Mr. Faulkner's face was white with rage. "I have a dozen other witnesses," he said hoarsely, "but I have no doubt they will all follow the lead their officer has set them. I shall therefore call no more."
Frank, who was in the act of rising from his seat in delight at Julian's acquittal, sank down again in dismay at the concluding words. He had no idea of any further charge.
"No; it is signed by the Colonel and Mr. Harrington. They took the dying deposition of Mr. Faulkner. There is no harm in my telling you that, because it must be generally known when your brother is brought up, but till then please do not let it go further. He has sworn that he overtook Mr. Wyatt two or three hundred yards before he got to his own gate. There was an altercation between them, and he swears that your brother used threats. He had a double-barrelled gun in his hand, and as Faulkner was riding up the drive to the house he was fired at from the trees on his left, and fell from his horse. Almost directly afterwards Mr. Wyatt ran out from the spot where the gun had been fired. Thinking he would finish him if he thought he was still alive, Mr. Faulkner closed his eyes and held his breath. Your brother came up and stood over him, and having satisfied himself that he was dead, ran off through the trees again."
"Your unfortunate brother,
"Quite cleared, Frank?" he asked in a low tone; "cleared so that no doubt remains, and that I can go home without fear of having it thrown into my face?"
"Now tell me more about yourself. How was it that you had the wonderful luck to be chosen to accompany Sir Robert Wilson as his aide-de-camp?"
"I do not think there was any risk in it. As I told you, I have practised shooting very quickly, and felt sure that I should get first shot, and knew that there was no chance of my missing. The man was a dangerous fellow, and has fought many duels, but he will not now fight any more; and he will, I should think, leave the service. Well, I must not stay any longer, for I go by the twelve o'clock coach, and have to write a letter to Sir Robert Wilson before I start."
Wilmington's face flushed and then turned deadly pale. He looked appealingly at Frank, who was sitting next to him. The latter whispered, "Remember your word of honour. Get up and leave the room." There was a dead hush from those present as the young cornet rose and left the room, and then a low murmur of indignation. Captain Marshall looked round searchingly, as if to pick out one of those who had thus shown signs of resentment. But directly the door closed upon Wilmington, Frank rose to his feet.下载
"I can put up with any amount of chaff," Frank replied; "I mean chaff in its proper sense. Anything that goes beyond that, I shall, I hope, be able to meet as it deserves. Perhaps it would be better if I were to take half an hour a day off my Russian studies and to spend that time in the pistol-gallery."
"In mufti, lad. Put on a gray or dark-coloured suit. Gray is the best; but, above all, don't take a coat with conspicuous buttons or anything to catch the eye, that would be a fatal mistake. Good night, lad; I shall turn in in better spirits than I expected to do."
"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."
"This was soon done. I could see that the young fellow was very much cut up over the affair, and that he had undertaken to act for Marshall because he was afraid to refuse. It did not take us five minutes altogether. I looked in at the doctor's after we separated, to ask him to go with us.