"All right, sir, I will get them off. They just wanted to give him a cheer."
"Will you act for me, Captain Lister?" Frank said, going up to him quietly.
Several times as these stories had been told, the group had risen to their feet to watch the fires that were burning in various parts of the town, and just as the sergeant brought his story to a close, the assembly sounded.
A village council was held on the receipt of this letter, and the proposal that she should be sent by the bishop was unanimously negatived. It seemed to the villagers that in such a case the glory of restoring Stephanie to her parents, and the reward that would naturally accrue from it, would not fall to them; but, at the same time, no alternative method occurred to them. Finally, after much consultation, Stephanie was asked to interpret the bishop's letter to Julian, and when she had done so she was told to add: "They think, Julian, that if they send us to the bishop papa will not know that it was they who found me and took care of me."
Frank caught the coach without difficulty, and on arriving at Dover went down and took his berth on board the hoy.
The journey across Finland was a very pleasant one. Both were in high spirits. The cloud that had hung over Julian had been dispelled, and Frank's constant anxiety about him had been laid to rest. They had gone safely through the most wonderful campaign of modern times, and were now on their way home. Julian's supply of money was untouched save for the purchase of a variety of presents for his aunt. They travelled only by day. The carriage was constructed with all conveniences for sleeping in, and when, on their arrival at the end of their day's journey, they returned from a stroll down the town to an excellent dinner prepared by their servant, they had but to turn in for a comfortable night's rest in the vehicle. At Abo they found their baggage awaiting them.
"I have marched into a good many capitals," the old sergeant said. "I was with the first company that entered Madrid. I could never make out the Spaniards. At one time they are ready to wave their hats and shout "Viva!" till they are hoarse. At another, cutting your throat is too good for you. One town will open its gates and treat you as their dearest friends, the next will fight like fiends and not give in till you have carried the last house at the point of the bayonet. I was fond of a glass in those days; I am fond of it now, but I have gained wit enough to know when it is good to drink. I had a sharp lesson, and I took it to heart."
Mrs. Troutbeck gave a cry, and then burst into a fit of hysterical laughter. After vainly trying to pacify her, Frank went out for the servant, but as her wild screams of laughter continued he put on his hat and ran for the family doctor, who lived but a few doors away. He briefly related the circumstances of the case to him, and then brought him back to the house. It was a long time before the violence of the paroxysm passed, leaving Mrs. Troutbeck so weak that she had to be carried by Frank and the doctor up to her room.
Frank read it with some interest, for Strelinski was not in the habit of saying what he thought of his progress.