"I can hold on comfortably, Aunt; besides, I have got to have a change and a wash. That is of more importance than tea just at present."
There was again a murmur of applause in court, which was instantly arrested when Mr. Probert held up his hand deprecatingly. "Thank you, Captain Downes," he went on. "Now we come to the question of the quarrel that gave rise to this affair. Mr. Faulkner has not thought fit to ask you any questions about it. Were you standing close enough to hear what passed?"
The count spoke to many acquaintances, introducing Julian to each of them as his great friend, Monsieur Wyatt, an Englishman. After waiting an hour in the gardens they drove to the club itself. There were here a large number of gentlemen, all of whom had been for a few minutes at the garden. Here more introductions took place, and the count put down Julian's name as an honorary member. "You will have a long day's work to-morrow, Monsieur Wyatt."
The priest was too deeply moved to speak, but upon Stephanie translating what Julian had said, put her down and left the room. As soon as he had done so the priest who had travelled with them, and who, with his companion, had been standing in an attitude of respect while Stephanie was speaking, said to her:
"Yes," the child said, "and he will thank you very, very much for having been so good to me."
"The best shot I ever heard tell of was Major Rathmines. He could hit a penny thrown up into the air nineteen times out of twenty."
"I couldn't," the lad replied in a broken voice, "but I shall see you before you start."
At three o'clock the pressure upon Touchkoff became so severe that several regiments from Barclay's column, which was passing safely along while he kept the road open for them, were sent to his assistance, and the fight continued. Napoleon believed that the whole Russian force had taken post at Loubino, and sent forward reinforcements to Ney. The woods were so thick that it was some time before these reached him, the guns of one of the columns being obliged to go a mile and a half through a wood before they could turn, so dense was the growth of the trees. Ney now pressed forward with such vigour that Touchkoff was driven from his position in advance, upon the village itself, where he was again reinforced by four infantry battalions, two regiments of cavalry, and heavy guns. Murat with his cavalry endeavoured to turn the Russian left, but the two Russian cavalry regiments, supported by their artillery, maintained their ground. Soon after five o'clock the French had received such large reinforcements that the Russians were forced to give way, and were in full retreat when Barclay himself arrived upon the scene, and rallied them. The battle was renewed, and the last effort of the French was repulsed by a charge with the bayonet by the Russian grenadiers.
Another three months passed, and on the 28th of March, 1812, Frank received an official order to join Sir Robert Wilson at once, and a letter from the general, informing him that they were to sail on the 8th of April. The letter was written in haste, and gave no intimation whatever as to their destination. During this three months Frank had worked almost incessantly at Russian. He had informed the major in confidence that he believed Sir Robert Wilson was going as British Commissioner to the Russian army when the war broke out with France.
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.
"Don't you worry yourself, Aunt," Frank said, as they laid her down upon the bed; "it will all come out right, just as the last did. It will all be cleared up, no doubt, in a very short time."