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Julian therefore related his story in full, and produced the paper given him on his enlistment, guaranteeing that he should not be called upon to fight against his countrymen.
"This is an improvement on the post-waggons, Stephanie," Julian said.
In ten minutes Frank stepped on to the deck of the Boxer. Captain Downes met him there. "I congratulate you, Mr. Wyatt," he said warmly. "I suppose you have been hearing that we had a sharp tussle with the smugglers, and at last captured that confounded lugger that has given us so much trouble for the past two years. Though I am mightily pleased at that, I am more pleased still that among those on board was that fellow Markham. He fought like a tiger. I reckon he knew that his neck was in a noose, for he would, of course, have heard from his friends here that the matter of Faulkner's murder had been cleared up, and there was a warrant out against him. Well, he got a pistol shot in his chest, and after it was all over we found that he was pretty near gone. As soon as a lantern was put to his face two or three of the men knew him at once, and I went up to him. He was pretty well past speaking, but as I stooped over him he said, 'You have got me this time, Captain Downes, and no mistake. Well, it don't make much matter; I was getting sick of the life. You look in the pocket of my jacket when I am gone, and you will find a letter there. I swore to young Wyatt that I would clear him of that charge of shooting Faulkner. I shot him myself, and I have put it all down there.'
"Well, that is quite enough," Frank exclaimed triumphantly. "Julian had his double-barrelled gun with him, and had been rabbit-shooting; and if it had been he who fired it would have been with a charge of shot. You don't suppose he went about with a bullet in his pocket to use in case he happened to meet Faulkner, and have another row with him. Julian never fired a bullet in his life, as far as I know. There is not such a thing as a bullet-mould in the house."
"Well, placed as you are, Wyatt, I don't know that I should not be inclined to do the same. At any rate, you would be seeing something of life, instead of living like a caged monkey here. Of course, as you say, no one would dream of such a thing if one would have to go to Spain to fight our fellows there. Still, if by any chance, after this Russian business, your regiment was ordered back to France, and then to Spain, you would at any rate have a fair chance of escaping on such a journey. I would not do it myself, because I have a wife at home. One hopes, slight as the chance seems to be, that some day there will be a general exchange of prisoners. But as you can't go home, I don't know but that it would be a good plan for you to do what you propose. At any rate, your life as a soldier would be a thousand times better than this dog's existence."