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"Certainly not, sir. I am heartily sorry for what has occurred," and beckoning to Frank, who was still seated at the solicitors' table, he retired with him to a waiting-room.

"If we had seen the whole thing happen, we could not have been closer than we were in our conclusion as to how it all came about. Well, the news that it is Markham who shot Mr. Faulkner does not surprise me, for, as you know, I have already a warrant out against him on the charge. I fear that there is little chance that we shall lay hands on him now, for he will doubtless learn from some of his associates here of the evidence given at the coroner's inquest, and that your brother has been proved altogether innocent of the crime. I can understand that, believing, as he did, the evidence against Mr. Wyatt to be overwhelming, he had no great objection to his giving his name; for, as the matter then stood, your brother's story would only have been regarded as the attempt of a guilty man to fix the blame of his crime on another. As it has turned out, the letter is a piece of important evidence that might be produced against Markham, for all the statements in it tally with the facts we have discovered for ourselves. Still I congratulate you most heartily. I certainly thought that your brother had been murdered, though our efforts to find any traces of the crime have failed altogether. I am afraid, as he says, it will be a long time before he manages to get away; still, that is a comparatively unimportant matter, and all that I can hope is that this fellow Markham will come to a speedy end. Of course you will show this letter to everyone, for now that nobody believes for a moment that your brother was Mr. Faulkner's murderer, everyone will be glad to hear that the mystery is cleared up, and that he is simply in France instead of being, as all supposed, buried in some hole where his body would never be discovered.

Smolensk was, like Moscow, considered a sacred city, and the soldiers were affected rather by the impiety of the act than by the actual destruction that was being wrought. As General Wilson and Frank rode back to the spot where General Barclay was stationed, a mass of Russian infantry moved down the hill towards the bridges, and at once began to cross.

CHAPTER I

"I sincerely trust so," Frank said gravely. "I think I can say that assuredly I shall never be the first to insult anyone else, and that if ever I fight again, it will, as in this case, not be in my own quarrel."

The Russian army now pursued its march towards Moscow unmolested save by some attacks by Murat's cavalry. Ney's corps d'arme had borne the brunt of the fighting at Loubino, and had been diminished in strength by another 4000 men. In this battle, however, Julian's regiment, having suffered so heavily in the attack at Smolensk, was one of those held in reserve. Napoleon was greatly disappointed at the escape of the Russian army from his grasp. Only 30,000 Russians had been engaged both in the action in their rear and in that at Loubino, while the whole of the French army round Smolensk, with the exception of the corps of Junot, had in vain endeavoured to break through the defence and to fall upon the main body of the army so helplessly struggling along the road.

"I should so consider it."

"Certainly not," Captain Downes said emphatically.

"It would be just suicide," the man said. "Weymouth ain't the only place in the world; and it is better for you to live out of it, and know you will get cleared some day, than to get hung, with only the consolation that perhaps twenty years hence they may find out they have made a mistake."