Anne du Pré, daughter of a nouveau riche Baron and hostage of the Spaniards, reveals far more of herself than the others because we hear her voice through her personal diary. She did not record an entry for every day, but naturally there are many more than could reasonably be included in Honour and the Sword.

For part of the time her life appears quiet in comparison to the stirring events taking place beyond the Château walls, but even then it is sometimes revealing to look at her perspective on incidents we have seen only from the other side. Here, for instance, is Anne’s record of the day after a raid on the barracks, which readers of the book have heard only from Carlos Corvacho, Spanish soldier and aide to Don Miguel d’Estrada.

The screaming has stopped.

At least I believe it has, but it is very hard to be sure, and I think even now I can hear it in my head. It was so faint and irregular, and seemed to go on for so long. I was working a tail feather on my pheasant, and tried to tell myself by the time I changed to the black silk it would be over, but it was not. I embroidered the whole feather and its black tip and then most of the next before it stopped. I can hardly bear to look at it now, for it is as if the man’s distress has worked its way down my fingers as I forced the needle through the cloth.

Don Miguel visited us shortly afterwards, and I thought him unusually subdued. I do not think he cares for torture himself, but was never disloyal enough to say so, and expressed only annoyance that we had been disturbed by the noises and promised matters would be arranged better in future. When I asked if the man was now recovered, he said ‘Yes, of course, Mademoiselle, he only made a little difficulty in telling us something we needed to know,’ but he would not look at me as he said it and I am very afraid the man has died.

Florian says I imagine things, and perhaps he is right. I feel quite shaky, as if the screams and the pain had been my own. Would it have helped him to know someone was hearing him, someone who cared and wished with all her heart for his pain to stop? But he didn’t even know that, I didn’t even give him that, I did nothing but sat at my stupid embroidery while a man was tortured to death within fifty feet of me, and that is the reality I cannot bear.

It is important to remember that Anne would have been not quite fifteen years old at the time of this entry.