When Colonel Wyatt died, all Weymouth agreed that it was a most unfortunate thing for his sons Julian and Frank. The loss of a father is always a misfortune to lads, but it was more than usually so in this case. They had lost their mother years before, and Colonel Wyatt's sister had since kept house for him. As a housekeeper she was an efficient substitute, as a mother to the boys she was a complete failure. How she ever came to be Colonel Wyatt's sister was a puzzle to all their acquaintances. The Colonel was quick and alert, sharp and decisive in speech, strong in his opinions, peremptory in his manner, kindly at heart, but irascible in temper. Mrs. Troutbeck was gentle and almost timid in manner; report said that she had had a hard time of it in her married life, and that Troutbeck had frightened out of her any vestige of spirit that she had ever possessed. Mrs. Troutbeck never argued, and was always in perfect agreement with any opinion expressed, a habit that was constantly exciting the wrath and indignation of her brother.
"And did he resist the capture?"
"After it was over the revenue chaps lit a lot of lanterns and then made a big fire, and by its light my mate could see pretty well what was going on. They had got about twenty prisoners. Most of the country people and carts had, luckily enough for them, gone off with their loads a few minutes afore the revenue men came up. A dozen pack-horses and three or four carts had been took, and, in course, all the loads the men were carrying up. Among those who was took was Mr. Julian. He was standing close to me when they came up, and I expect he was collared immediate. Faulkner, he sat down on a tub by the side of the fire and takes out a book, and the prisoners was brought up one by one and questions asked them. Mr. Julian was one of the last. Faulkner got up from his seat and rowed him tremendous. What he said my mate could not catch, but he could hear his voice, and he was going on at him cruel; then I suppose Mr. Julian lost his temper, and my mate says he could see that he was giving it him back hot. I expect it was something wonderful hard and nasty he said, for Faulkner jumped at him and hit him in the face. Then your brother threw himself on him. My mate says he would have thrown him backwards into the fire, if some of the revenue men had not seized him and dragged him off.
"Go first, Stephanie dear," Julian said in a low voice; "they want to kiss your hands."
"Ay, sir, just as French as can be. I was one of the party as took them ashore and lodged them in jail; and there was no doubt about their all being French. They had all got rings in their ears; besides, you could tell from the cut of their jib that they were Frenchies."下载
The first witness called by Mr. Faulkner was Captain Downes.下载
"It was a duty as well as a pleasure. Your father saved my life at Aboukir. I had been unhorsed and was guarding myself as well as I could against four French cuirassiers, who were slashing away at me, when your father rode into the middle of them, cut one down and wounded a second, which gave me time to snatch a pistol from the holster of my fallen horse and to dispose of a third, when the other rode off. Your father got a severe sabre wound on the arm and a slash across the face. Of course, you remember the scar. So you see the least I could do, was to render his son any service in my power. I managed to get you gazetted to my old regiment, that is to say, my first regiment, for I have served in several. I thought, in the first place, my introduction would to some extent put you at home there. In the second, a cavalry man has the advantage over one in a marching regiment that he learns to ride well, and is more eligible for staff appointments. As you know, I myself have done a great deal of what we call detached service, and it is probable that I may in the future have similar appointments, and, if so, I may have an opportunity of taking you with me as an aide. Those sort of appointments are very useful. They not only take one out of the routine of garrison life and enable one to see the world, but they bring a young officer's name prominently forward, and give him chances of distinguishing himself. Therefore I, as an old cavalry man, should much prefer taking an assistant from the same branch, and indeed would almost be expected to do so. From what I hear, I think that, apart from my friendship for your father, you are the kind of young fellow I should like with me."下载
There was again a murmur of applause in court, which was instantly arrested when Mr. Probert held up his hand deprecatingly. "Thank you, Captain Downes," he went on. "Now we come to the question of the quarrel that gave rise to this affair. Mr. Faulkner has not thought fit to ask you any questions about it. Were you standing close enough to hear what passed?"下载
"Mr. Wyatt has just obtained a commission, and he thinks that as there are few, if any, officers in the army who speak it fluently, it might be of great advantage to him. He is, therefore, prepared to work hard at it. I myself," he went on in Russian, "speak it a little, as you see; I have already warned him of the difficulty of the language, and he is not dismayed. He is going down to Canterbury to join the dep?t of his regiment in the course of a few days, and he proposes that you should accompany him and take a lodging there."下载
"I don't think he will put a ball in his head, major, but I shall not be surprised if he carries off one of his fingers. He has conscientious scruples about killing the man, and he is going to aim at his hand."下载
Considerably in advance of the general line of the position a strong work had been erected; this it was necessary to take before the main position could be attacked, and at two in the afternoon of the 5th, Napoleon directed an assault to be made upon this redoubt. It was obstinately held by the Russians. They were several times driven out, but, as often, reinforcements came up, and it was captured by them; and finally, after holding it until nightfall, they fell back to their main position, the loss having been heavy on both sides. The next day was spent by Napoleon in reconnoitring the Russian position and deciding the plan of attack. Finally he determined to make a strong demonstration against the village of Borodino, and, under cover of this, to launch his whole army upon the Russian left wing. On the morning of the 7th, Napoleon posted himself on an eminence near the village of Chewardino. Near the spot, earthworks were thrown up during the night for the protection of three batteries, each of twenty-four guns. Davoust and Ney were to make a direct attack on the enemy's left. Poniatowski was to endeavour to march through the woods and gain the rear of the Russian position. The rest of the force were to keep the Russian centre and right in check. The Imperial Guard formed the reserve.
"A very good plan indeed, my lad. Certainly, you can have your leave. I will draw it out this moment, and take it over to the commandant, who will, I am sure, countersign it at once. Which way do you think of going?"