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Day passed after day. The Russians pressed hotly on the rear, and many times Ney's corps had to face about and repel their attacks. Sometimes when the fighting was likely to be serious Julian handed his charge over to the care of the driver of one of the ammunition carts, but as a rule he carried her with him, for she objected strongly to leaving him. On the march she often chose to be carried on his shouldera strange little figure, with the high fur collar of the jacket standing up level with the top of her head, and a yellow curl or two making its way through the opening in front. She soon picked up the songs that were most often sung, and her shrill little voice joined in. She was now a prime favourite with all the men.

As yet the pressure of hunger had not come severely upon the grenadiers. In the fights with the Russians some of the horses of their own cavalry and artillery, and those of the enemy, were daily killed, besides the animals which dropped from fatigue were at once shot and cut up. Moreover, a small ration of flour was still served out, and the supper that night, if rough, was ample. Julian sat facing the fire with his cloak open and the child nestling up close to him. As soon as supper was over half a dozen of the soldiers started off.

By this time they had, after a long drive, re-entered the city.

When Julian arrived at the age of nineteen it was tacitly understood that the idea of his going into the army had been altogether dropped, and that when a commission was asked for, it would be for Frank. Although Julian was still her favourite, Mrs. Troutbeck was more favourably disposed towards Frank than of old. She knew from her friends that he was quite as popular among his schoolmates as his brother had been, although in a different way. He was a hard and steady worker, but he played as hard as he worked, and was a leader in every game. He, however, could say "no" with a decision that was at once recognized as being final, and was never to be persuaded into joining in any forbidden amusement or to take share in any mischievous adventure. When his own work was done he was always willing to give a quarter of an hour to assist any younger lad who found his lessons too hard for him, and though he was the last boy to whom any one would think of applying for a loan of money, he would give to the extent of his power in any case where a subscription was raised for a really meritorious purpose.

Julian had, since their retreat began, again recovered his spirits. He was now not fighting to conquer a country against which he had no animosity, but for his own life and that of the thousands of sick and wounded.

The advice was excellent, but Kutusow, who was even more unfitted than Barclay for the post of commander-in-chief, refused to adopt this course, and fell back towards Moscow, followed by the French. The sufferings of the latter had already become severethe nights were getting very cold, the scarcity of food was considerable, the greater part of the army was already subsisting on horse-flesh, the warm clothing, which was becoming more and more necessary, was far in the rear, their shoes were worn out, and it was only the thought that they would have a long period of rest and comfort in Moscow, that animated them to press forward along the fifty miles of road between Borodino and that city.