"I am not doing myself any harm, you young beggar," Julian replied good temperedly.
"I am afraid, dear, you will have to wait," he said. "I have not got any to give you."
"You speak it extremely well, Mr. Wyatt," the count said. "I can scarcely imagine how you have acquired such familiarity with it in your own country."
"Well, Aunt, I don't pretend to be either surprised or shocked. If a man spends his life in going out of his way to hunt others down, he must not be surprised if at last one of them turns on him. On the bench he was hated; it was not only because he was severe, but because of his bullying way. See how he behaved in that affair with Julian. I can't say I feel any pity for him at all, he has sent many a man to the gallows, and now his time has come."
"We talked it over for a minute or two, and settled that the Boxer would be off after the lugger and would not pay any more attention to us. Some of them were in favour of taking the kegs that we had got ashore, but the most of us were agin that, and the captain himself had told us to sink them, so we rowed out of the cove again and tied sinkers to the kegs and lowered them down three or four hundred yards west of the mouth of the cove. We went on board our boats and the other chaps went on shore, and you may guess we were not long in getting up our sails and creeping out of the cove. It was half an hour after the first shots were fired before we heard the Boxer at it again. I reckon that in the darkness they could not make out whether the lugger had kept along east or west under the cliffs, and I expect they went the wrong way at first, and only found her at last with their night-glasses when she was running out to sea.
"I know he is very unpopular even in the town," Julian said. "He is the hardest magistrate on the bench, and if it were not for the others not a man brought before him would ever get off. I have heard that he is very much disliked by the other magistrates, and that some time ago, when he wanted to join the club, they would not have him at any price. I can't make out why a fellow should go out of his way to make himself disliked. I can understand his being down on poachers; no one likes to be robbed, but the smuggling cannot make any difference to him one way or the other."
"There is an end of our search, Mr. Wyatt. We must return to the town. The magistrates will meet at eleven o'clock, and I and the constables must be there. But I will send off two men directly we get back, to go along the cliffs and question all the men who were on duty yesterday afternoon as to whether they saw two men with guns crossing the hills, one being probably some distance behind the other. I think, perhaps, you had better come to the court. I don't say that it will be absolutely necessary, but I think it would be better that you should do so; and you see it would be useless for you to be hunting over those hills alone. As soon as the court is over I will take four men and will myself start to search for him. There is no saying whether we may not find some sign or other. I shall be glad if you will go with me; you have shown yourself a born detective this morning, for had you been trained to it all your life you could not have followed the scent up more unerringly."
The idea of controlling the boys never once entered her mind. So long as the Colonel was alive there was no occasion for such control, and in this respect she did not attempt after his death to fill his place. It seemed, indeed, that she simply transferred her allegiance from the Colonel to them. Whatever they did was right in her eyes, and they were allowed to do practically whatever they pleased. There was a difference in age of three years and a half between the brothers; Julian at the time of his father's death being sixteen, while Frank was still a few months short of thirteen. Casual acquaintances often remarked that there was a great likeness between them; and, indeed, both were pleasant-looking lads with somewhat fair complexions, their brown hair having a tendency to stand up in a tuft on the forehead, while both had grey eyes, and square foreheads. Mrs. Troutbeck was always ready to assent to the remark as to their likeness, but would gently qualify it by saying that it did not strike her so much as it did other people.