Allan Mallinson

A Close Run Thing

UK First Edition Book & Synopsis

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Published 1999 by Bantam Press
Blue cloth, silver titles
Dust jacket priced at 15.99
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Allan Mallinson

Allan Mallinson - A Close Run Thing

 

SYNOPSIS

Hervey had lost more blood than he had supposed. After all but fainting in the saddle on the way down, Serjeant Armstrong and Private Johnson half-carried him to one of the nuns' cells in spite of his protests that first he must see to the horses. 'Heaven help us,' sighed Armstrong aloud. 'These gentlemen-officers and their duty!' But neither he nor Johnson had the time to argue, and Hervey, for sure, had not the energy. Leaving him with a lantern, they slammed the door closed, and he lay down on the narrow bed without even unfastening his sword-belt. With the comparative comfort of a straw-filled palliasse beneath him, the first in three months, he fell asleep at once. The chapel and cellars had been locked before the sisters had left for the hospitals; nevertheless Serjeant Armstrong reappeared half an hour later with arms full of bottles. One crashed to the stone floor as he pushed the cell door open, and Hervey woke with a start. 'Bordoo, sir- the best. Not like that rot-gut in Spain. Shall we drink to the troop?' They had drunk together before, not frequently but often enough for Armstrong's invitation to be unremarkable. The circumstances had never been quite so intimate, however; and, while Hervey might in the ordinary course of events have welcomed the opportunity of informality with his covering-serjeant, he was uneasy about allowing any intimacy at this time, for there was the business with the ADC to address. Without doubt many an officer, perhaps even the majority, would have chosen to disregard Armstrong's momentary loss of control since it had been directed at so reviled a man as Regan. Especially might they have been so inclined if the offender were so warmly and genuinely solicitous of their comfort as was Armstrong now. But Hervey could not. He held the simple, if at times uncomfortable, conviction that no case of indiscipline should go at least unremarked, for not to have, held so encouraged, in his judgement, a lack of constancy which made for confusion during alarms.

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