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Authors: Dudley Pope

Ramage's Diamond

BOOK: Ramage's Diamond
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Selected Historical Fiction Published by McBooks Press

BY
A
LEXANDER
K
ENT

The Complete Midshipman Bolitho

Stand Into Danger

In Gallant Company

Sloop of War

To Glory We Steer

Command a King's Ship

Passage to Mutiny

With All Despatch

Form Line of Battle!

Enemy in Sight!

The Flag Captain

Signal–Close Action!

The Inshore Squadron

A Tradition of Victory

Success to the Brave

Colours Aloft!

Honour This Day

The Only Victor

Beyond the Reef

The Darkening Sea

For My Country's Freedom

Cross of St George

Sword of Honour

Second to None

Relentless Pursuit

Man of War

Heart of Oak

BY
P
HILIP
M
C
C
UTCHAN

Halfhyde's Island

Halfhyde and the Guns of Arrest

Halfhyde to the Narrows

Halfhyde for the Queen

Halfhyde Ordered South

Halfhyde on Zanatu

BY
J
AN
N
EEDLE

A Fine Boy for Killing

The Wicked Trade

The Spithead Nymph

BY
J
AMES
L. N
ELSON

The Only Life That Mattered

BY
J
AMES
D
UFFY

Sand of the Arena

The Fight for Rome

BY
D
EWEY
L
AMBDIN

The French Admiral

The Gun Ketch

HMS Cockerel

A King's Commander

Jester's Fortune

BY
D
UDLEY
P
OPE

Ramage

Ramage & The Drumbeat

Ramage & The Freebooters

Governor Ramage R.N.

Ramage's Prize

Ramage & The Guillotine

Ramage's Diamond

Ramage's Mutiny

Ramage & The Rebels

The Ramage Touch

Ramage's Signal

Ramage & The Renegades

Ramage's Devil

Ramage's Trial

Ramage's Challenge

Ramage at Trafalgar

Ramage & The Saracens

Ramage & The Dido

BY
F
REDERICK
M
ARRYAT

Frank Mildmay
or
The Naval Officer

Mr Midshipman Easy

Newton Forster
or
The Merchant Service

BY
V.A. S
TUART

Victors and Lords

The Sepoy Mutiny

Massacre at Cawnpore

The Cannons of Lucknow

The Heroic Garrison

The Valiant Sailors

The Brave Captains

Hazard's Command

Hazard of Huntress

Hazard in Circassia

Victory at Sebastopol

Guns to the Far East

Escape from Hell

BY
D
OUGLAS
W. J
ACOBSON

Night of Flames

BY
J
ULIAN
S
TOCKWIN

Kydd

Artemis

Seaflower

Mutiny

Quarterdeck

Tenacious

Command

The Admiral's Daughter

The Privateer's Revenge

BY
J
OHN
B
IGGINS

A Sailor of Austria

The Emperor's Coloured Coat

The Two-Headed Eagle

Tomorrow the World

BY
A
LEXANDER
F
ULLERTON

Storm Force to Narvik

Last Lift from Crete

All the Drowning Seas

A Share of Honour

The Torch Bearers

The Gatecrashers

BY
C.N. P
ARKINSON

The Guernseyman

Devil to Pay

The Fireship

Touch and Go

So Near So Far

Dead Reckoning

BY
D
OUGLAS
R
EEMAN

Badge of Glory

First to Land

The Horizon

Dust on the Sea

Knife Edge

BY
D
AVID
D
ONACHIE

The Devil's Own Luck

The Dying Trade

A Hanging Matter

An Element of Chance

The Scent of Betrayal

A Game of Bones

BY
B
ROOS
C
AMPBELL

No Quarter

The War of Knives

Peter Wicked

Published by McBooks Press 2001

Copyright © 1976 by The Ramage Company Limited

First published in the United Kingdom in 1976 by
The Alison Press/Martin Secker & Warburg Limited

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the publisher. Requests for such permissions should be addressed to McBooks Press, Inc., ID Booth Building, 520 North Meadow St., Ithaca, NY 14850.

Cover painting by Paul Wright.

The paperback edition of this title was cataloged as:
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Pope, Dudley.

Ramage's diamond / by Dudley Pope.

p. cm. — (Lord Ramage novels ; no. 7)

ISBN 0-935526-89-7 (alk. paper)

1. Great Britain. Royal Navy—Officers—Fiction. 2. Ramage, Nicholas (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Great Britain—History, Naval—19th century—Fiction. 4. Martinique—Fiction.

I. Title

PR6066.O5 R34 2001

823'.914—dc21                                          01-030315

The e-book versions of this title have the following ISBNs:
Kindle 987-1-59013-546-4, ePub 978-1-59013-547-1,
and PDF 978-1-59013-548-8

www.mcbooks.com

For Susan and Nick

CHAPTER ONE

T
here was a faint smell of oil, turpentine and beeswax in the shop, and while an assistant scurried off to fetch the owner Ramage glanced first at the sporting guns in the racks round the walls and then at the pairs of pistols nestling in their mahogany cases which almost covered one end of the counter.

The guns accounted for the smell of oil. Then he noticed the polished floor of narrow wooden tiles, laid in a herringbone design to take advantage of the grain pattern. Turpentine and beeswax—the gun-maker used the same polish on his floor as he did on the stocks of his guns.

His father gestured round the shop with his cane. “My first pistol came from here nearly fifty years ago. This fellow's father owned it then, and my father was one of his early customers.”

Ramage looked at the tall figure of the Admiral. His face was lined now and his hair was grey, yet he was erect, his brown eyes alert and looking out on the world with amused tolerance from under bushy eyebrows. He pictured his father as a shy young midshipman—a “younker” nervously choosing a pistol, and no doubt anxious to be off to the sword cutler's to complete his martial purchases before joining his first ship.

The Admiral nodded at Ramage's right shoulder. “Your epaulet is crooked. I know it's the first time you've worn it, but …”

Ramage tried to straighten it but the padding of the strap was new and stiff, unwilling to sit squarely on the shoulder bone, and he was unused to the tight spirals of bullion hanging down in a thick fringe round the edges. The light reflecting on them caught the corner of his right eye and made him feel lopsided. He would get used to it, he thought wryly, but probably not before he had three years' seniority and was entitled to wear an epaulet on the left shoulder as well.

Don't grumble, he told himself as he tugged at the strap; it's taken long enough to be made post and get this single epaulet. He was so used to being addressed as “Lieutenant Ramage” that it was going to take a while to become accustomed to “Captain Ramage.” Admittedly his name was right at the bottom of the list of “The Captains of His Majesty's Fleet,” but by next year many more lieutenants would have been “made post,” their names coming lower on the list, thus increasing his seniority and pushing him up the ladder of promotion.

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