murderin' officer. Murderin' bastid more like it.

October 28, 1808

By god that Miss Teresa is still givin' me the eye. Think she's gaggin' fer some of Sharpie's pork sword. She'll crack soon 'nuff. After supper I nicked a monks get-up. I was right: Cooper drinks. Found 'im singin' again on sentry duty. Coops got some cheek, though, callin' me disguise a dress. Got his picklock and let meself into the chapel. Was just about to open that damned chest when bollocks, they all turned up, even Major 'ogan. So it seems we're all goin' to die for a rag on a pole and some stupid superstition. Ah well, the British army has been doin' that fer a long time, so why change now, Sharpie?

Note 'baht that Major 'ogan: He'll get me kilt sure 'nuff. We're goin' ta Torrecastro inna mornin' Least Ah got some good grub, wine an' a nice bed. Even if Ah'm too keyed up ta sleep good. Where did 'arper hide 'is Brandy? I need summat to help me sleep and Miss Teresa ain't cooperatin'; so it's get pissed tonight and try not to get dead termorrow. She actually pointed her pistol at meh... the nerve! She lied ta me too! Wimmen!!

Still can't get it off'n me mind how that old warthog Missus Parker wouldn't touch her meat? Right nice roasted suckling pig them monks done up fer us, with fried apples and currant jam too. What a waste o' good pork on someone who can't appreciate it. Somethin' terrible wrong abaht that woman. That's one thing ole Col. McCandless allus said abaht writin' down me thoughts, after I learnt ta write anyways, so's Ah could reflect on them later if Ah needed to.

October 27 1808

Well the blood-eh bumpy coach ride finally got us here. Found the place near deserted. At least the lads won't be goin' whorin'. Went into the church an found Miss Teresa praying. Tidy piece of kit that, sure I could be the answer to her prayers. Blood-eh 'ell, forget it, Sharpie! She's of the blood, might as well be the Queen o' Sheba. What would she see in a whore's bastard like Dick Sharpe? But then she led me up to her room, bit o' spit swappin' and then she turned me down. Blood-eh women! Bah! Don't unnerstand them. Niver will. Posh prick-teaser, that's all she is. Me balls still 'urt, but fer a different reason now. The monks prepared a feast fer the lads, thought one of them would shoot t'priest fer makin' the blessin' so long. Ah well, off to supper with the minister and his gang. Oh joy!

Forgot to mention, since Teresa got me all excited 'baht nuthin'. Sumthin' fishy's going on with that Minister and his family that's fer sure. Ah was taking a kip on the coach. Or pretending to anyway, so Ah could snuggle up against Miz Teresa. Never met one that smoked and Ah'm sure his wife was smoking too. That's real suspicious like... and how come the Frogs left them alone when they slaughtered the village?

October 25, 1808

We met up with a Methodist Minister, his battleaxe wife and proper niece travelin' in a nice coach. Don't know why the Frogs left them alone, but from the looks o' the old witch, I 'spect they was afraid she were gonna hex them or summat. What a horrid woman! Ugly cow could almost be a bloke. They must travel a lot. Smelt o' Turkish tobacco and spoke a few words o' Yiddish. A tad strange, that lot. Then there were that fella 'arper tangled with, the one dressed like an undertaker. Least 'arper's got 'imself outta hot water by takin' on them Frogs one-handed. Good thing that. Wasn't feelin' right abaht 'angin' 'im in the first place. That bloke were the spittin' image o' Vivar.

Ah wonder whot's in that demmed box! Ah hates being played fer a fool. Teresa knows. But will they tell me? Nooo.... They can blood-eh well go 'ang. My orders are to go to Casa Antigua. Not baby-sit some demmed box to Torrecastro. Were nice ridin' in the coach though. Perk o' bein' an officer. Felt all proper-like. Felt good to haul Miz Teresa in it too. Got away with a feel o' her tits. Go, me! Nice. Smallish, but nice. Oh yeah, actually got me sash tied proper after me evenin' wash. Don't blood-eh know hows I did it, but it looks right smart fer a change.

October 22, 1808

That lass Teresa now, she's a dark one. Sometimes she looks at me as if she wants te kill me, an' then again, when she don't think ah'm watchin' 'er she gets this special look in 'er eyes that can only mean one think. Ah did get 'er te smile at me one er twice. Go me! Can 'ardly wait to introduce 'er te Sharpie, but'll 'ave ter pussyfoot fer now or ah may scare 'er off an' get a knife between me ribs fer thanks.

Mislaid me sash again. Ah dunna mind bein' an officer an' all, but why wear a blood-eh thing like that? It's a nuisance in battle, it takes ages te tie proper like, ah swear it's at least fifteen feet long, and it stands out like a sore thumb. Them Frogs can see me fer what ah am from a mile away. Ah well, can't be 'elped ah suppose. See what temorrer brings. We'll probably run into some Frogs again. Can't 'ardly wait!

October 19, 1808

Strange coupla days. It were cold at night. That Blas Vivar told me about what them bastid Froggies had done to Miz Teresa and her family. Claims she smiled at me. Damn!!! Pr'aps me sparklin' charm is workin' after all!! Go me! Cooper asked me where I larned ter fight dirty and started singing when I tried to talk to him. I think he drinks. Harper told me Miz Teresa were worth fighting dirty for. I just think she's pretty. Not like Ah were courting her or want marry 'er or summat! Jesus! Oh... found me sash. Still not sure which side Ah'm supposed to knot it on.

October 16, 1808

Crossed another river today. Not all that deep, but pretty muddy. That old geezer 'agman managed to fall flat on 'is face an' ah 'ad ter 'oist him from the bottom. Feller 'ad managed te keep 'is rifle dry an' all! Startin' te think they're really good blokes at 'eart, 'xeptin' that 'arper. Ah don't trust him farther than me arm's long. 'adn't thought that 'agman'd notice me wonk-eh knee though. Ah always hide it verra well, ah think, but 'e's a shrewd one, that. Even gave me some stuff te put on't. Best brown paper and parrafin oil, says 'e swears by't. Ah'm not all that pleased with it though. It gets very 'ot under the paper and the oil gives me a rash. Stuff's got a pong too. Smells like me feet after an 'ot summer's day. Will never get used ter it but but can't let the old feller down.

October 13, 1808

Mebbe she likes me after all. Called me a proper bastid today. Wonder which of the lads taught her that? Seems a lot friendlier today. But she sure ain't warmin' to me charm very fast. Hope she dint notice the farts from them Spanish beans them lads o' hers fixed last night.

October 10, 1808

Still lost. Damn Vivar! Says he knows where we're goin' but so far we been thu a blood-eh cold river, a foul swamp, up this hill, down that hill, cross t' ravine. And that Teresa, fookin' 'ell. she really IS the leader o' the partisans. They call her Commandante an' all. Thought thet Blas Vivar were joost 'avin' me on. She still don't like me, tho. Mebbe I smell bad er summat? She did seem te gag when I pulled off me boots to drain after the river crossin'. Been thinkin' on what Vivar said. Mebbe he is a right smart bloke afterall. Think I'll steal his "three rules" speach. Been 'avin' second thoughts abaht this sword Captain Murray left me. Damn thing is blood-eh heavy. Long too. I keep bungin' everbod-eh with it.

October 6, 1808

Still lost somewheres in Spain. Met up with his royal pain-in-the-arse Major Don Blas Vivar, Count of Mata...Mora...Moto...fookin' 'ell...Count o' summat. He seems te know the way to Casa Antigua. The kettle boilt over wit that 'arper bastid. Fixed him right smart again tho. Got 'im under arrest an all. Gonna see 'im 'anged. Ain't never been the cause o' someone gettin' 'anged. Don't yet know how that sets wit me. Oh yeah...left them Froggies a right nice sur-prise in the old farm house. Nice bang it made

Met a pretty lass yesterday too. Almost forgot to mention. Probableh 'cos this one don't like me. That red sash sure would'a helped. Seems the lasses like fellers wearin' an officer's sash. Wonder where the blood-eh 'ell it could 'ave gone? Not that I can get the fookin' thing tied proper. Any road, matters nowt. I have enough troubles wit' wimmen. Don't need to borrow more. 'sides, thanks to 'arper, mah balls are 'urtin' all over again. And me guts. And me 'aid. And me knuckles are all tore to bits.

October 4, 1808

Well, here we are, what's left o' us. Least we found some shelter. Nary a minute o' sleep an' now the sun's coomin' up. Not a blood-eh clue where we are but I'm not lettin' on abaht that. The lads seem right upset abaht Captain Murray goin' off a few minutes ago, poor bastid. All surly and all. And that "arper fella is stirrin' up trouble, I jest know it. I'm tryin' te act like I know what I'm abaht. Cap'n Murray give me his sword. Bloody muckin' heavy bit o' steel. Ah like it though. Not like them poncy curvy cavalry sabers. Seemed to think it might 'elp me wi' the lads.

October 2, 1808

What a right blood-eh cock-up! That poncey arse Dunnett's gone and got hisself and jest abaht everbod-eh else kilt. "e were runnin' abaht like an idjit when that Frog cavalry hit. Dint put them picquets out far nuff elst he would'ave had time te form square or head up that rocky hillside. Well, I'm sure not goin' te miss 'im. He were a right horse's arse. Hope he burns in 'ell for losin' all them Greenjackets tho. I did manage te save the colors! Go me! Oh yeah... an' young Perkins. Almost fergot I could throw a knife that well. Ain't done it in a long while. Captain Murry looks done for. I spect he'll die afore we can get 'im to a surgeon. Too bad that, he were a good officer.

September 30, 1808

Met the so-called Chosen Men today. Tis a sorry lot. Scum o' the Earth, as Nos-eh would say. Well, ah'm not gonna complain. 'ave te watch out fer that big feller though. The lads seem te look up te 'im fer some reason. 'is name's 'arper. Patrick 'arper. Ah'm sure 'e'll stab me int back when 'e gets a chance. Sorted 'im well and good though. Ah think 'is balls must still be black and blue. As are mine. Fookin' 'ell, but that bloke's got a kick like a mule. Ah wonder when ah'll be able te get back into that haystack again. Good think we're off on that dangerous mission. Ah still don't rightly get what ah'm supposed te do, but ah'm sure I'll find out soon enough. That Major 'ogan's a sly one though. Jest as dangerous in 'is way as that 'arper bloke. Gotta watch me back with them two. Seemed to have mislaid me sash. Hope ah'll find it afore mornin'. But first, gotta find mesel' some ice. Good think it's winter ....

September 27, 1808

Me shirt’s a gonner. Tried te find a lass te sow it fer me, but ended up int haystack. Fergot about me shirt. Note to self: find a lass that’s over forty. And no tits. Probleh best if she's fat, too. On second thought, mebbe be best to find a tailor. Major Hogan told me te report to Nos-eh. He were te get me a new uniform but ‘e must ‘ave got it from Oxfam, because it dunna fit. ‘Ole at the elbow as well. When I button up I canna breath proper like. Bloke who ‘ad it afore must ‘ave been real tin-eh. Makes me bum look good though. Nice leather crotch'll protect me balls. ‘ave a feelin’ me feller officers don’t like me. One of ‘em tried ter trip me up over at headquarters like. Must remind meself to knock ‘is block off later. Nos-eh must real-eh like me though. ‘e gave me a dangerous mission. Can’t wait!

September 23, 1808

Saved Nos-eh’s life today. Silly booger, ridin' out alone wit' nowt but 'is dog fer comp'ny. Ah was jes havin' me a scrub in the stream when he come ridin' back ‘ell fer leather with three Frenchies on 'is tail. Ah grabbed mah rifle and shot one o’ them. Bunged one Frog wit' me rifle butt then shot the other Frog wit' the bunged-up feller's pistol. Got a slash 'cross me back fer me trouble. Ah think he must like me. Promoted me from Sergeant to Lieutenant. Me! Ol’ Dick Sharpe! Ah nearly pissed meself! Ah’m now an officer! Oh, must remember te call meself Richard now. More officer-like. Go me! Ah’m ta see Major Hogan fer help wit' me new uniform. Hope it’s a nice one that fits proper-like.

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