"We had a sharp fight with the smugglers last night, your honour," the sailor said as they started. "We had been cruising about for two days to the west, and yesterday morning we made out to sea and held east, and at ten o'clock came into Swanage Bay. We came upon the lugger that has fooled us so many times, and for once we caught her napping. They were at work unloading a cargo when we came up, and she did not make us out until we were within a couple of cables'-length of her, then she slipped and ran; I expect she would have shown us her heels as usual, but we gave her a broadside, and that big spar of hers came down with a run, and we were alongside in no time. They made a tough fight of it, but pretty nigh half her crew were ashore with the kegs. Howsomever we were not long in beating them below, though two or three of our chaps were pretty badly hurt, and three of theirs killed before the scrimmage was over. We did not trouble about the chaps ashore. I expect they were accounted for all right, for we heard some pistol shots there, but we came back here at once with the lugger, and got in two hours ago."
"I don't think much about them one way or the other," Julian said as he came up. "We have not a great deal further to go to Moscow, and the sooner we get there the better. Then we shall have the satisfaction of seeing some people."
The cold was so intense in the morning that the child offered no objection to her novel habiliments. Some inches had to be cut from the bottom of the jacket to keep it off the ground, and the strip served as a band to keep it close round her waist.
Frank had started early for a walk with one of his school friends. Returning through the town at three in the afternoon, he saw people talking in groups. They presently met one of their chums.
At three o'clock Napoleon arrived with his guards, expecting to be met on his arrival by the authorities of the city with assurances of their submission and prayers for clemency for the population. He was astounded with the silence that reigned everywhere, and at hearing that Moscow had been evacuated by the population. Full of gloomy anticipations he proceeded to the house Murat had selected for him. Strict orders were issued against pillage, and the army bivouacked outside the city. The troops, however, were not to be restrained, and as soon as it was dark stole away and entered the town in large numbers and began the work of pillage. Scarcely had they entered when in various quarters fires broke out suddenly. The bazaar, with its ten thousand shops, the crown magazines of forage, wines, brandy, military stores, and gunpowder were speedily wrapped in flames. There were no means of combating the fire, for every bucket in the town had been removed by the orders of the governor.
"Well, if you had not hit him where you did, you would be lying on that stretcher now. It was a close thing between the two shots, not more than a fifth of a second, I should say, and if you had only hit him in the body, I have no doubt that he would have fired before he fell; and if ever a man meant to kill another, he did. I could see it in his eye, as he stood there waiting for the signal. Well, Wyatt, you can stop in the army until you get to be a general, but one thing is morally certain, that after this affair no one will venture to insult you, and your first duel is likely to be your last."
"Well, Downes," Colonel Chambers said, "it seems to me that these two brothers are born to get into adventures and to get well out of them. However, Frank, although you have acted very creditably, and must certainly be a wonderful shot with a pistol, don't do this sort of thing too often."
"It could hardly be that either," he said to himself, "for if he intended to shoot me he would have turned the other way; for the sound of his gun would be probably heard by some of the coast-guard, and they could not fail to see him running away. At any rate," he muttered, "I am not going to turn back after such a chase as I have had."
The Emperor was greatly moved. However, the manner in which the general fulfilled the mission with which he was charged, and his assurances that the act of seeming insubordination and defiance of the imperial authority was in no way directed against him, but against his advisers, whom they believed to be acting in the interests of Napoleon, had their effect, and the Emperor promised to give the matter every consideration, and to answer him definitely on the following day. At the next meeting he gave Sir Robert his authority to assure the army of his determination to continue the war against Napoleon while a Frenchman remained in arms on Russian soil, and that, if the worst came to the worst, he would remove his family far into the interior, and make any sacrifice rather than break that engagement. At the same time, while he could not submit to dictation in the matter of his ministers, he could assure them that these should in no way influence him to break this promise.下载
"The debt is not all on your side, Mr. Faulkner. I, too, have got a debt to pay; and perhaps some day we may square matters up, when you have not got a score of coast-guardsmen at your back. However, I am content to leave matters as they are so long as you do the same. As to your owing a debt to me, it is yourself you have to thank for the trouble you have got into; it was no doing of mine. However, I warn you that you had better abstain from insulting me again. I did not strike you back when you hit me last time, but if you call me scoundrel again you shall see that I can hit as hard as you can, and I will teach you to keep a civil tongue in your head."
"Well, sir, that is a question of pure credibility. It is possible that I may be in a position to prove to the satisfaction of the bench that you did use them, and many others of an equally offensive character. Mr. Wyatt naturally resented such language, which you had no more right to address to him than you would have to address to me. If a magistrate forgets his position, and abuses a prisoner in the language of a fish-fag, he must expect to be answered in the same way by anyone of spirit. You say that, thereupon, he became abusive and used murderous threats? Now we should like to hear a little more about this. First of all, let us hear the abuse, will you? Tell the court, if you please, Mr. Faulkner, what were the abusive expressions," he added.
"I am sorry too, Mr. Wyatt; though really I feel that in no case need you have continued your studies any longer. The last three months has made a great difference, for you have been talking Russian some eight or ten hours a day, and are now sufficiently acquainted with the language for any purpose whatever, except perhaps writing a book in it. If I had not known that you might leave at any time, I should myself have told you that I considered there was no advantage to be gained by your going on with me any longer. I shall, of course, go up to London with you to-morrow."
"Well, don't let us talk about it," another said with an effort at cheerfulness. "There is Jules, he is the merriest fellow in our company. Come here, Jules. We are all grumbling. What do you think of things?"