"We heard afterwards that of the 6000 British soldiers who began the day, but 1800 stood unwounded at the end. They had with them 24,000 Spaniards, but, of course, we never counted them as anything, and they did their allies more harm than good by throwing them into confusion in their flight. We had 19,000 infantry, all veteran troops, mind you, and yet we could not storm that hill, and drive those 6000 Englishmen off it. We lost over 8000 men, and that in a battle that lasted only four hours. Our regiment suffered so that it was reduced to a third of its number. We fought them again at Salamanca, and got thrashed there; soon after that we were sent back to France to fill up our ranks again, and I for one was glad indeed when we were sent to the Rhine and not back to Spain; for I tell you I never want to meet the English again in battle. Borodino was bad enough, and for stubborn, hard fighting, the Russians have proved themselves as tough customers as one can want to meet; but the English have more dash and quickness. They man?uvre much more rapidly than do the Russians, and when they charge, you have either got to destroy them or to go."
After the meal was over, Frank gave the details of the examination, the narrative being very frequently stopped by exclamations and questions on the part of Mrs. Troutbeck.
"No," she said, "you are not to go, Julian. It is you who saved my life, and it is you who must give me back to papa." A few minutes elapsed, then the door was suddenly thrown open and the count ran in.
"You mark my words," Mr. Faulkner repeated. "I will have you watched, and I will hunt you down, and if I am not mistaken I will put a rope round your neck one of these days." So saying, he struck spurs into his horse and galloped on.
One bright morning Frank strolled down to the Nobles' Club, of which he and the general had been made honorary members. It was his first visit to St. Petersburg. His fur coat was partly open and showed his British uniform. He was looking about with interest at the scene in the Nevsky Prospect when he noticed a gentleman in a handsomely appointed sledge looking fixedly at him. As the uniform attracted general attention he thought little of this, but after going a short distance the sledge turned and passed him at a slow rate of speed. The gentleman again gazed fixedly at him, then stopped the coachman, and leaped from the sledge to the pavement.
Julian did not understand what was being said, but he guessed by their faces what they were speaking of.
"Safe enough, captain. Most of the revenue men have gone round from here to the other side of the bay, where they got news, as they thought, that a cargo was going to be run. The man on duty here has been squared, and will be away at the other end of his beat. The carts are ready, a quarter of a mile away. I made you out with my glass just before sunset, and sent round word at once to our friends to be in readiness."
"He wants you take him in hand yourself, Woodall, if you can spare the time to do so; of course, he is ready to pay you for your time and trouble, and would meet you at any hour you like to name in the afternoon at your shed."
"I don't know, Frank, I have never thought much about it. I don't think I should choose anywhere near Weymouth, and I would rather go to a flatter country, and a better wooded one. If I bought land, I should like to have land that I could cultivate myself, so as to give me an interest in it, and I should like, after a time, to be on the bench, which would give one a good deal of occupation. I suppose I shall marry some day, and so would prefer to be within reach of a town. I should think, from what you say, the country round Canterbury must be pretty. There is a garrison there, Dover is within reach, and it is a good deal more handy for getting up to town than it is from here. However, as you say, there is plenty of time for me to think about that."
"That is for the Russians to say, not for us. If they stand we must fight them again. It is a matter of life and death for us to get to Moscow. We shall win to-morrow, for Napoleon will have to bring up the Imperial Guard, 20,000 of his best troops, and the Russians put their last man into the line of battle to-day, and, never fear, we shall win. But I own I have had enough of it. Never before have I hoped that the enemy in front of us would go off without a battle, but I do so now. We want rest and quiet. When spring comes we will fight them again as often as they like, but until then I for one do not wish to hear a gun fired."下载
"A charge of murder!" Julian repeated, springing to his feet. "How could such a charge be brought? It could not have been known so soon that I was missing. I must go back and face it. If I run away, now I have been openly accused, everyone will make sure of my guilt."
"I will give you a letter before I enlist, Jim; and I will get you, when you are exchanged, to go down with it yourself to Weymouth, and tell them what became of me, and why I went into the French army. Don't let them think that I turned traitor. I would shoot myself rather than run the risk of having to fight Englishmen. But when it is a choice between fighting Russians and going out of my mind, I prefer shouldering a French musket. I will write the letter to-day. There is no saying when they may next call for volunteers; for, as you know, those who step forward are taken away at once, so as to prevent their being persuaded by the others into drawing back."
"I congratulate you indeed," Frank replied warmly. "I did not like to raise your hopes too high, but I felt sure, by what Sir Robert said, that it was as good as settled. I am almost as pleased as you are, for I should have been awfully sorry to go away, without knowing that you were comfortably settled here."