"I hope so, but I have great doubts, sergeant. When people are ready to burn their homes rather than that we should occupy them, to desert all that they have and to wander away they know not where, when they will fight as they fought to-day, I have great doubts whether they will talk of surrender. They can bring up fresh troops long before we can. They will have no lack of provisions. Their country is so vast that they know that at most we can hold but a small portion of it. It seems to me that it is not of surrender they will be thinking, but of bringing up fresh troops from every part of their empire, of drilling and organizing and preparing for the next campaign. I cannot help thinking of what would happen to us if they burnt Moscow, as they have burned half a dozen towns already."
"It was a case of his life or our business," he said. "If he had not been got out of the way we must have given up the trade altogether on this part of the coast; besides, he has been the cause, not only of several seizures of cargoes, but of the death of eight or ten of our comrades and of the imprisonment of many others. Now that he is out of the way we shall find things a great deal easier."
"I have no wish not to go with the rest," Frank protested. "When there is anything to be done, whether it is hunting or any sort of sport, I shall certainly take my share in it; but don't you think yourself, Captain Lister, that it is much better for a fellow to spend part of his time reasonably than in lounging about, or in playing billiards or cards?"
"I fancy he has been punished, Aunt. I don't see how he is to keep his commission as a justice after what was said in court. Still, it is a bad thing for me. I was discharged, but it will always be against me. If I ever get into any sort of trouble again, people will say: 'Ah, yes; he was charged with attempting murder when he was a young fellow, and although he was lucky enough to get off then, there must have been something in it. He is evidently a man of ungovernable temper.'"
As Julian lay down with his hood over his head and the child held closely in his arms under his cloak, he felt strangely warm and comfortable, and breathed a prayer that he might be spared to carry the little waif he had rescued, in safety across the frontier.
"That is Peter," the child said. "Peter, Peter, what are you standing staring for? Why don't you come and help me down as usual?"
"It is horrible to see a fellow like you wasting your life as you do, Julian. If you don't care for the army, why don't you do something else? I should not care what it was, so that it but gave you something to occupy yourself, and if it took you out of here, all the better. You know that you are not doing yourself any good."
"No, no, Mr. Wyatt, it was a grand thing. Has not your brother told you of it, Mr. Julian?"
"And what did you think when Mr. Faulkner suddenly struck his prisoner in the face?"
"No, sir, he was just standing there looking on."