"Still, I am heartily sorry that I hurt him so much," Frank repeated. "I meant to take off one or two of his fingers, and spoil his shooting for the rest of his life; but I never thought of the ball going up his arm as it did."
"And do you think that a gentleman accosted so improperly is to be greatly blamed if he uses strong language in return?"
"We will see about it," Frank laughed. "Well, come up now. I ordered the breakfast for two, and I see Smith is bringing the dishes across from the kitchen."
The condition of the French army rapidly deteriorated. The cold had already become intense, and the soldiers being weak with hunger were the less able to support it. The horses died in great numbers, and their flesh was the principal food upon which the troops had to rely. No one dared straggle to forage, for the Cossacks were ever hovering round, and the peasants, emerging from their hiding-places in the forests, murdered, for the most part with atrocious tortures, everyone who fell out of the ranks from wounds, exhaustion, or frost-bite.
The French captain went down first. Julian was told to follow. The sailors and Markham then descended. A sharp jerk shook the rope off the bar, and the boat then rowed out to the smuggler, which was lying half a mile from shore. As soon as they were on board the sails were sheeted home, and the craft began to steal quietly through the water, towing the boat behind it. The whole operation had been conducted in perfect silence. The men were accustomed to their work; there was no occasion for orders, and it was not until they were another mile out that a word was spoken.
"Very good, indeed," the gunsmith said. "I don't hesitate to say that in a very short time you will become a fair shot, and at the end of three months, if you practise regularly, a first-class one. Your hand is very steady, your eye true, and you have plenty of nerve. Now, sir, I should advise you to keep that unloaded pistol in the drawer of your table, and whenever you have nothing else to do, spend five minutes in taking quick aims at marks on the wall, using your hands alternately. Now, Captain Lister, will you try a few shots?"下载
"Well, it seemed to me that it mattered very little what became of me. Even should I be exchanged and sent to England I could not have stayed there, but must have gone abroad to make my living as best I could, and I thought I might as well go as a soldier to Russia as anywhere else; so I accepted the offer, little knowing what would come of it. I regretted it heartily when I saw the misery that was inflicted by the misconduct, partly of the French, but much more of the Poles and Germans, on the unfortunate inhabitants. However, there I was, and I did my duty to the best of my power. When I tell you that I was in Ney's division, you may imagine that I had my share of it all."
"My dear Frank," Mrs. Troutbeck exclaimed, "where have you been? I have never known you keep breakfast waiting before. Why, what is the matter, dear? Nothing about Julian, I hope; hasn't he come home yet?"