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?"
"We are glad, indeed, to make the acquaintance of the brother of our dear friend," the countess said, holding out her hand to Frank.
"Julian always used wads. This never came from his gun. Now let us go back to the tree, Mr. Henderson, and see which way the man went after firing the shot."
On the 6th of November a bitter frost set in, and the soldiers awoke chilled to the bone, and with gloomy anticipations of what would happen when the full rigour of a Russian winter was upon them. In some respects the frost was an advantage, for it hardened the roads, that were before often almost impassable from the amount of heavy traffic that had passed over them. But, upon the other hand, floating masses of ice speedily covered the rivers, rendering the work of fording them painful and difficult in the extreme. A Russian division had, on the 3rd, pressed hotly on the retreating column just as they reached the Wiazma river. A sanguinary conflict took place, the corps of the Viceroy passed through the town on its banks, and crossed the river in fair order, but that of Davoust broke and crossed in great confusion, covered by Ney's division, which retreated steadily, facing about from time to time, and repulsing the infantry attacks, but suffering heavily from the artillery. Ney set the town on fire to cover his retreat, crossed the bridges, and there stemmed the further advance of the Russians.