Thus, then, while Napoleon delayed in Paris and feasted at Dresden, the roads of Germany were occupied by great hosts of men and enormous trains of baggage waggons of all descriptions, moving steadily towards the Russian frontier. On the 12th of June Napoleon arrived at Konigsberg. Ney's division had marched forward a fortnight before, and the Emperor on his route from Konigsberg to the frontier reviewed that division with those of Davoust and Oudinot, and also two great cavalry divisions.
"It would seem so, lad; yes, it would seem so. But you know in Spain it once cost us five days' fighting after we got inside a town. I allow it was not like this. The streets were narrow, the houses were of stone, and each house a fortress, while, as you can see from here, the streets are wide and at right angles to each other, and the houses of brick, and, I fancy, many of them of wood. Still, knowing what the Russians are, I would wager we shall not capture Smolensk with a loss of less than ten thousand men, that is if they really defend it until the last."
The Argo arrived at Constantinople at the end of June, and they found that the treaty of peace between Turkey and Russia had been already arranged. A month was spent in vexatious delays, which were the more irritating as it was known that Napoleon had arrived at the frontier, and was on the point of crossing the Niemen, if he had not already done so. At last the British ambassador succeeded in overcoming the inertness of the Porte; on the 14th of July the treaty was finally ratified, and on the 27th Sir Robert Wilson was sent by our ambassador to Shumla to arrange details with the Grand Vizier. Thence he went to the Congress at Bucharest, which was the headquarters of the Russian Admiral, Tchichagow, who commanded their army of the Danube.
"I will certainly do so, sir. We had a French master at school. It was not compulsory to learn the language, but I thought it might be useful if I went into the army, and so took it up. I don't say that I can speak well at all, but I know enough to help me a good deal."
"We have a rough time before us, Jules," one of the veterans said. "I should not say as much to any of the youngsters, but your spirits seem proof against troubles. You see, in the first place, we know really nothing of what is going on. For the last four days we have heard the sound of cannon in the air. It is a long way off, and one feels it rather than hears it; but there has certainly been heavy and almost constant fighting. Well, that shows that there are Russians ahead of us. Never was I in a country before where we could get no news. It is all guess-work. There may be 50,000 Russians already between us and Davoust's division, and there may be only a handful of Cossacks. It is a toss-up. Nothing seems to go as one would expect in this country. We are at a big disadvantage; for the skill of our generals is thrown away when they are working altogether in the dark.
"Allow me to introduce to your Excellency this British officer, Mr. Wyatt, aide-de-camp to General Wilson, who arrived in our camp yesterday afternoon as British commissioner."下载
She was indeed changed. A rosy flush had taken the place of the bluish-gray tint on her cheeks; her eyes were bright, and she looked round at the strange scene with a face devoid of all fear.下载
Six shots were fired alternately with the right and left hand. Those of the former were all within a few inches of the bull's-eye, while none of the others went wide of the outside.下载
"I am sure Aunt didn't, or she would have told me."下载
"I wish I were as strong-willed as you are, Frank," Julian said rather ruefully, "then I should not have to put up with being bullied by a young brother."下载
Feeling sure that Mr. Faulkner was dead he started up, and without a moment's hesitation ran into the wood again, in the direction where he had thought that he had seen a figure. A minute later he came upon some footprints on a bare spot between the trees, where the snow had fallen lightly. Noting the direction they took, he followed at once. He saw no more signs of footprints, but followed the direction as nearly as he could until he came to the farthest side of the wood; then he leaped out into the field beyond, and followed the edge of the wood until he again reached the road. He then turned and went back again, and fifty yards from the point where he had first run out he came upon the footprints again.
"I am very pleased, Frank," he said as he lighted a cigar, "both with what I have heard of you and with what I see for myself. Now I will speak to you more freely than I did before, but mind, what I say is strictly confidential. Government have obtained secret information which points surely to the fact that Napoleon is meditating an offensive war against Russia. He is accumulating troops in Germany and Poland out of all proportion to the operations he has been carrying on against Austria. When that war will break out is more than I or anyone can say, but when it does take place I have Lord Wellesley's promise that I shall go out there in the same position I held during their last war, that is, as British commissioner with the Russian army. Now, lad, in that position I shall be entitled to take a young officer with me as my assistant, or what, if engaged on other service, would be called aide-de-camp. One cannot be everywhere at once, and I should often have to depend upon him for information as to what was taking place at points where I could not be present.
"What those steps will be I cannot say, but I feel sure that they will in some way prevent my coming back for a long time. They can't keep me themselves, but may hand me over as a prisoner to the French authorities. Before we sailed the man told me he had learnt that a warrant was out against me for the murder of Faulkner, and that Faulkner had declared it was I who shot him. If I could possibly have escaped I would have come back to stand my trial, though I can see plainly enough that it might go very hard with me, for there would be only my word, which would go for nothing against Faulkner's accusation, and the fact of our quarrel. However, I would have come rather than disappear with this awful charge against me. The man has given me permission, not only to write and tell you this story, but even to give you his name, which is Joseph Markham. He had only been a short time out of prison, where he had been sent for poaching, and he killed Faulkner simply for revenge. He told me that he did not mind my getting his name as, in the first place, he had no idea of returning to Weymouth, and intended making France his home; and, in the second place, because, although you might believe my story, no one else would, and even if he showed himself in Weymouth, this letter, written by a man accused of the murder, would not be accepted for a moment against him. However, there is no doubt that the fellow has behaved extremely well to me, and I should be sorry to get him into trouble over this business with Faulkner, which is no affair of mine.
"I am sorry I can do nothing in the matter, lad," he replied. "It is out of my hands, owing to a magistrate being present at the capture. It was, indeed, his business more than ours; for it was he who obtained information of the affair, and called upon us to aid him in the capture of men engaged in unlawful practices. Therefore, you see, the prisoners are in the hands of the civil authorities. I hear he has given strict orders that no one is, on any pretence, to speak to the prisoners."