"This is our skating place," the count said as they entered. "We have guest-nights here once a week during the winter. As a rule, those present are simply the invited guests of members; but to-night the tickets are sold at twenty roubles each, and the proceeds go to the funds for the benefit of the wounded. It will furnish a handsome sum, for everyone is here, and there are few indeed who have paid as little as the twenty roubles. Some sent cheques for as much as five hundred roubles for their tickets, and a hundred may be taken as the average. This is the first time that we have had a military band, for music is naturally considered out of place when everyone is in mourning and such vast numbers of our soldiers are still suffering horribly; but as this is for their benefit it is considered as an exception. You will not see much skating; the ice will be far too crowded."
"Julian Wyatt, General."
"No; it is signed by the Colonel and Mr. Harrington. They took the dying deposition of Mr. Faulkner. There is no harm in my telling you that, because it must be generally known when your brother is brought up, but till then please do not let it go further. He has sworn that he overtook Mr. Wyatt two or three hundred yards before he got to his own gate. There was an altercation between them, and he swears that your brother used threats. He had a double-barrelled gun in his hand, and as Faulkner was riding up the drive to the house he was fired at from the trees on his left, and fell from his horse. Almost directly afterwards Mr. Wyatt ran out from the spot where the gun had been fired. Thinking he would finish him if he thought he was still alive, Mr. Faulkner closed his eyes and held his breath. Your brother came up and stood over him, and having satisfied himself that he was dead, ran off through the trees again."
Julian stood looking after him until he saw him turn in at his gate. The drive to the house led, as he knew, diagonally through the wood, and as he walked forward he heard the horse's galloping hoofs grow louder and louder. Suddenly there was the report of a gun some seventy or eighty yards away. It was mingled with that of a sudden cry, and Julian heard the horse galloping on even faster than before. With an exclamation of "Good heavens! something has happened!" he broke through the hedge and ran in the direction of the sound. As he approached it he thought that he caught sight of a man running through the trees, but he kept straight on until he came upon the drive. Twenty yards away Mr. Faulkner lay stretched on the ground. He went up to him, and stooped over him. His eyes were closed, and as he lay on his back Julian saw blood oozing through a bullet-hole in his coat high up on the left side of the chest.
"It did look ugly at first, Julian. When I heard Faulkner's deposition I could see no way out of it whatever. I could not suppose that a dying man would lie, and, absolutely sure of your innocence as I was, could make neither head nor tail of the matter. Is this the mansion? You certainly have fallen on good quarters."
"All has gone off well," the captain then said. "We got the laces and silks safely away, and the money has been paid for them. The revenue cutter started early this morning, and was off Lyme Regis this afternoon, so we shall have a clear run out. We will keep on the course we are laying till we are well beyond the race, and then make for the west. We have sent word for them to be on the look-out for us at the old place near Dartmouth to-morrow night, and if we are not there then, the night after; if there is danger, they are to send up a rocket from the hill inland."