"I should be quite ready to do that, sir," Frank said earnestly, "and I thank you indeed for your kindness. But who should I get to teach me?"
"Thank you, Lister," Frank said. "I am sure I never wish to hear the thing mentioned again. I have taken a lot of pains to become a good shot, and it seems that I have a natural aptitude that way. There is nothing more to feel boastful about than if nature had made me a giant, and I had thereby been able to thrash a man of ordinary strength. I am very glad that I have put it out of Marshall's power to bully other men, and, as he had several times done, to force them into duels, when his skill gave him such an advantage that it was nothing short of murder. I think that I shall go across to the major, and ask him to give me a fortnight's leave. I have not been away since I joined, and I had a letter yesterday saying that my aunt was not very well; so I should like to run down to Weymouth to see her."
"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.
"Very well, sir. Then, if I must say it, I thought it was one of the most blackguardly and cowardly things I ever saw done."
"Don't come out to-morrow," Frank said.
Colonel Chambers was equally pleased when Frank called upon him the next morning, and begged him, after showing the letter to his friends, to hand it over to him for safe keeping, as, in the event of Markham ever being arrested, it would be valuable, if not as evidence, as affording assistance to the prosecution.
In silence the column marched down the hill. No sound proclaimed that the enemy had taken the alarm. When within charging distance, the line levelled its bayonets and rushed forward to the fires. To their stupefaction and relief, they found no foe to oppose them. The fires had been lighted by order of the Cossack general to make them believe that an army lay between them and Orsza, and so cause them to arrest their march. Half an hour was given to the men to warm themselves by the fires, then the march was resumed. Three miles further the sound of a large body of men was heard, then came a challenge in French, "Qui vive!" A hoarse shout of delight burst from the weary force, and a minute later they were shaking hands with their comrades of Davoust's division. The Polish messengers had, in spite of the numerous Cossacks on the plains, succeeded in reaching Orsza safely. The most poignant anxiety reigned there as to the safety of Ney's command; and Davoust, on hearing the welcome news, instantly called his men under arms and advanced to meet them.
It was good advice, for Mrs. Troutbeck was on the point of going into hysterics from joy and relief. However, the thought of the necessity for getting a good meal to welcome Julian on his arrival turned her thoughts into another channel, and, wiping her eyes hastily, she rose and gave directions, while Frank started again for the court-house. The fishermen had left, but there were still a number of boys about the place. The private entrance was, however, free from observers, and the brothers started at once, keeping to the back streets until they neared the house.