One bright morning Frank strolled down to the Nobles' Club, of which he and the general had been made honorary members. It was his first visit to St. Petersburg. His fur coat was partly open and showed his British uniform. He was looking about with interest at the scene in the Nevsky Prospect when he noticed a gentleman in a handsomely appointed sledge looking fixedly at him. As the uniform attracted general attention he thought little of this, but after going a short distance the sledge turned and passed him at a slow rate of speed. The gentleman again gazed fixedly at him, then stopped the coachman, and leaped from the sledge to the pavement.
"It is only when we are fighting that I should want to stow her away. She does not weigh more than a knapsack, Colonel."
As they drove along the straight road towards the barracks, they saw a number of men clustered outside the gate.
"Julian Wyatt, General."
"That is the thing that does us good," Julian replied. "The columns ahead have nothing to do but to think of the cold, and hunger, and misery. They straggle along; they no longer march. With us it is otherwise. We are still soldiers; we keep our order. We are proud to know that the safety of the army depends on us; and, if we do get knocked over with a bullet, surely that is a better fate than dropping from exhaustion, and falling into the hands of the peasants."
"I want to see what you are like."
"Those were the general and myself, Julian. We had only joined two days before. But still, I am as much in the dark as ever. What you have said explains how you come to be in Russia, but it does not at all explain how you came to be here like this."
Julian had, as soon as the fire in Moscow burnt itself out, employed himself in endeavouring to buy some warm garments. Money was plentiful, for there had been no means of spending it since they entered Russia, and he was fortunate in being able to buy some very warm tinder-garments that had been looted by the plunderers on the night of their first arrival before Moscow. He also purchased a peasant's sheep-skin caftan with a hood, and sewed this into his military cloak so as to form a lining, the hood being for the time turned inside. From another sheep-skin he manufactured a couple of bags to be used as mittens, without fingers or thumbs. Many of his comrades laughed at him as he did his work, but as the days grew colder most of them endeavoured to follow his example, and the skins of sheep brought in occasionally by the cavalry were eagerly bought up. Encouraged by his success, Julian next manufactured a pair of sheep-skin leggings, with the wool inside. They were sewn up at the bottom, so that they could be worn over his boots. The shape left much to be desired, but by cutting up a blanket he made two long bands, each three inches wide and some twenty feet long. These he intended to wrap tightly round the leggings when in use.