"Here is the list of sailings," the major said, taking up a broad-sheet from a side table. "Yes, the hoy Keepsake will sail, weather permitting, from Dover this evening for Plymouth, touching at Southampton and Weymouth. That would just suit you. You had better not have more than a fortnight, for I think it likely we may get orders for the two troops to sail before long. Be sure and leave your address at the orderly-room."
The next morning it was found that the Russian lines were deserted. So the French army set forward again on its march, and on the morning of the 14th arrived within sight of Moscow. Kutusow had at one time seemed disposed to fight another battle in front of the city, and had given a solemn promise to its governor that he should have three days' notice of any change in his determination, and so allow time for him to carry out his intention to evacuate the town, when the municipal authorities were, methodically and officially, to proceed to destroy the whole city by fire. This promise Kutusow broke without giving any notice whatever. On the 13th, at a council of war, he overruled the objections of his generals, and determined to retreat, his arguments being that the ground was unsuited for defensive operations; that the defeat of the one disciplined army would endanger the final success of the war; and that it was for Russia, not for any one city, they were fighting.
"But, however far he went, he ought to be back before this."
From the major's Frank went straight to Strelinski's lodging, and told him that he would have a fortnight's holiday.
"There is something in that, Mr. Henderson. A good deal in it, I am ready to admit, but nothing that would really counteract the effect of Faulkner's direct testimony, given when he knew that he was dying."
"You see, Mr. Wyatt, nothing will alter the determination of the countess and myself in this matter; and if you had not consented to accept our commission and to carry out our wishes, we should have had no course open but to communicate with our embassy in London, and to request them to appoint someone to act as our agent in the matter. This would not have been so satisfactory, for the agent would of course have been ignorant of your brother's tastes and wishes; whereas you will be able to learn from him exactly the position that would be most agreeable. All we ask is that you will not go below the minimum we have named, and the more you exceed it the better we shall be pleased. You know well how we feel in the matter, and that anything that can be done in this way will still fall very far short of the measure of gratitude we feel towards your brother."
Had they but received the slightest encouragement from him they would have led their divisions against the French in spite of the orders of the marshal, and it was with the greatest difficulty that he persuaded them to restrain their exasperated troops, and to submit to carry out the disastrous policy, which entailed as much loss and suffering upon the Russian soldiers as upon the French.
"This is not exactly discipline, Wyatt," Captain Lister said, with a smile; "but it shows conclusively enough that you are a favourite with the men."
"It is as I said, Mr. Wyatt. Count Woronski wrote to me expressing his desire to present you with an estate here as some slight token, as he expressed it, of the enormous obligation under which you have placed him and the countess, his wife. I may say that his instructions to me would have authorized the purchase of a much larger estate than this, but he begged me to be guided by the advice of your brother, Captain Wyatt, in the matter, and the latter obliged me by taking the responsibility of choosing an estate off my hands, and has selected this. My part in the business has therefore been confined to carrying out the legal part in the matter and completing the purchase."
Julian thought for some time, and, then going to the window, opened the shutters and began to fire at the wolves. Several were killed. They were at once torn to pieces by their companions, who then withdrew to a safe distance, and sat down to watch. Julian had not even hoped that it would be otherwise. Had he waited, it was possible that they would at last leave the hut and go off in the track of the army; but even in that case, he would not, he felt, be able to overtake it alone, for, weak as he was, he felt unequal to any great exertion, and he and his charge might be devoured by these or other wolves, long before he came up with the column, or they might be killed by Cossacks or by peasants. The last were the most merciless enemies, for death at their hands would be slower and more painful than at the hands of the wolves, but at least the child might be saved, and it was in hopes of attracting attention that he opened fire. He continued therefore to discharge his gun at intervals, and to his great satisfaction saw in the afternoon a number of peasants approaching. The wolves at once made off.下载
"It is Prince Eugene's," he replied. "They are pressing us hard now, having driven Doctorow's men out of the covered way, and are massing for an assault on one of the gates."下载
"That I cannot say."下载
"Who is he?" the chief of the smugglers asked Joe when he had finished his conversation with the prisoner. "Is he a spy?"下载
"No, I won't have that," the poacher said positively. "Your lugger will be in to-night, and we will take him across with us to France."下载
The next day Julian wrote his letter. He recapitulated the arguments he had used to the mate, and bade Frank and his aunt a final farewell. "I may, of course, get through the campaign," he said. "The French soldiers here seem to think that they will sweep the Russians before them, but that is their way. They talked of sweeping us out of the Peninsula, and they haven't done it yet; and there is no doubt that the Russians are good soldiers, and will make a big fight of it. I hope you won't feel cut up about this, and really I care little whether I leave my bones in Russia or not. It may be twenty years or even longer before that fellow Markham's letter arrives to clear me. And until then I cannot return to England, or at any rate to Weymouth; indeed, wherever I was, I should live with the knowledge that I might at any moment be recognized and arrested. Therefore while others here have some hope of a return home, either by an exchange of prisoners or by the war coming to an end, I have nothing to look forward to. So you see, old fellow, that it is as well as it is.下载
The next morning Frank was at the office half an hour before the appointed time. Fortunately no snow had fallen in the night. The chief constable looked grave and anxious when the search began; Frank was excited rather than anxious. He had no fear whatever as to the result of the investigation; it would disclose nothing, he felt certain, to Julian's disadvantage. The continued absence of the latter was unaccountable to him, but he felt absolutely certain that it would be explained satisfactorily on his return.