Poor bloody Dale, Sharpe thought, to be betrayed in his first battle. If he survived he would be invalided out of the army. His broken body, good for nothing, would be sent to Lisbon and there he would have to rot on the quays until the bureaucrats made sure he had accounted for all his equipment. Anything missing would be charged to the balance of his miserable wages and only when the account was balanced would he be put onto a foul transport and shipped to an English quayside. There he was left, the army’s obligation discharged, though if he was lucky he might be given a travel document that promised to reimburse any parish overseer who fed him while he traveled to his home. Usually the overseers ignored the paper and kicked the invalid out of their jurisdiction with an order to go and beg somewhere else. Dale might be better off dead than face all that.