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"We will bring back a fit-out, Jules, never fear. It will be strange if there is not something to be picked up in the snow between us and the next corps."
"There was an accident," Julian said. "Don't think about that now. I will tell you about it some day."
Taking a steady aim, Captain Lister put his bullets almost every time into the bull's-eye, but, to Frank's surprise, when he came to try quick firing in the way he had himself done, the captain's shooting was much less accurate than his own.
Frank, however, could not deny that he felt very stiff after his journey, and was not sorry to retire to bed as soon as he had eaten his supper. There were few men in the army who had seen so much and such varied service as Colonel Sir Robert Wilson. Joining the army in 1793, he served through the campaigns of Flanders and Holland. In 1797, having attained the rank of captain, he was detached from his regiment and served on Major-general St. John's staff during the rebellion in Ireland. Two years later he rejoined his regiment and proceeded to the Helder, and was engaged in all the battles that took place during that campaign. On the Convention being signed he purchased a majority in one of the regiments of German Hussars in our service. He was then sent on a mission to Vienna, and having fulfilled this, went down through Italy to Malta, where he expected to find his regiment, which formed part of General Abercrombie's command. He joined it before it landed in Egypt, and served through the campaign there. He then purchased his lieutenant-colonelcy, and exchanged into the 20th Light Dragoons. He was with that portion of his regiment which formed part of Sir David Baird's division, and sailed first to the Brazils and then to the Cape of Good Hope, which possession it wrested from the Dutch.
"My dear Frank, I am afraid you must all have been in a horrible fright about me, and no wonder. I am a most unfortunate fellow, and seem to be always putting my foot in it, and yet really I don't think I was to blame about this. In the first place, I may tell you that I am on board a French smuggler, that we have just entered the Loire, and that in a few hours shall be at Nantes. The smugglers will bring this letter back to England, and as they say they shall probably sail again a few days after they get in, I hope it will not be very long before it comes to hand. And now as to how I got here."
"You will have to move here, you know, Aunt," Frank said. "I gave orders, before we came away from Weymouth, to Mary to lock up the house, and to come up to town by the coach two days later, and then to come on to Canterbury. I have no doubt that we shall find her at the Fountain when we get there. I daresay you will be able to hear of some good servants at the Hotel."
"It is Faulkner against the other two," Mr. Probert whispered to Frank. "Of course they were unanimous about the smugglers, but I expect they differed as to the others. It is lucky that the Colonel is in the chair. Harrington is a mild little fellow, and Faulkner would be able to twist him round his finger if there were only the two of them, but there is no fear of that with the Colonel there to keep him straight."
"Take a seat, sir. By the way, I do not know your name."下载
As fully half the regiment were away, and as every man brought back one or more bottles or kegs of spirits, the amount collected at the quarter-guard was very considerable. Those of the men who, on coming back, showed any signs of intoxication were not allowed a share, but half a litre of spirits was served out to every other man in the regiment; and although a few of those who had brought it in grumbled, the colonel's decision gave general satisfaction, and there were merry groups round the bivouac fires.下载
"'It was wine did it, sir. I drank too much at our bivouac in a village down the plain, and did not hear the bugles in the morning, and got left behind. When I awoke they had tied me up, and they kept me lying in the sun all day, not giving me as much as a drop of water. At sunset they marched me up here and tied me to that post, and El Chico told me that I should be roasted in the morning; and so it certainly would have been if you had not come up.'下载
"It is large, Stephanie," Julian said, "but then, you see, there is the advantage that when you like you can slip your arms altogether out of the sleeves, and keep them as warm as a toast inside. Now you get on my back and we will fasten you more comfortably than I could do yesterday."