As they drove along the straight road towards the barracks, they saw a number of men clustered outside the gate.
"Now, off with the hatches; get up the kegs."
"You can, of course, show this letter to whom you like, but I don't expect anyone except you and Aunt to believe it. I have hopes of being cleared some day, for Markham has promised me to write out a full confession of his shooting Faulkner, and to swear to it before a French magistrate. He is going to write it in duplicate, and carry one copy about with him, directed to Colonel Chambers, or the senior magistrate at Weymouth, and to send the other copy to someone at home, who will produce it in case of his death in France, or by drowning at sea. I do not think that, if I get away, I shall return to England until I hear of his death. I am awfully sorry for you, old fellow, and for Aunt. But with this frightful accusation hanging over me, I don't think your position would be better if I were to come back and be hung for murder; and I see myself that the case is so strong against me that it would almost certainly come to that if they laid hands on me. I am specially sorry that this trouble should come upon you now, just as you were going to try to get a commission, for of course they could hardly give one to a fellow whose brother is accused of murder, and if they did, your position in the army would be intolerable. Now, good-bye, dear old Frank; give my fond love to Aunt, who has always been too good to me. If I get an opportunity I will write again, but I hardly fancy that I shall get a chance to do so, as, even if I were free to write I don't see how letters can be sent from France except through smugglers. God bless you, old fellow.
"I am sure Aunt didn't, or she would have told me."
"Certainly," Frank agreed; "he ran up to the hedge and then turned. Why should he have done that?"
"What is it, Frank?" she asked.
In a quarter of an hour they arrived at the gunsmith's. "Woodall," Captain Lister said, "my friend, Mr. Wyatt, who has lately joined, has a fancy for becoming a first-rate pistol shot."
"You need not talk of a little thing like that, Sergeant. There is not a man in the regiment who would not do a good deal more than that for you: besides we have all taken to the child. She will be quite the pet of the regiment. Moreover, the lad's valise was well filled. We have tossed up for choice, and each of us has got something. Henri got the cloak, and a good one it is. I had the next choice, and I took his blanket, which is a double one. Jacques had the horse rug, Ferron had another pair of drawers and his gloves, and Pierre, who has got a small foot, took his boots. So we have all done well."