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The colonel called upon Sergeant Wyatt to come forward. Julian did so, saluted, and stood to attention, while the marshal dismounted and pinned to his breast the insignia of the order, while the regiment saluted, and, as Julian returned to his place in the ranks, burst into a hearty cheer. As soon as the marshal had ridden off, and the regiment fell out, the officers gathered round Julian and congratulated him upon the honour he had received, and, at the same time, thanked him heartily for the credit that the regiment had gained, through his means, while the enthusiasm of the soldiers knew no bounds. A word of praise from the Emperor was the distinction that French soldiers and French regiments most coveted, and to have been named, not only by their marshal in his orders, but by the Emperor in a general order to the army, was an honour that filled every heart with pride.
The morning after the reading of Ney's order of the day commending the regiment, an order from Napoleon himself was read at the head of the regiment, Ney taking his place by the side of the newly promoted colonel. The Emperor said that he had received the report of Marshal Ney of the conduct and bearing of the Grenadiers of the Rhone, together with a copy of his order of the day, and that this was fully endorsed by the Emperor, who felt that the spirit they were showing was even more creditable to them than the valour that they had so often exhibited in battle, and that he desired personally to thank them. The marshal had also brought before his notice the conduct of Sergeant Wyatt of that regiment, who had, he was informed, been the moving spirit in the change that he so much commended, and, as a mark of his approbation, he had requested the marshal himself, as his representative, to affix to his breast the ribbon of the cross of the Legion of Honour.
"I do not want it," the Pole said; "but I am glad that you should have one, for you have been working very hard lately, and it is now nearly nine months since you came down here."
Captain Lister himself was evidently disconcerted at finding how useless his target practice would be to him in the field, and, two or three times in the next week, went with Frank to practise. He improved with his right hand, but did not seem to obtain any accuracy in firing with his left, while Frank, at the end of a month, came to shoot as well with one hand as with the other.
"It is a funny name," the child said; "but I think I like it."
"I lost my way, and was found by a lot of peasants, who would have made very short work of me, but the child stepped forward like a little queen and told them that she was the Countess of Woronski, and that her father was a friend of the Czar's, and that if they sent us to him they would get a great reward. Thinking that it was good enough, they took us to their village and dressed me up in peasant's clothes, and kept us there a fortnight. Then the head man and the village Papa came with us here by post. The child's father and mother had given her up as dead, and their gratitude to me is boundless. It has been deemed unadvisable to say anything about my ever being with the French, and I am simply introduced by the count as an English gentleman whom he regards as his very dear friend. I sent letters home to you and Aunt a fortnight since, and if I had heard that the charge of murder was still hanging over me I should probably have remained here for good. The count has already hinted that there is an estate at my disposal. He is as rich as Cr?sus, and he and the countess would be terribly hurt if I were to refuse to accept their tokens of gratitude. They have no other child but Stephanie, and she is, of course, the apple of their eye."
"Don't say much to the others when you go out," Frank said. "You can tell them that, from what I say, it won't be such a one-sided affair as they seem to think."