The Hakeswills soon settled back into life at Throckmorton Cottage after their return from Belfast. It took Obadiah awhile longer to adjust than did the rest of his family, considering that the army had been his life since he was twelve years old. Thinking about the many years of idleness ahead of him had been rather daunting, knowing he'd have to come up with other ways to keep himself busy.

As the months had flown by, he'd slowly became acclimated to being a full time husband and father. Being able to spend as much time as he wanted with his sweet Anna had brought a deep contentment to him. He'd also gained a great deal of satisfaction from spending time with the children, knowing that Barry and Will especially needed a man's influence during these formative years, something that Obadiah had been obliged to grow up without.

Despite no longer being in the army, Obadiah was nonetheless interested in what was going on in the world. Not long after they'd arrived home, he had taken out a newspaper subscription, so he was able to keep up with how the war was progressing, usually reading it in the mornings over breakfast. Catherine had also kept up with her gossip contacts for army news, considering the unlikely possibility that Richard Sharpe might make another attempt to apprehend Obadiah.

But as months turned into a year with no indications of that possibility ever becoming apparent, Obadiah and his family relaxed as their lives coalesced into a comfortable, familiar routine. The war had ended on the Iberian Peninsula, with Napoleon abdicating his control of France.

Aunt Catherine had heard through the grapevine that Sharpe's marriage to Jane Gibbons had fizzled out after only a short time together. The new Mrs Sharpe had emptied his bank account in London and had deserted him to become the mistress of Lord John Rossendale, leaving Sharpe high and dry.

Obadiah had chortled with gleeful schadenfreude when Catherine had read him the letter containing that bit of gossip, saying, "Serves 'im right. I'd like to meet that lass and make her an honorary member of the Hakeswill family." He'd laughed for days about it, while Catherine and Anna had just shaken their heads over Jane's apparent fickleness. After another letter had come with the news of him taking a French mistress and almost coming to blows over her with another officer, the two women shook their heads yet again.

Almost two years after the Hakeswills had returned to Surrey from Ireland, Catherine had heard that Richard Sharpe had settled for good in France with his mistress, along with their infant son. Obadiah had cackled again, well aware that Sharpie could never marry his Froggy woman as long as his second wife remained alive, simultaneously hoping that Jane Sharpe enjoyed a long, long life.

The three adults had heaved a collective sigh, knowing that Obadiah's nemesis would not ever be back to harass him, and that Obadiah could go wherever he wanted to in England without having to worry about being confronted by Richard Sharpe.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Seven months after Obadiah Hakeswill had parted from Maria Sanchez at the docks in Porto, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy in Cadiz. Because the baby was three-quarters English, no one in Maria's family was fooled into thinking he was sired by the swarthy Ernesto Sanchez, but they wisely kept their doubts to themselves, as no one in the family had ever liked Ernesto. Maria had told her sister about British soldiers being in Adrados, so her sister Estrella figured out for herself that the father of Maria's child must have been one of these Englishmen.

Maria never married again, but devoted herself to her active little boy, who brought great joy into her life. Though Obadiah had sent her small amounts of money a few times in the first couple of years, she and her sister were mostly able to get by on their own by sewing and taking in laundry. Estrella's children were older and when they became old enough to work, they helped to support the family as well.

Obadiah's son grew into a strapping young man who eventually became a fisherman, shortly before marrying and raising a family of his own. Though his mother eventually told him about his real father, showing him the few notes Obadiah had enclosed with the money he'd sent, he never met his father, nor did Maria ever see him again.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

As the Hakeswill children grew up, Obadiah and Anna had more time to enjoy each other's company as never before, now that there were no duties taking him away from her, either for short or long intervals.

To keep himself occupied as the years passed, he took up woodworking, remembering how well the baby cradle he'd made in India so long ago had turned out. He ended up making several fine bookcases and other types of furniture for Throckmorton Cottage, which were admired by guests of the family. After word had spread about his skills, he began making things for others and eventually made a rather tidy sum of money.

What had started out just as something to keep him busy, had turned into a thriving, profitable business that had kept him occupied well into his old age. He taught both his boys the craft and while both became creditable woodworkers, only Barry developed a real talent for it.

Barry was apprenticed to a local barrister once he finished his schooling and married a merchant's daughter a short time later. Within a few years, they'd presented Anna and Obadiah with three grandchildren whom Anna spoiled shamelessly. Obadiah doted on them as well, but was not as indulgent with them as Anna was.

In his spare time, Barry still helped his father with the woodworking business, taking it over after he decided to retire early from the law, eventually passing it down to his sons.

In her mid twenties, Bridget married the second son of a baronet, who lived the life of a country squire while nominally in charge of one of the family's textile mills. She'd met her future husband at a house party at the Perkins estate mansion and it had been love at first sight. It had been such that he'd been willing to marry the plain young woman without sufficient dowry or connections. The marriage was a happy one that eventually produced five children.

As her young family grew, Bridget penned a series of novels, published under a pseudonym, giving her a substantial income of her own.

Will joined the Navy, becoming a midshipman at sixteen, then worked his way up the ranks until he commanded ships of his own. He never married, preferring his independence to roam, but greatly enjoyed his nieces and nephews on the rare times he got to see them.

On one voyage to America in the early 1860s, when commanding a merchant vessel after retiring from the British Navy, Captain William Hakeswill had a French cavalrymen on board who was on his way to act as an advisor to the Union Army. This was Patrick Lassan, who was the son of Richard Sharpe, the nemesis of Will's father during his years in the army. Though Lassan ate at the captain's table several times during the voyage, neither man was aware of the role that their respective fathers had played in each other's lives and had parted amicably at the conclusion of the voyage.

Katie remained single until she was nearly thirty, staying home to care for her aging parents. When the old vicar at the neighbourhood church retired, the new one was just a few years older than Katie and still as yet unmarried. Their relationship began as a friendship, growing as Katie participated in church activities. She was at first reluctant to accept when he proposed marriage to her, worrying about who would look after her elderly parents. Katie consented only after Anna and Obadiah had urged her to follow her heart's desire. Living just down the road from her parents, she had two children who saw their grandparents often.

Obadiah and Anna had a long and happy life together, with both living to advanced old age, dying within weeks of each other. It had been a good life for both of them.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Obadiah's Song
(Sung to the tune of "Over the Hills and Far Away")

When running from the gallows man
Leaving home was my new plan
I joined the army one fine day
Over the hills and far away

A sergeant's life I soon did lead
Another life I did not need
Fooling officers was my way
Over the hills and far away

Stealing, lying was my game
My men said bastard was my name
I am a man they could not tame
Over the hills and far away

When true love did come to me
A thing I thought would never be
I'll live with her for all my days
Over the hills and far away

In Portugal I killed Sharpe's wife
And then he vowed to take my life
But I can't die, I got away
Over the hills and far away

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Acknowledgements

First, I'd like to thank Bernard Cornwell for writing the Sharpe novels and for creating Obadiah in the first place. Next, I want to especially thank the late Pete Postlethwaite for bringing Obadiah to life, and who expanded Cornwell's original creation and made him such a compelling character. Pete had the wonderful ability to play Obadiah as being both menacing and vulnerable at the same time.

I'd also like to thank the writers, directors, producers, and all others involved in the making of Sharpe's Company and Sharpe's Enemy. Re-watching these episodes several times during the writing process helped me to keep Obadiah in character, and I'm grateful for the bits of dialogue I borrowed from both films.

Next, I'd like to thank those people who run the following websites: The Sharpe Compendium, Sharpe Pointe, Brian's Richard Sharpe Timeline, and Jane Austen's World. I'm also grateful to Richard Holmes for his book, Redcoat, which was a treasure trove of facts about the British army during Obadiah's era and others. These sources were all quite useful when I needed to research for continuity and for matters of historical accuracy.

I'd like to also mention Steshette, whose YouTube video of Obadiah, using the Metallica song, Mama Said, was a major inspiration for me to write this story at all. A line from this song also provided me with the title for my story.

Last, but not least, I'd like to thank Susan and Esther for their continued support during the writing of this story. Their comments, suggestions, and brainstorming were of invaluable help to me, especially at points where I was stuck with writer's block. I appreciate it more than either of you will ever know.

Fittingly, I end this story on what would have been Pete Postlethwaite's 66th birthday.

End