"Well, we need not trouble about that, lad, just at present. He is cleared, which is the principal thing, and sooner or later he is sure to find his way back again."
The Emperor was greatly moved. However, the manner in which the general fulfilled the mission with which he was charged, and his assurances that the act of seeming insubordination and defiance of the imperial authority was in no way directed against him, but against his advisers, whom they believed to be acting in the interests of Napoleon, had their effect, and the Emperor promised to give the matter every consideration, and to answer him definitely on the following day. At the next meeting he gave Sir Robert his authority to assure the army of his determination to continue the war against Napoleon while a Frenchman remained in arms on Russian soil, and that, if the worst came to the worst, he would remove his family far into the interior, and make any sacrifice rather than break that engagement. At the same time, while he could not submit to dictation in the matter of his ministers, he could assure them that these should in no way influence him to break this promise.
"That is so, sir; and they say as they are chock-full of pheasants. He has a lot of keepers, and four years ago there was a desperate fight there. Two keepers and three poachers got shot, and two others were caught; they were tried at the 'sizes for murder and hanged. He is a regular bully, he is, but he ain't no coward. If he was he would never stir out after sunset, but instead of that he is out night after night on the cliffs, when there is any talk of a cargo being run. He is known to carry pistols about with him, and so though his life has been threatened many times, nothing has ever come of it. One thing is, he has got a big black horse, about the best horse there is in this part of the country, and he always rides mighty fast down into the town or up on to the cliffs, where he gets among the revenue men, and in course he is safe enough. He was down with that lot at Lulworth that night, and they say he cussed and swore loud enough to be heard all over the village, when they found that they had got there too late. He is a bitter bad weed, is Faulkner."
"It would be robbing you to go on with you any longer, Mr. Wyatt. When a man can turn round, fire on the instant and hit a penny nine times out of ten at a distance of twelve paces, there is no one can teach him anything more. You have the best eye of any gentleman I ever came across, and in the twenty years that I have been here I have had hundreds of officers at this gallery, many of them considered crack shots. But I should go on practising, if I were you, especially with your left hand. It is not quite so good as the right yet, although very nearly so. I will come down once a week or so and throw up a ball to you or spin a penny in the air; there is nothing like getting to hit a moving object. In the meantime you can go on practising at that plummet swinging from the string. You can do that as well by yourself as if I were with you, for when you once set it going it will keep on for five minutes. It is not so good as throwing up a penny, because it makes a regular curve; but shooting, as you do, with your back to it, and so not able to tell where it will be when you turn round, that don't so much matter."
The leggings, gloves, and bands were stowed away in his knapsack, almost everything else being discarded to make room for them; for he felt sure that there would be no inspection of kits until the frontier had been crossed.
"My dear Frank," Julian said, "this is monstrous."