"It may be," he thought, "that some other prisoner has been confined here at some time or other, or possibly this has been done in order that if the trap-door above should be found, and the revenue men come down that way, the smugglers in their flight might lock the door behind them and so have time to get away in a boat or along at the foot of the cliffs before their pursuers could get down to the lower entrance and open fire upon them."
The statements of Mr. Henderson and the two constables were taken down. Frank was then called in.
"Certainty," the major said. "After the official information that you were not to proceed with the draft, as you would be required for special service, I have a right to consider you as a supernumerary here, and will relieve you of all ordinary drills and parades. You must, of course, take your turn as officer of the day, and if there are any special parades ordered, or any field days with the Lancers, you will attend, but otherwise you will be free of all duty. The two next troops to go have their full complement of officers, so that really you are not wanted."
"Go first, Stephanie dear," Julian said in a low voice; "they want to kiss your hands."
"I guessed it. You have told me how you were practising, and how well you were getting on. I guessed you had some special purpose for taking so much pains, and you did not come in yesterday evening as usual. Then, too, you tell me he was hit in the arm, and you mentioned the other day that you were practising at that, and showed me the iron hand you had had made to hold a pistol."
"That is right, Mrs. Richards. I was expecting him."
When Colonel Wyatt died, all Weymouth agreed that it was a most unfortunate thing for his sons Julian and Frank. The loss of a father is always a misfortune to lads, but it was more than usually so in this case. They had lost their mother years before, and Colonel Wyatt's sister had since kept house for him. As a housekeeper she was an efficient substitute, as a mother to the boys she was a complete failure. How she ever came to be Colonel Wyatt's sister was a puzzle to all their acquaintances. The Colonel was quick and alert, sharp and decisive in speech, strong in his opinions, peremptory in his manner, kindly at heart, but irascible in temper. Mrs. Troutbeck was gentle and almost timid in manner; report said that she had had a hard time of it in her married life, and that Troutbeck had frightened out of her any vestige of spirit that she had ever possessed. Mrs. Troutbeck never argued, and was always in perfect agreement with any opinion expressed, a habit that was constantly exciting the wrath and indignation of her brother.下载
Julian nodded, threw two or three of the sheep-skins down in a corner, rolled another up for a pillow, drew a blanket over him, and for the first time looked round the cave. It was lighted only by a small hole used as a look-out; at present a blanket hung before this. There was a door similar to that by which he had entered from above leading to the lower cave. How far that lower entrance might be below them Julian had no means of knowing, but from the view he had obtained of the sea through a large loop-hole he had passed in his descent, he did not think that the cavern he was in could be less than seventy or eighty feet above the water. The sole ventilation, as far as he could see, was the current of air that found its way in through the door from below, and passed up through that above, and what could come in through the loop-hole seawards. Doubtless in warmer weather both the doors stood open, but were now closed more for warmth than for any other purpose, although he had noticed that the lower one had been bolted and locked after he had been first captured.下载
"It is here papa writes his letters," Stephanie said, throwing back her hood again and taking off her cloak; "isn't it nice and warm?"下载
"For several reasons. In the first place, the gun might have been heard by some of those cussed revenue men. Then there would be an inquiry and a search. They would have seen by the direction he had been going, that he must have been shot from the bushes, and as no one would have been in sight when they ran up, the thing would have been such a puzzle to them that you may be sure they would have suspected there must be some hidden way out of the clump. Besides, they would probably have hunted every inch of the ground to see if they could find anything that would give them a clue as to who had fired the shot. That is one reason."下载
"Possibly, Mr. Faulkner, though I have known many magistrates who did their duty and who were by no means unpopular; but you have not answered my question. Do you not think that in saying what he did Mr. Wyatt simply alluded to the fact of your well-known unpopularity, and to the threatening letters that you have received?"下载
"Yes, if the wind holds we shall be at Southampton tomorrow evening. I shall get out the cargo by torchlight, for with this wind I don't want to lose an hour. I don't know how much there will be to take in, but I reckon anyhow that we shall be off by nine o'clock in the morning, and if we have luck shall be at Weymouth before dark."