Stephanie was inconsolable at the approaching departure of her friend, and even the promise that he would return and pay them another visit before very long, scarcely pacified her. In three days all was ready. The luggage, packed in a light waggon, had been sent off in charge of one of the count's servants forty-eight hours before; and the travelling carriage had but to take three or four great hampers stored with provisions and wines. The count and countess had had on the previous day a long talk with Frank, who at their request called at an hour when Julian would be out paying a long round of farewell visits. The conversation was a serious one, and had ended by the count saying:
"After having captured the smuggler, I took six men and went up to see if I could be of any assistance to Mr. Moorsby, and also to hear whether he had been as successful with his capture as I had. I found that everything was over, and that a fire had been lighted. I was talking to Mr. Moorsby when my attention was excited by loud words between Mr. Faulkner and Mr. Wyatt, with whom I am acquainted. Mr. Faulkner struck him in the face, and there was a scuffle, the prisoner lifting the magistrate, although a much heavier man, completely off his feet. In the course of the scuffle they approached the fire, and being afraid that they might fall into it, I ran up with Mr. Moorsby and some of the men, and pulled them away."
This was delightful news to Frank. European travel in those days was rare, and to have the opportunity of visiting Constantinople, as well as being present at the tremendous encounter about to take place, was an unexpected pleasure indeed.
"The child has become quite a military enthusiast," she said to Julian one day. "Nothing pleases her so much as to look on at the troops drilling."
Nevertheless they had suffered severely. The savage ferocity with which, in spite of repeated proclamations and orders, the invading army treated the people, had exasperated the peasantry almost to madness, and taking up arms, they cut down every straggler, annihilated small parties, attacked baggage trains, and repeated in Russia the terrible retaliation dealt by the Spanish guerillas upon their invaders.
"Certainly, lad; but this is a horrible business. If it had been merely an ordinary quarrel the colonel would have interfered to stop it, but after what you said before us all, and with strangers present too, I am afraid it must go on. You must be mad, lad. I have not seen you shoot since that first evening when we went down, and two or three times shortly afterwards. Woodall told me that you were getting on well; but however well you may have got on, you can be no match with a pistol for a man like Marshall; and you may be sure he won't spare you after so public an affront."
Captain Lister himself was evidently disconcerted at finding how useless his target practice would be to him in the field, and, two or three times in the next week, went with Frank to practise. He improved with his right hand, but did not seem to obtain any accuracy in firing with his left, while Frank, at the end of a month, came to shoot as well with one hand as with the other.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.
"I congratulate you indeed," Frank replied warmly. "I did not like to raise your hopes too high, but I felt sure, by what Sir Robert said, that it was as good as settled. I am almost as pleased as you are, for I should have been awfully sorry to go away, without knowing that you were comfortably settled here."
"That may be so, my friend," the count said. "God has doubtless rewarded you for your good action, but that in nowise lessens our obligations towards you. Now, will you tell me somewhat of your own history?"