in a palm grove up the hill just prior to the attack.
As soon as the invasion was repelled and the breastwork
cleared, Winston had summoned teams of horses to bring the
small Dutch cannon back. His gunners had opened fire on the
fleet at the first light o
the counterattack began, he would . . .
"I think we'd best take this one back to the ship, to find out
who he is and if he knows anything." It was the man standing
to the goateed commander. "It's a damned bother to have
prisoners to feed, but I'll wa
militiamen were being assembled and placed under guard.
were joking with their captors, clearly relieved to be out of the
battle. Jeremy suspected several had deliberately surrendered
small freeholders who didn't care a damn whether Cromwell's
"True enough. We managed to take a few prisoners
ourselves, maybe half a dozen or so. . . . I guess maybe you
hear. Jeremy Walrond has disappeared. We think he was taken
"Thank God. Then he's not dead." She stopped still. "But . . .
continued, "Walrond, is it not?"
"Jeremy Walrond, and . . ."
"I'm honored." He turned and signaled to his quartermaster.
"Have brandy sent to my cabin. Perhaps Master Jeremy Walrond
would care to share a cup with us."
The seamen parted, doffing their caps
sand from her hair. Then he wiped his brow, glanced at the sun,
and urged her on, toward the grove of trees. "I'd guess it's a
matter now of who can hold out longest." He slipped his arm
about her waist and glanced down. "And how're you holding up,
their hammers and were plunging behind a pile of sandbags.
Winston's hard grip sent her sprawling with him behind the
of earth-brown sacks. He rolled across her, then covered her
with his sweaty jerkin.
"This is how we brave fighting men stay a
breastwork for now. It could well be Anthony Walrond's in
command of this militia. If he is, you can wager he'd not
countenance a retreat unless he planned to counterattack. I
his modus operandi. And his pride."
"Aye sir. As you will." The captain tu
closeness, almost a mystical union, with the ragged planters
around him. They were a fraternity of men, standing together,
defending their land. Why had Anthony never told him that war
could be like this? Could teach you brotherhood as well as hate?
the south steps, on the side opposite the attackers. Jeremy
make out Morris now, ordering his men to make for the
"Get along with you, rebel." A pike punched him in the back
and he was shoved in with the other prisoners. Now they were
waved lightly, then reined the mare toward the road north.
As the horse clattered across the loose boards of the bridge,
he glanced over his shoulder, up the hill toward the compound.
What'll happen to Bedford and Katy, he wondered to himself, if
catch us short." Briggs gazed past Jeremy, down the trench.
all these men have enough matchrope, powder, and shot?"
Anthony felt himself nearing his limit of tolerance for civilians.
All the planter had found to do since arriving was denigrate
veneer of grime. If anyone would know the truth behind the
spreading over the island, that Jeremy Walrond had been killed,
surely Hugh would. She watched for a time, collecting her
composure after the ride up from Bridgetown, then tied her
musket fired at him. The thought of battle brought a moistness
his palms and a dull, hollow ache in his gut.
While the men around him in the trenchall now under his
commandreinforced their courage with a large onion-flask of
homemade kill-devil, he gaz
impression Jamestown was being attacked by strings of fireflies
that had emerged from the deep Caribbean sea.
"Prepare to fire." He heard a voice giving the order, and was
vaguely astonished to realize it was his own.
The trench sounded with the clicks of
harassed by irregular fire and, with luck, soon lose heart. Cut
from their escape route, the demoralized invaders would have
choice but to surrender. Then, so the strategy went,
Morris and the admiral of the fleet would seek to negotiate.
aim. He waited a moment in fascination, savoring what it was
to face death, then drew up his own flintlock and sighted the
man's chest down the barrel.
There was a flash of light and a whistle past his ear, the
sound of a hurried horsefly.
Then he sq
right perimeter, as they were supposed to be?
He knew that the plan all along had been to let the guns be
seized. But now that it had happened, he felt a demoralizing
of loss and defeat. Why should the gunners be exposed to a
musket attack? Surely th
Anthony moved away from the edge of the trench. "Taken all
for all, it's about the best we can do. If it succeeds, well and
but if it fails, we're apt to end up . . ."
Jeremy tried to hear the rest, but Anthony's voice faded into
the dark as he and
Jeremy gave his brother a stiff salute and passed the order
into the trench. A burning taper was handed slowly down the
of men, and each touched it to the tip of his matchcord, then
threaded the glowing fuse through the serpentine cock of his
crystalline sand of the shore, now bleached pale in the last
waning moonlight. The ships were out there, he knew, waiting.
could almost feel their presence.
Both the trench and the breastwork were back away from the
shoreback where the sand merged with
The man waved the words aside. "Lad, I'm too old for that. Let
your royalist rhetoric lie dead, where it deserves to be. My
is Morris, and if you know anything, you'll know I've seen my
fighting your royalists in the damned Civil War. But that's
Winston if he's not in place by then. Are his men over where
they're supposed to be?" The hard voice of Benjamin Briggs
drifted down. The silhouette that was Anthony Walrond merely
nodded silently in reply.
Jeremy rose and began climbing up the parapet, h
conference, then a voice came, kindly, almost at his ear.
"This is a first-class fowling piece you're carrying. I'll wager
you've brought down many a plump woodcock with it, haven't
lad?" A pause, then again the gentle voice. "What's your name,
The sound of a forceful hammer stroke followed by a clear
ring produced a cheer from the group of men who had been
diligently hammering on one of the spiked cannon.
"Got her cleared, Yor Worship," one of the militiamen yelled
toward Winston. "Fit as the d
coxcomb'll learn soon enough what 'tis like to live on salt pork
slimy water, same as the rest of us." He flung the lace back in
Jeremy's direction. "No fancy meat pies and brandied puddings
for you, lad. A seaman's fare will soon take the fat out of
field officer was to call out orders for priming and loading, since
men in battle often forgot crucial steps. With a live matchcord
attached to the hammer, it was all too easy to set off a musket
while you were ramming in the charge.
"Prime your pan." He
well not greetin' the Almighty for a few years more."
Jeremy seized his pike and marched down the trench. "I'll gut
any man who tries to run. I'm in command here and I say we
stand and fight. Now reload."
The men stared at him in disbelief.
"Do it, I say.
by that large tree on the left." He paused and waited for the
hoorahs to subside. "Under my command, the men always
first, then officers." He waved a dismissal. "As you will,
As the gunners and militiamen threw down their tools and
"One move, any of you, and there'll be a pike in your guts." An
infantryman began tying the prisoners' hands.
As Jeremy felt the rough cords against his wrists, he looked
up and glanced over the side. The retreating infantry had
itself into a protec