"What do I not owe to you," he said, "to you and General Wilson? I have been appointed interpreter on a salary of two hundred a year. Think of it! my fortune is made."
"It was a duty as well as a pleasure. Your father saved my life at Aboukir. I had been unhorsed and was guarding myself as well as I could against four French cuirassiers, who were slashing away at me, when your father rode into the middle of them, cut one down and wounded a second, which gave me time to snatch a pistol from the holster of my fallen horse and to dispose of a third, when the other rode off. Your father got a severe sabre wound on the arm and a slash across the face. Of course, you remember the scar. So you see the least I could do, was to render his son any service in my power. I managed to get you gazetted to my old regiment, that is to say, my first regiment, for I have served in several. I thought, in the first place, my introduction would to some extent put you at home there. In the second, a cavalry man has the advantage over one in a marching regiment that he learns to ride well, and is more eligible for staff appointments. As you know, I myself have done a great deal of what we call detached service, and it is probable that I may in the future have similar appointments, and, if so, I may have an opportunity of taking you with me as an aide. Those sort of appointments are very useful. They not only take one out of the routine of garrison life and enable one to see the world, but they bring a young officer's name prominently forward, and give him chances of distinguishing himself. Therefore I, as an old cavalry man, should much prefer taking an assistant from the same branch, and indeed would almost be expected to do so. From what I hear, I think that, apart from my friendship for your father, you are the kind of young fellow I should like with me."
"No news of Markham, Aunt?"
"No; that is what we says. It don't concern him, 'cept that magistrates are bound in a sort of way to see that the law is not broken. But why shouldn't he do like the others and go on his way quiet, unless he gets an information laid before him, or a warning from the revenue people as he is wanted. You mark my words, Master Julian, some night that chap will get a bullet or a charge of shot in his body."
Julian was instructed in the Russian words to reply if asked by any of the postmasters whether he was the Ivan Meriloff mentioned in the passport, and, on the day after the return of the priest, they started in a sledge filled with hay and covered with sheep-skins.
"I know him by sight. He is a big, pompous man; his place is about two miles up the valley, and there are some large woods round it."
"He was going to take to the hills, he muttered," as he set off along the track. He ran at a trot, and as he went, loaded both barrels of his gun. "Very likely the villain will show fight," he said to himself; "I must take him by surprise if I can."
A gentleman appeared at the door as the carriage drove up. He shook hands warmly with Frank, who introduced him to his companions as Mr. James Linton, solicitor to the Russian embassy. The gentleman led the way to a very handsome drawing-room, then he looked inquiringly at Frank, who nodded. From a mahogany box on the table Mr. Linton produced a large packet of papers.
In the charge, however, General Touchkoff, by whose valour the Russian army had been saved, was carried too far in advance of his men, and was taken prisoner. It was not until midnight that the rear of Barclay's column emerged from the cross road, in which it had been involved for twenty-four hours. In this fight the French and Russians lost about 6000 men each. Had Junot joined Ney in the attack on Touchkoff's force the greater part of the Russian army must have been destroyed or made prisoners.