"Have you any questions to ask the witness, Mr. Faulkner?" the chairman asked.
"I am overpowered, Mr. Linton. It has all come upon me so much by surprise that I do not know what I ought to say or do."
The distance between the post-houses varied considerably, being sometimes only nine miles apart, sometimes as many as twenty, but they were generally performed at a gallop, the priest, at Julian's suggestion, always giving somewhat more than the usual drink-money to the driver, and in five days from the time of their leaving Borizow they arrived at St. Petersburg, halting only for a few hours each night at post-houses. They had no difficulty in ascertaining where the Woronski palace was situated, and, taking a droski, drove there at once. Stephanie clapped her hands as she saw it.
"I should think that he would be just the man for us. Would you see him when you go home this afternoon, and ask him to come to No. 44 Buckingham Street, either this evening at nine, or at the same hour to-morrow morning? I have written my address on this card."
"And no fools either," Julian replied, "considering the villainous way in which they have been harried. Even peasants have some feeling, and when they are treated like wild beasts they will turn. It seems to me that instead of ill-treating them we ought, with such a march as this before us, to have done everything in our power to show them that, although we were going to fight any armies that opposed us, we had no ill-feeling against the people at large. If they had found us ready to pay for everything we wanted, and to treat them as well as if they had been our own country people, there would have been no running away from us. Then, as we advanced we could have purchased an abundant supply of food everywhere. We should have had no fear as to our communications, and might have wandered a hundred yards outside our sentries without the risk of having our throats cut. However, it is of no use going over these arguments again. The thing has been done and cannot be undone, and we have but to accept the consequences, and make the best of them. A man who burns a wood mustn't complain a month afterwards because he has no fuel. However, I hope that in another day or two we shall be moving on. As long as we are going there is no time to feel it dull; it is the halt, after being so long in motion, that gives us time to talk, and puts fancies into our heads. We did not expect a pleasure excursion when we started."
After this Julian went on more than one occasion with Bill and other fishermen to look on at the landing of contraband cargoes. If the distance was within a walk they would start from Weymouth straight inland, and come down by the road along which the carts were to fetch the goods up, for it was only occasionally that the fishermen would take their boats. At Lulworth, of course, there had been no risk in their doing so, as boats, when fishing to the east, would often make their way into the cove and drop anchor there for a few hours. But when the run was to be made at lonely spots, the sight of fishing boats making in to anchor would have excited the suspicions of the coast-guard on the cliffs. The number of fishermen who took part in the smugglers' proceedings was but small. All of these had either brothers or other relations on board the luggers, or were connected with some of the smugglers' confederates on shore. They received a handsome sum for their night's work, which was at times very hard, as the kegs had often to be carried up steep and dangerous paths to the top of the cliffs, and then a considerable distance across the downs to the nearest points the carts could come to.