"Pretty poor fare, isn't it, mate?" one of them said as he observed the air of disfavour with which Julian regarded his rations. "It has been a matter of deep calculation with these French fellows as to how little would do just to keep a man alive, and I reckon they have got it to a nicety. This is what we have three times a day, and I don't know whether one is most hungry when one turns in at night, or when one turns out in the morning. However, we shall be better off to-night. We get our supper at six, and at eight we shall get in that stuff you paid for. It is a precious deal better than this, I can tell you; for one of our chums managed to hide two or three shillings when they searched us, and got some in, and it was good, and no mistake; and they give half a slice of bread with each pint. It is better bread than this black stuff they give us in prison. Though an English dog would turn up his nose at it, still it helps to fill up."
"We shall go up the Loire to Nantes," he replied; "she hails from there. To-morrow morning you had best put on that sailor suit I gave you to-day. Unless the wind freshens a good deal we sha'n't be there for three or four days, but I fancy, from the look of the sky, that it will blow up before morning, and, as likely as not, we shall get more than we want by evening. There is generally a cruiser or two off the mouth of the river. In a light wind we can show them our heels easily enough, but if it is blowing at all their weight tells. I am glad to be at sea again, lad, after being cooped up in that cursed prison for two years. It seems to make a new man of one. I don't know but that I am sorry I shot that fellow. I don't say that he didn't deserve it, for he did; but I don't see it quite so strongly as I did when I was living on bread and water, and with nothing to do but to think of how I could get even with him when I got out; besides, I never calculated upon getting anyone else into a mess, and I am downright sorry that I got you into one, Mr. Wyatt. However, the job is done, and it is no use crying over spilt milk."
"The debt is not all on your side, Mr. Faulkner. I, too, have got a debt to pay; and perhaps some day we may square matters up, when you have not got a score of coast-guardsmen at your back. However, I am content to leave matters as they are so long as you do the same. As to your owing a debt to me, it is yourself you have to thank for the trouble you have got into; it was no doing of mine. However, I warn you that you had better abstain from insulting me again. I did not strike you back when you hit me last time, but if you call me scoundrel again you shall see that I can hit as hard as you can, and I will teach you to keep a civil tongue in your head."
"What is it?" he whispered to Mr. Probert.
"Bravo, comrade!" the marshal said; "spoken in the true spirit of a soldier. Were there a dozen men like you in every regiment I should have no fear for the future. Did they call you Englishman?"
During Sir Robert's stay in St. Petersburg the Emperor took every occasion to show him marked favour, as if anxious to assure those whose views Sir Robert had represented, that he was in no way displeased with them for the attitude they had assumed; and upon his leaving to rejoin the army the Emperor directed him to repeat in the most formal manner his declaration that he would not enter into or permit any negotiations with Napoleon; and added that he would sooner let his beard grow to his waist, and eat potatoes in Siberia.