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Title: The Canadian Brothers; Or, The Prophecy Fulfilled: A Tale of the Late American War — Volume 2
Author: Richardson, Major (John)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Canadian Brothers; Or, The Prophecy Fulfilled: A Tale of the Late American War — Volume 2" ***

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THE CANADIAN BROTHERS;
   OR,
THE PROPHECY FULFILLED.

CHAPTER I.

A few days after the adventure detailed in our last
chapter, the American party, consisting of Major and Miss
Montgomerie, and the daughters of the Governor, with
their attendants, embarked in the schooner, to the command
of which Gerald had been promoted. The destination of
the whole was the American port of Buffalo, situate at
the further extremity of the lake, nearly opposite to
the fort of Erie; and thither our hero, perfectly recovered
from the effect of his accident, received instructions
to repair without loss of time, land his charge, and
immediately rejoin the flotilla at Amherstburg.

However pleasing the first, the latter part of the order
was by no means so strictly in consonance with the views
and feelings of the new commander, as might have been
expected from a young and enterprising spirit; but he
justified his absence of zeal to himself, in the fact
that there was no positive service to perform; no duty
in which he could have an opportunity of signalizing
himself, or rendering a benefit to his country.

If, however, the limited period allotted for the execution
of his duty, was a source of much disappointment to
brother, to whom it gave promise of a speedy, termination
of an attachment, which he had all along regarded with
disapprobation, and a concern amounting almost to dread.
We have seen that Henry Grantham, on the occasion of his
brother's disaster at the pic-nic, had been wound up into
an enthusiasm of gratitude, which had nearly weaned him
from his original aversion; but this feeling had not
outlived the day on which the occurrence took place. Nay,
on the very next morning, he had had a long private
conversation with Gerald, in regard to Miss Montgomerie,
which, ending as it did, in a partial coolness, had tended
to make him dislike the person who had caused it still
more. It was, therefore, not without secret delight that
he overheard the order for the instant return of the
schooner, which, although conveyed by the Commodore in
the mildest manner, was yet so firm and decided as to
admit neither of doubt nor dispute. While the dangerous
American continued a resident at Detroit, there was every
reason to fear that the attachment of his infatuated
brother, fed by opportunity, would lead him to the
commission of some irrevocable act of imprudence; whereas,
on the contrary, when she had departed, there was every
probability that continued absence, added to the stirring
incidents of war, which might be expected shortly to
ensue, would prove effectual in restoring the tone of
Gerald's mind. There was, consequently, much to please
him in the order for departure. Miss Montgomerie once
landed within the American lines, and his brother returned
to his duty, the anxious soldier had no doubt that the
feelings of the latter would resume their wonted channel,
and that, in his desire to render himself worthy of glory,
to whom he had been originally devoted, he would forget,
at least after a season, all that was connected with
love.

It was a beautiful autumnal morning, when the schooner
weighed anchor from Detroit. Several of the officers of
the garrison had accompanied the ladies on board, and
having made fast their sailing boat to the stem, loitered
on deck with the intention of descending the river a few
miles, and then beating up against the current. The whole
party were thus assembled, conversing together and watching
the movements of the sailors, when a boat, in which were
several armed men encircling a huge raw-boned individual,
habited in the fashion of an American backwoodsman,
approached the vessel. This was no other than the traitor
Desborough, who, it will be recollected, was detained
and confined in prison at the surrender of Detroit. He
had been put upon his trial for the murder of Major
Grantham, but had been acquitted through want of evidence
to convict, his own original admission being negatived
by a subsequent declaration that he had only made it
through a spirit of bravado and revenge. Still, as the
charges of desertion and treason had been substantiated
against him, he was, by order of the Commandant of
Amherstburg, destined for Fort Erie, in the schooner
conveying the American party to Buffalo, with a view to
his being sent on to the Lower Province, there to be
disposed of as the General Commanding in Chief should
deem fit.

The mien of the settler, as he now stepped over the
vessel's side, partook of the mingled cunning and ferocity
by which he had formerly been distinguished. While
preparations were being made for his reception and security
below deck, he bent Ms sinister, yet bold, glance on each
of the little group in succession, as if he would have
read in their countenances the probable fate that awaited
himself. The last who fell under his scrutiny was Miss
Montgomerie, on whom his eye had scarcely rested, when
the insolent indifference of his manner seemed to give
place at once to a new feeling. There was intelligence
enough in the glance of both to show that an insensible
interest had been created, and yet neither gave the
slightest indication, by word, of what was passing in
the mind.

"Well, Mister Jeremiah Desborough," said, Middlemore,
first breaking the silence, and, in the taunting mode of
address he usually adopted towards the settler, "I reckon
as how you'll shoot no wild ducks this season, on the
Sandusky river--not likely to be much troubled with your
small bores now."

The Yankee gazed at him a moment in silence, evidently
ransacking his brain for something sufficiently insolent
to offer in return. At length, he drew his hat slouchingly
over one side of his head, folded his arms across his
chest, and squirting a torrent of tobacco juice from his
capacious jaws, exclaimed in his drawling voice:

"I guess, Mister Officer, as how you're mighty cute upon
a fallen man--but tarnation seize me, if I don't expect
you'll find some one cuter still afore long. The sogers
all say," he continued with a low, cunning laugh, "as
how you're a bit of a wit, and fond of a play upon words
like. If so, I'll jist try you a little at your own game,
and tell you that I had a thousand to one rather be
troubled with my small bores than with such a confounded
great bore as you are; and now, you may pit that down as
something good, in your pun book when you please, and ax
me no more questions."

Long and fitful was the laughter which burst from Villiers
and Molineux, at this bitter retort upon their companion,
which they vowed should be repeated at the mess table of
either garrison, whenever he again attempted one of his
execrables.

Desborough took courage at the license conveyed by this
pleasantry, and pursued, winking familiarly to Captain
Molineux, while he, at the same time, nodded to Middlemore,

"Mighty little time, I calculate, had he to think of
aggravatin', when I gripped him down at Hartley's pint,
that day. If it hadn't been for that old heathen scoundrel
Gattrie, my poor boy Phil, as the Injuns killed, and me,
I reckon, would have sent him and young Grantham to crack
their puns upon the fishes of the lake. How scared they
were, sure-LY."

"Silence, fellow!" thundered Gerald Grantham, who now
came up from the hold, whither he had been to examine
the fastenings prepared for his prisoner. "How dare you
open your lips here?"--then pointing towards the steps
he had just quitted--"descend, sir!"

Never did human countenance exhibit marks of greater rage
than Desborough's at that moment. His eyes seemed about
to start from their sockets--the large veins of his neck
and brow swelled almost to bursting, and while his lips
were compressed with violence, his nervous fingers played,
as with convulsive anxiety to clutch themselves around
the throat of the officer; every thing, in short, marked
the effort it cost him to restrain himself within such
bounds as his natural cunning and prudence dictated.
Still, he neither spoke nor moved.

"Descend, sir, instantly!" repeated Gerald, "or, by
Heaven, I will have you thrown in without further ceremony
--descend this moment!"

The settler advanced, placed one foot upon the ladder,
then turned his eye steadfastly upon the officer. Every
one present shuddered to behold its expression--it was
that of fierce, inextinguishable hatred.

"By hell, you will pay me one day or t'other for this,
I reckon," he uttered, in a hoarse and fearful whisper--
"every dog has his day--it will be Jeremiah Desborough's
turn next."

"What! do you presume to threaten, villain?" vociferated
Gerald, now excited beyond all bounds: "here men, gag me
this fellow--tie him neck and heels, and throw him into
the hold, as you would a bag of ballast."

Several men, with Sambo at their head, advanced for the
purpose of executing the command of their officer, when
the eldest daughter of the Governor, who had witnessed
the whole scene, suddenly approached the latter, and
interceded warmly for a repeal of the punishment. Miss
Montgomerie, also, who had been a silent observer, glanced
significantly towards the settler. What her look implied,
no one was quick enough to detect; but its effect on the
Yankee was evident--for, without uttering another syllable,
or waiting to be again directed, he moved slowly and
sullenly down the steps that led to his place of
confinement.

Whatever the impressions produced upon the minds of the
several spectators by this incident, they were not
expressed. No comment was made, nor was further allusion
had to the settler. Other topics of conversation were
introduced, and it was not until the officers, having
bid them a final and cordial adieu, had again taken to
their boats, on their way back to Detroit, that the ladies
quitted the deck for the cabin which had been prepared
for them.

The short voyage down the lake was performed without
incident. From the moment of the departure of the officers,
an air of dulness and abstraction, originating, in a
great degree, in the unpleasantness of separation--
anticipated and past--pervaded the little party. Sensitive
and amiable as were the daughters of the American Governor,
it was not to be supposed that they parted without regret
from men in whose society they had recently passed so
many agreeable hours, and for two of whom they had
insensibly formed preferences. Not, however, that that
parting was to be considered final, for both Molineux
and Villiers had promised to avail themselves of the
first days of peace, to procure leave of absence, and
revisit them in their native country. The feeling of
disappointment acknowledged by the sisters, was much more
perceptible in Gerald Grantham and Miss Montgomerie, both
of whom became more thoughtful and abstracted, as the
period of separation drew nearer.

It was about ten o'clock on the evening immediately
preceding that on which they expected to gain their
destination, that, as Gerald leaned ruminating over the
side of the schooner, then going at the slow rate of two
knots an hour, he fancied be heard voices, in a subdued
tone, ascending apparently from the quarter of the vessel
in which Desborough was confined. He listened attentively
for a few moments, but even the slight gurgling of the
water, as it was thrown from the prow, prevented further
recognition. Deeming it possible that the sounds might
not proceed from the place of confinement of the settler,
but from the cabin which it adjoined, and with which it
communicated, he was for a short time undecided whether
or not he should disturb the party already retired to
rest, by descending and passing into the room occupied
by his prisoner. Anxiety to satisfy himself that the
latter was secure determined him, and he had already
planted a foot on the companion-ladder, when his further
descent was arrested by Miss Montgomerie, who appeared
emerging from the opening, bonneted and cloaked, as with
a view of continuing on deck.

"What! you, dearest Matilda?" he asked, delightedly--"I
thought you had long since retired to rest."

"To rest, Gerald!--can you, then, imagine mine is a soul
to slumber, when I know that tomorrow we part--perhaps
for ever?"

"No, by Heaven! not for ever," energetically returned
the sailor, seizing and carrying the white hand that
pressed his own, to his lips--"be but faithful to me, my
own Matilda--love me but with one half the ardor with
which my soul glows for you, and the moment duty can be
sacrificed to affection, you may expect again to see me."

"Duty!" repeated the American, with something like reproach
in her tone--"must the happiness of her you profess so
ardently to love, be sacrificed to a mere cold sense of
duty? But you are right--you have YOUR duty to perform,
and I have MINE. Tomorrow we separate, and for ever."

"No, Matilda--not for ever, unless, indeed, such be your
determination. YOU may find the task to forget an easy
one--_I_ never can. Hope--heart--life--happiness--all
are centered in you. Were it not that honour demands my
service to my country, I would fly with you tomorrow,
delighted to encounter every difficulty fortune might
oppose, if, by successfully combating these, I should
establish a deeper claim on your affection. Oh, Matilda!"
continued the impassioned youth, "never did I feel more
than at this moment, how devotedly I could be your slave
for ever."

At the commencement of this conversation, Miss Montgomerie
had gently led her lover towards the outer gangway of
the vessel, over which they both now leaned. As Gerald
made the last passionate avowal of his tenderness, a ray
of triumphant expression, clearly visible in the light
of the setting moon, passed over the features of the
American.

"Gerald," she implored earnestly--"oh, repeat me that
avowal. Again tell me that you will be the devoted of
your Matilda, in ALL things--Gerald, swear most solemnly
to me that you will--my every hope of happiness depends
upon it."

How could he refuse, to such pleader, the repetition of
his spontaneous vow? Already were his lips opened to
swear, before high Heaven, that, in all things earthly,
he would obey her will, when he was interrupted by a well
known voice, hastily exclaiming:

"Who a debbel dat dare?"

 Scarcely had these words been uttered, when they were
followed apparently by a blow, then a bound, and then
the falling of a human body upon the deck. Gently
disengaging his companion, who had clung to him with an
air of alarm, Gerald turned to discover the cause of the
interruption. To his surprise, he beheld Sambo, whose
post of duty was at the helm, lying extended on the deck,
while, at the same moment, a sudden plunge was heard, as
of a heavy body falling overboard. The first impulse of
the officer was to seize the helm, with a view to right
the vessel, already swerving from her course; the second,
to awaken the crew, who were buried in sleep on the
forecastle. These, with the habitual promptitude of their
nature, speedily obeyed his call, and a light being
brought, Gerald, confiding the helm to one of his best
men, proceeded to examine the condition of Sambo.

It was evident that the aged negro had been stunned, but
whether seriously injured, it was impossible to decide.
No external wound was visible, and yet his breathing was
that of one who had received some severe bodily harm. In
a few minutes, however, he recovered his recollection,
and the words he uttered, as he gazed wildly around, and
addressed his master, were sufficient to explain the
whole affair:

"Damn him debbel, Massa Geral, he get safe off, him
billain."

"Ha, Desborough! it is then so? Quick, put the helm about
--two of the lightest and most active into my canoe, and
follow in pursuit. The fellow is making for the shore,
no doubt. Now then, my lads," as two of the crew sprang
into the canoe that had been instantly lowered, "fifty
dollars between you, recollect, if you bring him back."

Although there needed no greater spur to exertion, than
a desire both to please their officer, and to acquit
themselves of a duty, the sum offered was not without
its due weight. In an instant, the canoe was seen scudding
along the surface of the water, towards the shore, and,
at intervals, as the anxious Gerald listened, he fancied
he could distinguish the exertions of the fugitive swimmer
from those made by the paddles of his pursuers. For a
time all was silent, when, at length, a deriding laugh
came over the surface of the lake, that too plainly told,
the settler had reached the shore, and was beyond all
chance of capture. In the bitterness of his disappointment,
and heedless of the pleasure his change of purpose had
procured him, Gerald could not help cursing his folly,
in having suffered himself to be diverted from his original
intention of descending to the prisoner's place of
confinement. Had this been done, all might have been
well. He had now no doubt that the voices had proceeded
from thence, and he was resolved, as soon as the absent
men came on board, to institute a strict inquiry into
the affair.

No sooner, therefore, had the canoe returned, than all
hands were summoned and questioned, under a threat of
severe punishment, to whoever should be found prevaricating
as to the manner of the prisoner's escape. Each positively
denied having in any way violated the order which enjoined
that no communication should take place between the
prisoner and the crew, to whom indeed all access was
denied, with the exception of Sambo, entrusted with the
duty of carrying the former his meals. The denial of the
men was so straight forward and clear, that Gerald knew
not what to believe, and yet it was evident that the
sounds he had heard, proceeded from human voices. Determined
to satisfy himself, his first care was to descend between
the decks, preceded by his boatswain, with a lantern. At
the sternmost extremity of the little vessel there was
a small room, used for stores, but which, empty on this
trip, had been converted into a cell for Desborough. This
was usually entered from the cabin; but in order to avoid
inconvenience to the ladies, a door had been effected in
the bulk heads, the key of which was kept by Sambo. On
inspection, this door was found hermetically closed, so
that it became evident, if the key had not been purloined
from its keeper, the escape of Desborough must have been
accomplished through the cabin. Moreover, there was no
opening of any description to be found, through which a
knife might be passed to enable him to sever the bonds
which confined his feet. Close to the partition, were
swung the hammocks of two men, who had been somewhat
dilatory in obeying the summons on deck, and between whom
it was not impossible the conversation, which Gerald had
detected, had been carried on. On re-ascending, he again
questioned these men, but they most solemnly assured him
they had not spoken either together or to others, within
the last two hours, having fallen fast asleep on being
relieved from their watch. Search was now made in the
pockets of Sambo, whose injury had been found to be a
violent blow given on the back of the head, and whose
recovery from stupefaction was yet imperfect. The key
being found, all suspicion of participation was removed
from the crew, who could have only communicated from
their own quarter of the vessel, and they were accordingly
dismissed; one half, comprising the first watch, to their
hammocks, the remainder to their original station on the
forecastle. The next care of the young Commander was to
inspect the cabin, and institute a strict scrutiny as to
the manner in which the escape had been effected. The
door that opened into the prison, stood between the
companion ladder and the recess occupied by the daughters
of the Governor. To his surprise, Gerald found it locked,
and the key that usually remained in a niche near the
door, removed. On turning to search for it, he also
noticed, for the first time, that the lamp, suspended
from a beam in the centre of the cabin, had been
extinguished. Struck by these remarkable circumstances,
a suspicion, which he would have given much not to have
entertained, forced itself upon his mind. As a first
measure, and that there might be no doubt whatever on
the subject, he broke open the door. Of course it was
untenanted. Upon a small table lay the remains of the
settler's last meal, but neither knife nor fork, both
which articles had been interdicted, were to be found.
At the foot of the chair on which he had evidently been
seated for the purpose of freeing himself, lay the heavy
cords that had bound his ankles. These had been severed
in two places, and, as was discovered on close examination,
by the application of some sharp and delicate cutting
instrument. No where, however, was this visible. It was
evident to Gerald that assistance had been afforded from
some one within the cabin, and who that some one was, he
scarcely doubted. With this impression fully formed, he
re-entered from the prison, and standing near the curtained
berth occupied by the daughters of the Governor, questioned
as to whether they were aware that his prisoner Desborough
had escaped. Both expressed surprise in so natural a
manner, that Gerald knew not what to think; but when they
added that they had not heard the slightest noise--nor
had spoken themselves, nor heard others speak, professing
moreover ignorance that the lamp even had been extinguished,
he felt suspicion converted into certainty.

It was impossible, he conceived, that a door, which stood
only two paces from the bed, could be locked and unlocked
without their hearing it--neither was it probable that
Desborough would have thought of thus needlessly securing
the place of his late detention. Such an idea might occur
to the aider, but not to the fugitive himself, to whom
every moment must be of the highest importance. Who then
could have assisted him? Not Major Montgomerie, for he
slept in the after part of the cabin--not Miss Montgomerie,
for she was upon deck--moreover, had not one of those,
he had so much reason to suspect, interceded for the
fellow only on the preceding day.

Such was the reasoning of Gerald, as he passed rapidly
in review the several probabilities--but, although annoyed
beyond measure at the escape of the villain, and incapable
of believing other than that the daughters of the Governor
had connived at it, his was too gallant a nature to make
such a charge, even by implication, against them. He was
aware of the strong spirit of nationality existing every
where among citizens of the United States, and he had no
doubt, that in liberating their countryman, they had
acted under an erroneous impression of duty. Although
extremely angry, he made no comment whatever on the
subject, but contenting himself with wishing his charge
a less than usually cordial good night, left them to
their repose, and once more quitted the cabin.

During the whole of this examination, Miss Montgomerie
had continued on deck. Gerald found her leaning over the
gangway, at which he had left her, gazing intently on
the water, through which the schooner was now gliding at
an increased rate. From the moment of his being compelled
to quit her side, to inquire into the cause of Sambo's
exclamation and rapidly succeeding fall, he had not had
an opportunity of again approaching her. Feeling that
some apology was due, he hastened to make one; but, vexed
and irritated as he was at the escape of the settler,
his disappointment imparted to his manner a degree of
restraint, and there was less of ardor in his address
than he had latterly been in the habit of exhibiting.
Miss Montgomerie remarked it, and sighed.

"I have been reflecting," she said, "on the little
dependance that is to be placed upon the most flattering
illusions of human existence--and here are you come to
afford me a painful and veritable illustration of my
theory."

"How, dearest Matilda! what mean you?" asked the officer,
again warmed into tenderness by the presence of the
fascinating being.

"Can you ask, Gerald?" and her voice assumed a tone of
melancholy reproach--"recal but your manner--your language
--your devotedness of soul, not an hour since--compare
these with your present coldness, and then wonder that
I should have reason for regret."

"Nay, Matilda, that coldness arose not from any change
in my feelings towards yourself--I was piqued, disappointed,
even angry, at the extraordinary escape of my prisoner,
and could not sufficiently play the hypocrite to disguise
my annoyance."

"Yet, what had I to do with the man's escape, that his
offence should be visited upon me?" she demanded, quickly.

"Can you not find some excuse for my vexation, knowing,
as you do that the wretch was a vile assassin--a man
whose hands have been imbrued in the blood of my own
father?"

"Was he not acquitted of the charge?"

"He was--but only from lack of evidence to convict; yet,
although acquitted by the law, not surer is fate than
that he is an assassin."

"You hold assassins in great horror," remarked the
American, thoughtfully--"you are right--it is but natural."

"In horror, said, you?--aye, in such loathing, that
language can supply no term to express it."

"And yet, you once attempted an assassination yourself.
Nay, do not start, and look the image of astonishment.
Have you not told me that you fired into the hut, on the
night of your mysterious adventure? What right had you,
if we argue the question on its real merit, to attempt
the life of a being who had never injured you?"

"What right, Matilda?--every right, human and divine.
I sought but to save a victim from the hands of a midnight
murderer.

"And, to effect this, scrupled not to become a midnight
murderer yourself!

"And is it thus you interpret my conduct, Matilda?"--
the voice of Gerald spoke bitter reproach--"can you
compare the act of that man with mine, and hold me no
more blameless than him?"

"Nay, I did not say I blamed you," she returned, gaily--
"but the fact is, you had left me so long to ruminate
here alone, that I have fallen into a mood argumentative,
or philosophical--whichsoever you may be pleased to term
it--and I am willing to maintain my position, that you
might, by possibility, have been more guilty than the
culprit at whom you aimed, had your shot destroyed him."

The light tone in which Matilda spoke dispelled the
seriousness which had begun to shadow the brow of the
young Commander--"And pray how do you make this good?"
he asked.

"Suppose for instance, the slumberer you preserved had
been a being of crime, through whom the hopes, the
happiness, the peace of mind, and above all, the fair
fame of the other been cruelly and irrevocably blasted.
Let us imagine that he had destroyed some dear friend or
relative of him with whose vengeance you beheld him
threatened."

"Could that be--."

"Or," interrupted the American, in the same careless tone
"that he had betrayed a wife."

"Such a man--"

"Or, what is worse, infinitely worse, sought to put the
finishing stroke to his villainy, by affixing to the name
and conduct of his victim every ignominy and disgrace
which can attach to insulted humanity."

"Matilda," eagerly exclaimed the youth, advancing close
to her, and gazing into her dark eyes; "you are drawing
a picture."

"No Gerald," she replied calmly, "I am merely supposing
a case. Could you find no excuse for a man acting under
a sense of so much injury?--would you still call him an
assassin, if, with such provocation, he sought to destroy
the hated life of one who had thus injured him?"

Gerald paused, apparently bewildered.

"Tell me, dearest Gerald," and her fair and beautiful
hand caught and pressed his--"would you still bestow upon
one so injured the degrading epithet of assassin?"

"Assassin!--most undoubtedly I would. But why this
question, Matilda?"

The features of the American assumed a changed expression;
she dropped the hand she bad taken the instant before,
and said, disappointedly:

"I find, then, my philosophy is totally at fault."

"Wherein, Matilda?" anxiously asked Gerald.

"In this, that I have not been able to make you a convert
to my opinions."

"And these are--?" again questioned Gerald, his every
pulse throbbing with intense emotion.

"Not to pronounce too harshly on the conduct of others,
seeing that we ourselves may stand in much need of lenity
of judgment. There might have existed motives for the
action of him whom you designate as an assassin, quite
as powerful as those which led to YOUR interference, and
quite as easily justified to himself."

"But, dearest Matilda--"

"Nay, I have done--I close at once my argument and my
philosophy. The humour is past, and I shall no longer
attempt to make the worse appear the better cause. I dare
say you thought me in earnest," she added, with slight
sarcasm, "but a philosophical disquisition between two
lovers on the eve of parting for ever, was too novel and
piquant a seduction to be resisted."

That "parting for ever" was sufficient to drive all
philosophy utterly away from our hero.

"For ever, did you say, Matilda?--no, not for ever; yet,
how coldly do you allude to a separation, which, although
I trust it will be only temporary, is to me a source of
the deepest vexation. You did not manifest this indifference
in the early part of our conversation this evening."

"And if there be a change," emphatically yet tenderly
returned the beautiful American; "am _I_ the only one
changed. Is your manner NOW what it was THEN. Do you
already forget at WHAT a moment that conversation was
interrupted?"

Gerald did not forget; and again, as they leaned over
the vessel's side, his arm was passed around the waist
of his companion.

The hour, the scene, the very rippling of the water--
all contributed to lend a character of excitement to the
feelings of the youth. Filled with tenderness and admiration
for the fascinating being who reposed thus confidingly
on his shoulder, he scarcely dared to move, lest in so
doing he should destroy the fabric of his happiness.

"First watch there, hilloa! rouse up, and be d--d to you,
it's two o'clock."

Both Gerald and Matilda, although long and silently
watching the progress of the vessel, had forgotten there
was any such being as a steersman to direct her.

"Good Heaven, can it be so late?" whispered the American,
gliding from her lover; "if my uncle be awake, he will
certainly chide me for my imprudence. Good night, dear
Gerald," and drawing her cloak more closely around her
shoulders, she quickly crossed the deck, and descended
to the cabin.

"What the devil's this?" said the relieving steersman,
as, rubbing his heavy eyes with one hand, he stooped and
raised with the other something from the deck against
which he had kicked, in his advance to take the helm;
"why, I'm blest if it arn't the apron off old Sally here.
Have you been fingering Sall's apron, Bill?"

"Not I, faith," growled the party addressed, I've enough
to do to steer the craft without thinking o' meddling
with Sall's apron at this time o' night."

"I should like to know who it is that has hexposed the
old gal to the night hair in this here manner," still
muttered the other, holding up the object in question to
his closer scrutiny; "it was only this morning I gave
her a pair of bran new apron strings, and helped to dress
her myself. If she doesn't hang fire after this, I'm a
Dutchman that's all."

"What signifies jawing, Tom Fluke. I suppose she got
unkivered in the scurry after the Yankee; but bear a
hand, and kiver her, unless you wish a fellow to stay
here all night."

Old Sal, our readers must know, was no other than the
long twenty-four pounder, formerly belonging to Gerald's
gun-boat, which, now removed to his new command, lay a
mid ships, and mounted on a pivot, constituted the whole
battery of the schooner. The apron was the leaden covering
protecting the touch-hole, which, having unaccountably
fallen off, had encountered the heavy foot of Tom Fluke,
in his advance along the deck.

The apron was at length replaced. Tom Fluke took the
helm, and his companion departed, as he said, to have a
comfortable snooze.

Gerald, who had been an amused listener of the preceding
dialogue, soon followed, first inquiring into the condition
of his faithful Sambo, who, on examination, was found to
have been stunned by the violence of the blow he had
received. This, Gerald doubted not, had been given with
the view of better facilitating Desborough's escape, by
throwing the schooner out of her course, and occasioning
a consequent confusion among the crew, which might have
the effect of distracting their attention, for a time,
from himself.



CHAPTER II.

The following evening, an armed schooner was lying at
anchor in the roadstead of Buffalo, at the southern
extremity of Lake Erie, and within a mile of the American
shore. It was past midnight--and although the lake was
calm and unbroken as the face of a mirror, a dense fog
had arisen which prevented objects at the head of the
vessel from being seen from the stern. Two men only were
visible upon the after deck; the one lay reclining upon
an arm chest, muffled up in a dread-nought pea jacket,
the other paced up and down hurriedly, and with an air
of deep pre-occupation. At intervals he would stop and
lean over the gang-way, apparently endeavouring to pierce
through the fog and catch a glimpse of the adjacent shore,
and, on these occasions, a profound sigh would burst from
his chest. Then again he would resume his rapid walk,
with the air of one who has resolved to conquer a weakness,
and substitute determination in its stead. Altogether
his manner was that of a man ill at ease from his own
thoughts.

"Sambo," he at length exclaimed, addressing the man in
the pea jacket for the first time, "I shall retire to my
cabin, but fail not to call me an hour before day-break.
Our friends being all landed, there can be nothing further
to detain us here, we will therefore make the best of
our way back to Amherstburg in the morning,"

"Yes, Massa Geral," returned the negro, yawning and half
raising his brawny form from his rude couch with one
hand, while he rubbed his heavy eyes with the knuckles
of the other.

"How is your head tonight?" inquired the officer in a
kind tone.

"Berry well, Massa Geral--but berry sleepy."

"Then sleep, Sambo; but do not fail to awaken me in time:
we shall weigh anchor the very first thing in the morning,
provided the fog does not continue. By the bye, you
superintended the landing of the baggage--was every thing
sent ashore?"

"All, Massa Geral, I see him all pack in e wagon, for e
Bubbalo town--all, except dis here I find in Miss Mungummery
cabin under e pillow."

As he spoke, the negro quitted his half recumbent position,
and drew from his breast a small clasped pocket book, on
a steel entablature adorning the cover of which, were
the initials of the young lady just named.

"How is it Sambo, that you had not sooner spoken of this?
The pocket book contains papers that may be of importance;
and yet there is now no means of forwarding it, unless
I delay the schooner."

"I only find him hab an hour ago, Massa Geral, when I go
to make e beds and put e cabin to rights," said the old
man, in a tone that showed he felt, and was pained by
the reproof of his young master. "Dis here too," producing
a small ivory handled penknife, "I find same time in e
Gubbanor's dater's bed."

Gerald extended his hand to receive it. "A penknife in
the bed of the Governor's daughters!" he repeated with
surprise. Ruminating a moment he added to himself, "By
heaven, it must be so--it is then as I expected. Would
that I had had this proof of their participation before
they quitted the schooner. Very well, Sambo, no blame
can attach to you--go to sleep, my good fellow, but not
beyond the time I have given you."

"Tankee, Massa Geral, "and drawing the collar of his pea
jacket close under his ears, the negro again extended
himself at his length upon the arm chest.

The first idea of the young Commander on descending to
the cabin, was to examine the blade of the penknife.
Passing it over his finger, he perceived that the edge
had that particular bluntness which would have been
produced by cutting through a rope, and on closer
examination he found it full of numerous fine notches,
apparently the result of the resistance it had met with.
His next care was to examine the severed portions of the
rope itself, and in these he could observe, by the
reflection of the lamp, near which he held them minute
particles of steel, which left no doubt in his mind that
this had been the instrument by which the separation of
Desborough's bonds had been effected. We will not venture
to assert what were the actual feelings of the officer,
on making this discovery; but it may be supposed, that,
added to the great annoyance he felt at the escape of
the settler, his esteem for those who had so positively
denied all knowledge of, or participation in, the evasion
was sensibly diminished; and yet it was not without pain
that he came to a conclusion of the unworthiness of those
whom he had known from boyhood, and loved no less than
he had known.

In the fulness of his indignation at their duplicity, he
now came to the resolution of staying the departure the
schooner, yet a few hours, that he might have an opportunity
of going ashore himself, presenting this undoubted evidence
of their guilt, and taxing them boldly with the purpose
to which it had been appropriated. Perhaps there was
another secret motive which induced this determination,
and that was, the opportunity it would afford him of
again seeing his beloved Matilda, and delivering her
pocket book with his own hand.

This resolution taken, without deeming it necessary to
countermand his order to Sambo, he placed the knife in
a pocket in the breast of his uniform, where he had
already deposited the souvenir; and having retired to
his own cabin, was about to undress himself, when he
fancied he could distinguish, through one of the stern
windows of the schooner, sounds similar to those of
muffled oars. While he yet listened breathlessly to
satisfy himself whether he had not been deceived, a dark
form came hurriedly, yet noiselessly, down the steps of
the cabin. Gerald turned, and discovered Sambo, who now
perfectly awake, indicated by his manner, he was the
bearer of some alarming intelligence. His report confirmed
the suspicion already entertained by himself, and at that
moment he fancied he heard the same subdued sounds but
multiplied in several distinct points. A vague sense of
danger came over the mind of the officer, and although
his crew consisted of a mere handful of men, he at once
resolved to defend himself to the last, against whatever
force might be led to the attack. While Sambo hastened
to arouse the men, he girded his cutlass and pistols
around his loins, and taking down two huge blunderbusses
from a beam in the ceiling of the cabin, loaded them
heavily with musket balls. Thus armed he sprang once more
upon deck.

The alarm was soon given, and the preparation became
general, but neither among the watch, who slumbered in
the forecastle, nor those who had turned into their
hammocks, was there the slightest indication of confusion.
These latter "tumbled up," with no other addition to the
shirts in which they had left their cots, then their
trousers, a light state of costume to which those who
were "boxed up" in their pea jackets and great coats on
the forecastle, soon reduced themselves also--not but
that the fog admitted of much warmer raiment, but that
their activity might be unimpeded--handkerchiefed heads
and tucked up sleeves, with the habiliments which we have
named, being the most approved fighting dress in the
navy.

Meanwhile, although nothing could be distinguished through
the fog, the sounds which had originally attracted the
notice of the officer and his trusty servant, increased,
despite of the caution evidently used, to such a degree
as to be now audible to all on board. What most excited
the astonishment of the crew, and the suspicion of Gerald,
was the exactness of the course taken by the advancing
boats, in which not the slightest deviation was perceptible.
It was evident that they were guided by some one who had
well studied the distance and bearing of the schooner
from the shore, and as it was impossible to hope that
even the fog would afford them concealment from the
approaching enemy, all that was left them, was to make
the best defence they could. One other alternative
remained, it is true, and this was to cut their cable
and allow themselves to drop down silently out of the
course by which the boats were advancing, but as this
step involved the possibility of running ashore on the
American coast, when the same danger of captivity would
await them, Gerald, after an instant's consideration,
rejected the idea, prefering the worthier and more
chivalrous dependence on his own and crew's exertions.

From the moment of the general arming, the long gun,
which we have already shown to constitute the sole defence
of the schooner, was brought nearer to the inshore
gang-way, and mounted on its elevated pivot, with its
formidable muzzle overtopping and projecting above the
low bulwarks, could in an instant be brought to bear on
whatever point it might be found advisable to vomit forth
its mass of wrath, consisting of grape, cannister, and
chain shot. On this gun indeed, the general expectation
much depended, for the crew, composed of sixteen men
only, exclusive of petty officers, could hope to make
hut a poor resistance, despite of all the resolution they
might bring into the contest, against a squadron of well
armed boats, unless some very considerable diminution in
the numbers and efforts of these latter should be made
by "old Sally," before they actually came to close
quarters. The weakness of the crew was in a great degree
attributable to the schooner having been employed as a
cartel; a fact which must moreover explain the want of
caution, on this occasion, on the part of Gerald, whose
reputation for vigilance, in all matters of duty, was
universally acknowledged. It had not occurred to him
that the instant he landed his prisoners his vessel ceased
to be a cartel, and therefore a fit subject for the
enterprize of his enemies, or the probability is, that
in the hour in which he had landed them he would again
have weighed anchor, and made the best of his way back
to Amherstburg.

"Stand by your gun, men--steady," whispered the officer,
as the noise of many oars immediately abreast, and at a
distance of not more than twenty yards, announced that
the main effort of their enemies was about to be made in
that quarter. "Depress a little--there you have her--now
into them--fire."

Fiz-z-z-z, and a small pyramid of light rose from the
breech of the gun, which sufficed, during the moment it
lasted, to discover three boats filled with armed men,
advancing immediately opposite, while two others could
be seen diverging, apparently one towards the quarter,
the other towards the bows of the devoted little vessel.
The crew bent their gaze eagerly over her side, to witness
the havoc they expected to ensue among their enemies. To
their surprise and mortification there was no report.
The advancing boats gave three deriding cheers.

"D--n my eyes, if I didn't say she would miss fire, from
having her breech unkivered last night," shouted the man
who held the match, and who was no other than Tom Fluke.
"Quick, here, give us a picker."

A picker was handed to him by one, who also held the
powder horn for priming.

"Its no use," he pursued, throwing away the wire, and
springing to the deck. "She's a spike in the touch-hole,
and the devil himself wouldn't get it out now."

"A spike!--what mean you?" eagerly demanded Gerald.

"It's too true, Mr. Grantham," said the boatswain, who
had flown to examine the touch-hole, "there is a great
piece of steel in it, and for all the world like a woman's
bodkin, or some such sort of thing."

"Ah! it all comes o' that wench that was here on deck
last night," muttered the helmsman, who had succeeded
Sambo on duty the preceding night. "I thought I see her
fiddlin' about the gun, when the chase was made after
the Yankee, although I didn't think to say nothing about
it, when you axed Tom Fluke about Sal's apron."

Whatever conjecture might have arisen with others, there
was no time to think of, much less to discuss it--the
boats were already within a few yards of the vessel.

"Steady, men--silence," commanded Gerald in a low tone:
"Since Sal has failed us, we must depend upon ourselves.
Down beneath the bulwarks, and move not one of you until
they begin to board--then let each man single his enemy
and fire; the cutlass must do the rest."

The order was obeyed. Each moment brought the crisis of
action nearer: the rowers had discontinued their oars,
but the bows of the several boats could be heard obeying
the impetus already given them, and dividing the water
close to the vessel.

"Now then, Sambo," whispered the officer. At that moment
a torch was raised high over the head of the negro and
his master. Its rays fell upon the first of the three
boats, the crews of which were seen standing up with arms
outstretched to grapple with the schooner. Another instant
and they would have touched. The negro dropped his light.

Gerald pulled the trigger of his blunderbuss, aimed into
the very centre of the boat. Shrieks, curses and plashings,
as of bodies falling in the water succeeded; and in the
confusion occasioned by the murderous fire, the first
boat evidently fell off.

"Again, Sambo," whispered the officer. A second time the
torch streamed suddenly in air, and the contents of the
yet undischarged blunderbuss spread confusion, dismay
and death, into the second boat.

"Old Sal herself couldn't have done better: pity he hadn't
a hundred of them," growled Tom Fluke, who although
concealed behind the bulwarks, had availed himself of a
crevice near him, to watch the effect produced by the
formidable weapons.

There was a momentary indecision among the enemy, after
the second destructive fire; it was but momentary. Again
they advanced, and closing with the vessel, evinced a
determination of purpose, that left little doubt as to
the result. A few sprang into the chains and rigging,
while others sought to enter by her bows, but the main
effort seemed to be made at her gangway, at which Gerald
had stationed himself with ten of his best men, the rest
being detached to make the best defence they could,
against those who sought to enter in the manner above
described.

Notwithstanding the great disparity of numbers, the little
crew of the schooner had for some time a considerable
advantage over their enemies. At the first onset of these
latter, their pistols had been discharged, but in so
random a manner as to have done no injury--whereas the
assailed, scrupulously obeying the order of their Commander,
fired not a shot until they found themselves face to face
with an enemy; the consequence of which was, that every
pistol ball killed an American, or otherwise placed him
HORS DE COMBAT. Still, in despite of their loss, the
latter were more than adequate to the capture, unless a
miracle should interpose to prevent it, and exasperated
as they were by the fall of their comrades, their efforts
became at each moment more resolute and successful. A
deadly contest had been maintained in the gangway, from
which, however, Gerald was compelled to retire, although
bravely supported by his handful of followers. Step by
step he had retreated, until at length he found his back
against the main-mast, and his enemies pressing him on
every side. Five of his men lay dead in the space between
the gangway and the position he now occupied, and Sambo,
who had not quitted his side for an instant, was also
senseless at his feet, felled by a tremendous blow from
a cutlass upon the head. Hit force now consisted merely
of the five men remaining of his own party, and three of
those who had been detached, who, all that were left
alive, had been compelled to fall back upon their commander.
How long he would have continued the hopeless and desperate
struggle, in this manner is doubtful, had not a fresh
enemy appeared in his rear. These were the crews of two
other boats, who, having boarded without difficulty, now
came up to the assistance of their comrades. So completely
taken by surprise was Gerald in this quarter, that the
first intimation he had of his danger was, in the violent
seizure of his sword arm from behind, and a general rush
upon, and disarming of the remainder of his followers.
On turning to behold his enemy, he saw with concern the
triumphant face of Desborough.

"Every dog has his day, I guess," huskily chuckled the
settler, as by the glare of several torches which had
been suddenly lighted, he was now seen casting looks of
savage vengeance, and holding his formidable knife
threateningly over the head of the officer whom he had
grappled. "I reckon as how I told you it would be Jeremiah
Desborough's turn next."

"Silence fellow, loose your hold," shouted one whose
authoritative voice and manner, announced him for an
officer, apparently the leader of the boarding party.

Awed by the tone in which he was addressed, the settler
quitted his grasp, and retired muttering into the crowd
behind him.

"I regret much, sir," pursued the American Commander
seriously, and turning to Gerald, "that your obstinate
defence--should have been carried to the length it has.
We were given to understand, that ours would not be an
easy conquest--yet, little deemed it would have been
purchased with the lives of nearly half our force. Still,
even while we deplore our loss, have we hearts to estimate
the valour of our foe. I cannot give you freedom, since
the gift is not at my disposal; but at least I may spare
you the pain of surrendering a blade you have so nobly
wielded. Retain your sword, sir."

Gerald's was not a nature to remain untouched by such an
act of chivalrous courtesy, and he expressed in brief,
but pointed terms, his sense of the compliment.

A dozen of the boarders, under the command of a midshipman,
now received orders to remain, and bring the prize into
Buffalo as soon as day light would permit, and with these
were left the killed and wounded of both parties, the
latter receiving such attention as the rude experience
of their comrades enabled them to afford. Five minutes
afterwards Gerald, who had exchanged his trusty cutlass,
for the sword he had been so flatteringly permitted to
retain, found himself in the leading boat of the little
return squadron, and seated at the side of his generous
captor. It may be easily imagined what his mortification
was at this unexpected reverse, and how bitterly he
regretted not having weighed anchor the moment his
prisoners had been landed. Regret however, was now
unavailing, and dismissing this consideration for a while,
he reverted to the strange circumstance of the spiking
of his gun, and the mocking cheers, which had burst from
the lips of his enemies, on the attempt to discharge it.
This reflection drew from him a remark to his companion.

"I think you said," he observed, "that you had been
informed, the conquest of the schooner would not be an
easy one. Would it be seeking too much to know who was
your informant?"

The American officer shook his head. I fear I am not at
liberty exactly to name--but thus much I may venture to
state, that the person who has so rightly estimated your
gallantry, is one not wholly unknown to you.

"This is ambiguous. One question more, were you prepared
to expect the failure of the schooner's principal means
of defence--her long gun?"

"If you recollect the cheer that burst from my fellows,
at the moment when the harmless flash was seen ascending,
you will require no further elucidation on that head,"
replied the American evasively.

This was sufficient for Gerald. He folded his arms, sank
his head upon his chest, and continued to muse deeply.
Soon afterwards the boat touched the beach, where many
of the citizens were assembled to hear tidings of the
enterprize, and congratulate the captors. Thence he was
conducted to the neat little inn, which was the only
place of public accommodation the small town, or rather
village of Buffalo, at that period afforded.



CHAPTER III.

At the termination of the memorable war of the revolution
--that war which, on the one hand, severed, and for
ever, the ties that bound the Colonies in interest and
affection with the parent land, and, on the other, seemed
as by way of indemnification, to have rivetted the Canadas
in closer love to their adopted Mother--hundreds of
families who had remained staunch in their allegiance,
quitted the republican soil, to which they had been
unwillingly transferred, and hastened to close on one
side of the vast chain of waters, that separated the
descendants of France from the descendants of England,
the evening of an existence, whose morning and noon had
been passed on the other. Among the number of these was
Major Grantham, who, at the close of the revolution, had
espoused a daughter, (the only remaining child,) of
Frederick and Madeline De Haldimar, whose many vicissitudes
of suffering, prior to their marriage, have been fully
detailed in Wacousta. When, at that period, the different
garrisons on the frontier were given up to the American
troops, the several British regiments crossed over into
Canada, and, after a short term of service in that country,
were successively relieved by fresh corps from England.
One of the earliest recalled of these, was the regiment
of Colonel Frederick De Haldimar. Local interests, however,
attaching his son-in-law to Upper Canada, the latter had,
on the reduction of his corps, (a provincial regiment,
well known throughout the war of the revolution, for its
strength, activity, and good service,) finally fixed
himself at Amherstburgh. In the neighbourhood of this
post he had acquired extensive possessions, and, almost
from the first formation of the settlement, exchanged
the duties of a military, for those of a scarcely less
active magisterial, life. Austere in manner, severe in
his administration of justice, Major Grantham might have
been considered a harsh man, had not these qualities been
tempered by his well known benevolence to the poor, and
his staunch, yet, unostentatious, support of the deserving
and the well intentioned. And, as his life was a continuous
illustration of the principles he inculcated, no one
could be unjust enough to ascribe to intolerance or
oppression, the rigour with which he exacted obedience,
to those laws which he so well obeyed himself. It was
remarked, moreover, that, while his general bearing to
those who sought to place themselves in the scale of
arrogant superiority, was proud and unconciliating, his
demeanour to his inferiors, was ever that of one sensible
that condescension may soothe and gratify the humble
spirit, without its exercise at all detracting from the
independence of him who offers it. But we cannot better
sum up his general excellence, and the high estimation
in which he was held in the town of his adoption, than
by stating that, at the period of his demise, there was
not to be seen one tearless eye among the congregated
poor, who with religious respect, flocked to tender the
last duties of humanity to the remains of their benefactor
and friend.

In the domestic relations of life, Major Grantham was no
less exemplary, although perhaps his rigid notions of
right, had obtained for him more of the respect than of
the love of those who came within their influence, and
yet no mean portion of both. Tenderly attached to his
wife, whom he had lost when Gerald was yet in his twelfth
year, he had not ceased to deplore her loss; and this
perhaps had contributed to nourish a reservedness of
disposition, which, without at all aiming at, or purposing,
such effect, insensibly tended to the production of a
corresponding reserve on the part of his children, that
increased with their years. Indeed, on their mother, all
the tenderness of their young hearts had been, lavished,
and, when they suddenly saw themselves deprived of her
who loved, and had been loved by them, with doting
fondness, they felt as if a void had been left in their
affections, which, the less tender evidences of paternal
love, were but insufficient wholly to supply. Still,
(although not to the same extent,) did they love their
father also; and what was wanted in intensity of feeling,
was more than made up by the deep, the exalted respect,
they entertained for his principles and conduct. It was
with pride they beheld him, not merely the deservedly
idolized of the low, but the respected of the high--the
example of one class, and the revered of another; one
whose high position in the social scale, had been attained,
less by his striking exterior advantages, than the inward
worth that governed every action of his life, and whose
moral character, as completely sans tache as his fulfilment
of the social duties was proverbially sans reproche,
could not fail, in a certain degree, to reflect the
respect it commanded upon themselves.

As we have before observed, however, all the fervor of
their affection had been centered in their mother, and
that was indeed a melancholy night in which the youths
had been summoned to watch the passing away of her gentle
spirit for ever from their love. Isabella De Haldimar
had, from her earliest infancy, been remarkable for her
quiet and contemplative character; and, bred amid scenes
that brought at every retrospect, recollections of some
acted horror, it is not surprising that the bias given
by nature, should have been developed and strengthened
by the events that had surrounded her. Not dissimilar in
disposition, as she was not unlike in form, to her mother,
she was by that mother carefully endowed with those
gentler attributes of goodness, which, taking root within
a soil so eminently disposed to their reception, could
not fail to render her in after life a model of excellence,
both as a mother and a wife. Notwithstanding, however,
this moulding of her pliant, and well directed mind,
there was about her a melancholy, which while it gave
promise of the devoted affection of the mother, offered
but little prospect of cheerfulness, in an union with
one, who, reserved himself, could not be expected to
temper that melancholy, by the introduction of a gaiety
that was not natural to him. And yet it was for this very
melancholy, tender and fascinating in her, that Major
Grantham had sought the hand of Isabella De Haldimar;
and it was for the very austerity and reserve of his
general manner, more than from the manly beauty of his
tall dark person, that he too, had become the object of
her secret choice, long before he had proposed for her.
Keenly alive to the happiness of her daughter, Mrs. De
Haldimar had feared that such union was ill assorted,
for, as she called to mind the manner and character of
her unfortunate uncle, it seemed to her there were points
of resemblance between him and the proposed husband of
her child, which augured ill for the future quiet of
Isabella; but, when she consulted her on the subject,
and found that every feeling of her heart, that was not
claimed by her fond and indulgent parents, was given to
Major Grantham, she no longer hesitated, and the marriage
took place. Contrary to the expectation, and much to
the delight of Mrs. De Haldimar, the first year of the
union proved one of complete and unalloyed happiness,
and she saw with pleasure, that if Major Grantham did
not descend to those little empressemens which mark the
doting lover, he was never deficient in those manlier,
and more respectful attentions, that by a woman of the
mild and reflecting disposition of Isabella, were so
likely to be appreciated. More than the first year,
however, it was not permitted Mrs. De Haldimar to witness
her daughter's happiness. Her husband's regiment having
been ordered home; but, in the past, she had a sufficient
guarantee for the future, and, when she parted from
Isabella, it was under the full conviction, that she had
confided her to a man in every way sensible of her worth,
and desirous of making her happy.

So far the event justified her expectation. The austerity
which Major Grantham carried with him into public life,
was, if not wholly laid aside, at least considerably
softened, in the presence of his wife, and when, later,
the births of two sons crowned their union, there was
nothing left her to desire, which it was in the power of
circumstances to bestow. But Mrs. De Haldimar had not
taken into account the effect likely to be produced by
a separation from herself--the final severing, as it
were, of every tie of blood. Of the four children who
had composed the family of Colonel Frederick De Haldimar,
the two oldest, (officers in his own corps,) had perished
in the war; the fourth, a daughter, had died young, of
a decline; and the loss of the former especially, who
had grown up with her from childhood to youth, was deeply
felt by the sensitive Isabella. With the dreadful scenes
perpetrated at Detroit--scenes in which their family
had been the principal sufferers--the boys had been
familiarized by the old soldiers of their father's
regiment, who often took them to the several points most
worthy of remark, from the incidents connected with them;
and, pointing out the spots on which their uncle Charles
and their aunt Clara had fallen victims to the terrible
hatred of Wacousta, for their grandfather, detailed the
horrors of those days with a rude fidelity of coloring,
that brought dismay and indignation to the hearts of
their wondering and youthful auditors. On these occasions,
Isabella became the depository of all that they had
gleaned. To her they confided, under the same pledge of
secrecy which had been exacted from themselves, every
circumstance of horror connected with those days; nor
were they satisfied until they had shewn her those scenes
with which so many dreadful recollections were associated.
On one naturally of a melancholy temperament, these oft
recurring visits could not fail to produce a deep effect;
and insensibly that gloom of disposition, which might
have yielded to the influence of years and circumstances,
was more and more confirmed by the darkness of the imagery
on which it reposed. Had she been permitted to disclose
to her kind mother all that she had heard and known on
the subject, the reciprocation of their sympathies might
have relieved her heart, and partially dissipated the
phantasms that her knowledge of those events had conjured
up; but this her brothers had positively prohibited,
alleging, as powerful reasons, not merely that the men
who had confided in their promise, would be severely
taken to task by their father, but also that it could
only tend to grieve their mother unnecessarily, and to
re-open wounds that were nearly closed.

Thus was the melancholy of Isabella fed by the very
silence in which she was compelled to indulge. Often was
her pillow wetted with tears, as she passed in review
the several fearful incidents connected with the tale in
which her brothers had so deeply interested her, and she
would have given worlds at those moments, had they been
hers to bestow, to recal to life and animation, the
beloved but unfortunate uncle and aunt, to whose fate,
her brothers assured her, even their veteran friends
never alluded without sorrow. Often, too, did she dwell
on the share her own fond mother had borne in those
transactions, and the anguish which must have pierced
her heart, when first apprized of the loss of her, whom,
she had even THEN loved with all a mother's love. Nay,
more than once, while gazing on the face of the former,
her inmost soul given up to the recollection of all she
had endured, first at Michilimackinac, and afterwards
at Detroit, had she unconsciously suffered the tears to
course down her cheeks without an effort to restrain
them. Ignorant of the cause, Mrs. De Haldimar only ascribed
this emotion to the natural melancholy of her daughter's
character, and then she would gently chide her, and seek,
by a variety of means, to divert her thoughts into some
lively channel; but she had little success in the attempt
to eradicate reflections already rooted in so congenial
a soil.

Her sister died very young, and she scarcely felt her
loss; but, when, subsequently, the vicissitudes of a
military life had deprived her for ever of her beloved
brothers, her melancholy increased. It was, however, the
silent, tearless melancholy, that knows not the paroxysm
of outrageous grief. The quiet resignation of her character
formed an obstacle to the inroads of all vivacious sorrow;
yet was her health not the less effectually undermined
by the slow action of her innate feeling, unfortunately
too much fostered by outward influences. By her marriage
and the birth of her sons, whom she loved with all a
mother's fondness, her mental malady had been materially
diminished, and indeed, in a great degree superseded,
but, unhappily previous to these events, it had seriously
affected her constitution, and produced a morbid
susceptibility of mind and person, that exposed her to
be overwhelmed by the occurrence of any of those afflictions
which, otherwise, she might, with ordinary fortitude,
have endured. When, therefore, intelligence from England
announced that her parents had both perished in a hurricane
on their route to the West Indies, whither the regiment
of Colonel De Haldimar had been ordered, the shock was
too great for her, mentally and personally enfeebled as
she had been, to sustain, and she sank gradually under
this final infliction of Providence.

Major Grantham beheld with dismay the effect of this blow
upon his beloved wife. Fell consumption had now marked
her for his own, and so rapid was the progress of the
disease acting on a temperament already too much
pre-disposed to its influence, that, in despite of all
human preventives, the sensitive Isabella, before six
months had elapsed, was summoned to a better world.

And never did human being meet the summons with more
perfect resignation to the Divine will. The death-bed
scene between that tender mother and her sorrowing family,
was one which might have edified even the most pious.
Gerald, as we have already said, was in his twelfth year
at the period of this afflicting event--his brother Henry,
one year younger; both were summoned from school on the
morning of her death--both knew that their fond mother
was ill--but so far were they from imagining the scene
about to be offered to their young observation, that when
they reached home it was with the joyous feeling of boys,
exulting in a momentary liberation from scholastic
restraint, and eagerly turning into holiday, that which
they little deemed would so soon become a day of mourning.
How rapidly was the deceitful illusion dispelled, when,
on entering the sick chamber of their adored parent, they
beheld what every surrounding circumstance told them was
not the mere bed of sickness, but the bed of death.
Propped on pillows that supported her feeble head--her
beautiful black hair streaming across her pallid, placid
brow, and her countenance wearing a holy and religious
calm, Mrs. Grantham presented an image of resignation,
so perfect, so superhuman, that the disposition to a
violent ebullition of grief, which at first manifested
itself in the youths, gave place to a certain mysterious
awe, that chained them almost spell-bound at the foot of
her bed. A strict observer of the ordinances of her
religion, she had had every preparation made for her
reception of the sacrament, the administering of which
was only deferred until the arrival of her children.
This duty being now performed, with the imposing solemnity
befitting the occasion, the venerable clergyman, who had
known and loved her from her infancy, imprinted a last
kiss upon her brow, and left the apartment deeply affected.
Then, indeed, for the first time, was a loose given to
the grief that pervaded every bosom, even to the lowest
of the domestics, who had been summoned to receive her
parting blessing. Close to the bed-side, each pressing
one of her emaciated hands to his lips, knelt her
heart-broken sons, weeping bitterly, while, from the
chest of a tall negro, apparently an old and attached
servant, burst forth at intervals convulsive sobs. Even
the austere Major Grantham, seated at some little distance
from the bed, contemplating the serene features of his
dying wife, could not restrain the tears that forced
themselves forth, and trickled through his fingers, as
he half sought to conceal his emotion from his servants.
In the midst of the profound sorrow which environed her,
Mrs. Grantham alone was unappalled by her approaching
end: she spoke calmly and collectedly, gently chiding
some and encouraging others; giving advice, and conveying
orders, as if she was merely about to undertake a short
customary journey instead of that long, and untravelled
one, whence there is neither communication nor return.
To her unhappy sons she gave it in tender injunction to
recompense their father by their love for the loss he
was about to sustain in herself; and to her servants she
enjoined to be at once dutiful to their master and
affectionate to her children. Having made her peace with
God, and disposed, of herself, her consideration, was
now exclusively for others--and, during the hour which
intervened between the departure of the clergyman and
her death, the whole tenor of her thoughts was directed
to the alleviation of the sorrow which she felt would
succeed the flight of her spirit from earth. As she grew
fainter, she motioned to her husband to come near her--He
did so, and, with a smile of rapt serenity that bespoke
the conviction strong at her heart, she said in a low
tone, as she clasped his warm hand within her own, already
stiffening with the chill of death: "Grieve not, I entreat
you, for recollect that, although we part, it is not for
ever. Oh, no! my father, my mother, my brothers, and you
my husband, and beloved children, we shall all meet
again." Exhausted with the energy she had thrown into
these last words, she sank back upon the pillow, from
which she had partially raised her head. After a short
pause, she glanced her eye on a portrait that hung on
the opposite wall. It represented an officer habited in
the full uniform of her father's regiment. She next
looked at the negro, who, amid his unchecked sorrow, had
been an attentive observer of her every action, and
pointed expressively first to her kneeling children, and
then to the portrait. The black seemed to understand her
meaning; for he made a sign of acquiescence. She then
extended her hand to him, which he kissed, and bedewed
with his tears, and retreated sobbing to his position
near the foot of the bed. Two minutes afterwards, Mrs.
Grantham had breathed her last, but so insensibly that,
although every eye was fixed upon her, no one could tell
the precise moment at which she had ceased to exist.

We will pass over the deep grief which preyed upon the
hearts of the unfortunate brothers, for weeks after they
had been compelled to acknowledge the stern truth that
they were indeed motherless. Those who have, at that
tender age, known what it is to lose an affectionate
mother, and under circumstances at all similar to those
just described, will be at no loss to comprehend the
utter desolation of their bruised spirits: to those who
have not sustained this most grievous of human afflictions,
it would be a waste of time to detail what cannot possibly
be understood, save through the soul-withering ordeal of
alike experience.

If, in early youth, however, the impressions of sorrow
are more lively, so is the return to hope more rapid.
Time, and the elasticity of spirit common to their years,
gradually dissipated the cloud of melancholy that had
rested on the hearts of the Canadian Brothers; and,
although they never ceased to lament their mother with
that tenderness and respect which her many virtues, and
love for them especially, demanded, still did their
thoughts gradually take the bias to which a variety of
outward and important circumstances afterwards directed
them. It was soon after this event, that the first seeds
of disunion began to spring up between England and the
United States, the inevitable results of which, it was
anticipated, would be the involving of Canada in the
struggle; and, notwithstanding the explosion did not take
place for several years afterwards, preparations were
made on either shore, to an extent that kept the spirit
of enterprise constantly on the alert.

Inheriting the martial spirit of their family, the
inclinations of the young Granthams led them to the
service; and, as their father could have no reasonable
objection to oppose to a choice which promised hot merely
to secure his sons in an eligible profession, but to
render them in some degree of benefit to their country,
he consented to their views. Gerald's preference leading
him to the navy, he was placed on that establishment as
a midshipman; while Henry, several years later, obtained,
through the influence of their father's old friend General
Brock, an Ensigncy in the ---- Regiment then quartered
at Amherstburg.

Meanwhile, Major Grantham, whose reserve appeared to have
increased since the death of his wife, seemed to seek,
in the active discharge of his magisterial duties, a
relief from the recollection of the loss he had sustained;
and it was about this period that, in consequence of many
of the American settlers in Canada, having, in anticipation
of a rupture between the two countries, secretly withdrawn
themselves to the opposite shore, his exaction of the
duties of British subjects from those who remained, became
more vigorous than ever.

We have already shewn Desborough to have been the most
unruly and disorderly of the worthless set; and as no
opportunity was omitted of compelling him to renew his
oath of allegiance, (while his general conduct was strictly
watched,) the hatred of the man for the stern magistrate
was daily matured, until at length it grew into an
inextinguishable desire for revenge.

The chief, and almost only recreation, in which Major
Grantham indulged, was that of fowling. An excellent shot
himself, he had been in some degree the instructor of
his sons; and, although, owing to the wooded nature of
the country, the facilities afforded to the enjoyment of
his favorite pursuit in the orthodox manner of a true
English sportsman, were few, still, as game was every
where abundant, he had continued to turn to account the
advantages that were actually offered. Both Gerald and
Henry had been his earlier companions in the sport, but,
of late years and especially since the death of their
mother, he had been in the habit of going out alone.

It was one morning in that season of the year when the
migratory pigeons pursue their course towards what are
termed the "burnt woods," on which they feed, and in such
numbers as to cover the surface of the heavens, as with
a dense and darkening cloud, that Major Grantham sallied
forth at early dawn, with his favorite dog and gun, and,
as was his custom, towards Hartley's point. Disdaining,
as unworthy of his skill, the myriads of pigeons that
every where presented themselves, he passed from the
skirt of the forest towards an extensive swamp, in the
rear of Hartley's, which, abounding in golden plover and
snipe, usually afforded him a plentiful supply. On this
occasion he was singularly successful, and, having bagged
as many birds as he could conveniently carry, was in the
act of ramming down his last charge, when the report of
a shot came unexpectedly from the forest. In the next
instant he was sensible he was wounded, and, placing his
hand to his back, felt it wet with blood. As there was
at the moment several large wild ducks within a few yards
of the spot where he stood, and between himself and the
person who had fired, he at once concluded that he had
been the victim of an accident, and, feeling the necessity
of assistance, he called loudly on the unseen sportsman,
to come forward to his aid; but, although his demand was
several times repeated, no answer was returned, and no
one appeared. With some difficulty he contrived, after
disembarrassing himself of his game-bag, to reach the
farm at Hartley's, where every assistance was afforded
him, and, a waggon having been procured, he was conducted
to his home, when, on examination, the wound was pronounced
to be mortal.

On the third day from this event, Major Grantham breathed
his last, bequeathing the guardianship of his sons to
Colonel D'Egville, who had married his sister. At this
epoch, Gerald was absent with his vessel on a cruise,
but Henry received his parting blessing upon both,
accompanied by a solemn injunction, that they should
never be guilty of any act which could sully the memory,
either of their mother or himself. This Henry promised,
in the same of both, most religiously to observe; and,
when Gerald returned, and to his utter dismay beheld the
lifeless form of the parent, whom he had quitted only a
few days before in all the vigour of health, he not only
renewed the pledge given by his brother, but with the
vivacity of character habitual to him, called down the
vengeance of Heaven upon his head, should he ever be
found to swerve from those principles of virtue and honor,
which had been so sedulously inculcated on him.

Meanwhile, there was nothing to throw even the faintest
light on the actual cause of Major Grantham's death. On
the first probing and dressing of the wound, the murderous
lead had been extracted, and, as it was discovered to be
a rifle ball it was taken for granted that some Indian,
engaged in the chase, had, in the eagerness of pursuit,
missed an intermediate object at which he had taken aim,
and lodged the ball accidentally in the body of the
unfortunate gentleman; and that, terrified at the discovery
of the mischief he had done, and perhaps apprehending
punishment, he had hastily fled from the spot, to avoid
detection. This opinion, unanimously entertained by the
townspeople, was shared by the brothers, who knowing the
unbounded love and respect of all for their parent, dreamt
not for one moment that his death could have been the
result of premeditation. It was left for Desborough to
avow, at a later period, that he had been the murderer;
and with what startling effect on him, to whom the
admission was exultingly made, we have already seen.

When Desborough was subsequently tried, there was no
other evidence by which to establish his guilt, than the
admission alluded to, and this he declared, in his defence,
he had only made with a view to annoy Mr. Grantham, to
whom he owed a grudge for persecuting him so closely on
the occasion of his flight with his son; and, although,
on reference to the period, it was found that Major
Grantham had received the wound which occasioned his
death two days after Desborough had been ordered, on pain
of instant expulsion from the country, to renew his oaths,
and perform service with the militia of the district,
still, as this fact admitted only of a presumptive
interpretation the charge could not be sufficiently
brought home to him, and he was, however reluctantly,
acquitted. The rifles which, it will be remembered, were
seized by Henry Grantham on the occasion of his detection
of the settler in an act of treason, were still in his
possession, and, as they were of a remarkably small
calibre, the conviction would have taken place, had the
ball which killed Major Grantham been forthcoming, and
found to fit either of the bores. Unfortunately, however,
it so happened that it had not been preserved, so that
an essential link in the chain of circumstances had been
irrecoverably lost. When the question was mooted by the
court, before whom he was tried, the countenance of the
settler was discovered to fall, and there was a restlessness
about him, totally at variance with the almost insolent
calm he had preserved throughout; but when it appeared
that, from the impression previously entertained of the
manner of the death, it had not been thought necessary
to preserve the ball, he again resumed his confidence,
and listened to the remainder of the proceedings unmoved.

We have seen him subsequently escaping from the confinement
to which he had been subjected, with a view to trial for
another offence, and, later still, unshackled and exultingly
brandishing his knife over the head of one of the objects
of his bitterest hatred, on the deck of the very vessel
in which he had so recently been a prisoner.



CHAPTER IV.

Autumn had passed away, and winter, the stern invigorating
winter of Canada, had already covered the earth with
enduring snows, and the waters with bridges of seemingly
eternal ice, and yet no effort had been made by the
Americans to repossess themselves of the country they
had so recently lost. The several garrisons of Detroit
and Amherstburgh, reposing under the laurels they had so
easily won, made holiday of their conquest; and, secure
in the distance that separated them from the more populous
districts of the Union, seemed to have taken it for
granted that they had played their final part in the
active operations of the war, and would be suffered to
remain in undisturbed possession. But the storm was
already brewing in the far distance which, advancing
progressively like the waves of the coming tempest, was
destined first to shake them in their security, and
finally to overwhelm them in its vortex. With the natural
enterprize of their character, the Americans had no sooner
ascertained the fall of Detroit, than means, slow but
certain, were taken for the recovery of a post, with
which, their national glory was in no slight degree
identified. The country whence they drew their resources
for the occasion, were the new states of Ohio and Kentucky,
and one who had previously travelled through those immense
tracts of forests, where the dwelling of the backwoodsman
is met with at long intervals, would have marvelled at
the zeal and promptitude with which these adventurous
people, abandoning their homes, and disregarding their
personal interests, flocked to the several rallying
points. Armed and accoutred at their own expence, with
the unerring rifle that provided them with game, and the
faithful hatchet that had brought down the dark forest
into ready subjection, their claim upon the public was
for the mere sustenance they required on service. It is
true that this partial independence of the Government
whom they served rather in the character of volunteers,
than of conscripts, was in a great measure fatal to their
discipline; but in the peculiar warfare of the country,
absence of discipline was rather an advantage than a
demerit, since when checked, or thrown into confusion,
they looked not for a remedy in the resumption of order,
but in the exercise each of his own individual exertions,
facilitated as he was by his general knowledge of
localities, and his confidence in his own personal
resources.

But, although new armies were speedily organized--if
organized, may be termed those who brought with them into
the contest much courage and devotedness, yet, little
discipline, the Americans, in this instance, proceeded
with a caution that proved their respect for the British
garrison, strongly supported as it was by a numerous
force of Indians. Within two months after the capitulation
of Detroit, a considerable army, Ohioans and Kentuckians,
with some regular Infantry, had been pushed forward as
with a view to feel their way; but these having been
checked by the sudden appearance of a detachment from
Amherstburgh, had limited their advance to the Miami
River, on the banks of which, and on the ruins of one of
the old English forts of Pontiac's days, they had
constructed new fortifications, and otherwise strongly
entrenched themselves. It was a mistake, however, to
imagine that the enemy would be content with establishing
himself here. The new fort merely served as a nucleus
for the concentration of such resources of men and warlike
equipment, as were necessary to the subjection, firstly
of Detroit, and afterwards of Amherstburgh. Deprived of
the means of transport, the shallow bed of the Miami
aiding them but little, it was a matter of no mean
difficulty with the Americans to convey through several
hundred miles of forest, the heavy guns they required
for battering, and as it was only at intervals this could
be effected; the most patient endurance and unrelaxing
perseverance being necessary to the end. From the inactivity
of this force, or rather the confinement of its operations
to objects of defence, the English garrison had calculated
on undisturbed security, at least throughout the winter,
if not for a longer period; but although it was not until
this latter season was far advanced, that the enemy broke
up from his entrenchments on the Miami, and pushed himself
forward for the attainment of his final view, the error
of imputing inactivity to him was discovered at a moment
when it was least expected.

It was during a public ball given at Amherstburgh on the
18th of January 1813, that the first intelligence was
brought of the advance of a strong American force, whose
object it was supposed was to push rapidly on to Detroit,
leaving Amherstburgh behind to be disposed of later. The
officer who brought this intelligence was the fat Lieutenant
Raymond, who commanding an outpost at the distance of
some leagues had been surprised, and after a resistance
very creditable under the circumstances, driven in by
the American advanced guard with a loss of nearly half
his command.

Thus, "parva componere magnis," was the same consternation
produced in the ball-room at Amherstburg, that, at a
later period, occurred in a similar place of amusement
at Brussels, and although not followed by the same
momentous public results, producing the same host of
flattering fears and anxieties in the bosoms of the female
votaries of Terpsichore. We believe, however, that there
existed some dissimilarity in the several modes of
communication--the Duke of Wellington receiving his with
some appearance of regard, on the part of the communicator,
for the nerves of the ladies, while to Colonel St. Julian,
commanding at Amherstburg, and engaged at the moment at
the whist table, the news was imparted in stentorian
tones, which were audible to every one in the adjoining
ball-room.

But even if his voice had not been heard, the appearance
of Lieutenant Raymond would have justified the apprehension
of any reasonable person, for, in the importance of the
moment, he had not deemed it necessary to make any change
in the dress in which he had been surprised and driven
back. Let the reader figure to himself a remarkably fat,
ruddy faced man, of middle age, dressed in a pair of
tightly fitting dread-nought trowsers, and a shell jacket,
that had once been scarlet, but now, from use and exposure,
rather resembled the colour of brickdust; boots from
which all polish had been taken by the grease employed
to render them snow-proof; a brace of pistols thrust into
the black waist belt that encircled his huge circumference,
and from which depended a sword, whose steel scabbard
shewed the rust of the rudest bivouac. Let him, moreover,
figure to himself that ruddy carbuncled face, and nearly
as ruddy brow, suffused with perspiration, although in
a desperately cold winter's night, and the unwashed hands,
and mouth, and lips black from the frequent biting of
the ends of cartridges, while ever and anon the puffed
cheeks, in the effort to procure air and relieve the
panting chest, recal the idea of a Bacchus, after one of
his most lengthened orgies--let him figure all this, and
if he will add short, curling, wiry, damp hair, surmounting
a head as round as a turnip, a snubby, red, retrousse
nose, and light gray eyes; he will have a tolerable idea
of the startling figure that thus abruptly made its
appearance in the person of Lieutenant Raymond, first
among the dancers, and bustlingly thence into the adjoining
card room.

At the moment of his entrance, every eye had been turned
upon this strange apparition, while an almost instinctive
sense of the cause of his presence pervaded every breast.
Indeed it was impossible to behold him arrayed in the
bivouac garb in which we have described him, contrasted
as it was with the elegant ball dresses of his brother
officers, and not attribute his presence to some
extraordinary motive; and as almost every one in the room
was aware of his having been absent on detachment, his
mission had been half divined even before he had opened
his lips to Colonel St. Julian, for whom, on entering,
he had hurriedly inquired.

But when the latter officer was seen soon afterwards to
rise from and leave the card table, and, after communicating
hurriedly with the several heads of Departments, quit
altogether the scene of festivity, there could be no
longer a doubt; and, as in all cases of the sort, the
danger was magnified, as it flew from lip to lip, even
as the tiny snow ball becometh a mountain by the accession
it receives in its rolling course. Suddenly the dance
was discontinued, and indeed in time, for the lingers of
the non-combatant musicians, sharing in the general
nervousness, had already given notice, by numerous
falsettos, of their inability to proceed much longer.
Bonnets, cloaks, muffs, tippets, shawls, snow shoes, and
all the paraphernalia of female winter equipment peculiar
to the country, were brought unceremoniously in, and
thrown en masse upon the deserted benches of the ball
room. Then was there a scramble among the fair dancers,
who, having secured their respective property, quitted
the house, not however, without a secret fear on the part
of many, that the first object they should encounter, on
sallying forth, would be a corps of American sharp-shooters.
To the confusion within was added, the clamour without,
arising from swearing drivers, neighing horses, jingling
bells, and jostling sledges. Finally the only remaining
ladies of the party were the D'Egvilles, whose sledge
had not yet arrived, and with these lingered Captain
Molineux, Middlemore, and Henry Grantham, all of whom,
having obtained leave of absence for the occasion, had
accompanied them from Detroit. The two former, who had
just terminated one of the old fashioned cotillons, then
peculiar to the Canadas, stood leaning over the chairs
of their partners, indulging in no very charitable comments
on the unfortunate Raymond, to whose "ugly" presence at
that unseasonable hour they ascribed a host of most
important momentary evils; as, for example, the early
breaking up of the pleasantest ball of the season, the
loss of an excellent anticipated supper that had been
prepared for a later hour, and, although last not least,
the necessity it imposed upon them of an immediate return,
that bitter cold night, to Detroit. Near the blazing wood
fire, at their side, stood Henry Grantham, and Captain
St. Clair of the Engineers. The former with his thoughts
evidently far away from the passing scene, the latter
joining in the criticisms on Raymond.

"I always said," observed Molineux, shrugging his shoulders,
"that he resembled one of the ground hogs of his old
command of Bois Blanc, more than any thing human; and
hang me if he does not tonight look like a hog in armour."

"There certainly is something of the ARMAdilla about
him," said Middlemore; "if we may judge from the formidable
weapons he brought into the room."

"And, notwithstanding his alert retreat, few officers
can have made such HEAD against, and shewn such FACE to
the enemy," added St. Clair.

"True," retorted Middlemore, "there were certainly some
extraordinary FEATURES in the affair."

"If," remarked Molineux, "he faced the enemy, I am certain
he must have kept the boldest at bay; but if he shewed
them his back, as from his heated appearance I strongly
suspect that he did, he must have afforded the Yankee
riflemen as much fun as if they had been in pursuit of
a fat old raccoon."

"Shall I ask him that he may answer for himself?" inquired
Henry Grantham, whose attention had been aroused by the
ironical remarks of his companions.

"By no means," replied Middlemore, "we have ANSER enough
in his mere look."

"Ha! ha! ha!" roared Molineux and St. Clair in concert.

"Nay, nay," interposed Julia D'Egville, who had listened
impatiently to the comments passed upon the unfortunate
and unconscious officer, "this keen exercise of your
powers on poor Mr. Raymond is hardly fair. Recollect
(turning to Middlemore,) it is not given to all to possess
the refinement of wit, nor, (addressing St. Clair) the
advantages of personal attraction, therefore is it more
incumbent on those, to whom such gifts are given, to be
merciful unto the wanting in both." This was uttered with
marked expression.

"Brava, my most excellent and spirited partner," whispered
Molineux, secretly delighted that the lash of the reprover
had not immediately embraced him in its circuit.

"Thank you, my good, kind hearted, considerate cousin,"
looked Henry Grantham.

"Oh, the devil," muttered Middlemore to St. Clair, "we
shall have her next exclaiming, in the words of Monk
Lewis' Bleeding Nun,

  'Raymond, Raymond, I am thine
  'Raymond, Raymond, them art mine.'"

St. Clair shrugged his shoulders, bit his lip, threw up
his large blue eyes, shewed his white teeth, slightly
reddened, and looked altogether exceedingly at a loss
whether to feel complimented or reproved.

"But here comes Mr. Raymond, to fight his own battles,"
continued Miss D'Egville with vivacity.

"Hush," whispered Molineux.

"Honor among thieves," added Middlemore, in the same low
tone.

"Egad," said Raymond, wiping the yet lingering dews from
his red forehead, as he advanced from the card room where
he had been detained, talking over his adventure with
one or two of the anxious townspeople; "I have, within
the last twenty four hours, had so much running and
fighting for my country, that strength is scarcely left
me to fight my own battles. But what is it, Miss D'Egville?"
as he saluted Julia and her sister, "what battle am I to
fight now--some fresh quizzing of these wags, I suppose--
ah, Middlemore, how do you do; Molineux, St. Clair, Henry
Grantham, how do you all do?"

"Ah, Raymond, my dear fellow, how do you do?" greeted
Captain Molineux, with the air of one who really rejoices
in the reappearance of a long absent friend.

"Raymond, I am delighted to see you," exclaimed St.
Clair.

"Your bivouac has done you good," joined Middlemore,
following the example of the others, and extending his
hand, "I never saw you looking to greater advantage."

"Pretty well, pretty well thank you," returned the good
humoured, but not too acute subaltern, as he passed his
hand over his Falstaffian stomach; "only a little fatigued
with the last six hours, retreating. Egad! I began to
think I never should get away, the fellows pursued us so
hotly."

"And hotly you fled, it would appear," returned Middlemore.

"I dare be sworn, there was not a six foot Kentuckian of
the whole American army active enough to come within a
mile of him," added Molineux.

"And yet, considering the speed he made, he seems to have
lost but little of his flesh," said St. Clair.

"Of course," chuckled Middlemore, "these long fellows
come from Troy county in Ohio."

"Egad, I don't know; why do you ask?"

"Because you know it is not for the men of TROY to reduce
the men of GREASE--hence your escape."

"Are the enemy then so near, Mr. Raymond?" inquired Julia
D'Egville, anxious to turn the conversation.

"I should think not very far, Miss D'Egville, since, as
you see they have not given me time to change my dress."

At that moment the noise of horses' bells were heard
without; and they were soon distinguished to be those of
Colonel D'Egville's berlin.

A few moments afterwards, that officer entered the room
now wholly deserted save by the little coterie near the
fire place. Like Lieutenant Raymond's, his dress was more
suited to the bivouac than the ball room, and his
countenance otherwise bore traces of fatigue.

His daughters flew to meet him. The officers also grouped
around, desirous to hear what tidings he brought of the
enemy, to corroborate the statement of Raymond. To the
great mortification of the latter, it was now found that
he and his little detachment had had all the running to
themselves, and that while they fancied the whole of the
American army to be close at their heels, the latter had
been so kept in check by the force of Indians, under
Colonel D'Egville in person, as to be compelled to retire
upon the point whence the original attack had been made.
They had not followed the broken English outpost more
than a mile, and yet, so convinced of close pursuit had
been the latter, that for the space of six leagues they
had scarce relaxed in their retreat. The information now
brought by Colonel D'Egville, was that the Americans had
not advanced a single foot beyond the outpost in question,
but on the contrary had commenced constructing a stockade,
and throwing up entrenchments. He added, moreover, that
he had just dispatched an express to Sandwich, to General
Proctor, (who had, since the departure of General Brock,
succeeded to the command of the district,) communicating
the intelligence, and suggesting the propriety of an
attack before they could advance farther, and favor any
movement on the part of the inhabitants of Detroit. As
this counter-movement on our part would require every
man that could be spared from the latter fortress, Colonel
D'Egville seemed to think that before the officers could
reach it, its garrison would be already on the way to
join the expedition, which would doubtless be ordered to
move from Amherstburg; and as the same impression appeared
to exist in the mind of Colonel St. Julian, whom he had
only just parted from to proceed in search of his daughters,
the latter had taken it upon himself to determine that
they should remain where they were until the answer,
communicating the final decision of General Proctor,
should arrive.

If the young officers were delighted at the idea of
escaping the horror of an eighteen miles drive, on one
of the bitterest nights of the season, supperless, and
at the moment of issuing from a comfortable hall room,
their annoyance at (what they termed) the pusillanimity
of Raymond, who had come thus unnecessarily in, to the
utter annihilation of their evening's amusement, was in
equal proportion. For this, on their way home, they
revenged themselves by every sort of persiflage their
humour could adapt to the occasion, until in the end,
they completely succeeded in destroying the good humor
of Raymond, who eventually quitted them under feelings
of mortified pride, which excited all the generous sympathy
of the younger Grantham, while it created in his breast
a sentiment of almost wrath against his inconsiderate
companions. Even these latter were at length sensible
that they had gone too far, and, as their better feelings
returned, they sought to assure the offended object of
their pleasantry that what they had uttered was merely
in jest; but finding he received these disclaimers in
moody silence, they renewed their attack, nor discontinued
it until they separated for their mutual quarters for
the night.

Poor Raymond was, it will be perceived, one of those
unfortunates termed "butts," which are to be met with in
almost all societies, and but too often in a regiment.
Conscious of his great corpulence, and its disadvantages
to him as a soldier, he not only made every allowance
for the sallies of his lively and more favored brother
officers, but often good-naturedly joined in the laugh
against himself--all the badinage uttered against his
personal appearance, he had, on this occasion, borne with
the most perfect temper; but when, presuming on his
forbearance, they proceeded to reflect on the hurried,
and, under all circumstances, justifiable manner of his
retreat, after having sustained an unequal conflict
against an overpowering enemy for upwards of two hours,
his honest heart was wounded to the core; and, although
he uttered not one word, the unkindness sank deeply into
his memory.

The following dawn broke in, decked with all the sad and
sober gray, peculiar to a Canadian sky in the depth of
winter, and, with the first rising of the almost rayless
sun, commenced numerous warlike preparations that gave
promise to the inhabitants of some approaching crisis.
The event justified their expectation, the suggestion of
Colonel D'Egville had been adopted, and the same express,
which carried to General Proctor the information of the
advance of the enemy, and, the expulsion of Lieutenant
Raymond from his post, was pushed on to Detroit, with an
order for every man who could be spared from that fortress,
to be marched, without a moment's delay, to Amherstburg.
At noon the detachment had arrived, and, the General
making his appearance soon after, the expedition, composed
of the strength of the two garrisons, with a few light
guns, and a considerable body of Indians, under the Chief
Roundhead, were pushed rapidly across the lake, and the
same night occupied the only road by which the enemy
could advance.

It was a picturesque sight, to those who lingered on the
banks of the Detroit, to watch the movement of that mass
of guns, ammunition cars, sledges, &c. preceding the
regular march of the troops, as the whole crossed the
firm yet rumbling ice, at the head of the now deserted
Island of Bois-Blanc. Nor was this at all lessened in
effect by the wild and irregular movements of the Indians,
who advancing by twos and threes, but more often singly,
and bounding nimbly, yet tortuously, along the vast white
field with which the outline of their swarthy forms
contrasted, called up, at the outset, the idea of a legion
of devils.

But there was more than the mere indulgence of curiosity
in the contemplation of this scene, so highly characteristic
of the country. On the result of the efforts of those
now scarcely discernable atoms, depended the fate, not
merely of the town and garrison of Amherstburgh, but of
the whole adjoining country. If successful, then would
the repose of the anxious inhabitants once more be secured,
and the horrors of invasion again averted from their
soil; but if on the contrary, they should be defeated,
then must every hope be extinguished, and the so recently
conquered completely change sides with their conquerors.
Such were the thoughts that filled the breasts of many
of the townspeople of Amherstburg, and considering that
in the present instance they had much to lose, nothing
to gain, they may fairly enough be pardoned for having
entertained some little nervousness as to the result.

It was during one of the coldest mornings of January,
that this little army bivouacked on the banks of a small
rivulet, distant, little more than a league from the
position which had been taken up by the Americans. So
unexpected and rapid had been the advance of the expedition,
that not the slightest suspicion appeared to have been
entertained by the Americans even of its departure; and
from information, brought at a late hour by the Indian
scouts, who had been dispatched at nightfall to observe
their motions, it was gathered that, so far from
apprehending or being prepared for an attack, all was
quiet in their camp, in which the customary night fires
were then burning. Thus favored by the false security of
their enemies, the British force, after partaking of
their rude, but substantial meal, and preparing their
arms, laid themselves down to rest in their accoutrements
and greatcoats; their heads reclining on whatever elevation,
however small, presented itself, and their feet half
buried in the embers of the fires they had with difficulty
kindled on the frozen ground, from which the snow had
been removed--all, sanguine of success, and all, more or
less endeavouring to snatch, even amid the nipping frost
to which their upper persons were exposed, a few hours
of sleep prior to the final advance, which was to take
place an hour before dawn.

In the midst of the general desolateness of aspect which
encompassed all, there were few privations, endured by
the men, that were not equally shared by their officers.
A solitary and deserted log hut, was the only thing in
the shape of a human habitation to be seen within the
bivouac, and this had been secured as the head quarters
of the General and his staff--all besides had no other
canopy than the clear starry heavens, or, here and there,
the leafless and unsheltering branches of some forest
tree, and yet, around one large and blazing fire, which
continued to be fed at intervals by masses of half decayed
wood, that, divested of their snow, lay simmering and
dying before it, was frequently to be heard the joyous
yet suppressed laugh, and piquant sally, as of men whose
spirits no temporary hardship or concern for the eventful
future could effectually depress. These issued from the
immediate bivouac of the officers, who, seated squatted
around their fire after the manner of the Indians, instead
of courting a sleep which the intense cold rendered as
difficult of attainment, as unrefreshing when attained,
rather sought solace in humorous conversation, while the
animal warmth was kept alive by frequent puffings from
that campaigners' first resource the cigar, seasoned by
short and occasional libations from the well filled
canteen. Most of them wore over their regimentals, the
grey great coat then peculiar to the service, and had
made these in the highest possible degree available by
fur trimmings on the cuffs and collar, which latter was
tightly buttoned round the chin, while their heads were
protected by furred caps, made like those of the men, of
the raccoon skin. To this uniformity of costume, there
was, as far as regarded the outward clothing, one exception
in the person of Captain Cranstoun, who had wisely inducted
himself in the bear skin coat so frequently quizzed by
his companions, and in which he now sat as undisturbed
by the cold, so sensibly felt by his associates, as
unmoved by the criticisms they passed on its grotesque
appearance, and unprovoked by the recurrence to the
history of his former ludicrous adventure. Finding that
Cranstoun was inaccessible, they again, with the waywardness
of their years and humour, adverted to the retreat of
Raymond, to whom Molineux, Middlemore, and St. Clair
--the latter a volunteer in the expedition--attributed
the unpardonable fact of the breaking up of a most
delightful party, and the deprivation of a capital supper.
Such was the conversation--such were the serious complaints
of men, who, before another sun should rise, might see
cause to upbraid themselves, and bitterly, for the levity
in which they were so inconsiderately indulging.

During the whole of the march, Raymond had evinced a
seriousness of demeanor by no means common to him, and,
although he had made one of the party in the general
bivouac, he had scarcely opened his lips, except to reply
to the most direct questions. The renewed attack, at
first, drew from him no comment, although it was evident
he felt greatly pained; but when he had finished smoking
his cigar, he raised himself, not without difficulty,
from the ground, (a circumstance, which, by the way,
provoked a fresh burst of humour from the young men,)
and began, with a seriousness of manner, that, being
unusual, not a little surprised them: "Gentlemen, you
have long been pleased to select me as your butt."

"Of course," hastily interrupted Molineux, hazarding his
pun, "we naturally select you for what you most resemble."

"Captain Molineux--gentlemen!" resumed Raymond with
greater emphasis.

"He is getting warm on the subject," observed Middlemore.
"Have a care Molineux, that the butt does not CHURN until
in the end it becomes the BUTTER."

"Ha! ha! ha!" vociferated St. Clair, "good, excellent,
the best you ever made, Middlemore."

"Gentlemen," persevered Raymond, in a tone, and with a
gesture, of impatience, "this trifling will be deeply
regretted by you all tomorrow; I repeat," he pursued,
when he found he had at length succeeded in procuring
silence, "you have long been pleased to select me as your
butt, and while this was confined to my personal appearance,
painful as I have sometimes found your humour, I could
still endure it; but when I perceive those whom I have
looked upon as friends and brothers, casting imputations
upon my courage, I may be excused for feeling offended.
You have succeeded in wounding my heart, and some of you
will regret the hour when you did so. Another perhaps,
would adopt a different course, but I am not disposed to
return evil for evil. I wish to believe, that in all your
taunts upon this subject, you have merely indulged your
bantering humour--but not the less have you pained an
honest heart. Tomorrow will prove that you have grievously
wronged me, and I am mistaken, if you will not deeply
regret it."

"Noonsense, noonsense, Raymoond, ma deer fallow; do na'
heed the queeps of the hair-breened deevils. Ye see a
neever tak any nootice o' them, but joost leet them ha'
their way."

But Raymond stayed not--he hurried away across the snow
towards a distant fire, which lighted the ruder bivouac
of the adjutant and quarter master, and was there seen
to seat himself, with the air of one who has composed
himself for the night.

"What a silly fellow, to take the thing so seriously,"
said Molineux, half vexed at himself, half moved by the
reproachful tone of Raymond's address.

"For God's sake, Grantham, call him back. Tell him we
are ready to make any--every atonement for our offence,"
urged St. Clair.

"And I will promise never to utter another pun at his
expense as long as I live," added Middlemore.

But before Henry Grantham, who had been a pained and
silent witness of the scene, and who had already risen
with a view to follow the wounded Raymond, could take a
single step on his mission of peace, the low roll of the
drum, summoning to fall in, warned them that the hour of
action had already arrived, and each, quitting his fire,
hastened to the more immediate and pressing duties of
assembling his men, and carefully examining into the
state of their appointments.

In ten minutes from the beating of the reveille--
considerably shorn of its wonted proportions, as the
occasion demanded--the bivouac had been abandoned, and
the little army again upon their march. What remained to
be traversed of the space that separated them from the
enemy, was an alternation of plain and open forest, but
so completely in juxtaposition, that the head of the
column had time to clear one wood and enter a second
before its rear could disengage itself from the first.
The effect of this, by the dim and peculiar light reflected
from the snow across which they moved, was picturesque
in the extreme, nor was the interest diminished by the
utter silence that had pervaded every part of the little
army, the measured tramp of whose march, mingled with
the hollow and unavoidable rumbling of the light guns,
being the only sounds to be heard amid that mass of living
matter. The Indians, with the exception of a party of
scouts, had been the last to quit their rude encampment,
and as they now, in their eagerness to get to the front,
glided stealthily by in the deep snows on either side of
the more beaten track by which the troops advanced, and
so utterly without sound in their foot-fall, that they
might rather have been compared to spirits of the wilds,
than to human beings.

The regiment having been told off into divisions, it so
happened that Raymond and Henry Grantham, although
belonging to different companies, now found themselves
near each other. The latter had been most anxious to
approach his really good hearted companion, with a view
to soothe his wounded feelings, and to convey, in the
fullest and most convincing terms, the utter disclaimer
of his inconsiderate brother officers, to reflect seriously
on his conduct in the recent retreat--or, indeed, to
intend their observations for any thing beyond a mere
pleasantry. As, however, the strictest order had been
commanded to be observed in the march, and Raymond and
he happened to be at opposite extremities of the division,
this had been for some time impracticable. A temporary
halt having occurred, just as the head of the column
came, within sight of the enemy's fires, Grantham quitted
his station on the flank, and hastened to the head of
his division, where he found Raymond with his arms folded
across his chest, and apparently absorbed in deep thought.
He tapped him lightly on the shoulder, and inquired in
a tone of much kindness the subject of his musing.

Touched by the manner in which he was addressed, Raymond
dropped his arms, and grasping the hand of the youth,
observed in his usual voice; "Ah, is it you Henry--Egad,
my dear boy, I was just thinking of you--and how very
kind you have always been; never quizzing me as those
thoughtless fellows have done--and certainly never
insinuating any thing against my courage--that was too
bad Henry, too bad, I could have forgiven anything but
that."

"Nay, nay, Raymond," answered his companion, soothingly;
"believe me, neither Molineux, nor Middlemore, nor St.
Clair, meant anything beyond a jest. I can assure you
they did not, for when you quitted us they asked me to
go in search of you, but the assembly then commencing to
beat, I was compelled to hasten to my company, nor have
I had an opportunity of seeing you until now."

"Very well, Henry, I forgive them, for it is not in my
nature to keep anger long; but tell them that they should
not wantonly wound the feelings of an unoffending comrade.
As I told them, they may regret their unkindness to me
before another sun has set. If so, I wish them no other
punishment."

"What mean you, my dear Raymond?"

"Egad! I scarcely know myself, but something tells me
very forcibly my hour is come."

"Nonsense, this is but the effect of the depression,
produced by fatigue and over excitement, added to the
recent annoyance of your feelings."

"Whatever it proceed from, I had made up my mind to it
before we set out. Henry, my kind good Henry, I have
neither friend nor relative on earth--no one to inherit
the little property I possess. In the event of my falling,
you will find the key of my desk in the breast pocket of
my coat. A paper in that desk appoints you my executor.
Will you accept the trust?"

"Most sacredly, Raymond, will I fulfil every instruction
it contains; should I myself survive; but I cannot, will
not, bring myself to anticipate your fall."

"Move on, move on," passed quickly in a whisper from
front to rear of the column."

"God bless you, Henry" exclaimed Raymond, again pressing
the hand of the youth--"remember the key."

"We shall talk of that to night," was the light reply.
"Meanwhile, dear Raymond, God bless you," and again
Grantham fell back to his place in the rear of the
division.

Five minutes later, and the troops were silently drawn
up in front of the enemy. A long line of fires marked
the extent of the encampment, from which, even then, the
"all's well" of the sentinels could be occasionally heard.
Except these, all profoundly slept, nor was there anything
to indicate they had the slightest suspicion of an enemy
being within twenty miles of them--not a picket had been
thrown out, not an outpost established. It was evident
the Americans were yet young in the art of self defence.

"What glorious bayonet work we shall have presently,"
whispered Villiers to Cranstoun, as they were brought
together by their stations at the adjacent extremities
of their respective division. "Only mark how the fellows
sleep."

"The deevil a beet," responded Cranstoun, "a joost noo
heerd Coolonel St Julian propoose and even enseest upoon
it. But the Geeneral seems to theenk that coold steel
and a coold froosty morning do not asseemelate togeether."

"What! does he not mean to attack them with the bayonet,
when two minutes would suffice to bring us into the very
heart of the encampment, and that before they could well
have time to arm themselves?"

"Hoot mon" coolly pursued the Grenadier, with something
very like satire in his expression. "Would ye ha' the
Geeneral so uncheevalrous as to poonce upoon a set of
poor unarmed and unprepared creeturs. Depeend upon it he
would na sleep coomfortably on his peelow, after having
put coold steel into the geezzard of each of yon sleeping
loons."

"The devil take his consideration," muttered Villiers;
"but you are right, for see, there go the guns to the
front--hark there is a shot; the sentinels have discovered
us at last; and now the sluggards are starting from before
their fires, and hastening to snatch their arms.

"True enoof, Veelliers, and pleenty o' brooken heeds they
will gi' us soon, in retoorn for sparing their goots.
There oopen too those stooped leetle three poonders. Tha
might joost as weel be used for brass warming pons, to tak
the cheel off the damp beeds some of us will be pressing
preesently."

Whist, whist, whist, flew three balls successively between
their heads. "Ha, here they begin to talk to us in earnest,
and now to our duty."

The next moment all was roar, and bustle, and confusion,
and death.

We will not stop to inquire why the British General,
Proctor, lost an advantage which had made itself apparent
to the meanest soldier of his army, by opening a
desultory and aimless fire of his light guns upon an
enemy to whom he thus afforded every possible opportunity
for preparation and defence; when, like Colonel, (now Sir
John) Harvey, not long subsequently at Stoney Creek, he
might have annihilated that enemy with the bayonet, and
with little comparative loss to himself. We will merely
observe that having failed to do so, nothing but the
determination and courage of his troops brought him
through the difficulties he himself had created, and to
the final attainment of the general order, complimenting
him on the highly judicious arrangements he had made on
the occasion; although, (as Cranstoun had predicted) not
before a damp bed had been pressed for the last time by
more than one of those who had so gallantly followed--or,
more strictly, preceded him.

The sun was in the meridian; all sounds of combat had
ceased, and such of the American Army as had survived
the total defeat, were to be seen disarmed and guarded,
wending their way sullenly in the direction by which the
victors had advanced in the morning. From the field, in
which the troops had commenced the action, numerous
sledges were seen departing, laden with the dead--the
wounded having previously been sent off. One of these
sledges remained stationary at some distance within the
line, where the ravages of death were marked by pools of
blood upon the snow, and at this point were grouped
several individuals, assembled round a body which was
about to be conveyed away.

"By Heavens, I would give the world never to have said
an unkind word to him," observed one, whose arm, suspended
from a sling, attested he had not come scatheless out of
the action. It was St. Clair, whose great ambition it
had always been to have his name borne among the list of
wounded--provided there were no broken bones in the
question.

"As brave as he was honest hearted," added a second, "you
say Grantham, that he forgave us all our nonsense."

"He did, Molineux. He declared he could not bear resentment
against you long. But still, I fear, he could not so
easily forget. He observed to me, jestingly, just before
deploying into line, that he felt his time was come, but
there can be no doubt, from what we all witnessed, that
he was determined from the outset to court his death."

Captain Molineux turned away, apparently much affected
--Middlemore spoke not, but it was evident he also was
deeply pained. Each seemed to feel that he had been in
some degree accessory to the catastrophe, but the past
could not be recalled. The body, covered with blood,
exuding from several wounds, was now placed with that of
Ensign Langley, (who had also fallen, and lay at a little
distance beyond), on the sledge which was drawn off to
join several others just departed, and the lingering
officers hastened to overtake their several companies.

When the action was at the hottest, one of the small guns
in front (all of which had been fearfully exposed), was
left without a single artilleryman. Availing themselves
of this circumstance, the enemy, who were unprovided with
artillery of any description, made a movement as if to
possess themselves of, and turn it against the attacking
force, then closing rapidly to dispute the possession of
the breast work which covered their riflemen. Colonel
St. Julian, who had continued to ride along the line with
as much coolness as if he had been assisting at a field
day, and who was literally covered with wounds, having
received no less than five balls, in various parts of
his body, seeing this movement, called out for volunteers
to rescue the gun from its perilous situation. Scarcely
had the words passed his lips when an individual moved
forward from the line, in the direction indicated.--It
was Lieutenant Raymond--Exposed to the fire, both of
friends and foes, the unfortunate officer advanced calmly
and unconcernedly, in the presence of the whole line,
and before the Americans, (kept in check by a hot and
incessant musketry), could succeed in even crossing their
defences, had seized the gun by the drag rope, and
withdrawn it under cover of the English fire. But this
gallant act of self-devotedness was not without its
terrible price. Pierced by many balls, which the American
rifleman had immediately directed at him, he fell dying
within ten feet of the British line, brandishing his
sword and faintly shouting a "huzza," that was answered
by his companions with the fierce spirit of men stung to
new exertion, and determined to avenge his fall.

Thus perished the fat, the plain, the carbuncled, but
really gallant-hearted Raymond--whose intrinsic worth
was never estimated until he had ceased to exist. His
fall, and all connected therewith, forms a sort of episode
in our story, yet is it one not altogether without its
moral. A private monument, on which was inscribed all
that may soothe and flatter after death, was erected to
his memory by those very officers whose persiflage,
attacking in this instance even his honor as a soldier,
had driven him to seek the fate he found. Of this there
could he no question--for, brave as he unquestionably
was, Raymond would not have acted as if courting death
throughout, had he not fully made up his mind either to
gain great distinction or to die under the eyes of those
who had, he conceived, so greatly injured him. It is but
justice to add that, for three days from his death--
Middlemore did not utter a single pun--neither did St.
Clair, or Molineux, indulge in a satirical observation.



CHAPTER V.

The spring of 1813 had passed nearly away, yet without
producing any renewed effort on the part of the Americans.
From information obtained from the Indian scouts, it
however appeared that, far from being discouraged by
their recent disaster, they had moved forward a third
Army to the Miami, where they had strongly entrenched
themselves, until hitting opportunity should be found to
renew their attempt to recover the lost district. It was
also ascertained that, with a perseverance and industry
peculiar to themselves, they had been occupied throughout
the rigorous winter, in preparing a fleet of sufficient
force to compete with that of the British; and that,
abandoning the plan hitherto pursued by his predecessors,
the American leader of this third army of invasion,
purposed transporting his troops across the lake, instead
of running the risk of being harrassed and cut up in an
advance by land. To effect this, it was of course necessary
to have the command of the lake, and there were all the
sinews of exertion called into full exercise, to obtain
the desired ascendancy.

To defeat this intention, became now the chief object of
the British General. With the close of winter had ceased
the hunting pursuits of the warriors, so that each day
brought with it a considerable accession to the strength
of this wild people, vast numbers of whom had betaken
themselves to their hunting grounds, shortly after the
capture of Detroit. The chiefs of these several nations
were now summoned to a Council, in the course of which
it was decided that a formidable expedition, accompanied
by a heavy train of battering artillery, should embark
in batteaux, with a view to the reduction of the American
post established on the Miami;--a nucleus, around which
was fast gathering a spirit of activity that threatened
danger, if not annihilation, to the English influence in
the North Western districts. In the event of the
accomplishment of this design, Detroit and Amherstburg
would necessarily be released from all apprehension,
since, even admitting the Americans could acquire a
superiority of naval force on the lake, such superiority
could only be essentially injurious to us, as a means of
affording transport to, and covering the operations of
an invading army. If, however, that already on the Miami
could be defeated, and their fortress razed, it was not
probable that a fourth could be equipped and pushed
forward, with a view to offensive operations, in sufficient
time to accomplish any thing decisive before the winter
should set in. Tecumseh, who had just returned from
collecting new bodies of warriors, warmly approved the
project, and undertook to bring two thousand men into
the field, as his quota of the expedition, the departure
of which was decided for the seventh day from the Council.

Meanwhile, no exertions were wanting to place the little
fleet in a state of efficiency. During the winter, the
vessel described in our opening chapter of this tale, as
that on the completion of which numerous workmen were
intently engaged, had, after the fall of Detroit, and
the consequent capture of whatever barks the Americans
possessed, been utterly neglected; but now that it was
known the enemy were secretly and rapidly preparing an
overpowering force at the opposite extremity of the lake,
the toils of the preceding summer were renewed, and every
where, throughout the dock-yard, the same stirring industry
was perceptible. By all were these movements regarded
with an interest proportioned to the important consequences
at stake, but by none more than by Commodore Barclay
himself, whose watchful eye marked the progress, and
whose experience and judgment directed the organization
of the whole. The difficulties he had to contend with
were great, for not only were the artificers, employed
in the construction of the ship, men of limited knowledge
in their art, but even those who manned her, when completed,
were without the nautical experience and practice
indispensable to success; yet these disadvantages was he
prepared to overlook in the cheerfulness and ardor with
which each lent himself to exertion, and sought to supply
deficiency with zeal. The feelings of the gallant officer
in this position--on the one hand, sensible that to him
was confided the task of upholding the supremacy of his
country's flag, and on the other, compelled to confess
the inadequacy of the means placed at his disposal for
this object--may be easily understood. That his men were
brave he knew, but mere bravery would not suffice in a
contest where the skill of the seamen, not less than
brute courage, must be called into requisition. He had
reason to know that his enemy would not merely bring
stout hearts into the conflict, but active hands--men
whose lives had been passed on the restless waters of
ocean, and whose training had been perfected in the battle
and the tempest, while nine tenths of his own crews had
never planted foot beyond the limit of the lake on which
the merits and resources of both would be so shortly
tested. But "aut agere aut mori," was his motto, and of
the appropriateness of this his actions have formed the
most striking illustration.

The day on which the Council relative to the proposed
expedition to the Miami was held, was characterized by
one of those sudden outbursts of elemental war, so common
to the Canadas in early summer--and, which, in awful
grandeur of desolation, are frequently scarcely interior
to the hurricanes of the tropics. The morning had been
oppressively sultry, and there was that general and heavy
lethargy of nature that usually precedes a violent
reaction. About noon, a small dark speck was visible in
the hitherto cloudless horizon, and this presently grew
in size until the whole western sky was one dense mass
of threatening black, which eventually spread itself over
the entire surface of the heavens, leaving not a hand's
breadth any where visible. Presently, amid the sultry
stillness that prevailed, there came a slight breeze over
the face of the waters, and then, as if some vast battering
train had suddenly opened its hundred mouths of terror,
vomiting forth showers of grape and other missiles, came
astounding thunder-claps, and forked lightnings, and
rain, and hail, and whistling wind--all in such terrible
union, yet such fearful disorder, that man, the last to
take warning, or feel awed by the anger of the common
parent, Nature, bent his head in lowliness and silence
to her voice, and awaited tremblingly the passing away
of her wrath.

Henry Grantham, whose turn of duty had again brought him
to Amherstburg, was in the mess-room of the garrison when
the storm was at the fiercest. Notwithstanding the
excitement of the Council scene, at which he had been
present, he had experienced an unusual depression throughout
the day, originating partly in the languid state of the
atmosphere, but infinitely more in the anxiety under
which he labored in regard to his brother, of whom no
other intelligence had been received, since his departure
with his prisoners for Buffalo, than what vague rumour,
coupled with the fact of the continued absence of the
schooner, afforded. That the vessel had been captured by
the enemy there could be no doubt; but, knowing as he
did, the gallant spirit of Gerald, there was reason to
imagine that he had not yielded to his enemies, before
every means of resistance had been exhausted: and, if
so, what might not have been the effect of his obstinacy
(if such a term could be applied to unshaken intrepidity,)
on men exasperated by opposition, and eager for revenge.
In the outset he had admitted his gentle cousin Gertrude
to his confidence, as one most suited, by her docility,
to soothe without appearing to remark on his alarm, but
when, little suspecting the true motive of her agitation,
he saw her evince an emotion surpassing his own, and
admitting and giving way to fears beyond any he would
openly avow, he grew impatient and disappointed, and
preferring rather to hear the tocsin of alarm sounded
from his own heart than from the lips of another, he
suddenly, and much to the surprise of the affectionate
girl, discontinued all allusion to the subject. But
Henry's anxiety was not the less poignant from being
confined within his own breast, and although it gratified
him to find that flattering mention was frequently made
of his brother at the mess-table, coupled with regret
for his absence, it was reserved for his hours of privacy
and abstraction to dwell upon the fears which daily became
more harrassing and perplexing.

On the present occasion, even while his brother officers
had thought nor ear but for the terrible tempest that
raged without, and at one moment threatened to bury them
beneath the trembling roof, the mind of Henry was full
of his absent brother, whom, more than ever, he now seemed
to regret, from the association of the howling tempest
with the wild element on which he had last beheld him;
and so complete at length had become the ascendancy of
his melancholy, that when the storm had been in some
degree stilled, and the rain abated, he look an early
leave of his companions, with a view to indulge in privacy
the gloomy feelings by which be felt himself oppressed.

In passing through the gate of the Fort, on his way into
the town, his attention was arrested by several groups
of persons, consisting of soldiers, Indians, and
inhabitants, who, notwithstanding the inclemency of the
hour, were gathered on the high bank in front of the
demi-lune battery, eagerly bending their gaze upon the
riser. Half curious to know what could have attracted
them in such weather from shelter, Henry advanced and
mingled in the crowd, which gave way at his approach.
Although the fury of the tempest had spent itself, there
was still wind enough to render it a matter of necessary
precaution that the bystanders should secure a firm
footing on the bank, while the water, violently agitated
and covered with foam, resembled rather a pigmy sea than
an inland river--so unusual and so vast were its waves.
The current, moreover, increased in strength by the sudden
swelling of the waters, dashed furiously down, giving
its direction to the leaping billows that rode impatiently
upon its surface; and at the point of intersection by
the island of Bois Blanc, formed so violent an eddy within
twenty feet of the land, as to produce the effect of a
whirlpool, while again, between the island and the Canadian
shore, the current, always rapid and of great force, flew
boiling down its channel, and with a violence almost
quadrupled.

Amid this uproar of the usually placid river, there was
but one bark found bold enough to venture upon her angered
bosom, and this, although but an epitome of those that
have subdued the world of waters, and chained them in
subservience to the will of man, now danced gallantly,
almost terrifically, from billow to billow, and, with
the feathery lightness of her peculiar class, seemed
borne onward, less by the leaping waves themselves than
by the white and driving spray that fringed their summits.
This bark--a canoe evidently of the smallest description
--had been watched in its progress, from afar, by the
groups assembled on the bank, who had gathered at each
other's call, to witness and marvel at the gallant daring
of those who had committed it to the boiling element.
Two persons composed her crew--the one, seated in the
stern, and carefully guiding the bark so as to enable
her to breast the threatening waves, which, in quick
succession, rose as if to accomplish her overthrow--the
other, standing at her bows, the outline of his upper
figure designed against the snow-white sail, and, with
his arms folded across his chest, apparently gazing
without fear on the danger which surrounded him. It was
evident, from their manner of conducting the bark, that
the adventurers were not Indians, and yet there was
nothing to indicate to what class of the white family
they belonged. Both were closely wrapped in short, dark
coloured pea coats, and their heads were surmounted with
glazed hats--a species of costume that more than any
thing else, proved their familiarity with the element
whose brawling they appeared to brave with an indifference
bordering on madness.

Such was the position of the parties, at the moment when
Henry Grantham gained the bank. Hitherto the canoe, in
the broad reach that divided the island from the American
mainland, had had merely the turbulence of the short
heavy waves, and a comparatively modified current, to
contend against. Overwhelming even as these difficulties
would have proved to men less gifted with the power of
opposing and vanquishing them, they were but light in
comparison with what remained to be overcome. The canoe
was now fast gaining the head of the island, and pursuing
a direct course for the whirlpool already described. The
only means of avoiding this was by closely hugging the
shore, between which and the violent eddy without, the
water, broken in its impetuosity by the covering head
land, presented a more even and less agitated surface.
This head land once doubled, the safety of the adventurers
was ensured, since, although the tremendous current which
swept through the inner channel must have borne them
considerably downwards, still the canoe would have
accomplished the transit below the town in perfect safety.
The fact of this opportunity being neglected, led at once
to the inference that the adventurers were total strangers,
and distinct voices were now raised by those on the bank,
to warn them of their danger--but whether it was that
they heard not, or understood not, the warning was
unnoticed. Once indeed it seemed as if he who so ably
conducted the course of the bark, had comprehended and
would have followed the suggestion so earnestly given,
for his tiny sail was seen to flutter for the first time
in the wind, as with the intention to alter his course.
But an impatient gesture from his companion in the bow,
who was seen to turn suddenly round, and utter something,
(which was however inaudible to those onshore,) again
brought the head of the fragile vessel to her original
course, and onward she went leaping and bounding, apparently
with the design to clear the whirlpool at a higher point
of the river. Nothing short of a miracle could now possibly
enable them to escape being drawn into the boiling vortex,
and, during the moments that succeeded, every heart beat
high with fearful expectation as to the result. At length
the canoe came with a sudden plunge into the very centre
of the current, which, all the skill of the steersman
was insufficient to enable him to clear. Her bow yawed,
her little sail fluttered--and away she flew, broadside
foremost, down the stream with as little power of resistance
as a feather or a straw. Scarcely had the eye time to
follow her in this peculiar descent, when she was in the
very heart of the raging eddy. For a moment she reeled
like a top, then rolled two or three times over, and
finally disappeared altogether. Various expressions of
horror broke from the several groups of whites and Indians,
all of whom had anticipated the catastrophe without the
power of actively interposing. Beyond the advice that
was given, not a word was uttered, but every eye continued
fixed on the whirlpool, as though momentarily expecting
to see something issue from its bosom. After the lapse
of a minute, a dark object suddenly presented itself some
twenty yards below, between the island and the town. It
was the canoe which, bottom upwards, and deprived of its
little mast and sail, had again risen to the surface,
and was floating rapidly down with the current. Presently
afterwards two heads were seen nearly at the point where
the canoe had again emerged. They were the unfortunate
adventurers, one of whom appeared to be supporting his
companion with one arm, whilst with the other he dashed
away the waters that bore them impetuously along. The
hats of both had fallen off, and as he who exerted himself
so strenuously, rose once or twice in the vigour of his
efforts above the element with which he contended, he
seemed to present the grisly, woolly hair, and the sable
countenance of an aged negro. A vague surmise of the
truth now flashed upon the mind, of the excited officer,
but when, presently afterwards, he saw the powerful form
once more raised, and in a voice that made itself distinctly
heard above the howling of the wind, exclaim: "Help a
dare," there was no longer a doubt, and he rushed towards
the dock yard, to gain which the exertions of the negro
were now directed.

On reaching it, he found both Gerald and his faithful
attendant just touching the shore. Aroused by the cry
for help which Sambo had pealed forth, several of the
workmen had quitted the shelter of the block houses in
which they were lodged, and hastened to the rescue of
him whom they immediately afterwards saw struggling
furiously to free himself and companion from the violent
current. Stepping to the extremity on some loose timber
which lay secured to the shore, yet floating in the
river--they threw out poles, one of which Sambo seized
like an enraged mastiff in his teeth, and still supporting
the body, and repelling the water with his disengaged
arm, in this manner succeeded in gaining the land. The
crews of the little fleet, which lay armed a hundred
yards lower down, had also witnessed the rapid descent
of two apparently drowning men, and ropes had every where
been thrown out from the vessels. As for lowering a boat
it was out of the question, for no boat could have resisted
the violence of the current, even for some hours after
the storm had wholly ceased.

It may be easily conceived with what mingled emotions
the generous Henry, whose anxiety had been so long excited
in regard to his brother's fate, now beheld that brother
suddenly restored to him. Filled with an affection, that
was rendered the more intense by the very fact of the
danger from which he had just seen him rescued, he,
regardless of those around, and in defiance of his wet
and dripping clothes, sprang eagerly to his embrace, but
Gerald received him with a cold--almost averted air.
Suffering, rather than sharing, this mark of his fraternal
love, he turned the instant afterwards to his servant,
and in a tone of querulousness, said--"Sambo, give me
more wine."

Inexpressibly shocked, and not knowing what to make of
this conduct, Henry bent his glance upon the negro. The
old man shook his head mournfully, and even with the
dripping spray that continued to fall from his woollen
locks upon his cheeks, tears might be seen to mingle. A
dreadful misgiving came over the mind of the youth, and
he felt his very hair rise thrillingly, as he for a moment
admitted the horrible possibility, that the shock produced
by his recent accident had affected his brother's intellect.
Sambo replied to his master's demand, by saying "there
was no wine--the canoe and its contents had been utterly
lost."

All this passed during the first few moments of their
landing. The necessity for an immediate change of apparel
was obvious, and Gerald and his servant were led into
the nearest block house, where each of the honest fellows
occupying it was eager in producing whatever his rude
wardrobe afforded. The brothers then made the best of
their way, followed by the negro, to their own abode in
the town.

The evening being damp and chilly, a fire was kindled in
the apartment in which Gerald dined--the same in which
both had witnessed the dying moments of their mother,
and Henry those of their father. It had been chosen by
the former, in the height of her malady, for its
cheerfulness, and she had continued in it until the hour
of her decease; while Major Grantham had selected it for
his chamber of death, for the very reason, that it had
been that of his regretted wife. Henry, having already
dined, sat at the opposite extremity of the table, watching
his brother whose features he had so longed to behold
once more; yet, not without a deep and bitter feeling of
grief that those features should have undergone so complete
a change in their expression towards himself. Gerald had
thrown off the temporary and ill fitting vestments
exchanged for his own wet clothing, and now that he
appeared once more in his customary garb, an extraordinary
alteration was perceptible in his whole appearance.
Instead of the blooming cheek, and rounded and elegant
form, for which he had always been remarkable, he now
offered to the eye of his anxious brother an emaciated
figure, and a countenance pale even unto wanness--while
evidence of much care, and inward suffering, might be
traced in the stern contraction of his hitherto open
brow. There was also a dryness in his speech that startled
and perplexed even more than the change in his person.
The latter might be the effect of imprisonment, and its
anxiety and privation, coupled with the exhaustion arising
from his recent accident, but how was the first to be
accounted for, and wherefore was he, after so long a
separation, and under such circumstances, thus
uncommunicative and unaffectionate? All these reflections
occurred to the mind of the sensitive Henry, as he sat
watching, and occasionally addressing a remark to, his
taciturn brother, until he became fairly bewildered in
his efforts to find a clue to his conduct. The horrible
dread which had first suggested itself, of the partial
overthrow of intellect, had passed away, but to this had
succeeded a discovery, attended by quite as much concern
--although creating less positive alarm. He had seen,
with inexpressible pain, that Gerald ate but little,
seeming rather to loathe his food, while on the other
hand, he had recourse more frequently to wine, drinking
off bumpers with greedy avidity, until, yielding at length
to the excess of his potations, he fell fast asleep in
the arm chair he had drawn to the fire, overcome by the
mingled influence of wine, fatigue, and drowsiness.

Bitter were the feelings of Henry Grantham, as thus he
gazed upon his sleeping brother. Fain would he have
persuaded himself, that the effect he now witnessed was
an isolated instance, and occurring only under the peculiar
circumstances of the moment. It was impossible to recal
the manner in which he had demanded "wine," from their
faithful old servant and friend, and not feel satisfied,
that the tone proclaimed him one who had been in the
frequent habit of repeating that demand, as the prepared,
yet painful manner of the black, indicated a sense of
having been too frequently called upon to administer to
it. Alas, thought the heart-stricken Henry, can it really
be, that he whom I have cherished in my heart of hearts,
with more than brother's love has thus fallen? Has Gerald,
formerly as remarkable for sobriety, as for every honorable
principle, acquired even during the months I have so
wretchedly mourned his absence, the fearful propensities
of the drunkard. The bare idea overpowered him, and with
difficulty restraining his tears, he rose from his seat,
and paced the room for some time, in a state of
indescribable agitation. Then again he stopped, and when
he looked in the sleeping face of his unconscious brother,
he was more than ever struck by the strange change which
had been wrought in his appearance. Finding that Gerald
still slept profoundly, he took the resolution of instantly
questioning Sambo, as to all that had befallen them during
their absence, and ascertaining, if possible, to what
circumstance the mystery which perplexed him was
attributable. Opening and reclosing the door with caution,
he hastened to the room, which, owing to his years and
long and faithful services, had been set apart for the
accommodation of the old man when on shore. Here he found
Sambo, who had dispatched his substantial meal, busily
occupied in drying his master's wet dress, before a large
blazing wood fire--and laying out, with, the same view,
certain papers, the contents of a pocket book, which had
been completely saturated with water. A ray of satisfaction
lighted the dark, but intelligent face of the negro,
which the instant before, had worn an expression of
suffering, as the young officer, pressing his hand with
warmth, thanked him deeply and fervently, for the noble,
almost superhuman exertions he had made that day, to
preserve his brother's life.

"Oh Massa Henry," was all the poor creature could say in
reply, as he retained the pressure with an emphasis that
spoke his profound attachment to both. Then leaning his
white head upon his hand against the chimney, and bursting
into tears; "berry much change, he poor broder Geral, he
not a same at all."

Here was a sad opening indeed to the subject. The heart
of the youth sank within him, yet feeling the necessity
of knowing all connected with his brother's unhappiness,
he succeeded in drawing the old man into conversation,
and finally into a narration of all their adventures, as
far, at least, as he had personal knowledge, from the
moment of their leaving Detroit in the preceding autumn.

When, after the expiration of an hour, he returned to
the drawing room, Gerald was awake, and so far restored
by the effect of his sound sleep, as to be, not only more
communicative, but more cordial towards his brother. He
even reverted to past scenes, and spoke of the mutual
frolics of their youth, with a cheerfulness bordering on
levity; but this pained Henry the more, for he saw in it
but the fruit of a forced excitement--as melancholy in
adoption as pernicious in effect--and his own heart
repugned all participation in so unnatural a gaiety,
although, he enforced himself to share it to the outward
eye. Fatigue at length compelled Gerald to court the
quiet of his pillow, and, overcome as his senses were
with wine, he slept profoundly until morning.



CHAPTER VI.

When they met at breakfast, Henry was more than ever
struck and afflicted by the alteration in his brother's
person and manner. All traces of the last night's excitement
had disappeared with its cause, and pale, haggard, and
embarrassed, he seemed but the shadow of his former self,
while the melancholy of his countenance had in it something
wild and even fierce. As at their first meeting, his
language was dry and reserved, and he seemed rather
impatient of conversation, as though it interfered with
the indulgence of some secret and all absorbing reflection,
while, to Henry's affectionate questioning of his adventures
since they first parted, he replied in the vague
unsatisfactory manner of one who seeks to shun the subject
altogether. At another moment, this apparent prostration
of the physical man might have been ascribed to his long
immersion of the preceding day, and the efforts that were
necessary to rescue him from a watery grave; but, from
the account Sambo had given him, Henry had but too much
reason to fear that the disease of body and mind which
had so completely encompassed his unfortunate brother,
not only had its being in a different cause, but might
be dated from an earlier period. Although burning with
desire to share that confidence which it grieved him to
the soul to find thus unkindly withheld, he made no effort
to remove the cloak of reserve in which his brother had
invested himself. That day they both dined at the garrison
mess, and Henry saw, with additional pain, that the warm
felicitation of his brother officers on his return, were
received by Gerald with the same reserve and indifference
which had characterized his meeting with him, while he
evinced the same disinclination to enter upon the solicited
history of his captivity, as well as the causes which
led to his bold venture, and consequent narrow escape,
of the preceding day. Finding him thus uncommunicative,
and not comprehending the change in his manner, they
rallied him; and, as the bottle circulated, he seemed
more and more disposed to meet their raillery with a
cheerfulness and good humour that brought even the color
into his sunken cheeks; but when, finally, some of them
proceeded to ask him, in their taunting manner, what he
had done with his old flame and fascinating prisoner,
Miss Montgomerie, a deadly paleness overspread his
countenance, and he lost in the moment, all power of
disguising his feelings. His emotion was too sudden, and
too palpable not to be observed by those who had unwillingly
called it forth, and they at once, with considerate tact,
changed the conversation. Hereupon Gerald again made an
effort to rally, but no one returned to the subject.
Piqued at this conduct, he had more frequent recourse to
the bottle, and laughed and talked in a manner that proved
him to be laboring under the influence of extraordinary
excitement. When he took leave of his brother to retire
to rest, he was silent, peevish, dissatisfied--almost
angry.

Henry passed a night of extreme disquiet. It was evident
from what had occurred at the mess-table, in relation to
the beautiful American, that to her was to be ascribed
the wretchedness to which Gerald had become a victim,
and he resolved, on the following morning, to waive all
false delicacy, and, throwing himself upon his affection,
to solicit his confidence, and offer whatever counsel he
conceived would best tend to promote his peace of mind.

At breakfast the conversation turned on the intended
movement, which was to take place within three days, and,
on this subject, Gerald evinced a vivacity that warmed
into eagerness. He had risen early that morning, with a
view to obtain the permission of the Commodore to make
one of the detachment of sailors who were to accompany
the expedition, and, having succeeded in obtaining the
command of one of the two gun-boats which were destined
to ascend the Miami, and form part of the battering force,
seemed highly pleased. This apparent return to himself
might have led his brother into the belief that his
feelings had indeed undergone a reaction, had he not,
unfortunately, but too much reason to know that the
momentary gaiety was the result of the very melancholy
which consumed him. However, it gave him a more favorable
opportunity to open the subject next his heart, and, as
a preparatory step, he dexterously contrived to turn the
conversation into the channel most suited to his purpose.

The only ill effect arising from Gerald's recent immersion
was a sense of pain in that part of his arm which had
been bitten by the rattle snake, on the day of the pic-nic
to Hog Island, and it chanced that this morning especially
it had a good deal annoyed him, evincing some slight
predisposition to inflammation. To subdue this, Henry
applied, with his own hand, a liniment which had been
recommended, and took occasion, when he had finished, to
remark on the devotedness and fearlessness Miss Montgomerie
had manifested in coming so opportunely to his rescue--
in all probability, thereby preserving his life.

At the sound of this name Gerald, started, and evinced
the same impatience of the subject he had manifested on
the preceding day. Henry keenly remarked his emotion,
and Gerald was sensible that he did.

Both sat for some minutes gazing at each other in expressive
silence, the one as if waiting to hear, the other as if
conscious that he was expected to afford some explanation
of the cause of so marked an emotion. At length Gerald
said, and in a tone of deep and touching despondency,
"Henry, I fear you find me very unamiable and much altered;
but indeed I am very unhappy."

Here was touched the first chord of their sympathies.
Henry's already on the elan, flew to meet this demonstration
of returning confidence, and he replied in a voice broken
by the overflowing of his full heart.

"Oh, my beloved brother, changed must you indeed be, when
even the admission that you are unhappy, inspires me with
a thankfulness such as I now feel. Gerald, I entreat, I
implore, you by the love we have borne each other from
infancy to disguise nothing from me. Tell me what it is
that weighs so heavily at your heart. Repose implicit
confidence in me, your brother, and let me assist and
advise you in your extremity, as my poor ability will
permit. Tell me Gerald, wherefore are you thus altered--
what dreadful disappointment has thus turned the milk of
your nature into gall?"

Gerald gazed at him a moment intently. He was much
affected, and a sudden and unbidden tear stole down his
pallid cheek. "If YOU have found the milk of my nature
turned into gall, then indeed am I even more wretched
than I thought myself. But, Henry, you ask me what I
cannot yield--my confidence--and, even were it so, the
yielding would advantage neither. I am unhappy, as I have
said, but the cause of that unhappiness must ever remain
buried here," and he pointed to his chest. This was said
kindly, yet determinedly.

"Enough, Gerald," and his brother spoke in tones of deep
reproach, "since you persist in withholding your confidence,
I will no longer urge it; but you cannot wonder that I
who love but you alone on earth, should sorrow as one
without hope, at beholding you subject to a grief so
overwhelming as to have driven you to seek refuge from
it, in an unhallowed grave."

"I do not understand you--what mean you?" quickly
interrupted Gerald, raising his head from the hand which
supported it upon the breakfast table, while he colored
faintly.

"You cannot well be ignorant of my meaning," pursued
Henry in the same tone, "if you but recur to the
circumstances attending your arrival here."

"I am still in the dark," continued Gerald, with some
degree of impatience.

"Because you know not that I am acquainted with all that
took place on the melancholy occasion. Gerald," he pursued,
"forgive the apparent harshness of what I am about to
observe--but was it generous--was it kind in you to incur
the risk you did, when you must have known that your
death would have entailed upon me an eternal grief? Was
it worthy of yourself, moreover, to make the devoted
follower of your fortunes, a sharer in the danger you so
eagerly and wantonly courted!"

"Nay, my good brother," and Gerald made an attempt at
levity, "you are indeed an unsparing monitor; but suppose
I should offer in reply, that a spirit of enterprize was
upon me on the occasion to which you allude, and that,
fired by a desire to astonish you all with a bold feat,
I had resolved to do what no other had done before me,
yet without apprehending the serious consequences which
ensued--or even assuming the danger to have been so
great."

"All this, Gerald, you might, yet would not say; because,
in saying it, would have to charge yourself with a gross
insincerity, and although you do not deem me worthy to
share your confidence, I still have pleasure in knowing
that my affection will not be repaid with deceit--however
plausible the motives for its adoption may appear--by
the substitution in short, of that which is not for that
which is."

"A gross insincerity?" repeated Gerald, again slightly
coloring.

"Yes, my brother--I say it not in anger, nor in reproach.--
but a gross insincerity it would certainly be. Alas,
Gerald, your motives are but too well known to me. The
danger you incurred was incurred wilfully, wantonly, and
with a view to your own destruction."

Gerald started. The color had again fled from his sunken
cheek, and he was ashy pale; "And HOW knew you this," he
asked with a trembling voice.

"Even, Gerald, as I know that you have been driven to
seek in wine that upbearing against the secret grief
which consumes you, which should be found alone in the
fortitude of a strong mind, and the consciousness of an
untainted honor. Oh, Gerald, had these been your supporters,
you never would have steeped your reason so far in
forgetfulness, as to have dared what you did on that
eventful day. Good Heaven! how little did I ever expect
to see the brother of my love degenerated so far as to
border on the character of the drunkard and the suicide."

The quick, but sunken eyes of the sailor flashed fire;
and he pressed his lips, and clenched his teeth together
as one strongly attempting to restrain his indignation.
It was but a momentary flashing of the chafed and bruised
spirit.

"You probe me deeply, Henry," he said calmly, and in a
voice of much melancholy. "These are severe expressions
for a brother to use--but you are right--I did seek
oblivion of my wretchedness in that whirlpool, as the
only means of destroying the worm that feeds incessantly
upon my heart; but Providence has willed it otherwise--
and, moreover, I had not taken the danger of my faithful
servant into the account. Had Sambo not saved me, I must
have perished, for I made not the slightest effort to
preserve myself. However it matters but little, the mere
manner of one's death," he pursued with increased
despondency. "It is easy for you, Henry, whose mind is
at peace with itself and the world, to preach fortitude
and resignation, but, felt you the burning flame which
scorches my vitals, you would acknowledge the wide, wide
difference between theory and practice."

Henry rose deeply agitated--he went to the door and
secured the bolt, then returning, knelt at his brother's
feet. Gerald had one hand covering his eyes from which,
however, the tears forced themselves through his closed
fingers. The other was seized and warmly pressed in his
brother's grasp.

"Gerald," he said in the most emphatic manner, "by the
love you ever bore to our sainted parents, in whose
chamber of death I now appeal to your better feelings--
by the friendship that has united our hearts from youth
to manhood--by all and every tie of affection, let me
implore you once more to confide this dreadful grief to
me, that I may share it with you, and counsel you for
your good. Oh, my brother, on my bended knees, do I
solicit your confidence. Believe me no mean curiosity
prompts my prayer. I would soothe, console, assist
you--aye, even to the very sacrifice of life."

The feelings of the sailor were evidently touched, yet
he tittered not a word. His hand still covered his face,
and the tears seemed to flow even faster than before.

"Gerald," pursued his brother with bitterness; "I see
with pain, that I have not your confidence, and I
desist--yet answer me one question. From the faithful
Sambo, as you must perceive, I have learnt all connected
with your absence, and from him I have gained that, during
your captivity, you were much with Miss Montgomerie, (he
pronounced the name with an involuntary shuddering), all
I ask, therefore, is whether your wretchedness proceeds
from the rejection of your suit, or from any levity or
inconstancy you may have found in her?"

Gerald raised his head from his supporting hand, and
turned upon his brother a look, in which mortified pride
predominated over an infinitude of conflicting emotions.

"Rejected, Henry, MY suit rejected--oh, no! In supposing
my grief to originate with her, you are correct, but
imagine not it is because my suit is rejected--certainly
not."

"Then," exclaimed Henry with generous emphasis, while he
pressed the thin hand which he held more closely between
his own, "Why not marry her?"

Gerald started.

"Yes, marry her," continued Henry; "marry her and be at
peace. Oh! Gerald, you know not what sad agency I attached
to that insidious American from the first moment of her
landing on this shore--you know not how much I have
disliked, and still dislike her--but what are these
considerations when my brother's happiness is at stake
--Gerald, marry her--and be happy."

"Impossible," returned the sailor in a feeble voice, and
again his head sank upon the open palm of his hand.

"Do you no longer love her then?" eagerly questioned the
astonished youth.

Once more Gerald raised his head, and fixed his large,
dim, eyes full upon those of his brother. "To madness!"
he said, in a voice, and with a look that made Henry
shudder. There was a moment of painful pause. The latter
at length ventured to observe.

"You speak in riddles, Gerald. If you love this Miss
Montgomerie to madness, and are, as you seem to intimate
loved by her in return, why not, as I have urged, marry
her?"

"Because," replied the sailor, turning paler than before,
and almost gasping for breath, "there is a condition
attached to the possession of her hand."

"And that is?" pursued Henry inquiringly, after another
long and painful pause.

"My secret," and Gerald pointed significantly to his
breast.

"True," returned Henry, slightly coloring; "I had
forgotten--but what condition, Gerald, (and here he spoke
as if piqued at the abrupt manner in which his brother
had concluded his half confidence), what condition, I
ask, may a woman entitled to our respect, as well as to
our love, propose, which should be held of more account
than that severest of offences against the Divine will--
self murder--nay, look not thus surprised, for have you
not admitted that you had guiltily attempted to throw
away your life--to commit suicide in short--rather than
comply with an earthly condition?"

"What if in this," returned Gerald, with a smile of
bitterness, "I have preferred the lesser guilt to the
greater?"

"I can understand no condition, my brother, a woman worthy
of your esteem could impose, which should one moment
weigh in the same scale against the inexpiable crime of
self destruction. But, really, all this mystery so startles
and confounds me, that I know not what to think--what
inference to draw."

"Henry," observed the sailor, with some show of impatience
--"considering your promise not to urge it further, it
seems to me you push the matter to an extremity."

The youth made no reply, but, raising himself from his
knees, moved towards the door, which he again unbolted.
He then walked to the window at the further end of the
apartment.

Gerald saw that he was deeply pained; and impatient, and
angry with himself, he also rose and paced the room with
hurried steps. At length he stopped, and putting one hand
upon the shoulder of his brother, who stood gazing vacantly
from the window, pointed with the other towards that part
of the apartment in which both their parents had breathed
their last.

"Henry, my kind, good, Henry," he said, with a voice
faltering with emotion, "do you recollect the morning,
when, on our return from school, we found our young
holiday joy changed into heart-breaking and mourning by
the sight of our dying mother?"

"Remember it, Gerald! aye, even as though it had been
yesterday. Oh, my brother, little did I think at the
moment, when, with hands closely clasped together, we
sank, overcome with grief, upon our bended knees, to
receive that mother's blessing, a day would ever arrive
when the joy or sorrow of the one, should form no portion
of the joy or sorrow of the other."

"It was there," pursued Gerald, and without noticing the
interruption, "that we solemnly pledged ourselves to do
the will and bidding of our father in all things."

"Even so, Gerald, I remember it well."

"And it was there," continued the sailor, with the emphasis
of strong emotion, "that, during my unfortunate absence
from the death bed of our yet surviving parent, you gave
a pledge for BOTH, that no action of our lives should
reflect dishonor on his unsullied name."

"I did. Both in your name and in my own, I gave the
pledge, well knowing that, in that, I merely anticipated
your desire."

"Most assuredly--what then would be your sensations were
you to know that I had violated that sacred obligation?"

"Deep, poignant, ceaseless, regret, that my once noble
and high spirited brother, should have been so lost to
respect for his father's memory, and to himself." This
was uttered, not without deep agitation.

"You are right, Henry," added Gerald mournfully;
"better--far better--is it to die, than live on in the
consciousness of having forfeited all claim to esteem."

The young soldier started as if a viper had stung him.
"Gerald," he said eagerly, "you have not dishonored
yourself. Oh no--tell me, my brother, that you have not."

"No," was the cold, repulsive answer, "although my peace
of mind is fled," he pursued, rather more mildly, "my
honor, thank heaven, remains as pure as when you first
pledged yourself for its preservation."

"Thanks, my brother, for that. But can it really be
possible, that the mysterious condition attached to Miss
Montgomerie's love, involves the loss of honor?"

Gerald made no answer.

"And can YOU really be weak enough to entertain a passion
for a woman, who would make the dishonoring of the fair
fame of him she professes to love, the fearful price at
which her affection is to be purchased?"

Gerald seemed to wince at the word "weak," which was
rather emphatically pronounced, and looked displeased at
the concluding part of the sentence.

"I said not that the condition attached to her LOVE," he
remarked, with the piqued expression of a wounded vanity;
"her affection is mine, I know, beyond her own power of
control--the condition, relates not to her heart, but to
her hand."

"Alas, my poor infatuated brother. Blinding indeed must
be. the delusions of passion, when a nature so sensitive
and so honorable shrinks not from such a connexion. My
only surprise is, that, with such a perversion of judgment,
you have returned at all."

"No more of this Henry. It is not in man to control his
destiny, and mine appears to be to love with a fervor
that must bear me, ere long, to my grave. Of this, however,
be assured--that, whatever my weakness, or infatuation,
as you may be pleased to call it, THAT passion shall
never be gratified at the expense of my honor. Deeply--
madly as I doat upon her image, Miss Montgomerie and I
have met for the last time."

Overcome by the emotion with which he had thus expressed
himself, Gerald could not restrain a few burning tears
that forced their way down his hollow cheeks. Henry caught
eagerly at this indication of returning softness, and
again essayed, in reference to the concluding declaration
of his brother, to urge upon him the unworthiness of her
who had thus cast her deadly spell upon his happiness.
But Gerald could ill endure the slightest allusion to
the subject.

"Henry," he said, "I have already told you that Miss
Montgomerie and I have parted forever; but not the less
devotedly do I love her. If, therefore, you would not
further wring a heart already half broken with affliction,
oblige me by never making the slightest mention of her
name in my presence--or ever adverting again to our
conversation of this morning. I am sure Henry, you will
not deny me this."

Henry offered no other reply than by throwing himself
into the arms that were extended to receive him. The
embrace of the brothers was long and fervent, and, although
there was perhaps more of pain than pleasure, in their
mutual sense of the causes which had led to it in the
present instance--still was it productive of a luxury
the most heartfelt. It seemed to both as if the spirits
of their departed parents hovered over, and blessed them
in this indication of their returning affection, hallowing,
with their invisible presence, a scene connected with
the last admonitions from their dying lips. When they
had thus given vent to their feelings, although the sense
of unhappiness continued undiminished, their hearts
experienced a sensible relief; and when they separated
for the morning, in pursuit of their respective avocations,
it was with a subdued manner on the part of Gerald, and
a vague hope with Henry, that his brother's disease would
eventually yield to various influences, and that other
and happier days were yet in store for both.



CHAPTER VII.

Meanwhile the preparations for the departure of the
expedition for the Miami were rapidly completing. To the
majority of the regular force of the two garrisons were
added several companies of militia, and a considerable
body of Indians, under Tecumseh--the two former portions
of the force being destined to advance by water, the
latter by land. The spring had been unusually early,
and the whole of April remarkably warm; on some occasions
sultry to oppressiveness--as for instance on the morning
of the tempest. They were now in the first days of the
last week of that month, and every where a quick and
luxuriant vegetation had succeeded to the stubborn
barrenness and monotony of winter. Not a vestige of that
dense mass of ice which, three months previously, had
borne them over lake and river, was now to be seen. The
sun danced joyously and sportively on the golden wave,
and where recently towered the rugged surface of the tiny
iceberg, the still, calm, unbroken level of the mirroring
lake was only visible. On the beach, just below the town,
and on a line with the little fleet, that lay at anchor
between the island and the main, were drawn up numerous
batteaux, ready for the reception of the troops, while
on the decks of two gun boats, that were moored a few
yards without them, were to be seen the battering train
and entrenching tools intended to accompany the expedition.
Opposite to each bateau was kindled a fire, around which
were grouped the voyageurs composing the crew, some
dividing their salt pork or salt fish upon their bread,
with a greasy clasped knife, and quenching the thirst
excited by this with occasional libations from tin cans,
containing a mixture of water and the poisonous distillation
of the country, miscalled whiskey. In other directions,
those who had dined sat puffing the smoke from their
dingy pipes, while again, they who had sufficiently
luxuriated on the weed, might be seen sleeping, after
the manner of the Indians, with their heads resting on
the first rude pillow that offered itself, and their feet
close upon the embers of the fire on which they had
prepared their meal. The indolence of inactivity was more
or less upon all, but it was the indolence consequent on
previous exertion, and a want of further employment. The
whole scene was characteristic of the peculiar manners
of the French Canadian boatmen.

Since the morning of the long and partial explanation
between the brothers, no further allusion had been made
to the forbidden subject. Henry saw, with unfeigned
satisfaction, that Gerald not only abstained from the
false excitement to which he had hitherto had recourse,
but that he apparently sought to rally against his
dejection. It is true that whenever he chanced to surprise
him alone, he observed him pale, thoughtful, and full of
care, but, as he invariably endeavored to hide the feeling
at his approach, he argued favorably even from the effort.
Early on the day previous to that of the sailing of the
expedition, Gerald asked leave for a visit of a few hours
to Detroit, urging a desire to see the family of his
uncle, who still remained quartered at that post, and
whom he had not met since his return from captivity.
This had been readily granted by the Commodore, in whom
the change in the health and spirits of his young favorite
had excited both surprise and concern, and who, anxious
for his restoration, was ready to promote whatever might
conduce to his comfort. He had even gone so far as to
hint the propriety of his relinquishing his intention of
accompanying the expedition, (which was likely to be
attended with much privation and exposure to those engaged
in it,) and suffering another officer to be substituted
to his command, while he remained at home to recruit his
health. But Gerald heard the well meant proposal with
ill disguised impatience, and he replied, with a burning
cheek, that if his absence for a day could not be allowed
without inconvenience to the service, he was ready to
submit; but, as far as regarded his making one of the
expedition, nothing short of a positive command should
compel him to remain behind. Finding him thus obstinate,
the Commodore good humouredly called him a silly, wilful,
fellow, and bade him have his own way; however he felt
confident that, if he accompanied the Miami expedition
in his then state of health, he never would return from it.

Gerald admitted it was probable enough he should not,
but, although he deeply felt the kindness of his Commander's
motive in wishing him to remain, he was not the less
determined, since the matter was left to his own choice,
to go where his duty led him. Then, promising to be back
long before the hour fixed for sailing the ensuing day,
he warmly pressed the cordially extended hand, and soon
afterwards, accompanied by Sambo, whose skill as a rider
was in no way inferior to his dexterity as a steersman,
mounted a favorite horse, and was soon far on his road
to Detroit.

Towards midnight of that day, two men were observed by
the American tanner, to enter by the gate that led into
the grounds of the cottage, and, after lingering for a
few moments, near the graves to which tradition had
attached so much of the marvellous, to disappear round
the angle of the building into the court behind. Curiosity
induced him to follow and watch their movements, and,
although he could not refrain from turning his head at
least a dozen times, as if expecting at each moment to
encounter some dread inhabitant of the tomb, he at length
contrived to place himself in the very position in which
Gerald had formerly been a witness of the attempt at
assassination. From the same window now flashed a strong
light upon the court below, and by this the features of
the officer and his servant were distinctly revealed to
the astonished tanner, who, ignorant of their return,
and scarcely knowing whether he gazed upon the living or
the dead, would have fled, had he not, as he afterwards
confessed, been rooted by fear, and a species of
fascination, to the spot. The appearance and actions of
the parties indeed seemed to justify, not only the
delusion, but the alarm of the worthy citizen. Both Gerald
and Sambo were disguised in large dark cloaks, and as
the light fell upon the thin person and pale, attenuated,
sunken countenance of the former, he could scarcely
persuade himself this was the living man, who a few months
before, rich in beauty and in health, had questioned him
of the very spot in which he now, under such strange
circumstances, beheld him. Nor was the appearance of the
negro more assuring. Filled with the terror that ever
inspired him on approaching this scene at past horrors,
his usually dark cheek wore the dingy paleness
characteristic of death in one of his colour, while every
muscle, stiff, set, contracted by superstitious fear,
seemed to have lost all power of relaxation. The solemnity
moreover of the manner of both, was in strict keeping
with their personal appearance, so that it can scarcely
be wondered that in a mind not the strongest nor the most
free from a belief in the supernatural, a due quantum of
awe and alarm should have been instilled. Fear, however,
had not wholly subdued curiosity, and even while trembling
to such a degree that he could scarcely keep his teeth
from chattering, the tanner followed with eager eye the
movements of those he knew not whether to look upon as
ghosts or living beings. The room was exactly in the
state in which we last described it, with this difference
merely, that the table, on which, the lamp and books had
been placed now lay overturned, as if in the course of
some violent scuffle, and its contents distributed over
the floor. The bed still remained, in the same corner,
unmade, and its covering tossed. It was evident no one
had entered the apartment since the night of the attempted
assassination.

The first act of Gerald, who bore the light, followed
closely by Sambo, was to motion the latter to raise the
fallen table. When this was done be placed his lamp upon
it, and sinking upon the foot of the bed, and covering
his eyes with his hands, seemed for some moments utterly
absorbed in bitter recollections. The negro, meanwhile,
an apparent stranger to the scene, cast his eyes around
him with the shrinking caution of one who finds himself
in a position of danger, and fears to encounter some
terrific sight, then, as if the effort was beyond his
power, he drew the collar of his cloak over his face,
and shuffling to get as near as possible to the bed as
though in the act he came more immediately under the
protection of him who sat upon it, awaited, in an attitude
of statue-like immobility, the awakening of his master
from his reverie.

Gerald at length withdrew his hands from his pallid face,
on which the glare of the lamp rested forcibly, and, with
a wild look and low, but imperative, voice, bade the old
negro seat himself beside him still lower on the bed.

"Sambo," he inquired abruptly--" how old were you when
the Indian massacre took place near this spot. You were
then, I think I have heard it stated, the servant of Sir
Everard Valletort?"

The old negro looked aghast. It was long since direct
allusion had been made to his unfortunate master or the
events of that period. Questioned in such a spot, and at
such an hour, he could not repress the feeling of terror
conjured up by the allusion. Scarcely daring to exceed
a whisper, he answered.

"Oh Massa Geral, for Hebben's sake no talkee dat. It
berry long time ago, and break poor nigger heart to tink
ob it--"

"But I insist on knowing," returned Gerald loudly and
peremptorily; "were you old enough to recollect the curse
that poor heart-broken woman, Ellen Halloway, uttered on
all our race, and if so what was it?"

"No, Massa Geral, I no sabby dat. Sambo den only piccaninny
and Sir Ebbered make him top in e fort--oh berry bad times
dat, Massa Geral. Poor Frank Hallabay e shot fust, because
e let he grand fadder out ob e fort, and den ebery ting
go bad--berry bad indeed."

"But the curse of Ellen Halloway, Sambo--you must have
heard of it surely--even if you were not present at the
utterance. Did she not," he continued, finding that the
other replied not: "Did she not pray that the blood of
my great grand father's children might be spilt on the
very spot that had been moistened with that of her ill
fated husband--and, that if any of the race should survive,
it might be only with a view to their perishing in some
unnatural and horrible manner. Was not this the case?"

"Oh yes, Massa Geral, berry bad tongue Ellen, affir he
lose he husband--but, poor ting, he half mad and no sabby
what he say. He time to start for he gun boat, Massa
Geral."

The part Sambo had sustained in this short dialogue was
a forced one. He had answered almost mechanically, and
not altogether without embarrassment, the few queries
that were put to him. Nay, so far was he governed by
surrounding local influences, that the anguish he would,
under other circumstances, have experienced, at this
raking up of recollections he so sedulously avoided, was
lost in terror, produced by his near and midnight
propinquity to the fatal theatre of death. His only idea
now was to leave the spot as quickly as he could.

Gerald had again covered his face with his hands, and
appeared to be laboring under strong agitation of mind.
At length he started abruptly up, and seizing the light,
held it forward, stooping over the bed, as if gazing
fixedly on some object within.

"No," he said with vehemence, "it shall never be. That
part of the malediction, at least, shall NOT be
accomplished. For once shall the curse of the innocent
be unheeded."

The strange action and words of the excited officer, by
no means contributed to allay the nervousness of the
brave but superstitious negro. He had approached as near
as he could to Gerald, without actually touching him;
but when he remarked his abrupt movement, and heard the
sudden outburst of feeling which accompanied it, he half
fancied he was apostrophizing some spirit visible only
to himself, and shocked and terrified at this idea, he
turned away his head.

Sambo's alarm was not to terminate here. Scarcely had he
bent his glance upon the window when he beheld two glaring
eyes, magnified by his fear into thrice their natural
size, fixed intently on that part of the room in which
they stood. He attempted to cry out, but the sound was
stifled in his throat, and he sank upon his knees, holding
up his hands in an attitude of prayer--his teeth chattering,
and his eyes fascinated by those which had produced in
him this paroxysm of terror. Presently he thought he saw
a mouth open, and a row of large and ragged teeth display
themselves in a grin of derision. With a desperate effort
he broke the spell that seemed to enchain every faculty,
and called piteously and imploringly on the name of
Gerald. The officer, who had continued gazing on the
untenanted bed in deep abstraction, and seeming
forgetfulness of all surrounding objects, turned hastily
round, and was much concerned to observe the terrified
expression of the old man's countenance.--Following the
direction of his fixed gaze, he looked towards the window
for a solution of the cause. At that moment a noise was
heard without, as of a falling body. Gerald sprang towards
the window, and hastily lifting it, thrust the lamp
through; but nothing was visible, neither was there sound
of footsteps to be heard.

Before daybreak on the following morning, the poor old
negro, whom no living danger could daunt, had given but
too alarming evidence that his reason was utterly alienated.
His ravings were wild and fearful, and nothing could
remove from his mind that the face he had beheld was that
of the once terrible Wacousta--the same face which had
presented itself, under such extraordinary circumstances,
at the window of the Canadian's hut, on the night of the
departure of his master, Sir Everard Valletort, and
Captain De Haldimar, for Michilimackinac in 1763. Nay,
so rooted was this belief, that, with the fervor of that
zeal which had governed his whole life and conduct towards
each succeeding generation of the family, he prayed and
obtained, during a momentary gleam of reason, the promise
of the much shocked Gerald, that he would never again
set foot within the precincts of those fatal grounds.

Inexpressibly grieved as Gerald was at this sad and
unexpected termination to his adventure, he had no time
to linger near his unfortunate servant. The expedition
was to set out in a few hours, and he had too completely
bent his mind upon accompanying it to incur the slightest
chance of a disappointment. Leaving the faithful and
unfortunate creature to the care of his uncle's family,
by every member of whom he was scarcely less loved than
by himself, he took the ferry to the opposite shore within
an hour after day break, and made such speed that, when
Henry came down to breakfast he found, to his surprise,
his brother already there.

During his ride, Gerald had had leisure to reflect on
the events of the preceding night, and bitterly did he
regret having yielded to a curiosity which had cost the
unfortunate Sambo so much. He judged correctly that they
had been followed in their nocturnal excursion, and that
it was the face of some prying visitant which Sambo's
superstitious dread had transformed into a hideous vision
of the past. He recalled the insuperable aversion the
old man had ever entertained to approach of even make
mention of the spot, and greatly did he blame himself
for having persisted in offering a violence to his nature,
the extent of which had been made so fearfully obvious.
It brought no consolation to him to reflect that the spot
itself contained nought that should have produced so
alarming an effect on a mind properly constituted. He
felt that, knowing his weakness as he did, he ought not
to have trifled with it, and could not deny to himself,
that in enforcing his attendance, (with a view to obtain
information on several points connected with the past),
he had been indirectly the destroyer of his reason. There
had been a season when the unhappy sailor would have felt
a sorrow even deeper than he did, but Gerald was indeed
an altered being--too much rapt in himself to give heed
to others.

The painful nature of his reflections, added to the
fatigue he had undergone, had given to his countenance
a more than usually haggard expression. Henry remarked
it and inquired the cause, when his brother, in a few
brief sentences, explained all that had occurred during
his absence. Full of affection as he was for the old man,
and utterly unprepared for such a communication, Henry
could not avoid expressing deep vexation that his brother,
aware as he was of the peculiar weakness of their aged
friend, should have been inconsiderate enough to have
drawn him thither. Gerald felt the reproof to be just,
and for that very reason grew piqued under it. Shocked
as he was at the condition of Sambo, Henry was even more
distressed at witnessing the apparent apathy of his
brother for the fate of one, who had not merely saved
his life on a recent occasion, but had evinced a
devotedness--a love for him--in every circumstance of
life, which seldom had had their parallel in the annals
of human servitude. It was in vain that he endeavored
to follow the example of Gerald, who, having seated
himself at the breakfast table, was silently appeasing
an appetite such as he had not exhibited since his return.
Incapable of swallowing his food, Henry paced up and down
the room, violently agitated and sick at heart. It seemed
to him as if Sambo had been a sort of connecting link
between themselves and the departed parents; and now that
he was suddenly and fearfully afflicted, he thought he
could see in the vista of futurity a long train of evils
that threw their shadows before, and portended the
consummation of some unknown, unseen affliction; having
its origin in the incomprehensible alienation of his
brother's heart from the things of his early love.

While he was yet indulging in these painful thoughts,
the firing of a gun from the harbour--the signal for the
embarkation of the troops--brought both Gerald and himself
to a sense of other considerations. The latter was the
first to quit the house. "Henry," he said with much
emotion, "God bless you. It is possible that, as our
service lies in different lines, we shall see but little
of each other during this expedition--Of one thing
however be assured--that although I am an unhappy man I
am any thing but dead to feeling--Henry," he continued
pressing his hand with warmth, "think not unkindly
hereafter of your poor brother Gerald." A long embrace,
in which each, although in silence, seemed to blend heart
with heart, ensued, and both greatly relieved, as they
always were after this generous expansion of their
feelings, separated forthwith whither their respective
duties summoned them.



CHAPTER VIII.

Seldom has there been witnessed a more romantic or
picturesque sight than that presented by an expedition
of batteaux moving across one of the Canadian lakes,
during a season of profound calm. The uniform and steady
pull of the crew, directed in their time by the wild
chaunt of the steersman, with whom they ever and anon
join in fall chorus--the measured plash of the oars into
the calm surface of the water--the joyous laugh and rude,
but witty, jest of the more youthful and buoyant of the
soldiery, from whom, at such moments, although in presence
of their officers, the trammels of restraint are partially
removed--all these, added to the inspiriting sight of
their gay scarlet uniforms, and the dancing of the sunbeams
upon their polished arms, have a tendency to call up
impressions of a wild interest, tempered only by the
recollection that many of those who move gaily on, as if
to a festival--bright in hope as though the season of
existence were to last for ever, may never more set eye
upon the scenes they are fast quitting, with the joyousness
produced by the natural thirst of the human heart for
adventure, and a love of change.

On the second day of its departure, from Amherstburg,
the expedition, preceded by the gun boats, entered the
narrow river of the Miami, and, the woods on either shore
being scoured by the Indians, gained without opposition
the point of debarkation. Batteries having, under great
difficulties, been erected on the right bank, immediately
opposite to, and about six hundred yards from the American
fort, which had been recently and hurriedly constructed,
a heavy and destructive fire was, on the morning of the
third day, opened from them, supported by the gun boats,
one of which, commanded by Gerald Grantham, had advanced
so close to the enemy's position as to have diverted upon
herself the fire which would else have been directed to
the demolition of a British battery, hastily thrown up
on the left bank. The daring manifested by the gallant
sailor was subject of surprise and admiration at once to
friends and foes, and yet, although his boat lay moored
within musket shot of the defences, he sustained but
trifling loss. The very recklessness and boldness of his
advance had been the means of his preservation, for, as
almost all the shots from the battery flew over him, it
was evident he owed his safety to the difficulty the
Americans, found in depressing their guns sufficiently
to bear advantageously upon the boat, which, if anchored
fifty yards beyond, they might have blown out of the
water.

The limits of our story will not admit of a further detail
of the operations of this siege. Suffice it that,
notwithstanding the entire defeat and capture of a strong
corps of the enemy, who were advancing to relieve the
place, in the course of which a handful of British troops
rendered themselves as conspicuous for valour, as the
noble Tecumseh did for valour and clemency united, the
siege, (a second time attempted,) was, after a final but
fruitless attempt to decoy the enemy from his defences,
abandoned as hopeless, and the expedition re-embarked
and directed against Fort Sandusky, a post of the Americans,
situate on the river of that name, and running also into
Lake Erie.

Here, once more, was the British Artillery landed, while,
under a heavy fire from the fort, the troops advanced
within range, to take possession of an eminence whereon
it was intended to erect the batteries. Two days were
passed in incessant cannonading, but, as at the Miami,
without making the slightest impression on the green
wood, that opened to receive each ball and closed unshaken
the moment afterwards. Finding all idea of a practicable
breach hopeless, it was at length resolved that an attempt
at assault should be made, and, with this view, the troops
were, on the afternoon of the second day, ordered to hold
themselves in immediate readiness.

In consequence of the shallowness of the river, it had
been found necessary to moor the gun boats at a point
considerably below, and out of sight of the fort. Gerald
Grantham had obtained permission to leave his command,
and take charge of one of the batteries, which, however,
he relinquished on the day of the assault, having
successfully petitioned to be suffered to join the attack
as a volunteer. In the dress of a grenadier soldier,
disabled during the siege, he now joined the party of
animated officers, who, delighted at the prospect of
being brought once more in close contact with their
enemies, after so many wearying days of inaction, were
seated at a rude but plentiful repast in Captain Cranstoun's
tent, and indulging in remarks which, although often
uttered without aim or ill-nature, are as often but too
bitter subject of after self-reproach to those who have
uttered them. Of those who had originally set out on the
expedition, the only officer of the ---- Regiment absent
was Henry Grantham, who, having been slightly wounded at
the Miami, had, much against his inclination, been ordered
back to Amherstburgh, in charge of the sick and wounded
of the detachment, and this so suddenly, that he had not
had an opportunity of taking leave of his brother.

"Ha! Gerald, my fine fellow," exclaimed Captain Molineux,
as the youth now joined their circle, "so you have clapped
on the true harness at last. I always said that your
figure became a red jacket a devilish deal better than
a blue. But what new freak is this? Had you not a close
enough berth to Jonathan in the Miami, without running
the risk of a broken head with us today in his trenches?"

"No such luck is there in store for my juniors, I fancy,"
replied Grantham, swallowing off a goblet of wine, which
had been presented to him--"but if I do fall, it will be
in good company. Although the American seems to lie
quietly enough within his defences, there is that about
him which promises us rather a hot reception.".

"So much the better," said Villiers; "there will be broken
heads for some of us--who do you think we have booked for
a place to the other world?"

Gerald made no answer, but his look and manner implied
that he understood himself to be the party thus favored.

"Not so," returned Villiers, "we can't afford to spare
you yet besides the death of a blue jacket can in no way
benefit us. What's the use of 'a bloody war and a sickly
season,' that standard toast at every West India mess,
if the juniors are to go off and not the seniors--
Cranstoun's the man we've booked."

"Captain Cranstoun, I have the honor of wishing you a
safe passage, and speedy promotion in Heaven," said
Middlemore, draining off his glass. "Devilish good port
this of yours. By the bye, as you have a better port in
view, you cannot do better than assign over what is left
of this to me."

"Thonk ye, Mr. Meeddlemore," retorted Cranstoun drily,
yet good humouredly; "yeet as ye're to be attoched to my
deveesion y'ell perhops roon jeest the same reesk, and
as it may be that y'ell not want more wine than we've
taken the day, any moore than mysel', a pleedge ye, in
retoorn, a safe possage to Heeven, when a troost ye will
be joodged for better qualities than ye poossess as a
poonster."

"What," asked Gerald, with an unfeigned surprise, when
the laugh against Middlemore had subsided; "and is it
really in his own wine that you have all thus been
courteously pledging Captain Cranstoun's death?"

"Even so," said Middlemore, rallying and returning to
the attack, "he invited us all to lunch in his tent, and
how could we better repay him for opening his hampers,
than by returning his SPIRIT SCOT-FREE and UNHAMPERED to
Heaven,"

"Oh, oh, oh," ejaculated St. Clair, stopping his ears
and throwing up his eyes; "surely, Middlemore, if you
are not shot this day, it must be that you were born to
be hanged--no man can perpetrate so horrible a pun, and
expect to live."

"I'm hanged if I am then," returned the other; "but,
talking of being shot--is a there another shot in the
locker, Cranstoun--another bottle of port?"

"The shot that is reserved for you, will bring you
acquainted with another locker than Cranstoun's I suspect,"
said Villiers; "one Mr. David Jones' locker--hit there eh?"

The low roll of a muffled drum, suddenly recalled the
party from their trifling to considerations of a graver
interest. It was the signal for forming the columns of
attack. In a moment the tone--the air of ribaldry was
exchanged for a seriousness that befitted the occasion,
and it seemed as if a momentary reproach passed over the
minds of those who had most amused themselves at the
expense of Cranstoun, for each, as he quitted the tent,
gave his extended hand to his host, who pressed it in a
manner to show all was forgiven.

The English batteries had been constructed on the skirt
of the wood surrounding the fort, from which latter they
were separated by a meadow covered with long grass, about
six hundred yards across at the narrowest point. Behind
these the columns of attack, three in number, were now
rapidly and silently formed. To that commanded by Captain
Cranstoun, on the extreme left, and intended to assault
the fort at the strongest point, Gerald Grantham had
attached himself, in the simple dress, as we have observed,
of a private soldier, and armed with a common musket. In
passing, with the former officer, to take his position
in front of the column, he was struck by the utter want
of means for executing, with success, the duty assigned
to the several divisions. Each column was provided with
a certain number of axemen, selected to act as pioneers;
but not one of the necessary implements was in a condition
to be used; neither had a single fascine or ladder been
provided, although it was well known a deep ditch remained
to be passed before the axes, inefficient as they were,
could be brought into use.

"Sooch," said Captain Cranstoun, with a sneer of much
bitterness, and pointing to the blunted and useless
implements, "are the peetiful theengs on which hong the
lives of our brave fallows. Nae doot the next dispotches
will say a great deal aboot the eexcellent arrangements
for attock; but if ye do not fall, Geerald, a hope ye'll
make a proper repreesentation of the affair. As ye belong
to the other seervice, there's leetle fear the Geeneral
can hurt your promotion for jeest speaking the truth. A
Geeneral indeed! who'll say Fortune is not bleind to make
a Geeneral of sooch as he?"

It was not an usual thing for Cranstoun to express himself
thus in regard to his superiors; but he was really vexed
at the idea of the sacrifice of human life that must
attend this wantonness of neglect, and imbecility of
arrangement. He had, moreover, taken wine enough, not in
any way to intoxicate, but sufficient to thaw his habitual
caution and reserve. Fearless as his sword, he cared
not for his own life; but, although a strict officer, he
was ever attentive to the interests of his men, who, in
their turn, admired him for his cool, unflinching courage,
and would have dared any thing, under the direction of
their Captain.

It was evident that the contempt of the sailor for the
capacity of the leader, to whom it was well known, all
the minute arrangements were submitted, was not one whit
inferior to what was entertained by the brave and honest
Cranstoun. He, however, merely answered, as they both
assumed their places in front, and with the air of one
utterly indifferent to these disadvantages.

"No matter, Cranstoun, the greater the obstacles we have
to contend against, the more glorious will he our victory.
Where you lead, however, we shall not be long in following."

"Hem! since it is to be a game of follow-my-leader," said
Middlemore, who now joined them, "I must not be far
behind. A month's pay with either of you I reach the
stockade first."

"Doone, Meeddlemore, doone," eagerly replied Cranstoun,
and they joined hands in confirmation of the bet.

This conversation had taken place during the intervals
occupied by the movements of the right and centre columns
along the skirt of the wood, to equidistant points in
the half circle embraced in the plan of attack. A single
blast of the bugle now announced that the furthermost
had reached its place of destination, when suddenly a
gun--the first fired since noon from the English batteries
--gave the signal for which all were now prepared.

In the next minute the heads of the several columns
debouched from the wood, and, the whole advancing in
double quick time, with their arms at the trail, moved
across the meadow in the several directions assigned
them. The space to be traversed by Captain Cranstoun's
division was considerably the shortest of the three; but,
on the other hand, he was opposed to that part of the
enemy's defences where there was the least cover afforded
to an assailing force. Meanwhile there was an utter repose
in the fort; which for some moments induced the belief
that the Americans were preparing to surrender their
trust without a struggle, and loud yells from the Indians,
who, from their cover in the rear, watched the progress
of the troops with admiration and surprise, were pealed
forth as if in encouragement to the latter to proceed.
But the American Commander had planned his defence with
skill. No sooner had the several columns got within half
musket shot, than a tremendous fire of musketry and rifles
was opened upon them from two distinct faces of the
stockade. Captain Cranstoun's division, being the nearest,
was the first attacked, and suffered considerably without
attempting to return a shot. At the first discharge, the
two leading sergeants, and many of the men, were knocked
down; but neither Cranstoun, nor Middlemore, nor Grantham,
were touched.

"Foorward men, foorward," shouted the former, brandishing
his sword, and dashing down a deep ravine, that separated
them from the trenches.

"On, my gallant fellows, on!--the left column for ever,"
cried Middlemore, imitating the example of his Captain,
and, in his eagerness to reach the ditch first, leaving
his men to follow as they could.

Few of these, however, needed the injunction. Although
galled by the severe fire of the enemy, they followed
their leaders down the ravine with a steadiness worthy
of a better result; then, climbing up the opposite ascent,
under a shower of bullets, yet without pulling a trigger
themselves, made for the ditch their officer had already
gained.

Cranstoun, still continuing in advance, was the first
who arrived on the brink. For a moment he paused, as if
uncertain what course to pursue, then, seeing Middlemore
close behind him, he leaped in, and striking a blow of
his sabre upon the stockade, called loudly upon the axemen
to follow. While he was yet shouting, a ball from a
loop-hole, not three feet above his head, entered his
brain, and he fell dead across the trench.

"Ha! well have you won your wager, my noble Captain!"
exclaimed Middlemore, putting his hand to his chest, and
staggering from the effect of a shot he had that instant
received. "You are indeed the BETTER man," (he continued
excited beyond his usual calm by the circumstances in
which he found himself placed, yet unable to resist his
dominating propensity, even at such a moment,) "and
deserve the palm of honor this day. Forward, men, forward:
--axemen do your duty. Down with the stockade, my lads,
and give them a bellyfull of steel."

Scarcely had he spoken, when a second discharge from the
same wall-piece that had killed Cranstoun passed through
his throat. "Forward," he again but more faintly shouted,
with the gurgling tone of suffocation peculiar to a wound
in that region, then, falling headlong into the ditch,
was in the next instant trodden under by the advance of
the column who rushed forward, though fruitlessly, to
avenge the deaths of their officers.

All was now confusion, noise, and carnage. Obeying the
command of their leader, the axemen had sprung into the
ditch, and, with efforts nerved by desperation, applied
themselves vigorously to the task allotted them. But as
well might they have attempted to raze the foundation of
the globe itself. Incapable from their bluntness of making
the slightest impression on the obstinate wood, the iron
at each stroke rebounded off, leaving to the eye no
vestige of where it had rested. Filled with disappointment
and rage, the brave and unfortunate fellows dashed the
useless metal to the earth, and endeavored to escape from
the ditch back into the ravine, where, at least, there
was a prospect of supplying themselves with more serviceable
weapons from among their slain comrades; but the ditch
was deep and slimy and the difficulty of ascent great.
Before they could accomplish it, the Americans opened a
fire from a bastion, the guns of which, loaded with slugs
and musket balls, raked the trench from end to end, and
swept away all that came within its range. This was the
first check given to the division of the unfortunate
Cranstoun. Many of the leading sections had leaped,
regardless of all obstacles, into the trench, with a view
of avenging their slaughtered officers; but these, like
the axemen, had been carried away by the discharges from
the bastion and the incessant fire poured upon them from
the loop-holes of the stockade. Despairing of success,
without fascines to fill up the ditch, or a ladder to
scale the picketing that afforded cover to their enemies,
there was no alternative but to remain and be cut down
to a man, where they stood, or to retire into the brushwood
that lined the ravine. The latter was finally adopted;
but not before one third of the column had paid the
penalty of their own daring, and what the brave Cranstoun
had sneeringly termed the "General's excellent
arrangements," with their lives. The firing at this time
had now almost wholly ceased between the enemy and the
columns on the right and centre, neither of which had
penetrated beyond the ravine, and at a late hour in the
evening the whole were drawn off.

Meanwhile, steady at his post at the head of the division,
Gerald Grantham had continued to act with the men as
though he had been one of themselves. During the whole
course of the advance, he neither joined in the cheers
of the officers, nor uttered word of encouragement to
those who followed. But in his manner there was remarked
a quietness of determination, a sullen disregard of
danger, that seemed to denote some deeper rooted purpose
than the mere desire of personal distinction. His ambition
appeared to consist, not in being the first to reach or
scale the fort, but in placing himself wherever the balls
of the enemy flew thickest. There was no enthusiasm in
his mien, no excitement in his eye; neither had his step
the buoyancy that marks the young heart wedded to valorous
achievement, but was, on the contrary, heavy, measured,
yet firm. His whole manner and actions, in short, as
reported to his brother on the return of the expedition
by those who had been near him throughout the affair,
was that of a man who courts not victory but death.
Planted on the brow of the ditch, at the moment when
Middlemore fell, he had deliberately discharged his musket
into the loop-hole whence the shot had been fired; but
although, as he seemed to expect, the next instant brought
several barrels to bear upon himself, not one of these
had taken effect. A moment after and he was in the ditch,
followed by some twenty or thirty of the leading men of
the column, and advancing towards the bastion, then
preparing to vomit forth its fire upon the devoted axemen.
Even here, Fate, or Destiny, or whatever power it be that
wills the nature of the end of man, turned aside the
death with which he already seemed to grapple. At the
very moment when the flash rose from the havoc-dealing
gun, he chanced to stumble over the dead body of a soldier,
and fell flat upon his face. Scarcely had he touched the
ground when he was again upon his feet; but even in that
short space of time he alone, of those who had entered
the ditch, had been left unscathed. Before him came
bellying along the damp trench, the dense smoke from the
fatal bastion, as it were a funeral shroud for its victims;
and behind him were to be seen the mangled and distorted
forms of his companions, some dead, others writhing in
acute agony, and filling the air with shrieks, and groans,
and prayers for water wherewith to soothe their burning
lips, that mingled fearfully, yet characteristically,
with the unsubdued roar of small arms.

It was now, for the first time, that Gerald evinced any
thing like excitement, but it was the excitement of bitter
disappointment. He saw those to whom the preservation of
life would have been a blessing, cut down and slaughtered;
while he, whose object it was to lay it down for ever,
was, by some strange fatality, wholly exempt.

The reflections that passed with lightning quickness
through his mind, only served to stimulate his determination
the more. Scarcely had the smoke which had hitherto kept
him concealed from the battery, passed beyond him, when,
rushing forward, and shouting--"To the bastion, men--to
the bastion!" he planted himself in front of the gun,
and not three yards from its muzzle. Prevented by the
dense smoke that choked up the trench, from ascertaining
the extent of execution produced by their discharge, the
American artillerymen, who had again loaded, were once
more on the alert and preparing to repeat it. Already
was the match in the act of descending, which would have
blown the unfortunate Gerald to atoms, when suddenly an
officer, whose uniform bespoke him to be of some rank,
and to whose quick eye it was apparent the rash assailant
was utterly unsupported, sprang upon the bastion, and,
dashing the fuze from the hand of the gunner, commanded
that a small sally-port, which opened into the trench a
few yards beyond the point where he stood, should be
opened, and the brave soldier taken prisoner without
harm. So prompt was the execution of this order, that,
before Gerald could succeed in clambering up the ditch
which, with the instinctive dread of captivity, he
attempted, he was seized by half a dozen long legged
backwoodsmen, and, by these, borne hurriedly back through
the sally-port which was again closed.



CHAPTER IX.

Defeated at every point and with great loss, the British
columns had retired into the bed of the ravine, where,
shielded from the fire of the Americans, they lay several
hours shivering with cold and ankle deep in mud and water;
yet consoling themselves with the hope that the renewal
of the assault, under cover of the coming darkness, would
he attended with a happier issue. But the gallant General,
who appeared in the outset to have intended they should
make picks of their bayonets, and scaling-ladders of each
others bodies, now that a mound sufficient for the latter
purpose could be raised of the slain, had altered his
mind, and alarmed, and mayhap conscience stricken at the
profuse and unnecessary sacrifice of human life which
had resulted from the first wanton attack, adopted the
resolution of withdrawing his troops. This was at length
finally effected, and without further loss.

Fully impressed with the belief that the assailants would
not be permitted to forego the advantage they still
possessed in their near contiguity to the works, without
another attempt at escalade, the Americans had continued
calmly at their posts; with what confidence in the nature
of their defences, and what positive freedom from danger,
may be inferred from the fact of their having lost but
one man throughout the whole affair, and that one killed
immediately through the loop-hole by the shot that avenged
the death of poor Middlemore. When at a late hour they
found that the columns were again in movement, they could
scarcely persuade themselves they were not changing their
points of attack. A very few minutes however sufficed to
show their error, for in the indistinct light of a new
moon, the British troops were to be seen ascending the
opposite face of the ravine and in full retreat. Too well
satisfied with the successful nature of their defence,
the Americans made no attempt to follow, but contented
themselves with pouring in a parting volley, which however
the obscurity rendered ineffectual. Soon afterwards the
sally-port was again opened, and such of the unfortunates
as yet lingered alive in the trenches were brought in,
and every attention the place could afford paid to their
necessities.

An advanced hour of the night brought most of the American
officers together in their rude mess-room, where the
occurrences of the day were discussed with an enthusiasm
of satisfaction natural to the occasion. Each congratulated
each on the unexpected success, but commendation was more
than usually loud in favor of their leader, to whose
coolness and judgment, in reserving his fire until the
approach of the enemy within pistol shot, was to be
attributed the severe loss and consequent check they had
sustained.

Next became the topic of eulogium the gallantry of those
who had been worsted in all but their honor, and all
spoke with admiration of the devotedness of the two
unfortunate officers who had perished in the trenches--
a subject which, in turn, led to a recollection of the
brave soldier who had survived the sweeping discharge
from the bastion, and who had been so opportunely saved
from destruction by the Commandant himself.

"Captain Jackson," said that officer, addressing one of
the few who wore the regular uniform of the United States'
army, "I should like much to converse with this man, in
whom I confess, as in some degree the preserver of his
life, I feel an interest. Moreover, as the only uninjured
among our prisoners, he is the one most calculated to
give us information in regard to the actual force of
those whom we have this day had the good fortune to
defeat, as well as of the ultimate destination of the
British General. Notes of both these important particulars,
if I can possibly obtain them, I wish to make in a despatch
of which I intend you to be the bearer."

The Aid-de-Camp, for in that capacity was he attached to
the person of Colonel Forrester, immediately quitted the
room, and presently afterwards returned ushering in the
prisoner.

Although Gerald was dressed, as we have said, in the
uniform of the private grenadier, there was that about
him which, in defiance of a person covered from head to
foot with the slimy mud of the trenches, and a mouth
black as ink with powder from the cartridges he had
bitten, at once betrayed him for something more than he
appeared.

There was a pause for some moments after he entered. At
length Colonel Forrester inquired, in a voice strongly
marked by surprise:--

"May I ask, sir, what rank you hold in the British army?"

"But that I have unfortunately suffered more from your
mud than your fire," replied Gerald coolly, and with
undisguised bitterness of manner, "the question would at
once be answered by a reference my uniform."

"I understand you, sir; you would have me to infer you
are what your dress, and your dress alone, denotes--a
private soldier?"

Gerald made no answer.

"Your name, soldier?"

"My name!"

"Yes; your name. One possessed of the gallantry we
witnessed this day cannot be altogether without a name."

The pale cheek of Gerald was slightly tinged. With all
his grief, he still was man. The indirect praise lingered
a moment at his heart, then passed off with the slight
blush that as momentarily dyed his cheek.

"My name, sir, is a humble one, and little worthy to be
classed with those who have this day written theirs in
the page of honor with their heart's blood. I am called
Gerald Grantham."

"Gerald Grantham!" repeated the Commandant, musingly, as
though endeavoring to bring back the recollection of such
a name.

The prisoner looked at him stedfastly in return, yet
without speaking.

"Is there another of your name in the British squadron?"
continued Colonel Forrester, fixing his eye full upon
his prisoner.

"There are many in the British squadron whose names are
unknown to me," replied Gerald, evasively, and faintly
coloring.

"Nay," said Colonel Forrester, "that subterfuge more than
any thing betrays you. Though not answered, I am satisfied.
How we are to account for seeing a gallant sailor attacking
us in our trenches, in the humble garb of a private soldier,
and so out of his own element, I cannot understand; but
the name of Gerald Grantham, coupled with your manner and
appearance, assures us we are making personal acquaintance
with one to whose deeds we are not strangers. Gentlemen,"
addressing his officers, "this is the Lieutenant Grantham,
whose vessel was captured last autumn at Buffalo, and of
whose gallant defence, my cousin, Captain Edward Forrester,
has spoken so highly. Lieutenant Grantham," he pursued,
advancing, and offering his hand, "when I had the happiness
to save your life this day, by dashing aside the fuze that
would have been the agent in your destruction, I saw in
you but the brave and humble soldier, whom it were disgrace
not to have spared for so much noble daring. Judge how
great must be my satisfaction to know that I have been the
means of preserving, to his family and country, one whose
name stands so high even in the consideration of his
enemies."

Poor Gerald! how bitter and conflicting must have been
his feelings at that moment. On the one side, touched by
the highest evidences of esteem a brave and generous
enemy could proffer--on the other, annoyed beyond expression
at the recollection of an interposition which had thwarted
him in his fondest, dearest hope--that of losing, at the
cannon's mouth, the life he loathed. What had been done
in mercy and noble forbearance, was to him the direst
punishment that could be inflicted:--yet how was it
possible to deny gratitude for the motive which had
impelled his preservation, or fail in acknowledgment of
the appreciation in which he thus found himself personally
held.

"It would be idle, Colonel Forrester," he said, taking
the proffered hand, "after the manner in which you have
expressed yourself, to deny that I am the officer to whom
you allude. I feel deeply these marks of your regard,
although I cannot but consider any little merit that may
attach to me very much overrated by them. My appearance
in this dress, perhaps requires some explanation.
Presented by the shallowness of the river from co-operating
with the army in my gun-boat, and tired of doing nothing,
I had solicited and obtained permission to become one of
the storming party in the quality of volunteer, which of
necessity induced the garb in which you now behold me.
You know the rest."

"And yet, Colonel," said a surly-looking backwoodsman,
who sat with one hand thrust into the bosom of a hunting
frock, and the other playing with the richly ornamented
hilt of a dagger, while a round hat, surmounted by a huge
cockade, was perched knowingly over his left ear, covering,
or rather shadowing, little more than one fourth of his
head--"I reckon as how this here sort of thing comes
within the spy act. Here's a commissioned officer of
King George, taken not only in our lines, but in our very
trenches in the disguise of a private soger. What say
you, Captain Buckhorn?" turning to one somewhat younger
and less uncouth, who sat nest him habited in a similar
manner. "Don't you think it comes within the spy act?"

Captain Buckhorn, however, not choosing to hazard an
opinion on the subject, merely shrugged his shoulders,
puffed his cigar, and looked at the Colonel as if he
expected him to decide the question.

"As I am a true Tennessee man, bred and born, Major
Killdeer," said the Aid-de-Camp Jackson, "I can't see
how that can lie. To come within the spy act, a man must
be in plain clothes, or in the uniform of his enemy. Now,
Liftenant Grantham, I take it, comes in the British
uniform, and what signifies a whistle if he wears gold
lace or cotton tape, provided it be stuck upon a scarlet
coat, and that in the broad face of day, with arms in
his hand,--aye, and a devil of a desperation to make good
use of them too"--he added, with a good naturedly malicious
leer of the eye towards the subject of his defence.

"At all events, in my conceit, it's an attempt to undervally
himself," pursued the tenacious Kentuckian Major. "Suppose
his name warn't known as it is, he'd have passed for a
private soger, and would have been exchanged for one,
without our being any the wiser; whereby the United
States' service, I calculate, would have lost an officer
in the balance of account."

"Although there cannot be the slightest difficulty,"
observed Colonel Forrester, "in determining on the doubt
first started by you, Major Killdeer, I confess, that
what you have now suggested involves a question of some
delicacy. In the spirit, although not altogether in the
letter, of your suggestion, I agree; so much so, Mr.
Grantham," he added, turning to Gerald, "that in violence
to the inclination I should otherwise have felt to send
you back to your lines, on parole of honor, I shall be
compelled to detain you until the pleasure of my government
be known as to the actual rank in which you are to be
looked upon. I should say that, taken in arms as a
combatant without rank, we have no right to know you as
any thing else; but as I may be in error, I am sure you
will see how utterly impossible it is for me to take any
such responsibility upon myself, especially after the
difficulty you have just heard started."

Gerald, who had listened to this discussion with some
astonishment, was not sorry to find the manner of its
termination. In the outset he had not been without alarm
that the hero of one hour might be looked upon and hanged
as the spy of the next; and tired as he was of life, much
as he longed to lay it down, his neck had too invincible
a repugnance to any thing like contact with a cord to
render him ambitious of closing his existence in that
way. He was not at all sorry, therefore, when he found
the surly looking Major Killdeer wholly unsupported in
his sweeping estimate of what he called the "spy act."
The gentlemanly manner of Colonel Forrester, forming as
it did so decided a contrast with the unpolished--even
rude frankness of his second in command, was not without
soothing influence upon his mind, and to his last
observation he replied, as he really felt, that any change
in his views as to his disposal could in no way effect
him, since it was a matter of total indifference whether
he returned to Amherstburg, or was detained where he was.
In neither case could he actively rejoin the service
until duly exchanged, and this was the only object embraced
in any desire he might entertain of the kind.

"Still," added the Colonel, "although I may not suffer
you to return yet into Canada, I can see no objection to
according you the privilege of parole of honor, without
at all involving the after question of whether you are
to be considered as the soldier or the officer. From this
moment therefore, Mr. Grantham, you will consider yourself
a prisoner at large within the fort--or, should you prefer
journeying into the interior, to sharing the privations
and the dullness inseparable from our isolated position,
you are at liberty to accompany Captain Jackson, my
Aid-de-Camp, who will leave this within thirty-six hours,
charged with dispatches for the Governor of Kentucky."

Gerald had already acknowledged to himself that, if any
thing could add to his wretchedness, it would he a
compulsory residence in a place not only destitute itself
of all excitement, but calling up, at every hour, the
images of his brave companions in danger--men whom he
had known when the sun of his young hopes shone unclouded,
and whom he had survived but to be made sensible of the
curse of exemption from a similar fate; still, with that
instinctive delicacy of a mind whose natural refinement
not even a heavy weight of grief could wholly deaden, he
felt some hesitation in giving expression to a wish, the
compliance with which would, necessarily, separate him
from one who had so courteously treated him, and whom he
feared to wound by an appearance of indifference.

"I think, Mr. Grantham," pursued Colonel Forrester,
remarking his hesitation, "I can understand what is
passing in your mind. However I beg you will suffer no
mere considerations of courtesy to interfere with your
inclination. I can promise you will find this place most
dismally dull, especially to one who has no positive duty
to perform in it. If I may venture to recommend, therefore,
you will accompany Captain Jackson. The ride will afford
you more subject for diversion than any thing we can
furnish here."

Thus happily assisted in his decision. Gerald said,
"since, Sir, you leave it optional with me, I think I
shall avail myself of your kind offer and accompany
Captain Jackson. It is not a very cheering sight," he
pursued, anxious to assign a satisfactory reason for his
choice, "to have constantly before one's eyes the scene
of so signal a discomfiture as that which our arms have
experienced this day."

"And yet," said Colonel Forrester, "despite of that
discomfiture, there was nothing in the conduct of those
engaged that should call a blush into the cheek of the
most fastidious stickler for national glory. There is
not an officer here present," he continued, "who is not
prepared to attest with myself, that your column in
particular behaved like heroes. By the way, I could wish
to know, (but you will use your own discretion in answering
or declining the question, recollect,) what was the actual
strength of your attacking force?"

"I can really see no objection to a candid answer to your
question, Colonel," returned Gerald, after a moment's
consideration. "Each division was, I believe, for I cannot
state with certainty, little more than two hundred strong,
making in all, perhaps, from six hundred to six hundred
and fifty men. In return, may I ask, the number of those
who so effectually repulsed us?"

"Why I guess only one hundred and fifty, and most all my
volunteers," somewhat exultingly exclaimed Major Killdeer.

"Only one hundred and fifty men!" repeated Gerald, unable
to disguise his vexation and astonishment.

"That ere's a poser for him," said the Major, turning
and addressing Captain Buckhorn in an undertone, who
replied to him with a wink from his nearest eye.

"Even so, Mr. Grantham," replied the Colonel. "One hundred
and fifty men of all arms, save artillery, composed my
force at the moment when your columns crossed the plain.
To-night we muster one hundred and forty nine."

"Good Heaven!" exclaimed Gerald warming into excitement,
with vexation and pique, "what a disgraceful affair."

"Disgraceful, yes--but only in as far as regards those
who planned, and provided (or rather ought to have
provided) the means of attack. I can assure you, Mr.
Grantham, that although prepared to defend my post to
the last, when I saw your columns first emerge from the
wood, I did not expect, with my small force, to have been
enabled to hold the place one hour; for who could have
supposed that even a school boy, had such been placed at
the head of an army, would have sent forward a storming
party, without either fascines to fill a trench, or
ladders to ascend from it when filled. Had these been
provided, there can be no doubt of the issue, for, to
repulse the attempt at escalade in one quarter, I must
have concentrated the whole of my little force--and
thereby afforded an unopposed entrance to the other
columns--or even granting my garrison to have been
sufficient to keep two of your divisions in check, there
still remained a third to turn the scale of success
against us."

"I can understand the satisfaction with which you discovered
this wretched bungling on the part of our leaders," remarked
Gerald with vexation.

"No sooner had I detected the deficiency," pursued Colonel
Forrester, "than I knew the day would be my own, since
the obstacles opposed to your attempt would admit of my
spreading my men over the whole line embraced within the
attack. The result, you see has justified my expectation.
But enough of this. After the fatigues of the day you
must require both food and rest. Captain Jackson, I leave
it to you to do the honors of hospitality towards Mr.
Grantham, who will so shortly become your fellow traveller,
and if, when he has performed the ablutions he seems so
much to require, my wardrobe can furnish any thing your
own cannot supply to transform him into a backwoodsman,
(in which garb I would strongly advise him to travel,)
I beg it may be put under contribution without ceremony."

So saying, Colonel Forrester departed to the rude log
hut that served him for his head quarters, first enjoining
his uncouth second to keep a sufficient number of men on
the alert, and take such other precautions as were
necessary to guard against surprise--an event, however,
of which little apprehension was entertained, now that
the British troops appeared to have been wholly withdrawn.

Sick, wearied, and unhappy, Gerald was but too willing
to escape to the solitude of retirement, to refuse the
offer which Captain Jackson made of his own bed, it being
his intention to sit up all night in the mess room, ready
to communicate instantly with the Colonel in the event
of any alarm. Declining the pressing invitation of the
officers to join in the repast they were about to make
for the first time since the morning, and more particularly
that of Captain Buckhorn, who strongly urged him to "bring
himself to an anchor and try a little of the Wabash," he
took a polite but hasty leave of them all, and was soon
installed for the night in the Aid-de-Camp's dormitory.

It would be idle to say that Gerald never closed his eyes
that night--still more idle would it be to attempt a
description of all that passed through a mind whose extent
of wretchedness may be inferred from his several desperate,
although unsuccessful, efforts at the utter annihilation
of all thought. When he met Colonel Forrester and his
officers in the mess room at breakfast, he was dressed,
as had been recommended, in the hunting frock and belt
of a backwoodsman; and in this, his gentlemanly figure
looked to such advantage as to excite general attention
--so much so indeed, that Major Killdeer was more than
once detected in eying his own heavy and uncouth person,
as if to ascertain if the points of excellence were
peculiar to the dress or to the man. Sick and dispirited
as he was, Gerald felt the necessity of an attempt to
rally, and however the moralist may condemn the principle,
there is no doubt that he was considerably aided in his
effort by one or two glasses of bitters which Captain
Buckhorn strongly recommended as being of his wife's
making, and well calculated to put some colour into a
man's face--an advantage in which, he truly remarked,
Grantham was singularly deficient.

Accurate intelligence having been obtained from a party
of scouts, who had been dispatched early in the morning
to track their course, that the British General with his
troops and Indians had finally departed, preparations
were made about midday for the interment of the fallen.
Two large graves were accordingly dug on the outer brow
of the ravine, and into these the bodies of the fallen
soldiers were deposited with all the honors of war. A
smaller grave, within the fort, and near the spot where
they so nobly fell, was considerately allotted to Cranstoun
and Middlemore. There was a composedness on the brow of
the former that likened him, even in death, to the living
man; while, about the good-humoured mouth of poor
Middlemore, played the same sort of self satisfied smile
that had always been observable there, when about to
deliver himself of a sally. Gerald, who had imposed upon
himself the painful duty of attending to their last
committal to earth, could not help fancying that Middlemore
must have breathed his last with an inaudible pun upon
his lips--an idea that inexpressibly affected him. Weighed
down with sorrow as was his own soul, he had yet a tear
for the occasion--not that his brave comrades were dead,
but that they had died with so much to attach them to
life--while he whose hope was in death alone had been
chained, as by a curse, to an existence compared with
which death was the first of human blessings.

On the following morning, after an early breakfast, he
and Captain Jackson quitted the fort--Colonel Forrester,
(who had appeared to remark that the brusque manner of
his Aid-de-Camp was not altogether understood by his
charge,) taking occasion at parting to assure the latter
that, with all his eccentricity he was a kind hearted
man, whom he had selected to be near him more for his
personal courage, zeal, and general liberality of feeling,
than for any qualifications of intellect he possessed.

The means provided for their transport into the interior
were well assimilated to the dreariness of the country
through which they passed. Two common pack horses, lean,
galled by the saddle, and callous from long acquaintance
with the admonitory influence both of whip and spur, had
been selected by Captain Jackson as the best within the
fort, and, as a first evidence of the liberality ascribed
to him by his Commander, the fastest of these (if a choice
there was) he selected for his own use. Neither were the
trappings out of keeping with the steeds they decked.
Moth eaten saddles, almost black with age, beneath which
were spread pieces of dirty blanket to prevent further
excoriation of the already bared and reeking back--bridles,
the original thickness of which had been doubled by the
incrustation of mould and dirt that pertinaciously adhered
to them--stirrups and bits, with their accompanying
buckles (the absence of curb chains being supplied by
pieces of rope) covered with the rust of half a century
--all afforded evidence of the wretchedness of resource
peculiar to a back settlement population. Over the hard
saddles, however, had been strapped the blankets which,
when the travellers were fortunate enough to meet with
a hut at the close of their day's ride, or, as was more
frequently the case, when compelled to bivouac in the
forest before the fire kindled by the industry of the
hardy Aid-de-Camp, served them as their only couch of
rest, while the small leather valise tied to the pummel
of the saddle, and containing their scanty wardrobe, was
made to do the duty of the absent pillow. The blanket
Gerald found to be the greatest advantage of his grotesque
equipment--so much so indeed, that when compelled, by
the heavy rains which took place shortly after their
departure, to make it serve after the fashion of a
backwoodsman as a covering for his loins and shoulders,
he was obliged to own that his miseries, great as they
were, were yet susceptible of increase.

Notwithstanding Captain Jackson had taken what, he
considered to be, the best of the two Rosinantes for
himself, Gerald had no reason to deny the character for
kind-heartedness given of him by Colonel Forrester.
Frequently, when winding through some dense forest, or
moving over some extensive plain where nothing beyond
themselves told of the existence of man, his companion
would endeavour to divert him from the abstraction and
melancholy in which he was usually plunged, and, ascribing
his despondency to an unreal cause, seek to arouse him
by the consolatory assurance that he was not the first
man who had been taken prisoner--adding, that there was
no use in snivelling, as "what was done couldn't be
undone, and no great harm neither, as there was some as
pretty gals in Kaintuck as could be picked out in a day's
ride; and that to a good looking young fellow like himself,
with nothing to do but to make love to them, THAT ought
to be no mean consideration, enabling him, as it would,
to while away the tedium of captivity." At other times
he would launch forth into some wild rhapsody, the
invention of the moment, or seek to entertain his companion
with startling anecdotes connected with his encounters
with the Indians on the Wabash, (where he had formerly
served,) in the course of which much of the marvellous,
to call it by the most indulgent term, was necessarily
mixed up--not perhaps that he was quite sensible of this
himself, but because he possessed a constitutional
proneness to exaggeration that rendered him even more
credulous of the good things he uttered than those to
whom he detailed them.

But Gerald heard without being amused, and, although he
felt thankful for the intention, was distressed that his
abstraction should be the subject of notice, and his
despondency the object of care. To avoid this he frequently
suffered Jackson to take the lead, and following some
distance in the rear with his arms folded and the reins
loose upon his horse's neck, often ran the risk of having
his own neck broken by the frequent stumbling of the
unsure-footed beast. But the Captain as often returned
to the charge, for, in addition to a sincere desire to
rally his companion, he began at length to find it
exceedingly irksome to travel with one who neither spoke
himself nor appeared to enjoy speech in another; and when
he had amused himself with whistling, singing, hallooing,
and cutting a thousand antics with his arms, until he
was heartily tired of each of these several diversions,
he would rein in his horse to suffer Gerald to come up,
and, after a conciliating offer of his rum flask,
accompanied by a slice of hung beef that lined the wallet
depending from his shoulder, (neither of which were often
refused,) enter upon some new and strange exploit, of
which he was as usual the hero. Efforced in a degree to
make some return for the bribe offered to his patience,
Gerald would lend--all he could--his ear to the tale;
but long before the completion he would give such evidence
of his distraction as utterly to disconcert the narrator,
and cause him finally to have recourse to one of the
interludes above described.

In this manner they had journeyed some days, when the
rains suddenly commenced with a violence, and continued
with a pertinacity, that might have worn out the
cheerfulness of much less impatient spirits than those
of our travellers, who, without any other protection than
what was afforded by the blanket tightly girt round the
loins, and fastened over the shoulder, in front of the
chest, presented an appearance quite as wild as the waste
they traversed. It was in vain, that in order to promote
a more rapid circulation, they essayed to urge their
jaded beasts out of the jog-trot in which they had set
out. Accustomed to this from the time when they first
emerged from colthood into horsehood, the aged steeds,
like many aged senators of their day, were determined
enemies to any thing like innovation on the long established
customs of their caste; and although, unlike the said
senators, they were made to bear all the burdens of the
state, still did they not suffer themselves to be driven
out of the sluggish habits in which sluggish animals, of
every description, seem to feel themselves privileged to
indulge. Whip and spur therefore were alike applied in
vain, as to any accelerated motion in themselves; but
with this advantage at least to their riders, that, while
the latter toiled vigorously for an increase of vital
warmth, through the instrumentality of their con-complying
hacks, they found it where they least seemed to look for
it--in the mingled anger and activity which kept them
at the fruitless task.

It was at the close of one of those long days of wearying
travel throughout a vast and unsheltered plain, (where
only here and there rose an occasional cluster of trees,
like oases in the desert,) that, drenched to the skin
with the steady rain which, commencing with the dawn,
had continued without a moment's intermission, they
arrived at a small log-hut, situate on the skirt of a
forest forming one of the boundaries of the vast savannah
they had traversed. Such was the unpromising appearance
of this apology for a human dwelling that, under any
other circumstances, even the "not very d----d particular"
Jackson, as the Aid-de-Camp often termed himself, would
have passed it by without stopping; but after a long
day's ride, and suffering from the greatest evils to
which a traveller can well be subjected--cold, wet, and
hunger--even so wretched a resting-place as this was not
to be despised; and accordingly a determination was formed
to stop there for the night. On riding up to the door,
it was opened to their knock, when a tall man--apparently
its only occupant, came forth--and, after surveying the
travellers a moment with a suspicious eye, inquired "what
the stranngers wanted?"

"Why, I guess," said Jackson, "it doesn't need much
conjuration to tell that. Food and lodging for ourselves,
to be sure; and a wisp of hay and tether for our horses.
--Hospitality in short; and that's what no true Tennessee
man, bred and born, ever refused yet. No, not even to an
enemy, such a night as this."

"Then you must go further in search of it," replied the
woodsman, surlily, "I don't keep no tavern, and ha'nt
got no accommodation; and what's more, I reckon, I'm no
Tennessee man."

"But any accommodation will do, friend. If you hav'nt
got beds, we'll sit up all night, and warm our toes at
the fire, and spin long yarns, as they tell in the Eastern
sea-ports. Anything but turn a fellow out such a night
as this."

"But I say, strannger," returned the man, fiercely and
determinedly, "I a'nt got no room any how, and you shan't
bide here."

"Oh, ho! my old cock, that's the ticket, is it? but you'll
see whether an old stager, like me, is to be turned out
of any man's house such a night as this. I hav'nt served
two campaigns against the Ingins and the British for
nothing; and here I rest for the night."

So saying, the determined Jackson coolly dismounted from
his horse, and unbuckling the girth, proceeded to deposit
the saddle, with the valise attached to it, within the
hut the door of which still stood open.

The woodsman, perceiving his object, made a movement, as
if to bar the passage; but Jackson, with great activity,
seized him by the wrist of the left hand, and, all powerful
as the ruffian was, sent him dancing some few yards in
front of the threshold before he was aware of his intention,
or could resist the peculiar knack with which it was
accomplished. The Aid-de-Camp, meanwhile, had deposited
his saddle in a corner near the fire, and on his return
to the door, met the inhospitable woodsman advancing as
if to court a personal encounter.

"Now, I'll tell you what it is, friend," he said calmly,
throwing hack at the same time the blanket that concealed
his uniform, and--what was more imposing--a brace of
large pistols stuck in his belt. "you'd better have no
nonsense with me, I promise you, or--" and he tapped with
the fore finger of his right hand upon the butt of one
of them, with an expression that could not be misunderstood.

The woodsman seemed little awed by this demonstration.
He was evidently one on whom it might have been dangerous
for one man, however well armed, to have forced his
presence, so far away from every other human habitation;
and it is probable that his forbearance then arose from
the feet of their being two opposed to him, for he glanced
rapidly from one to the other, nor was it until he seemed
to have mentally decided that the odds of two to one were
somewhat unequal, that he at length withdrew himself out
of the door-way, as if in passive assent to the stay he
could not well prevent.

"Just so, my old cock," continued Jackson, finding that
he had gained his point, "and when you speak of this
again, don't forget to say it was a true Tennessee man,
bred and born, that gave you a lesson in what no American
ever wanted--hospitality to a stranger. Suppose you begin
and make yourself useful, by tethering and foddering old
spare bones."

"I reckon as how you've hands as well as me," rejoined
the surly woodsman, "and every man knows the ways of his
own beast best. As for fodder, they'll find it on the
skirt of the wood, and where natur' planted it."

Gerald meanwhile, finding victory declare itself in favor
of his companion, had followed his example and entered
the hut with his saddle. As he again quitted it, a sudden
flash of light from the fire, which Jackson was then in
the act of stirring, fell upon the countenance of the
woodsman who stood without, his arms folded and his brow
scowling, as if planning some revenge for the humiliation
to which he had been subjected. In the indistinct dusk
of the evening Grantham had not been able to remark more
than the outline of the figure; but the voice struck him
as one not unknown to him, although somewhat harsher in
its tones than that which his faint recollection of the
past supplied. The glance he had now obtained, momentary
as it was, put every doubt to rest. What his feelings
were in recognizing in the woodsman the traitor settler
of the Canadas, Jeremiah Desborough, we leave to our
readers to infer.



CHAPTER X.

There was a time when to have met his father's enemy
thus, would have been to have called into activity all
the dormant fierceness of Gerald's nature; but since they
had last parted, a new channel had been opened to his
feelings, and the deep and mysterious grief in which we
have seen him shrouded, had been of so absorbing and
selfish a nature, as to leave him little consideration
for sorrows not his own. The rash impetuosity of his
former character, which had often led him to act even
before he thought, and to resent an injury before it
could well be said to have been offered, had moreover
given place to a self-command, the fruit of the reflective
habits and desire of concealment which had made him
latterly almost a stranger to himself.

Whatever his motives for outwardly avoiding all recognition
of the settler, certain it is that, so far from this, he
sought sedulously to conceal his own identity, by drawing
the slouched hat, which formed a portion of his new
equipment, lower over his eyes. Left to do the duties of
the rude hostelry, Captain Jackson and he now quitted
the hut, and leading their jaded, smoking, steeds a few
rods off to the verge of the plain they had so recently
traversed, prepared to dispose of them for the night,
Gerald had by this time become too experienced in the
mode of travelling through an American wilderness, not
to understand that he who expects to find a companion in
his horse in the morning, must duly secure him with the
tether at night. Following, therefore, the example of
the Aid-de-Camp, he applied himself, amid the still
pelting rain, to the not very cleanly task of binding
round the fetlock joints of his steed several yards of
untanned hide strips, with which they were severally
provided for the purpose. Each gave his steed a parting
slap on the buttock with the hard bridle, Jackson
exclaiming, "go ye luxurious beasts, ye have a whole
prairie of wet grass to revel in for the night," and then
left them to make the best of their dainty food.

While returning, Grantham took occasion to observe, that
he had reason to think he knew the surly and inhospitable
woodsman, by whom however he was not desirous of being
recognized, and therefore begged as a favor that Captain
Jackson would not, in the course of the night, mention
his name, or even allude to him in any way that could
lead to an inference that he was any other than he seemed,
a companion and brother officer of his own; promising,
in conclusion, to give him, in the course of the next
day's journey, some little history of the man which would
fully explain his motives. With this request Jackson
unhesitatingly promised compliance, adding, good humouredly,
that he was not sorry to pledge himself to any thing that
would thaw his companion's tongue into sociability, and
render himself, for the first time since their departure,
a listener. Before entering the hut Gerald further observed
in a whisper, that the better to escape recognition, he
would, as much as possible, avoid joining in any
conversation which might ensue, and therefore hoped his
companion would not think it rude if he suffered him to
bear the tax. Jackson again promised to keep the attention
of the woodsman directed as much as possible to himself,
observing, that he thought Gerald had already, to his
cost, discovered he was not one easily tired out by
conversation, should their host be that way inclined.

On opening the door of the cabin, they found that the
woodsman, or more properly the settler as we shall again
term him, making a virtue of necessity, had somewhat
cheered its interior. A number of fine logs, sufficient
to last throughout the night had been heaped upon the
hearth, and these, crackling and fizzing, and emitting
sparks in all the burly of a hickory wood-fire, gave
promise of a night of comparative comfort. Ensconced in
the farther corner of the chimney, the settler had already
taken his seat, and, regardless of the entrance of the
strangers, (with his elbows resting on his knees, and
his face buried in his large palms), kept his eyes fixed
upon the fire, as if with a sullen determination neither
to speak nor suffer himself to be questioned. But the
Aid-de-Camp was by no means disposed to humour him in
his fancy. The idea of passing some eight or ten consecutive
hours in company with two fellow beings, without calling
into full play the bump of loquacity, with which nature
had largely endowed him, was, in his view, little better
than the evil from which his perseverance had just enabled
him to escape. Making himself perfectly at home, he
unbuckled the wet blanket from his loins, and spreading
it, with that of Gerald, to dry upon the rude floor before
the fire, drew forward a heavy uncouth looking table,
(which, with two or three equally unpolished chairs,
formed the whole of the furniture), and deposited thereon
the wallet or haversack in which remained a portion of
provision. He then secured the last vacant chair, and
taking up a position on the right of the table which lay
between himself and Gerald, let it fall upon the dry clay
hearth, with a violence that caused the settler to quit
his attitude of abstraction for one of anger and surprise.

"Sorry to disturb you, friend," he said; "but these chairs
of yours are so curst heavy, there's no handling them
decently; specially with cold fingers."

"Beggars, I reckon, have no right to be choosers," returned
the settler; "the chairs is quite good enough for me--and
no one axed you to sit on em."

"I'll tell you what it is, old cock," continued the
Aid-de-Camp, edging his seat closer, and giving his host
a smart friendly slap upon the thigh, "this dull life of
yours don't much improve your temper. Why, as I am a true
Tennessee man, bred and born, I never set eyes upon such
a crab apple in all my life--you'd turn a whole dairy of
the sweetest milk that ever came from prairie grass sour
in less than no time. I take it, you must be crossed in
love old boy, eh?"

"Crossed in hell," returned the settler, savagely. "I
reckon as how it don't consarn you whether I look sour
or sweet--what you want is a night's lodgin', and you've
got it, so don't trouble me no more."

"Very sorry, but I shall," said Jackson, secretly
congratulating himself that, now he had got the tongue
of his host in motion, he had a fair chance of keeping
it so. "I must trouble you for some bread, and whatever
else your larder may afford. I'll pay you honestly for
it, friend."

"I should guess," said the settler, his stern features
brightening for the first time into a smile of irony,
"as how a man who had served a campaign agin the Ingins
and another agin the British, might contrive to do without
sich a luxury as bread. You'll find no bread here I
reckon."

"What, not even a bit of corn bread! Try, my old cock,
and rummage up a crust or two, for hung beef is devilish
tight work for the teeth, without a little bread of some
sort for a relish."

"If you'd ha' used your eyes you'd ha' seen nothin' like
a corn patch for twenty mile round about this. Bread
never entered this hut since I been here. I don't eat
it."

"More's the pity," replied Jackson, with infinite drollery;
but though you may not like it yourself, your friends may."

"I HAVE no friends--I WISH to have no friends," was the
sullen reply.

"More's the pity still," pursued the Aid-de-Camp, "but what
do you live on then, old cock, if you don't eat bread?"

"Human flesh. Take that as a relish to your hung beef."

Scarcely had the strange confession escaped the settler's
lips, when Jackson, active as a deer, was at the farther
end of the hut, one hand holding the heavy chair as a
shield before him, the other placed upon the butt of one
of his pistols. The settler at the same moment quitted
his seat, and stretching his tall and muscular form to
its utmost height, burst into a laugh that sounded more
like that of some wild beast than a human being. The
involuntary terror produced in his guest was evidently
a source of exultation to him, and he seemed gratified
to think he had at length discovered the means of making
himself looked upon with something like fear.

On entering the hut, Gerald had taken his seat at the
opposite corner of the fire, yet in such a manner as to
admit of his features being shaded by the projection of
the chimney. The customs of the wilderness moreover
rendering it neither offensive, nor even worthy of remark,
that he should retain his hat, he had, as in the first
instance, drawn it as much over his eyes as he conceived
suited to his purpose of concealment, without exciting
a suspicion of his design; and, as the alteration in his
dress was calculated to deceive into a belief of his
being an American, he had been enabled to observe the
settler without much fear of recognition in return. A
great change had taken place in the manner of Desborough.
Ferocious he still was, but it was a ferocity, wholly
unmixed with the cunning of his former years, that he
now exhibited. He had evidently suffered much, and there
was a stamp of thought on the heavy countenance that
Gerald had never remarked there before. There was also
this anomaly in the man, that while ten years appeared
to have been added to his age--his strength was increased
in the same proportion--a change that made itself evident
by the attitude in which he stood.

"Why now I take it you must be jesting" at length exclaimed
the Aid-de-Camp doubtingly, dropping at the same time
the chair upon the floor, yet keeping it before him as
though not quite safe in the presence of this self-confessed
anthropophagos; "you surely don't mean to say you kill
and pickle every unfortunate traveller that comes by
here. If so I most apprehend you in the name of the United
States Government."

"I rather calculate not Mister," sneered the settler.
"Besides I don't eat the United States subjects;
consequently they've no claim to interfere."

"Who the devil do you eat then," asked Jackson, gathering
courage with his curiosity, and advancing a pace or two
nearer the fire, "or is it all a hum?"

The settler approached the fire, stooped a little, and
applying his shoulder to the top of the opening, thrust
his right hand and arm up the chimney.

"I reckon that's no hum," he said, producing and throwing
upon the table a piece of dark dry flesh, that resembled
in appearance the upper part of a human arm. "If you're
fond of a relish," he pursued with a fierce laugh; "you'll
find that mighty well suited to the palate--quite as
sweet as a bit of smok'd venison."

"Why you don't really mean to say that's part of a man?"
demanded Jackson, advancing cautiously to the table, and
turning over the shrivelled mass with the point of his
dagger. "Why, I declare, its just the color of my dried
beef."

"But I do though--and what's more, of my own killin' and
dryin'. Purty naturist you must be not to see that's off
an Ingin's arm."

"Oh an Ingin's only, is it?" returned the Aid-de-Camp,
whose apprehension began rapidly to subside, now that he
had obtained the conviction that it was not the flesh of
a white man. "Well, I'm sure! who'd have thought it. I
take it, old cock, you've been in the wars as well as
myself."

"A little or so I reckon, and I expect to be in them agin
shortly--as soon as my stock of food's out. I've only a
thigh bone to pick after this, and then I'm off. But why
don't you take your seat at the fire. There's nothin' so
out of the way in the sight of a naked arm, is there? I
reckon if you're a soger, you must have seen many a one
lopped off in the wars."

"Yes, friend," said Jackson, altering the position of
the table and placing it between the settler and himself;
"a good many lopped off, as you say, and in a devil of
a stew, but not exactly eaten. However be so good as to
return this to the chimney, and when I've eaten something
from my bag I'll listen to what you have to say about
it."

"Jist so, and go without my own supper I suppose, to
please you. But tarnation, while you're eatin' a bit of
your hung beef I'll try a snack of mine."

So saying he deliberately took from the table the dried
arm he had previously flung there, and, removing a large
clasp knife from a pocket beneath his coarse hunting
frock, proceeded to help himself to several thin slices,
corresponding precisely in appearance with those which
the Aid-de-Camp divided in the same manner.

Jackson had managed to swallow three or four pieces of
his favorite hung beef with all the avidity of an appetite,
rendered keen by the absence of every other stimulant
than hunger; but no sooner did he perceive his host
fastening with a degree of fury on his unnatural food,
than, sick and full of loathing, his stomach rejected
further aliment, and he was compelled to desist. During
all this time Grantham, who, although he had assumed the
manner and attitude of a sleeping man, was a watchful
observer of all that passed, neither moved nor uttered
a syllable, except on one occasion to put away from him
the food Jackson had offered.

"Sorry to see your ride has given you so poor an appetite,"
said the settler, with a look expressive of the savage
delight he felt in annoying his visitor. "I reckon that's
rather unsavory stuff you've got there, that you can't
eat it without bread. I say young man"--addressing
Grantham, "can't you find no appetite neither, that you
sit there snorin', as if you never meant to wake agin."

Gerald's head sunk lower on his chest, and his affectation
of slumber became more profound.

"Try a drop of this," said Jackson, offering his canteen,
after having drank himself, and with a view to distract
attention from his companion. "You seem to have no liquor
in the house, and I take it you require something hot as
h-ll, and strong as d--n----n, after that ogre like repast
of yours."

The settler seized the can, and raised it to his lips.
It contained some of the fiery whiskey we have already
described as the common beverage in most parts of America.
This, all powerful as it was, he drained off as though
it had been water, and with the greedy avidity of one
who finds himself suddenly restored to the possession of
a favorite and long absent drink.

"Hollo, my friend," exclaimed the angry Aid-de-Camp, who
had watched the rapid disappearance of his "travellers
best companion," as he quaintly enough termed it, down
the capacious gullet of the settler--and snatching at
the same moment the nearly emptied canteen from his hands.
"I take it, that's not handsome. As I'm a true Tennessee
man, bred and born, it aint at all hospitable to empty
off a pint of raw liquor at a spell, and have not so much
as a glass of methiglin to offer in return. What the hell
do you suppose we're to do tomorrow for drink, during a
curst long ride through the wood, and not a house of call
till nightfall along the road."

The settler drew a breath long and heavy in proportion
to the draught he had swallowed, and when his lungs had
again recovered their play, answered blusteringly, in a
voice that betokened incipient intoxication.

"Roar me up a saplin' Mister, but you're mighty stingy
of the Wabash. I reckon as how I made you a free offer
of my food, and it war'nt no fault of mine if you did'nt
choose to take it. It would only have been relish for
relish after all--and that's what I call fair swap."

"Well, no matter," said Jackson soothingly; "what's done
can't be undone, therefore I take it its no use argufying
--however, my old cock, when next you got the neck of
a canteen of mine, twixt your lips, I hope it may do the
cockles of your heart good; that's all. But lets hear
how you came by them pieces of nigger's flesh, and how
it is you've taken it into your head to turn squatter
here. You seem," glancing around, "to have no sleeping
room to spare, and one may as well sit up and chat as
have one's bones bruised to squash on the hard boards."

"It's a sad tale," said the settler gruffly and with a
darkening brow, "and brings bitter thoughts with it; but
as the liquor has cheered me up a bit, I don't much mind
if I do tell you how I skivered the varmint. Indeed," he
pursued savagely, "that always gives me a pleasure to
think of, for I owed them a desperate grudge--the bloody
red skins and imps of hell. I was on my way to Detroit,
to see the spot once more where my poor boy Phil lay
rottin', and one dark night (for I only ventured to move
at night,) I came slick upon two Ingins as was lying fast
asleep before their fire in a deep ravine. The one nearest
to me had his face unkivered, and I knew the varmint for
the tall dark Delaweer chief as made one of the party
after poor Phil and me, a sight that made me thirst for
the blood of the heathens as a child for mother's milk.
Well, how do you suppose I managed them. I calculate
you'd never guess. Why, I stole as quiet as a fox until
I got jist atween them, and then holdin' a cocked pistol
to each breast, I called out in a thunderin' voice that
made the woods ring agin Kit-chimocomon, which you know,
as you've been in the wars, signifies long knife or
Yankee. You'd a laugh'd fit to split your sides I guess,
to see the stupid stare of the devils, as startin' out
of their sleep, they saw a pistol within three inches of
each of'em. 'Ugh,' says they, as if they did'nt know well
whether to take it as a joke or not. 'Yes, 'ugh' and be
damn'd to you,' say's I: you may go and 'ugh' in hell
next--and with that snap went the triggers, and into
their curst carcasses went the balls. The one I killed
outright but t'other the Delaweer chief, was by a sudden
shift only slightly wounded, and he sprung on his feet
and out with his knife. But I had a knife too, and all
a disappinted father's rage to boot, so at it we' went
closin' and strikin' with our knives like two fierce
fiends of the forest. It was noble sport sure-LY. At last
the Delaweer fell over the bleedin' body of his warrior
and I top of him. As he fell the knife dropt from his
hand and he could'nt reach it no how, while I still
gripped mine fast. 'Ugh,' he muttered agin, as if askin'
to know what I meant to do next. 'Ugh,' and be damn'd to
you once more, say's I--and the pint of my long knife
was soon buried in his black heart. Then, when I see them
both dead I eat my own meal at their fire, for I was
tarnation hungry, and while I was eatin' a thought came
across me that it would be good fun to make smoked meat
of the varmint, so when I had tucked it in purty
considerably, what with hominy and dried bear's meat,
moistened with a little Wabash I found in the Delaweer
chief's canteen, I set to and regularly quartered them.
The trunks I left behind, but the limbs I packed up in
the blankets that had been used to kiver them, I reckon;
and with them slung across my shoulders, like a saddle
bag across a horse, I made tracks through the swamps and
the prairies for this here hut, which I know'd no livin'
soul had been nigh for many a long year. And now," he
concluded with a low drunken laugh, "you've the history
of the dried meat. There isn't much left but when all is
gone I'm off to the wars, for I can't find no peace I
reckon without my poor boy Phil." He paused a moment,
and then, as if suddenly influenced by some painful
recollection, he struck his hand with startling violence
upon the table, and, while every feature of his iron
countenance seemed worked up to a pitch of intensity,
added with fearful calmness, "May God's curse light upon
me if I don't have my revenge of them Granthams yet:--yes"
he continued with increased excitement of voice and
manner, while he kicked one of the blazing hickory logs
in the chimney with all the savageness of drunken rage,
causing a multitude of sparks to spit forth as from the
anvil of a smith,--"jist so would I kick them both to
hell for having murdered my poor boy."

"Why, surely, Liftenant Grantham, he can't meant you?"
abruptly questioned the Aid-de-Camp, drawing back his
chair and resting the palms of his hands upon his knees,
while he fixed his eye keenly and inquiringly upon Gerald.

But Gerald had no time to answer him--Scarcely had the
name escaped the lips of the incautious Jackson, when a
yell of exultation from the settler drew him quickly to
his feet, and in the next moment he felt one hand of his
enemy grappling at his throat, while the fingers of the
other were rapidly insinuating themselves into the hair
that shadowed one of his temples, with the evident
intention to "gouge" him. Weak and emaciated as he was,
Gerald was soon made sensible of the disproportion of
physical strength thus suddenly brought into the struggle,
and as the savage laugh of the settler, as his fingers
wound themselves closer and closer within the clustering
hair, proclaimed his advantage, he felt that his only
chance of saving the threatened eye was by having recourse
to some sudden and desperate attempt to free himself from
the gripe of his opponent. Summoning all his strength
into one vigorous effort, he rushed forward upon his
enemy with such force, raising himself at the same time
in a manner to throw the whole weight of his person upon
him, that the latter reeled backwards several paces
without the power of resistance, and falling over the
table towards which he had been intentionally propelled,
sank with a heavy crash to the floor, still however
retaining his firm hold of his enemy and dragging him
after him.

Half throttled, maddened with pain, and even more bitterly
stung by a sense of the humiliating position in which he
found himself, the feelings of Gerald became uncontrolable,
until his anxiety to inflict a mortal injury upon his
enemy became in the end as intense as that of the settler.
In their fall the table had been overturned, and with it
the knife which Desborough had used with his horrid
repast. As the light from the blazing fire fell upon the
blade, it had once caught the unassailed eye of the
officer, and was the next moment clutched in his grasp.
He raised it with a determination, inspired by the agony
he endured, at once to liberate himself and to avenge
his father's murder, but the idea that there was something
assassin-like in the act as suddenly arrested him, and
ere he had time to obey a fresh impulse of his agony,
the knife was forcibly stricken from his hand. A laugh
of triumph burst from the lips of the half intoxicated
Desborough, but it was scarcely uttered before it was
succeeded by a yell of pain, and the hand that had
contrived to entwine itself, with resistless force and
terrible intent, in the waving hair of the youth, fell
suddenly from its grasp, enabling its victim at length
to free himself altogether and start once more to his
feet.

Little more than a minute had been passed in the enactment
of this strange scene. The collision, the overthrow, the
upraising of the knife had followed each other in such
rapid succession that, until the last desperate intention
of Gerald was formed, the Aid-de-Camp had not had time
to interpose himself in any way between the enraged
combatants. His first action had been to strike away
the murderous knife with the heavy butt of one of his
pistols, the other to plant such a blow upon the "gouging"
hand of the settler from the same butt, as effectually
to compel him to relinquish his ferocious clutch. In both
objects, as we have seen, he fully succeeded.

But although his right hand had been utterly disabled by
the blow from Jackson's pistol, the fury of Desborough,
fed as it was by the fumes of the liquor he had swallowed,
was too great to render him heedful of aught but the
gratification of his vengeance. Rolling rapidly over to
the point where the knife had fallen he secured it in
his left hand, and then, leaping nimbly to his feet,
gathered himself into a spring upon his unarmed but
watchful enemy. But before the bound could be taken, the
active Aid-de-Camp, covering Gerald with his body and
presenting a cocked pistol, had again thwarted him in
his intention.

"I say now, old cock, you'd much better be quiet I guess,
for them sort of tantrums won't suit me. If this here
Liftenant killed your son why he'll answer for it later,
but I can't let you murder my prisoner in that flumgustious
manner. I'm responsible for him to the United States
Government, therefore just drop that knife clean and
slick upon the floor, and let's have no more of this
nonsense for the night."

But even the cocked pistol had not power to restrain the
fierce--almost brutal--rage of the settler, whose growing
intoxication added fuel to the fire which the presence
of his enemy had kindled in his heart. Heedless of the
determined air and threatening posture of the Aid-de-Camp,
he made a bound forward, uttering a sound that resembled
the roar of a wild beast rather than the cry of a human
being, and struck over Jackson's shoulder at the chest
of the officer. Gerald, whose watchful eye marked the
danger, had however time to step back and avoid the blow.
In the next moment the Aid-de-Camp, overborne by the
violence of the collision, fell heavily backwards upon
the rude floor, and in his fall the pistol went off
lodging the ball in the sinewy calf of Desborough's leg.
Stung with acute animal pain, the whole rage of the latter
was now diverted from Gerald to the Aid-de-Camp, on whom
(assuming the wound to have been intentional) he threw
himself with the fury of a tiger, grappling as he closed
with him at his throat. But the sailor in his turn now
came to the rescue of his companion, and the scene for
some time, as the whole party struggled together upon
the floor in the broad red glare of the wood fire, was
one of fearful and desperate character. At length after
an immense effort, and amid the most horrid imprecations
of vengeance upon them, the officers succeeded in disarming
and tying the hands of the settler behind his back, after
which dragging him to a distant corner of the hut, they
secured him firmly to one of the open and mis-shapen logs
which composed its frame. This done, Jackson divided the
little that had been left of his "Wabash" with his charge,
and then stretching himself at his length, with his feet
to the fire, and his saddle for a pillow, soon fell
profoundly asleep.

Too much agitated by the scene which had just passed,
Gerald, although following the example of his companion,
in stretching himself before the cheerful fire, was in
no condition to enjoy repose. Indeed, whatever his
inclination, the attempt would have been vain, for so
dreadful were the denunciations of Desborough throughout
the night, that sleep had no room to enter even into his
thoughts. Deep and appalling were the curses and threats
of vengeance which the enraged settler uttered upon all
who bore the name of Grantham; and with these were mingled
lamentations for his son, scarcely less revolting in
their import than the curses themselves. Nor was the
turbulence of the enraged man confined to mere excitement
of language. His large and muscular form struggled in
every direction, to free himself from the cords that
secured him to the logs, and finding these too firmly
bound to admit of the accomplishment of his end, he kicked
his brawny feet against the floor with all the fury and
impatience of a spirit, quickened into a livelier sense
of restraint by the stimulus of intoxication. At length,
exhausted by the efforts he had made, his struggles and
his imprecations became gradually less frequent and less
vigorous, until finally towards dawn they ceased altogether,
and his deep and heavy breathing announced that he slept.

Accustomed to rise with the dawn, the Aid-de-Camp was
not long after its appearance, in shaking off the slumber
in which he had so profoundly indulged. The first object
that met his eye as he raised himself up in a sitting
posture from his rude bed, was Gerald stooping over the
sleeping Desborough, one hand reposing upon his chest,
the other holding the knife already alluded to, while
every feature of his face was kindled into loathing and
abhorrence of his prostrate and sleeping enemy. Startled
by the expression he read there, and with the occurrences
of the past night rushing forcibly upon his memory, the
Aid-de-Camp called quickly out, "Hold, Liftenant Grantham.
Well, as I'm a true Tennessee man, bred and born, may I
be most especially d----d, if I'd a thought you'd do so
foul a deed. What! assassinate a sleeping drunken man?"

"Assassinate! Captain Jackson," repeated Gerald, raising
himself to his full height, while a crimson flush of
indignation succeeded to the deadly paleness which had
overspread his cheek.

"Yes, assassinate," returned the Aid-de-Camp, fixing his
eye upon that of his prisoner, yet without perceiving
that it quailed under his penetrating glance. "It's an
ugly word, I reckon, for you to hear, as it is for me to
speak; but your quarrel last night--your fix just now--
that knife,--Liftenant Grantham," and he pointed to the
blade which still remained in the grasp of the accused.
"Surely these things speak for themselves, and though
the fellow has swallowed off all my Wabash, and be d----d
to him, (making a fruitless attempt to extract a few
drops from his canteen,) still I shouldn't like to see
him murdered in that sort of way."

"I cannot blame you, Captain Jackson," said Gerald calmly,
his features resuming their pallid hue. "These appearances,
I grant, might justify the suspicion, horrible as it is,
in one who had known more of me than yourself; but was
assassination even a virtue, worlds would not tempt me
to assassinate that man--wretch though he be--or even to
slay him in fair and open combat."

"Then, I calculate, one night has made a pretty considerable
change in your feelings, Liftenant," retorted the Aid-de-
Camp. "You were both ready enough to go at it last night,
when I knocked the knife out of your fist, and broke the
knuckles of his gouging hand."

"I confess," said Gerald, again coloring, "that excessive
pain made me wild, and I should have been tempted to have
had recourse to any means to thwart him in his diabolical
purpose. As you have said, however, the past night has
effected a change in my feelings towards the man, and
death from my hand, under any circumstances, is the last
thing he has now to apprehend." Gerald sank his head upon
his chest, and sighed bitterly.

"Well," said Jackson, "all this is queer enough; but what
were you doing standing over the man just now with that
knife, if it was not to harm him? And as for your
countenance, it scowled so savage and passionate, I was
almost afraid to look at it myself."

"My motive for the action I must beg you to excuse my
entering upon," replied Gerald. "Of this, however, be
assured, Captain Jackson, that I had no intention to
injure yon sleeping villain. On the word of an officer
and a gentleman, and by the kindness you have shown me
on all occasions since our journey commenced, do I solemnly
assure you this is the fact."

"And on the word of an officer, and a true Tennessee man,
bred and born, I am bound to believe you," returned the
American, much affected. "A man that could fight so
wickedly in the field would never find heart, I reckon,
to stick an enemy in the dark. No, Liftenant Grantham,
you were not born to be an assassin. And now let's be
starting--the day has already broke."

"And yet," returned Gerald, with a smile of bitter
melancholy, as they hurried towards the spot where they
had left their horses, "if any man ever had reason to
act so as to merit the imputation of being such, I have.
In that savage woodsman, Captain Jackson, you have beheld
the murderer--the self acknowledged murderer of my father."

"God bless my soul!" cried Jackson, dropping the saddle
which he carried, and standing still with very amazement.
"A pretty fix I've got into, to be sure. Here's one man
accuses another of murdering his son, and t'other, by
way of quits, accuses him, in his turn, of murdering his
father. Why, which am I to believe?"

"Which you please, Captain Jackson," said the sailor
coolly, yet painedly; and he moved forward in pursuit of
his horse.

"Nay, Liftenant Grantham," said the Aid-de-Camp, who had
again resumed his burden, and was speedily at the side
of his companion, "don't be offended. I've no doubt the
thing's as you say, but you must make allowance for my
ideas, never too much of the brightest, being conglomerated,
after a fashion, by what I have seen and heard, since we
let loose our horses last night upon this prairie."

"I am not offended, only hurt," replied Gerald, shaking
the hand that was cordially tendered to him; "hurt that
you should doubt my word, or attach any thing to the
assertion of that man beyond the mere ravings of a savage
and diseased spirit. Justice to myself demands that I
should explain every thing in detail."

"Now that's what I call all right and proper," returned
the Aid-de-Camp, "and should be done both for your sake
and mine; but we will leave it till we get once more upon
the road and in sight of a tavern, for its dry work
talking and listening without even so much as a gum
tickler of the Wabash to moisten one's clay."

They found their horses not far from the spot where they
had been left on the preceding night, and these being
speedily untethered and saddled, the travellers again
pursued their route towards the capital of the State in
which they found themselves. As they passed the hut,
which had been the scene of so much excitement to both,
the voice of Desborough whom they had left fast asleep,
was heard venting curses and imprecations upon them both,
for having left him there to starve, bound and incapable
of aiding himself. Wretch as the settler was, Gerald
could not reconcile to himself the thought of his being
left to perish thus miserably, and he entreated the
Aid-de-Camp to enter and divide the cords. But Jackson
declared this to be impolitic, urging as a powerful reason
for declining, the probability of his having fire arms
in the hut, with which (if released,) he might follow
and overtake them in their route, and sacrifice one or
the other to his vengeance--an object which it would be
easy to accomplish without his ever being detected.
However, that the villain might have sustenance until
some chance traveller should come later to his assistance,
or he could manage to get rid of his bonds himself (which
he might do in time) he consented to place within his
reach all the dried meat that had been left of his Indian
foes, together with a pail of water--the latter by way
of punishment for having swilled away at his Wabash in
the ungracious manner he had.

While Jackson was busied in this office of questionable
charity, the rage and disappointment of the settler
surpassed what it had hitherto been. Each vein of his
dark brow rose distinctly and swelling from its surface,
and he kicked and stamped with a fury that proclaimed
the bitter tempest raging in his soul. When the Aid-de-Camp
had again mounted, his shrieks and execrations became
piercing, and for many minutes after they had entered
into the heart of the forest in which the hut was situated,
the shrill sounds continued to ring upon their ears in
accents so fearful, that each felt a sensible relief when
they were heard no more.

On the evening of the third day after this event, Jackson
and our hero, between whom a long explanation on the
subject of the settler had taken place, alighted at the
door of the principal inn in Frankfort, the capital of
Kentucky, which was their ultimate destination. To mine
host Gerald was introduced by his escort with the formality
usual on such occasions in America, and with the earnest
recommendation to that most respectable personage that,
as his own friend, as well as that of Colonel Forrester,
every indulgence should be shown to the prisoner, that
was not inconsistent with his position.



CHAPTER XI.

Few situations in life are less enviable than that of
the isolated prisoner of war. Far from the home of his
affections, and compelled by the absence of all other
companionship, to mix with those who, in manners, feelings,
and national characteristics, form, as it were, a race
apart from himself, his recollections, already sufficiently
embittered by the depressing sense of captivity, are
hourly awakened by some rude contrast wounding to his
sensibilities, and even though no source of graver
irritation should exist, a thousand petty annoyances,
incident to the position, are magnified by chagrin from
mole-hills into mountains. Such, however, would be the
effect produced on one only, who, thrown by the accident
of war into the situation of a captive, should have no
grief more profound, no sorrow deeper seated than what
arose from the being severed from old, and associated
with new and undesired ties; one to whom life was full
of the fairest buds of promise, and whose impatience of
the present was only a burning desire to enter upon the
future. Not so with Gerald Grantham. Time, place,
circumstance, condition, were alike the same--alike
indifferent to him. In the recollections of the scenes
he had so lately quitted, and in which his fairer and
unruffled boyhood had been passed, he took no pleasure,
while the future was so enshrouded in gloom that he shrank
from its very contemplation. So far from trying to wring
consolation from circumstances, his object was to stupify
recollection to the uttermost. He would fain have shut
out both the past and the future, contenting himself as
he might with the present, but the thing was impossible.
The worm had eaten into his heart, and its gnawings were
too painful, not poignantly to remind him of the manner
in which it had been engendered.

Upwards of a fortnight had elapsed since his arrival,
and yet, although Captain Jackson, prior to his return
to Sandusky, had personally introduced him to many highly
respectable families in Frankfort, he uniformly abstained
from cultivating their acquaintance, until at length he
was, naturally enough, pronounced to be a most disagreeable
specimen of a British officer. Even with the inmates of
the hotel, many of whom were officers of his own age,
and with whom he constantly sat down to the ordinary, he
avoided every thing approaching to intimacy--satisfying
himself merely with discharging his share of the commonest
courtesies of life. They thought it pride--it was but an
effect--an irremediable effect of the utter sinking of
his sad and broken spirit. The only distraction in which
he eventually took pleasure, or sought to indulge, was
rambling through the wild passes of the chain of wooded
hills, which almost encircles the Kentuckian capital,
and extends for a considerable distance in a westerly
direction. The dense gloom of these narrow vallies he
had remarked on his entrance by the same route, and
feeling them more in unison with his sick mind than the
hum and bustle of a city, which offered nothing in common
with his sympathies, he now frequently passed a great
portion of the day in threading their mazes--returning
however, at a certain hour to his hotel, conformably with
the terms of his parole.

On one occasion, tempted by the mellow beauty of the
season (it was now the beginning of October) he had
strayed so far, and through passes so unknown to him,
that when the fast advancing evening warned him of the
necessity of returning, he found he had utterly lost his
way. Abstracted as he usually was, he had yet reflection
enough to understand that his parole of honor required
he should be at his hotel at an hour, which it would put
his speed to the proof to accomplish. Despairing of
finding his way by the circuitous route he had originally
taken, and the proper clue to which he had moreover lost,
he determined, familiar as he was with the general bearings
of the capital, to effect his return in a direct line
across the chain of hills already alluded to. The deepening
shadows of the wild scene, as he proposed to ascend that
immediately before him, told that the sun had sunk beneath
the horizon, and when he gained its summit, the last
faint corruscations of light were passing rapidly away
in the west. Still, by the indistinct twilight he could
perceive that at his feet lay a small valley, completely
hemmed in by the circular ridge on which he stood. This
traversed, it was but to ascend the opposite section of
the ridge, and his destination would be gained. Unlike
the narrow rocky passes, which divided the hills in every
other direction, in which he had previously wandered,
this valley was covered with a luxuriant verdure, and
upon this the feet of Gerald moved inaudibly even to
himself. As he advanced more into the centre of the little
plain, he thought he could perceive, at its extremity on
the right, the dark outline of a building--apparently a
dwelling house--and while he yet hesitated, whether he
should approach it and inquire his most direct way to
the town, a light suddenly appeared at that point of the
valley for which he was already making. A few minutes
sufficed to bring him to the spot whence the light had
issued. It was a small circular building, possibly intended
for a summer-house, but more resembling a temple in its
construction, and so closely bordering upon the forest
ridge, by a portion of the foliage by which it had
previously been concealed, as to be almost confounded
with it. It was furnished with a single window, the same
through which the light now issued, and this narrow,
elongated, and studded with iron bars, was so placed as
to prevent one even taller than our hero from gazing into
the interior, without the aid of some elevation. But
Gerald, independently of his anxiety to reach the town
in time to prevent comment upon his absence, had no desire
to occupy himself with subjects foreign to his object.
Curiosity was a feeling dead within his bosom, and he
was preparing, without once staying his course, to ascend
the ridge at the side of the temple, when he fancied he
heard a suppressed groan, as of one suffering from intense
agony--Not the groan, but the peculiar tone in which it
was uttered, arrested his attention, and excited a vague
yet stirring interest in his breast. On approaching closer
to the temple, he found that at its immediate basement
the earth had been thrown up into a sort of mound, which
so elevated the footing as to admit of his reaching the
bars of the window with his hands. Active as we have
elsewhere shown him to be, he was not long in obtaining
a full view of the interior, when a scene met his eye
which rivetted him, as well it might, in utter astonishment.
Upon the rude uncarpeted floor knelt a female, who, with
clasped and uplifted hands, had her eyes fixed upon a
portrait that hung suspended from the opposite wall--her
figure, clad in a loose robe of black, developing by its
attitude a contour of such rich and symmetrical proportion
as might be difficult for the imagination to embody.
And who was the being upon whom his each excited sense
now lingered with an admiration little short of idolatry?
One whom, a moment before, he believed to be still far
distant, whom he had only a few months previously fled
from, as from a pestilence, and whom he had solemnly
sworn never to behold again, yet whom he continued to
love with a passion that defied every effort of his
judgment to subdue, making his life a wilderness--Matilda
Montgomerie--And if her beauty had THEN had such surpassing
influence over his soul, what was not its effect when he
beheld her NOW, every grace of womanhood exhibited in a
manner to excite admiration the most intense!

It would he vain to describe all that passed through the
mind of Gerald Grantham, while he thus gazed upon her
whose beauty was the rock on which his happiness had been
wrecked. His first impulse had been to fly, but the
fascination which rivetted him to the window deprived
him of all power until eventually, of all the host of
feelings that had crowded tumultuously upon his heart,
passion alone remained triumphant. Unable longer to
control his impatience, he was on the point of quitting
his station, for the purpose of knocking and obtaining
admission by a door which he saw opposite to him, when
a sudden change in the attitude of Matilda arrested the
movement.

She had risen, and with her long and dark hair floating
over her white shoulders, now advanced towards the
portrait, on which her gaze had hitherto been so repeatedly
turned. This was so placed that Gerald had not previously
an opportunity of remarking more than the indistinct
outline, which proved it to represent a human figure;
but as she for a moment raised the light with one hand,
while with the other she covered it with a veil which
had been drawn aside, he distinctly saw that it was the
portrait of an officer dressed in the American uniform;
and it even occurred to him that he had before seen the
face, although, in his then excited state he could not
recollect where. Even had he been inclined to tax his
memory, the effort would have been impracticable, for
another direction was now given to his interest.

On the left, and close under the window, stood a rude
sofa and ruder table, the only pieces of furniture which
Gerald could observe within the temple. Upon the former
Matilda now reclined herself, and placing the candle upon
the table at her side, proceeded to unfold and peruse a
letter which she had previously taken from her pocket
book. The same unconsciousness of observation inducing
the same unstudiedness of action, the whole disposition
of the form bore a character of voluptuousness, which
the presumed isolation of her who thus exhibited herself,
a model of living grace, alone could justify. But although
the form was full of the eloquence of passion, one had
but to turn to the pale and severe face, to find there
was no corresponding expression in the heart. As
heretofore, the brow of the American wore a cast of
thought--only deeper, more decided--and even while her
dark eyes flashed fire, as if in disappointment and anger
at sundry passages in the letter over which she lingered,
not once did the slightest color tinge her cheek, or the
gloom dissipate itself from that cold brow. Emotion she
felt, for this her heaving bosom and occasionally compressed
lip betokened. Yet never was contrast more marked than
that between the person and the face of Matilda Montgomerie,
as Gerald Grantham then beheld her.

On one who had seen her thus for the first time, the
cold, calm countenance of the singular girl, would have
acted as a chastener to the emotions called up by the
glowing expression of her faultless form, but although
there was now a character of severity on her features,
which must have checked and chilled the ardent admiration
produced by that form on a mere stranger, Gerald but too
well remembered occasions when the harmony of both had
been complete, and when the countenance, rich in all
those fascinations, which, even in her hours of utmost
collectedness, never ceased to attach to the person, had
beamed upon him in a manner to stir his very soul into
madness. There were other and later recollections too,
that forced themselves upon his memory; but these, even
though they recalled scenes in which the voluptuous beauty
of Matilda shone paramount, were as blots upon the fair
picture of the past, and he fain would have banished them
from his mind for ever.

The letter on which the American was now engaged, Grantham
had recognized, from its fold and seal, to be one he had
written prior to parting with her, as he had supposed,
for ever. While he was yet dwelling on this singularity,
Matilda threw the letter upon the table at her side, and
leaning her head upon her hand, seemed as if musing deeply
upon its contents. The contraction of her brow became
deeper, and there was a convulsed pressure of her lips
as of one forming some determination, requiring at once
strong moral and physical energy to accomplish. A cold
shudder crept through the reins of Gerald, for too well
did he fancy he could divine what was passing in the soul
of that strange yet fascinating woman. For a moment a
feeling of almost loathing came over his heart, but when,
in the next moment, he saw her rise from the sofa,
revealing the most inimitable grace, he burned with
impatience to throw himself reckless of consequences at
her feet, and to confess his idolatry.

After pacing to and fro for some moments, her dark and
kindling eye alone betraying the excitement which her
colorless cheek denied, Matilda again took up the light,
and having once more approached the portrait, was in the
act of raising the veil, when a slight noise made by
Gerald, who in his anxiety to obtain a better view of
her, had made a change in his position, arrested her ear;
and she turned and fixed her eye upon the window, not
with the disturbed manner of a person who fears observation,
but with the threatening air of one who would punish an
intrusion.

Holding the light above her head, she advanced firmly
across the room, and stopping beneath the window, fixed
her eye steadily and unshrinkingly upon it. The mind of
Gerald had become a chaos of conflicting and opposing
feelings. Only an instant before and he would have
coveted recognition, now his anxiety was to avoid it;
but cramped in his attitude, and clinging as he was
compelled, with his face close to the bars, his only
means of doing so was by quitting his position altogether.
He therefore loosened his hold, and dropped himself on
the mound of earth from which he had contrived to ascend,
but not so noiselessly, in the unbroken stillness of the
night, as to escape the keen ear of the American. In
the next moment Gerald heard a door open, and a well
known voice demand, in tones which betrayed neither alarm
nor indecision.

"Who is there?"

The question was repeated in echo from the surrounding
woods, and then died away in distance.

"Who of my people," again demanded Matilda, "has dared
to follow me here in defiance of my orders?"

Another echo of indistinct sounds, and all again was
still.

"Whoever you are, speak," resumed the courageous girl.
"Nay," she pursued more decidedly, as having moved a pace
or two from the door, she observed a human form standing
motionless beneath the window. "Think not to escape me.
Come hither slave that I may know you. This curiosity
shall cost you dear."

The blood of Gerald insensibly chilled at the harsh tone
in which these words were uttered, and had he followed
a first impulse he would at once have retired from the
influence of a command, which under all the circumstances,
occurred to him as being of prophetic import. But he had
gazed on the witching beauty of the syren, until judgment
and reason had yielded the rein to passion, and filled
with an ungovernable desire to behold and touch that form
once more--even although he should the next moment tear
himself from it for ever--he approached and stood at the
entrance of the temple, the threshold of which Matilda
had again ascended.

No exclamation of surprise escaped the lips of the ever-
collected American; and yet, for the first time that
night, her cheek was suffused with a deep glow, the effect
of which was to give to her whole style of beauty a
character of radiancy.

"Gerald Grantham!"

"Yes, Matilda," exclaimed the youth, madly heedless of
the past, while he rivetted his gaze upon her dazzling
loveliness with such strong excitement of expression as
to cause her own to sink beneath it, "your own Gerald--
your slave kneels before you," and he threw himself at
her feet.

"And what punishment does not that slave merit?" she
asked, in a tone so different from that in which she had
addressed her supposed domestic, that Gerald could scarcely
believe it to be the same. "What reparation can he make
for having caused so much misery to one who loved and
cherished him so well. Oh! Gerald, what days, what nights
of misery, have I not passed since you so unkindly left
me." As she uttered the last sentence, she bent herself
over the still kneeling form of her lover, while her long
dark hair, falling forward, completely enveloped him in
its luxuriant and waving folds.

"You will be mine, Matilda," at length murmured the youth,
as he sat at her side on the sofa, to which on rising he
had conducted her.

"Yours, only yours," returned the American, while she
bent her face upon his shoulder. "But you know the terms
of our union."

Had a viper stung him, Gerald could not have recoiled
with more dismay and horror from her embrace. Again the
features of Matilda became colorless, and her brow assumed
an expression of care and severity.

"Then, if not to fulfil that compact, wherefore are you
here?" and the question was put half querulously, half
contemptuously.

"Chance, Destiny, Fate,--call it what you will," cried
Gerald, obeying the stronger impulse of his feelings,
and clasping her once more to his beating heart. "Oh!
Matilda, if you knew how the idea of that fearful condition
has haunted me in my thoughts by day, and my dreams by
night, you would only wonder that at this moment I retain
my senses, filled as my soul is with maddening--with
inextinguishable love for you."

"And do you really entertain for me that deep, that
excessive passion you have just expressed," at length
observed Matilda, after some moments of silence, and with
renewed tenderness of voice and manner, "and yet refuse
the means by which you may secure me to you for ever?"

"Matilda," said Gerald, with vehemence, "my passion for
you is one which no effort of my reason can control; but
let me not deceive you--it is NOW one of the senses."

An expression of triumph, not wholly unmingled with scorn,
animated the features of Matilda. It was succeeded by one
of ineffable tenderness.

"We will talk of this no more tonight, Gerald, but tomorrow
evening, at the same hour, be here: then our mutual hopes,
and fears, and doubts shall be then realized or
disappointed, as the event may show. Tomorrow will
determine if, as I cannot but believe, Destiny has sent
you to me at this important hour. It is very singular,"
she added, as if to herself, her features again becoming
deadly pale--"very singular, indeed!"

"What is singular, Matilda?" asked Gerald.

"You shall know all tomorrow," she replied; "but mind,"
and her dark eye rested on his with an expression of much
tenderness, "that you come prepared to yield me all I ask."

Gerald promised that he would, and Matilda, expressing
a desire to hear what had so unexpectedly restored him
to her presence, he entered into a detail of all that
had befallen him from the moment of their separation.
She appeared to be much touched by the relation, and, in
return, gave him a history of what she too had felt and
suffered. She, moreover, informed him that Major Montgomerie
had died of his wound shortly after their parting, and
that she had now been nearly two months returned to her
uncle's estate at Frankfort, where she lived wholly
secluded from society, and with a domestic establishment
consisting of slaves. These short explanations having
been entered into, they parted--Matilda to enter her
dwelling, (the same Gerald had remarked in outline,) in
which numerous lights were now visible, and her lover to
make the best of his way to the town.



CHAPTER XII.

Morning dawned, and yet no sleep had visited the eyes of
Gerald Grantham. The image of Matilda floated in his
mind, and, to the recollection of her beauty, he clung
with an aching eagerness of delight that attested the
extent of its influence over his imagination. Had there
been nothing to tarnish that glorious picture of womanly
perfection, the feelings it called up would have been
too exquisite for endurance; but alas! with the faultless
image, came also recollections, against which it required
all the force of that beauty to maintain itself. One
ineffaceable spot was upon the soul of that fascinating
being; and though, like the spots on the sun's disk, it
was hidden in the effulgence which surrounded it, still
he could not conceal from himself that it DID exist, to
deface the symmetry of the whole. It was his knowledge
of that fearful blemish that had driven him to seek in
drunkenness, and subsequently in death, a release from
the agonizing tortures of his mind. Virtue and a high
sense of honor had triumphed so far, as not merely to
leave his own soul spotless, but to enable him to fly
from her who would have polluted it with crime; yet,
although respect and love--the pure sentiments by which
he had originally been influenced--had passed away, the
hour of their departure had been that of the increased
domination of passion, and far from her whose beauty was
ever present to his mind, his imagination had drawn and
lingered on such pictures, that assured as he was they
could never be realized, he finally resolved to court
death wherever it might present itself.

Restored thus unexpectedly to the presence of her who
had been the unceasing subject of his thoughts, and under
circumstances so well calculated to inflame his imagination,
it cannot appear wonderful that Gerald should have looked
forward to his approaching interview with emotions of
the intensest kind. How fated, too, seemed the reunion.
He had quitted Matilda with the firm determination never
to behold her more, yet, by the very act of courting that
death which would fully have accomplished his purpose,
he had placed himself in the position he most wished to
avoid. Presuming that Major Montgomerie, who had never
alluded to Frankfort as his home, was still with his
niece a resident in the distant State in which he had
left them--he had gladly heard Colonel Forrester name
the Kentucky capital as the place of his destination;
for, deep and maddening as was his passion for Matilda,
no earthly considerations could have induced him voluntarily
to have sought her. Even since his arrival in Frankfort,
it had been a source of consolation to him to feel that
he was far removed from her who could have made him forget
that, although the heart may wither and die, while
self-esteem and an approving conscience remain to us,
the soul shares not in the same decay--confesses not the
same sting. Could he even have divined that in the temple
to which his curiosity had led him, he should have beheld
the being on whose image he doted, even while he shunned
it, he would have avoided her as a pestilence.

The result of this terrible struggle of his feelings was
a determination to see her once more--to yield up his
whole soul to the intoxication of her presence, and then,
provided she should still refuse to unite her fate to
his, unhampered by the terrible condition of past days,
to tear himself from her for ever.

Strong in this resolution, Gerald, to whom the hours bad
appeared as days since his rising, and who quitted
Frankfort about his usual time, and, in order to avoid
observation, took the same retired and circuitous route
by which he had reached the valley the preceding evening.
As he descended into the plain, the light from the window
of the temple was again perceptible--In a few minutes he
was in the room.

"Gerald--my own Gerald," exclaimed Matilda, as carefully
closing the door after her lover, she threw herself into
his embrace. Alas, weak man! Like the baseless fabric of
a dream, disappeared all the lately formed resolutions
of the youth.

"Yes! Matilda, your own Gerald. Come what will henceforth,
I am yours."

A pause of some moments ensued, during which each felt
the beating of the other's heart.

"Will you swear it, Gerald?" at length whispered Matilda.

"I will--I do swear it."

There was a sudden kindling of the dark eye of the
American, and an outswelling of the full bust, that seemed
to betoken exultation in the power of her beauty; but
this was quickly repressed, and sinking on the sofa at
the side of her lover, her whole countenance was radiant
with the extraordinary expression Gerald had, for the
first time, witnessed while she lingered on the arm of
his uncle, Colonel D'Egville.

"Gerald," she said tenderly, "confirm the oath which is
to unite us heart and soul, in one eternal Destiny. Swear
upon this sacred volume, that your hand shall avenge the
wrongs of your Matilda--of your wife. Ha! your wife,
think of that," she added with sudden energy.

Gerald caught the book eagerly to his lips. "I swear it,
Matilda--he shall die."

But scarcely had he sworn, when a creeping chill passed
through his frame. His features lost all their animation,
and throwing away the book on which the impious oath had
been taken, he turned away his face from Matilda, and
sinking his head upon his chest, groaned and wept bitterly.

"What! already Gerald, do you repent? Nay, tell me not
that one thus infirm of purpose, can be strong of passion.
You love me not, else would the wrongs of her you love
arm you with the fiercest spirit of vengeance against
him who has so deeply injured her. But, if you repent,
it is but to absolve you from your oath, and then the
deed must be my own."

The American spoke in tones in which reproach,
expostulation, and wounded affection, were artfully and
touchingly blended, and as she concluded, she too dropped
her head upon her chest and sighed.

"Nay, Matilda, you do me wrong. It is one thing to swerve
from the guilty purpose to which your too seductive beauty
has won my soul, another to mourn as man should mourn,
the hour when virtue, honor, religion, all the nobler
principles in which my youth has been nurtured, have
proved too weak to stem the tide of guilty passion. You
say I love you not!" and he laughed bitterly. "What
greater proof would you require than the oath I have just
taken?"

"It's fulfilment," said Matilda, impressively.

"It shall be fulfilled," he returned quickly, "but at
least deny me not the privilege of cursing the hour when
crime of so atrocious a dye could be made so familiar to
my soul."

"Crime is a word too indiscriminately bestowed," said
Matilda, after a momentary pause. "What the weak in mind
class with crime, the strong term virtue."

"Virtue! what, to spill the blood of a man who has never
injured me; to become a hired assassin, the price of
whose guilt is the hand of her who instigates to the
deed? If this be virtue, I am indeed virtuous."

"Never injured you!" returned the American, while she
bent her dark eyes reproachfully upon those of the unhappy
Gerald. "Has he not injured ME; injured beyond all power
of reparation, her who is to be the partner of your life?"

"Nay, Matilda," and Gerald again passionately caught and
enfolded her to his heart, "that image alone were sufficient
to mould me to your will, even although I had not before
resolved. And yet," he pursued, after a, short pause,
"how base, how terrible to slay an unsuspecting enemy.
Would we could meet in single combat--and why not? Yes
it can--it shall be so. Fool that I was not to think, of
it before. Matilda, my own love, rejoice with me, for
there is a means by which your honor may be avenged, and
my own soul unstained by guilt. I wilt seek this man,
and fasten a quarrel upon him. What say you, Matilda--
speak to me, tell me that you consent." Gerald gasped
with agony.

"Never, Gerald," she returned, with startling
impressiveness, while the color, which during the warm
embrace of her lover had returned to it once more, fled
from her cheek. "To challenge him would be but to ensure
your own doom, for few in the army of the United States
equal him in the use of the pistol or the small sword;
and, even were it otherwise," she concluded, her eye
kindling into a fierce expression, "were he the veriest
novice in the exercise of both, my vengeance would be
incomplete, did he not go down to his grave with all his
sins on his head. No, no, Gerald, in the fulness of the
pride of existence must he perish. He must not dream of
death until he feels the blow that is aimed at his heart."

The agitation of Matilda was profound beyond any thing
she had ever yet exhibited. Her words were uttered in
tones that betrayed a fixed and unbroken purpose of the
soul, and when she had finished, she threw her face upon
the bosom of her lover, and ground her teeth together
with a force that showed the effect produced upon her
imagination, by the very picture of the death she had
drawn.

A pause of some moments ensued. Gerald was visibly
disconcerted, and the arm which encircled the waist of
the revengeful woman dropped, as if in disappointment,
at his side.

"How strange and inconsistent are the prejudices of man,"
resumed Matilda, half mournfully, half in sarcasm; "here
is a warrior--a spiller of human life by profession; his
sword has been often dyed in the heart blood of his fellow
man, and set he shudders at the thought of adding one
murder more to the many already committed. What child-like
weakness!"

"Murder! Matilda; call you it murder to overcome the
enemies of one's country in fair and honorable combat,
and in the field of glory?"

"Call YOU it what you will--disguise it under whatever
cloak you may--it is no less murder. Nay, the worst of
murders, for you but do the duty of the hireling slayer.
In cold blood, and for a stipend, do you put an end to
the fair existence of him who never injured you in thought
or deed, and whom, under other circumstances, you would
perhaps have taken to your heart in friendship."

"This is true, but the difference of the motive, Matilda?
The one approved of heaven and of man, the other alike
condemned of both."

"Approved of man, if you will; but that they have the
sanction of heaven, I deny. Worldly policy and social
interests alone have drawn the distinction, making the
one a crime, the other a virtue; but tell me not that an
all wise and just God sanctions or approves the slaying
of his creatures because they perish, not singly at the
will of one men, but in thousands and tens of thousands
at the will of another. What is there more sacred in the
brawls of Kings and Potentates, that the blood they cause
to be shed in torrents for some paltry breach of etiquette,
should sit more lightly on their souls than the few
solitary drops, spilt by the hand of revenge, on that of
him whose existence is writhing under a sense of acutest
injury?"

The energy with which she expressed herself, communicated
a corresponding excitement to the whole manner and person
of Matilda. Her eye sparkled and dilated, and the visible
heaving of her bosom told how strongly her own feelings
entered into the principles she had advocated. Never
did her personal beauty shine forth more triumphantly or
seducingly than at the moment when her lips were giving
utterance to sentiments from which the heart recoiled.

"Oh Matilda," sighed Gerald, "with what subtlety of
argument do you seek to familiarize my soul with crime.
But the attempt is vain. Although my hand is pledged to
do your will, my heart must ever mourn its guilt."

"Foolish Gerald," said Matilda; "why should that seem
guilt to you, a man, which to me, a woman, is but justice;
but that unlike me you have never entered into the calm
consideration of the subject. Yes," she pursued with
greater energy, "what you call subtlety of argument is
but force of conviction. For two long years have I dwelt
upon the deed, reasoning, and comparing, until at length
each latent prejudice has been expelled, and to avenge
my harrowing wrongs appeared a duty as distinctly marked
as any one contained in the decalogue. You saw me once,
Gerald, when my hand shrank not from what you term the
assassin's blow, and had you not interfered then, the
deed would not now remain to be accomplished."

"Oh, why did I interfere? why did my evil Genius conduct
me to such a scene. Then had I lived at least in ignorance
of the fearful act."

"Nay, Gerald, let it rather be matter of exultation with
you that you did. Prejudiced as you are, this hand (and
she extended an arm so exquisitely formed that one would
scarce even have submitted it to the winds of Heaven)
might not seem half so fair, had it once been dyed in
human blood. Besides who so proper to avenge a woman's
wrongs upon her destroyer, as the lover and the husband
to whom she has plighted her faith for ever? No, no, it
is much better as it is; and fate seems to have decreed
that it should be so, else why the interruption by yourself
on that memorable occasion, and why, after all your pains
to avoid me, this our final union, at a moment when the
wretch is about to return to his native home, inflated
with pride and little dreaming of the fate that awaits
him--Surely, Gerald, you will admit there is something
more than mere chance in this?"

"About to return," repeated Grantham shuddering. "When,
Matilda?"

"Within a week at the latest--perhaps within three days.
Some unimportant advantage which he has gained on the
frontier, has been magnified by his generous fellow
citizens into a deed of heroism, and, from information
conveyed to me, by a trusty and confidential servant, I
find he has obtained leave of absence, to attend a public
entertainment to be given in Frankfort, on which occasion
a magnificent sword, is to be presented to him. Never,
Gerald," continued Matilda her voice dropping into a
whisper, while a ghastly smile passed over and convulsed
her lips, "never shall he live to draw that sword. The
night of his triumph is that which I have fixed for mine."

"An unimportant advantage upon the frontier," asked Gerald
eagerly and breathlessly. "To what frontier, Matilda, do
you allude?"

"The Niagara," was the reply.

"Are you quite sure of this?"

"So sure that I have long known he was there," returned
Matilda.

Gerald breathed more freely--but again he questioned:

"Matilda, when first I saw you last night, you were gazing
intently upon yon portrait, (he pointed to that part of
the temple where the picture hung suspended.) and it
struck me that I had an indistinct recollection of the
features."

"Nothing more probable," returned the American,
answering his searching look with one of equal firmness. You
cannot altogether have forgotten Major Montgomerie."

"Nay, the face struck me not as his. May I look at it?"

"Assuredly. Satisfy yourself."

Gerald quitted the sofa, took up the light, and traversing
the room raised the gauze curtain that covered the painting.
It was indeed the portrait of the deceased Major, habited
in full uniform.

"How strange," he mused, "that so vague an impression
should have been conveyed to my mind last night, when
now I recal without difficulty those well remembered
features." Gerald sighed as he recollected under what
different circumstances he had first beheld that face,
and dropping the curtain once more, crossed the room and
flung himself at the side of Matilda.

"For whom did you take it, if not for Major Montgomerie?"
asked the American after a pause, and again her full dark
eye was bent on his.

"Nay I scarcely know myself, yet I had thought it had
been the portrait of him I have sworn to destroy."

There was a sudden change of expression in the countenance
of Matilda, but it speedily passed away, and she said with
a faint smile.

"Whether is it more natural to find pleasure in gazing
on the features of those who have loved, or those who
have injured us!"

"Then whose was the miniature on which you so intently
gazed, on that eventful night at Detroit?" asked Gerald.

"That," said Matilda quickly, and paling as she spoke--
"that was HIS--I gazed on it only the more strongly to
detest the original--to confirm the determination I had
formed to destroy him."

"If THEN," returned the youth, "why not NOW--may I not
see that portrait Matilda? May I not acquire some knowledge
of the unhappy man whose blood will so shortly stain my
soul?"

"Impossible," she replied. "The miniature I have since
destroyed. While I thought the original within reach of
my revenge, I could bear to gaze upon it, but no sooner
had I been disappointed in my aim, than it became loathsome
to me as the sight of some venemous reptile, and I
destroyed it." This was said with undisguised bitterness.

Gerald sighed deeply. Again he encircled the waist of
his companion, and one of her fair, soft, velvet hands
was pressed in his.

"Matilda," he observed, "deep indeed must be the wrong
that could prompt the heart of woman to so terrible a
hatred. When we last parted you gave me but an indistinct
and general outline of the injury you had sustained. Tell
me now all--tell me every thing," he continued with
energy, "that can infuse a portion of the hatred which
fills your soul into mine, that my hand may be firmer--
my heart more hardened to the deed.

"The story of my wrongs must be told in a few words, for
I cannot bear to linger on them," commenced the American,
again turning deadly pale, while her quivering lips and
trembling voice betrayed the excitement of her feelings.
The monster was the choice of my heart--judge how much
so when I tell you that, confiding in HIS honor, and in
the assurance that our union would take place immediately,
surrendered to him MINE. A constant visitor at Major
Montgomerie's, whose brother officer he was, we had ample
opportunities of being together. We were looked upon in
society as affianced lovers, and in fact it was the
warmest wish of Major Montgomerie that we should be
united. A day had even been fixed for the purpose, and
it wanted, but eight and forty hours of the time, when
an occurrence took place which blasted all prospect of
our union for ever.

"I have already told you, I think," resumed Matilda,
"that this little temple had been exclusively erected
for my own use. Here however my false lover had constant
ingress, and being furnished with a key, was in the habit
of introducing himself at hours when, having taken leave
of the family for the evening, he was supposed by Major
Montgomerie and the servants to have retired to his own
home. On the occasion to which I have just alluded, I
had understood from him some business, connected with
our approaching marriage, would detain him in the town
to an hour too advanced to admit of his paying me his
usual visit. Judge my surprise, and indeed my
consternation, when at a late hour of the night I heard
the lock of the door (from which I had removed my own
key) turn, and my lover appear at the entrance."

There was a short pause, and Matilda again proceeded.

"Scarcely had he shown himself when he had again vanished,
closing the door with startling violence. I sprang from
the sofa and flew forth after him, but in vain. He had
already departed, and with a heart sinking under an
insurmountable dread of coming evil, I once more entered
the temple, and throwing myself upon the sofa, gave vent
to my feelings in an agony of tears."

"But why his departure, and whence your consternation?"
asked Gerald, whose curiosity had been deeply excited.

"I was not alone," resumed Matilda, in a deep and solemn
voice. "When he entered I was hanging on the neck of
another."

Gerald gave a half start of dismay, his arm dropped from
the waist of the American, and he breathed heavily and
quickly.

Matilda remarked the movement, and a sickly and half
scornful smile passed over her pale features. "Before we
last parted, Gerald, I told you, not only that I was in
no way connected with Major Montgomerie by blood, but
that I was the child of obscure parents."

"What then?"

"The man on whose neck I hung was my own father."

"It was Desborough!" said the youth, with an air and in
a voice of extreme anguish.

"It was," returned Matilda, her face crimsoning as she
reluctantly acknowledged the parentage. "But how knew
you it?"

"Behold the proof," exclaimed Gerald, with uncontrollable
bitterness, as he drew from his bosom the portrait of a
child which, from its striking resemblance, could be
taken for no other than her to whom he now presented it.

"This is indeed mine," said Matilda, mournfully. "It was
taken for me, as I have since understood, in the very
year when I was laid an orphan and a stranger at the door
of that good man, who calling himself my uncle, has been
to me through life a more than father. Thank God," she
pursued with greater animation, her large dark eyes
upturned, and sparkling through the tears that forced
themselves upwards, "thank, God he at least lives not to
suffer through the acts of his adopted child. Where got
you this, Gerald?" she proceeded, when after a short
struggle she had succeeded in overcoming her emotion.

Gerald, who in his narrative of events, had purposely
omitted all mention of Desborough, now detailed the
occurrence at the hut, and concluded what the reader
already knows, by stating that he had observed and severed
from the settler, as he slept heavily on the floor, the
portrait in question, which, added to the previous
declaration of Matilda as to the obscurity of her birth,
connected with other circumstances on board his gun boat,
on his trip to Buffalo, had left an impression little
short of certainty that he was indeed the father of the
woman whom he so wildly loved.

For some minutes after this explanation there was a
painful silence, which neither seemed anxious to
interrupt--at length Gerald asked.

"But what had a circumstance, so capable of explanation,
to do with the breaking off of your engagement, Matilda,
or, did he, more proud--perhaps I should say less
debased--than myself, shrink from uniting his fate with
the daughter of a murderer?"

"True," said Matilda, musingly; "you have said, I think,
that he slew your father. This thirst for revenge then
would seem hereditary. THAT is the only, because it is
the noblest, inheritance I would owe to such a being."

"But your affair with your lover, Matilda--how terminated
that?" demanded Gerald--with increasing paleness, and in
a faltering tone.

"In his falsehood and my disgrace. Early the next morning
I sent to him, and bade him seek me in the temple at the
usual hour. He came, but it was only to blast my hopes--
to disappoint the passion of the woman who doated upon
him. He accused me of a vile intercourse with a slave,
and almost maddened me with ignoble reproaches. It was
in vain that I swore to him most solemnly, the man he
had seen was my father; a being whom motives of prudence
compelled me to receive in private, even although my
heart abhorred and loathed the relationship between us.
He treated my explanation with deriding contempt, bidding
me either produce that father within twenty-four hours,
or find some easier fool to persuade--that one, wearing
the hue and features of the black could, by human
possibility, be the parent of a white woman. Again I
explained the seeming incongruity, by urging that the
hasty and imperfect view he had taken was of a mask,
imitating the features of a negro, which my father had
brought with him as a disguise, and which he had hastily
resumed on hearing the noise of the key in the door. I
even admitted, as an excuse for seeing him thus
clandestinely, the lowly origin of my father, and the
base occupation he followed of a treacherous spy who,
residing in the Canadas, came, for the mere consideration
of gold, to sell political information to the enemies of
the country that gave him asylum and protection. I added
that his visit to me was to extort money, under a threat
of publishing our consanguinity, and that dread of his
(my lover's) partiality being decreased by the disclosure,
had induced me to throw my arms, in the earnestness of
entreaty upon his neck, and implore his secrecy; promising
to reward him generously for his silence. I moreover
urged him, if he still doubted, to make inquiry of Major
Montgomerie, and ascertain from him whether I was not
indeed the niece of his adoption, and not of his blood.
Finally I humbled myself in the dust and, like a fawning
reptile, clasped his knees in my arms, entreating mercy
and justice. But no," and the voice of Matilda grew
deeper, and her form became more erect; "neither mercy
nor justice dwelt in that hard heart, and he spurned me
rudely from him. Nothing short of the production of him
he persisted in calling my vile paramour, would satisfy
him; but my ignoble parent had received from me the reward
of his secrecy, and he had departed once more to the
Canadas. And thus," pursued Matilda, her voice trembling
with emotion, "was, I made the victim of the most diabolical
suspicion that ever haunted the breast of man."

Gerald was greatly affected. His passion for Matilda
seemed to increase in proportion with his sympathy for
her wrongs, and he clasped her energetically to his heart.

"Finding him resolute in attaching to me the debasing
imputation," pursued the American, "it suddenly flashed
upon my mind, that this was but a pretext to free himself
from his engagement, and that he was glad to accomplish
his object through the first means that offered. Oh,
Gerald, I cannot paint the extraordinary change that came
over my feelings at this thought; much less give, you an
idea of the rapidity with which that change was effected.
One moment before and, although degraded and unjustly
accused, I had loved him with all the ardour of which a
woman's heart is capable: NOW I hated, loathed, detested
him; and had he sunk at my feet, I would have spurned
him from me with indignation and scorn. I could not but
be conscious that the very act of having yielded myself
up to him, had armed my lover with the power to accuse
me of infidelity, and the more I fingered on the want of
generosity such a suspicion implied, the more rooted
became my dislike, the more profound my contempt for him,
who could thus repay so great a proof of confidingness
and affection."

"It was even while I lay grovelling at his feet," pursued
Matilda, after a momentary pause, during which she evinced
intense agitation, "that this sadden change (excited by
this most unheard of injustice) came over my mind--I rose
and stood before him; then asked, in a voice in which no
evidence of passion could be traced, what excuse he meant
to make to Major Montgomerie, for having thus broken off
his engagement. He started at my sudden calmness of
manner, but said that he thought it might be as well for
my sake to name, what I had already stated to him, in
regard to the obscurity of my birth, as a plea for his
seceding from the connexion. I told him that, under all
the circumstances I thought this most advisable, and then
pointing to the door, bade him begone, and never under
any pretext whatever again to insult me with his presence.
When he had departed, I burst into a paroxysm of tears,
but they were tears shed not for the loss of him I now
despised, but of wild sorrow at my unmerited degradation.
That conflict over, the weakness had for ever passed
away, and never since that hour, has tear descended cheek
of mine, associated with the recollection of the villain
who had thus dared to trifle with a heart, the full extent
of whose passions he has yet to learn."

There was a trembling of the whole person of Matilda,
which told how much her feelings had been excited by the
recollection of what she narrated, and Gerald, as he
gazed on her beautiful form, could not but wonder at the
apathy of the man who could thus have heartlessly thrown
if from him for ever.

"Had the injury terminated here," resumed Matilda, "bitter
as my humiliation was my growing dislike for him who had
so ungenerously inflicted it, might have enabled me to
endure it. But, not satisfied with destroying the happiness
of her who had sacrificed all for his sake, my perfidious
lover had yet a blow in reserve for me, compared with
which his antecedent conduct was mercy. Gerald," she
continued, as she pressed his arm with a convulsive grasp,
"will you believe that the monster had the infamy to
confide to one of his most intimate associates, that his
rupture with me was occasioned by his having discovered
me in the arms of a slave--of one of those vile beings
communion with whom my soul in any sense abhorred? How
shall I describe the terrible feeling that came over my
insulted heart at that moment. But no, no--description
were impossible. This associate--this friend of his--
dared, on the very strength of this infamous imputation,
to pollute my ear with his disrespectful passion, and
when, in a transport of contempt and anger, I spurned
him from me, he taunted me with that which I believed
confined to the breast, as it had been engendered only
in the suspicion, of my betrayer. Oh! if it be dreadful
to be falsely accused by those whom we have loved in
intimacy, how much more so it to know that they have not
had even the common humanity to conceal our supposed
weakness from the world. From that moment revenge took
possession of my soul, and I swore that my destroyer
should perish by the hand of her whose innocence and
whose peace he had blasted for ever."

"Shortly after this event," resumed Matilda, "my base
lover was ordered to join his Regiment then, stationed
at Detroit. A year passed away, and during that period,
my mind pondered unceasingly on the means of accomplishing
my purpose of revenge; and so completely did I devote
myself to a cool and unprejudiced examination of the
subject, that what the vulgar crowd term guilt, appeared
to me plain virtue. On the war breaking out, Major
Montgomerie was also ordered to join the Regiment at
Detroit, and thither I entreated him, to suffer me to
accompany him. He consented, for knowing nothing of the
causes which had turned my love into gall, he thought it
not improbable that a meeting with my late lover might
be productive of a removal of his prejudices, and our
consequent reunion. Little did he dream that it was with
a view to plunge a dagger into my destroyer's false heart,
that I evinced so much eagerness to undertake so long,
and so disagreeable a journey."

"Little more remains to be added," pursued Matilda, as
she fixed her dark eyes with a softened expression on
those of Gerald, "since, with the occurrences at Detroit
you are already sufficiently acquainted. Yet there is
one point upon which I would explain myself. When I first
became your prisoner, my mind had been worked up to the
highest pitch of determination, and in my captor I at
first beheld but an evil Genius who had interposed himself
between me and my just revenge, when on the very eve of
its consummation. Hence my petulance and impatience
while in the presence of your noble General."

"And whence that look Matilda, that peculiar glance,
which you bestowed upon me even within the same hour?"

Because in your frank and fearless mien I saw that manly
honor and fidelity, the want of which had undone me;
besides it flashed across my mind that daring, such as
I have witnessed yours in the capture of our boat, might,
if enlisted in my behalf, securely accomplish my revenge.

"Then, if so, why the cold, the mortifying reserve, you
manifested when we met at dinner at my uncle's table?"

"Because I had also recollected that, degraded as I was,
I ought not to seek the love of an honorable man, and
that to win you to my interest would be of no avail, as,
separated by the national quarrel, you could not, by
possibility, be near to aid me in my plans."

"Then," said Gerald reproachfully, "it was merely to make
me an instrument of vengeance that you sought me. Unkind
Matilda!"

"Nay, Gerald,--recollect, that then I had not learnt to
know you as I do now--I will not deny that when first I
saw you, a secret instinct told me you were one whom I
would have deeply loved had I never loved before; but
betrayed and disappointed as I had been, I looked upon
all men with a species of loathing--my kind, good,
excellent, more than father, excepted--and yet, Gerald,
there were moments when I wished even him dead." (Gerald
started)--"yes! dead--because I knew the anguish that
would crush his heart if he should ever learn that the
false brand of the assassin: had been affixed to the brow
of his adopted child." Matilda sighed profoundly, and
then resumed. "Later however, when the absence of its
object had in some degree abated the keenness of my thirst
for revenge, and when more frequent intercourse had made
me acquainted with the generous qualities of your mind,
I loved you Gerald, although I would not avow it, with
a fervor I had never believed myself a second time capable
of entertaining."

Again the countenance of Matilda was radiant with the
expression just alluded to by her lover. Gerald gazed at
her as though his very being hung upon the continuance
of that fascinating influence, and again he clasped her
to his heart.

"Matilda! oh my own betrothed Matilda!" he murmured.

"Yes your own betrothed," repeated the American highly
excited, the wife of your affection and your choice, who
has been held up to calumny and scorn. Think of that,
Gerald; she on whose fond bosom you are to repose your
aching head, she who glories in her beauty only because
it is beauty in your eyes, has been, betrayed, accused
of a vile passion for a slave; yet he--the fiend who has
done this grievous wrong--he who has stamped your wife
with ignominy, and even published her shame-still lives.
Within a week," she resumed, in a voice hoarse from
exertion. "Yes, within a week, Gerald, he will be
here--perhaps to deride and contemn you for the choice
you have made."

"Within a week he dies," exclaimed the youth. "Matilda,
come what will, he dies. Life is death without you, and
with you even crime may sit lightly on my soul. But we
will fly far from the habitations of man. The forest
shall be our home, and when the past recurs to me you
shall smile upon me with that smile--look upon me with
that look, and I will forget it all. Yes" he pursued,
with a fierce excitement snatching up the holy book, and
again carrying it to his lips--"once more I repeat my
oath. He who has thus wronged you, my own Matilda,
dies--dies by the hand of Gerald Grantham--of your
affianced husband."

There was another long embrace, after which the plan of
operations was distinctly explained and decided upon.
They then separated for the night--the infatuated Gerald
with a load of guilt at his heart, no effort of his reason
could remove, returning by the route he had followed on
the preceding evening to his residence in the town.



CHAPTER XIII.

Leaving the lost Gerald for a time to all the horrors of
his position, in which it would be difficult to say
whether remorse or passion (each intensest of its kind)
predominated, let us return to the scene where we first
introduced him to the reader, and take a review of the
Military events passing in that quarter.

After the defeat of the British columns at Sandusky, so
far from any renewed attempt being made to interrupt the
enemy in his strong holds, it became a question whether
the position on the Michigan frontier could be much longer
preserved. To the perseverance and promptitude of the
Americans, in bringing new armies into the field, we have
already had occasion to allude; but there was another
quarter in which their strength had insensibly gathered,
until it eventually assumed an aspect that carried
apprehension to every heart. Since the loss of their
flotilla at Detroit, in the preceding year, the Americans
had commenced with vigour to equip one at Buffalo, which,
in number and weight of metal, was intended to surpass
the naval force on Lake Erie; and so silently and cautiously
had they accomplished this task, that it was scarcely
known at Amherstburg that a squadron was in the course
of preparation, when that squadron (to which had been
added the schooner captured from Gerald Grantham the
preceding autumn) suddenly appeared off the harbour,
defying their enemies to the combat. But the English
vessels were in no condition to cope with so powerful an
enemy, and although many a gallant spirit burned to be
led against those who so evidently taunted them, the
safety of the Garrisons depended too much on the issue,
for that issue to be lightly tempted.

But misfortune was now beginning to overcast the hitherto
fair prospects of the British arms in the Western District
of the Canadas; and what the taunts of an enemy, triumphing
in the consciousness of a superior numerical force, could
not effect, an imperative and miserably provided for
necessity eventually compelled. Maintaining as we did a
large body of wild and reckless warriors, together with
their families, it may be naturally supposed the excesses
of these people were not few; but it would have required
one to have seen, to have believed, the prodigal waste
of which they were often guilty. Acknowledging no other
law than their own will, following no other line of
conduct than that suggested by their own caprice, they
had as little respect for the property of the Canadian
inhabitant as they would have entertained for that of
the American enemy. And hence it resulted, that if an
Indian preferred a piece of fresh, to the salted meat
daily issued from the Commissariat, nothing was more
common than for him to kill the first head of cattle he
found grazing on the skirt of the forest; secure the
small portion he wanted; and leave the remainder to serve
as carrion to the birds of prey of the country. Nay, to
such an extent wax this wanton spoliation carried, that
instances have repeatedly occurred wherein cattle have
been slain and left to putrify in the sun, merely because
a warrior found it the most convenient mode by which to
possess himself of a powder horn. All this was done
openly--in the broad face of day, and in the full cognizance
of the authorities; yet was there no provision made to
meet the difficulties so guilty a waste was certain
eventually to entail. At length the effect began to make
itself apparent, and it was shortly after the first
appearance of the American fleet that the scarcity of
food began to be so severely felt as to compel the English
squadron, at all hazards, to leave the port in search of
supplies.

At this period, the vessel described in the commencement
of our story, as having engaged so much of the interest
and attention of all parties, had just been launched and
rigged. Properly armed she was not, for there were no
guns of the description used on ship board wherewith to
arm her; but now that the occasion became imperative,
all nicety was disregarded In the equipment; and guns
that lately bristled from the ramparts of the fort were
soon to be seen protruding their long and unequal necks
from the ports. She was a gallant ship, notwithstanding
the incongruity of her armament, and had her brave crew
possessed but the experience of those who are nursed on
the salt waves of ocean, might have fought a more fortunate
fight (a better or a braver was impossible) than she did.
But in the whole of the English fleet there could not be
counted three score able or experienced seamen; the
remainder were children of the Canadian Lakes, warm with
the desire to distinguish themselves in the eyes of their
more veteran European companions, but without the knowledge
to make their enthusiasm sufficiently available. The
Americans, on the contrary, were all sons of the ocean.

It was a glorious day in September, the beautiful September
of Canada, when the gallant Commodore Barclay sailed with
his fleet, ostensibly in fulfilment on the mission for
which it was dispatched, but in reality winder the firm
expectation of being provoked to action by his stronger
and better disciplined enemy. To say that he would have
sought that enemy, under the disadvantages beneath which
he knew himself to labor, would be to say that which
would reflect little credit on his judgment; but, although
not in a condition to hold forth the flag of defiance,
where there was an inferiority in all but the skill of
the leader and the personal courage of the men, he was
not one to shun the battle that should be forced upon
him. Still to him it was an anxious moment, because the
fame of other days hung upon an issue over which no
efforts of his own could hold mastery, and as he gazed
at his armless sleeve, he sighed for the presence of
those whose agency had coupled the recollection of past
victory with that mutilated proof of honorable conduct.
He knew, moreover, the magnitude of the stake for which
he was thus compelled to play, and that defeat to him
would be the loss of the whole of the Western District.
While the British ascendancy could be maintained on the
Lake, there was little fear, lined as the forests were
with Indian warriors, that the Americans would push any
considerable force beyond the boundaries they had assigned
themselves at Sandusky and on the Miami; but a victory
once obtained by their fleet, there could be nothing to
oppose the passage of their army in vessels and boats
across the Lake.

Such were the thoughts that filled the mind of the
Commodore (in common with all who calmly reasoned on the
subject) as he crossed the bar that separated him from
his enemy; but neither in look, nor word, nor deed, was
there aught to reveal what was passing in the inward man;
and when later the hostile fleet was signalized as bearing
down upon them, he gave his orders to prepare formation,
in the animated voice of one who finds certain victory
within his reach, and exultingly hastens to secure it.

The events of that day the page of History has already,
recorded in terms alike flattering to the conqueror and
the conquered. Let it suffice that the Americans triumphed.
What the issue would have been, independently of all the
disadvantages under which the English Commodore labored,
had the latter not been borne severely wounded to his
cabin early in the action, it is impossible to say; but
as the final defeat was owing to his two principal vessels
getting foul of each other, without being able to extricate
themselves, it is not unfair to presume that his presence
on deck would have done much to remedy the confusion
produced by the accident.

One incident only connected with this action, and in
which two individuals with whom our readers have made
partial acquaintance, were the principal performers, we
will venture to relate. It will be recollected that at
the dinner table at Colonel D'Egville's on the day of
the capture of Major Montgomerie, and his party, among
the guests were the chiefs Split-log and Walk-in-the-Water,
the former distinguished by a huge bulbous excrescence
miscalled a nose, and exquisitely slit ears that dangled
gracefully upon his shoulders, at every movement of his
Memnon-like head: the latter by his striking resemblance
to the puritans of the days of the Commonwealth. Now it
so happened that Messieurs Split-log and Walk-in-the-water
were filled with an unconquerable desire to distinguish
themselves at sea, as they had often done on terra firma,
and they accordingly proffered their services in the
forth-coming struggle. We hope we shall not be considered
as detracting in the slightest degree from the courage
of these chiefs, when we state that the position chosen
by them on board the Commodore's ship, was one where they
apprehended the least danger to themselves--namely in
the tops; for although an Indian will scorn to shrink
from a rifle bullet or tomahawk, it by no means enters
into his code of bravery that he is to submit himself to
the terrible ordeal of being battered to a jelly by a
huge globe of solid iron. With, an alertness not common
to the habits and corpulence of these celebrated chiefs,
and fully calculating on exemption from danger while they
plied their rifles successfully themselves, they ascended
to the main top long before the action commenced. But
they had counted without their host, for no sooner did
the enemy begin to suffer from their fire, and perceive
the quarter whence it came, when a swivel gun, loaded
with grape, was brought to hear upon the point where they
lay concealed. They had provided themselves with a breast
work against small arms, but no breast work could resist
the shower of iron hail that was directed towards them;
and in proportion as the splinters and shot flew about
their ears, so did their desire to distinguish themselves
oze forth from the palms of Messrs. Split-log and
Walk-in-the-Water; in so much so indeed that, without
waiting to descend the rigging in the usual manner, each
abandoning his rifle, slid down by the first rope on
which he could lay his hands; nor stayed his course until
he found himself squatted, out of all reach of danger in
the lowest hold, and within the huge coils of a cable
where already lay ensconced a black bear, the pet of one
of the sailors. In this comfortable hiding place were
Messrs Split-log and Walk-in-the-Water found, when at
the close of the action they became, in common with those
with whose fortunes they had identified themselves,
prisoners of the Americans.

The action between the adverse fleets had been witnessed
by many of the inhabitants of Amherstburg, and by the
officers of the Garrison who, at the first sounds of
conflict, had ridden along the banks of the lake to be
as near spectators of the event as the distance of the
combatants, and the thick smoke in which they speedily
became enveloped, would allow. High in hope, and strong
in the reliance they placed upon the skill and experience
of the English Commodore, each had looked forward with
confidence to the overthrow of the enemy, even with the
limited means and unequal resources placed at his disposal.
Great therefore was the disappointment of all, when after
the firing, which raged for two hours without intermission,
had finally ceased, they found the English squadron lay
a mere wreck upon the waters, and in the very act of
being towed by their more fortunate enemies into the
harbour they had but recently quitted to engage them.
But on none did the disappointment of that hour sit more
heavily than on Tecumseh. He had watched the whole conflict
with an anxious eye and a swelling heart, for he well
knew what important results to himself and kindred hung
upon the issue; but filled with enthusiastic admiration
as he was of the Naval Captain, he had believed that
personal devotedness and heroism alone were sufficient
to compensate for the absence of advantages he had heard
named, without fully comprehending either their import
or their influence upon the chances of victory. The event
painfully undeceived him, and although his generous heart
warmed with the same love for him whose valour, profitless
even though it proved, was sufficiently attested by the
shattered condition of almost every vessel of his little
Squadron, he read in the downfall of him in whose aid he
had so much confided, the annihilation of the English power
in that remote region of the Canadas, and the consequent
destruction of all his hopes of retrieving his race from
the hated thraldom of American tyranny and American
usurpation. Such was the first feeling of that noble Warrior,
but his was not a soul to despond under the infliction of
even a worse trial than that just recorded, and in proportion
as the danger and difficulty increased, so rose his energy
and his desire to surmount them.

The result of the unlucky contest was, as had been
anticipated, to open a free passage across the lake to
the American armies, whose advance by land had been so
repeatedly and effectually checked on former occasions,
as to leave them little inclination for a renewal of an
attempt in that quarter. Now however that they could
forward a fleet of boats, under cover of the guns of
their Squadron, to the very outworks of Amherstburg, the
difficulty was at once removed; and an overwhelming army
of not less than ten thousand men, were speedily assembled
near Sandusky, with a view to the final invasion of
Amherstburg and consequent recapture of Detroit.

Under these disheartening circumstances--the want of
provisions being daily more and more felt by the troops
and inhabitants--it became necessary to hold a council
of war, to determine upon the course that should be
pursued. Accordingly the whole of the chiefs and officers
of the Garrison met in the hall already described in the
beginning of our narrative, when it was proposed by
General Proctor, at the conclusion of a speech in which
the increasing difficulties and privations of the garrison
were emphatically enumerated, that the fortifications
should be razed to the ground, the dock yards and other
public works destroyed, and the allied forces of English
and Indians make the best of their way by land to join
the centre division of the army on the Niagara frontier.

The indignation of Tecumseh, at what he conceived to be
a base and cowardly abandonment of a position which stout
hearts and willing hands might yet make available against
any force the enemy should push forward for its reduction,
was excessive and appropriately expressed. Filled with
esteem as he was for the character and courage of General
Brock, while a no less sincere admiration of the gallant
but unfortunate Commodore Barclay animated his noble and
generous heart, he could ill disguise his contempt for
the successor of the former. Little familiarized as he
was with the habits of European warfare, it could not
escape the penetrating observation of such a mind, that
the man who now proposed giving up his command without
a struggle in its defence, was the same who, at French
town, had suffered his troops to be cut to pieces, through
mere nervousness to attack with the bayonet; and who,
later at Sandusky, had through grossest neglect and
ignorance, not only lost the means of securing a certain
victory, but occasioned the most shameful waste of human
life; neither had it escaped his observation that on
almost every occasion wherein the hostile armies were
brought in contact, he who called himself a leader was
invariably a follower, and a follower at a most respectful
distance--a mode of heading an army, so differing from
Tecumseh's own view of the duties of a great chief, that
he could not understand by what perversion of the judgment
of his really brave fellows, who were erroneously called
his followers, he had been suffered to continue in his
command so long.

Under this impression of feeling towards the General, it
may readily be supposed that Tecumseh was not sparing of
his censure on the mode of proceeding which had been
suggested by that officer--nay, he even carried his
contempt and indignation so far, as to term him the coward
he believed him to be; and had this merit, that he told,
in plain and unvarnished language, what many of the
English officers most religiously believed also, although
their tongues dared not of course give utterance to the
thought. He threw additional force into his spirited and
exciting speech, by instituting a comparison between him
to whom he addressed himself, and the gallant but
unfortunate officer whose defeat had driven them to the
necessity of debating the unworthy question of flight--a
comparison which tended but to show how high the one had
been raised, how low the other had been sunk, in the
estimation of the truly brave; and concluded by a vivid
expression of his determination to remain with the warriors
and maintain the contest alone.

The animated delivery of the Warrior had communicated to
the lesser chiefs an enthusiasm of approbation that
carried them wholly beyond the bounds of the quiet and
grave demeanor, so usually distinguishing their deliberative
assemblies; and like the wild outburst of a fitful storm,
rose the clamorous yells that told how responsively the
heart of each excited chief beat to that of his great
leader. There was a moment during that wild and tumultuous
expression of the common feeling, when the British officers
looked as if they expected some more serious results of
the General's proposition than the mere utterance of the
dissatisfaction it, had created. But the apprehension
soon passed away, for a sudden and commanding movement
of the proud Tecumseh stayed the tempest his own powerful
eloquence had raised,--and the quiet and order of the
scene were restored, with a promptitude not inferior to
that with which it had been interrupted.

The result of the proceedings of the day, was a compromise
of the views of the two parties; and it was decided, that
although the defences of Amherstburg and Detroit should
be destroyed, and those forts evacuated, a final stand
should be made near the Moravian village, on the banks
of the narrow river Thames, on the line of communication
with the Niagara frontier. If the opportunity permitted,
and the Americans suffered them to remain unmolested,
fortifications were to be constructed on this spot, and
a rallying point for the numerous tribes of dispersed
Indians finally preserved.

A few days later, and the work of destruction was entered
upon and soon completed. The little British Army, scarcely
exceeding eight hundred men of all arms, commenced its
march at night, lighted by the flames of the barracks
which had given them shelter for the last time. As they
passed the fort of Detroit the next day, dense columns
of smoke and flame were to be seen rising high in air,
from the various public edifices, affording a melancholy
evidence of the destruction which usually tracks a
retreating army. Many an American inhabitant looked on
at the work of destruction, as if he would fain have
arrested the progress of an element which at once defaced
the beauty of the town, and promised much trouble and
inconvenience to those whom they knew to be at hand, for
their final deliverance frem the British yoke. But the
Garrison continued stern spectators of the ruin--they
had been compelled to effect, until the flames had attained
a power which rendered their suppression an impossibility;
then and then only, did they quit the scene of
conflagration, and embarking in the boats which had been
kept in readiness for their transport, joined their
comrades, who waited for them on the opposite bank. The
two Garrisons thus united; the whole preceded by a large
body of Indians, were pushed forward to the position
which had been selected on the Thames, and both shores
of the Detroit were left an unresisting conquest to the
Americans.

Meanwhile, these latter had not been slow in profiting
by the important advantages which had crowned their arms
on the lake. On the third day after the retreat of the
British Garrison from Amherstburg, a numerous fleet of
large boats was discovered from the town pushing for
Hartley's point, under cover of the united Squadrons.
Unopposed as these were, their landing was soon effected,
and a few hours later the American stars were to be seen
floating over the still smoking ruins of the British
fortress. Emboldened by the unexpected ease with which
he had rendered himself finally master of a position so
long coveted, the American General at once resolved to
follow and bring his retreating enemy to action if
possible. A force of five thousand men (fifteen hundred
of whom were mounted rifles) was accordingly pushed
forward; and so rapid and indefatigable was the march of
these, that they came up with the retreating columns
before they had succeeded in gaining the village, at
which it was purposed that their final stand should be
made. The anxiety of General Proctor to save the baggage
waggons containing his own personal effects, had been
productive of the most culpable delay, and at the moment
when his little army should have been under cover of
entrenchments, and in a position which offered a variety
of natural defensive advantages, they found themselves
suddenly overtaken by the enemy in the heart of a thick
wood, where, fatigued by the long and tedious march they
had made under circumstances of great privation, they
had scarcely time to form in the irregular manner permitted
by their broken position, before they found themselves
attacked with great spirit, and on all sides by a force
more than quadruple their own. The result may easily be
anticipated. Abandoned by their General, who at the very
first onset, drove his spurs into the flanks of his
charger and fled disgracefully from the scene of action,
followed by the whole of his personal staff, the irregularly
formed line of the little British Army, was but ill
prepared to make effectual resistance to the almost
invisible enemy by whom it was encompassed; and those
whom the rifle had spared, were to be seen, within an
hour from the firing of the first shot, standing conquered
and disarmed, between the closing lines of the victorious
Americans.

But although the English troops (sacrificed as they must
be pronounced to have been, by their incapable leader)
fell thus an easy prey to the overwhelming force brought
against them, so did not their Indian allies, supported
and encouraged as these were by the presence of their
beloved Chieftain. It was with a sparkling eye and a
glowing cheek that, just as the English troops had halted
to give unequal battle to their pursuers, Tecumseh passed
along the line, expressing in animated language the
delight he felt at the forthcoming struggle, and when he
had shaken hands with most of the officers (we fancy we
can feel the generous pressure of his fingers even at
this remote period) he moved into the dense forest where
his faithful bands were lying concealed, with a bounding
step that proved not only how much his heart had been
set upon the cast, but how completely he confided in the
result. And who shall say what that result might not have
been even notwithstanding the discomfiture of the English
had the heroic Chieftain been spared to his devoted
country! But this was not fated to be. Early in the action
he fell by the hand of a distinguished leader of the
enemy, [Footnote: Colonel Johnson, now Vice-President of
the United States.] and his death carried, as it could
not fail to do, the deepest sorrow and dismay into the
hearts of his followers, who although they continued the
action long after his fall, and with a spirit that proved
their desire to avenge the loss of their noble leader,
it was evident, wanted the directing genius of him they
mourned to sustain them in the effort. For several days
after the action did they continue to hang upon the
American rear, as the army again retired with its prisoners
upon Detroit; but each day their attack became feebler
and feebler, announcing that their numbers were fast
dispersing into the trackless region from which they had
been brought, until finally not a shot was to be heard
disturbing the night vigils of the American sentinels.

With the defeat of the British army, and the death of
Tecumseh, perished the last hope of the Indians to sustain
themselves as a people against the inroads of their
oppressors. Dispirited and dismayed, they retired back
upon the hunting grounds which still remained to them,
and there gave way both to the deep grief with which
every heart was overwhelmed at the loss of their truly
great leader, and to the sad anticipations which the
increasing gloom that clouded the horizon of their
prospects naturally induced.



CHAPTER XIV.

The interview so fatal in its results to Gerald's long
formed resolutions of virtuous purpose was followed by
others of the same description, and in the course of
these, Matilda, profiting by her knowledge of the past,
had the address so to rivet the chains which fettered
the senses of her lover, by a well timed, although
apparently unintentional display of the beauty which had
enslaved him, that so far from shrinking from the fulfilment
of the dreadful obligation he had imposed upon himself,
the resolution of the youth became more confirmed as the
period for its enactment drew nigher. There were moments
when, his passion worked up to intensity by the ever-
varying, over-exciting picture of that beauty would have
anticipated the condition on which he was to become
possessed of it for ever, but on these occasions the
American would assume an air of wounded dignity, sometimes
of deep sorrow; and alluding to the manner in which her
former confidence had been repaid, reproach him with a
want of generosity, in seeking to make her past weakness
a pretext for his present advances. Yet even in the very
moment she most denied him, she so contrived that the
restrained fire should burn with tenfold fury within his
heart--rendering him hourly more anxious for her possession,
even as he became hourly less fastidious about the means
of attainment.

At length the day arrived when Gerald--the once high,
generous and noble minded Gerald,--was to steep his soul
in guilt--to imbrue his hands in the life blood of a
fellow creature. The seducer of Matilda had arrived, and
even in the hotel in which Grantham resided, the
entertainment was to be given by his approving fellow
citizens, in commemoration of the heroism which had won
to him golden opinions from every class. It had already
been arranged that the assassination was to take place
on the departure of their victim from the banquet, and
consequently at a moment when, overcome by the fumes of
wine, he would be found incapable of opposing any serious
resistance to their design. The better to facilitate his
close and unperceived approach to the unhappy man, a pair
of cloth shoes had been made for her lover by the white
hands of Matilda, with a sort of hood or capuchin of the
same material, to prevent recognition by any one who
might accidentally pass him on the way to the scene of
the contemplated murder. Much as Gerald objected to it,
Matilda had peremptorily insisted on being present herself,
to witness the execution of the deed, and the same
description of disguise had been prepared for herself.
In this resolution the American, independently of her
desire to fortify the courage of her lover by her presence,
was actuated by another powerful and fearful motive,
which will be seen presently.

The private residence of the officer was situated in a
remote part of the town, and skirting that point of the
circular ridge of hills where the lights in the habitation
of Matilda had attracted the notice of Gerald, on the
first night of his encounter. To one who viewed it from
a distance, it would have seemed that the summit of the
wood-crowned ridge must be crossed before communication
could he held between the two dwellings which lay as it
were back to back, on either side of the formidable
barrier; but on a nearer approach, a fissure in the hill
might be observed, just wide enough to admit of a narrow
horse track or foot path, which wound its sinuous course
from the little valley into the open space that verged
upon the town, on gaining which the residence of the
American officer was to be seen rising at the distance
of twenty yards. It was in this path, which had been
latterly pointed out to him by his guilty companion, that
Gerald was to await the approach of the intended victim,
who on passing his place of concealment, was to be
cautiously followed and stabbed to the heart ere he could
gain his door.

Fallen as was Gerald from his high estate of honor, it
was not without a deep sense of the atrocity of the act
he was about to commit that he prepared for its
accomplishment. It is true that, yielding to the sophistry
of Matilda's arguments, he was sometimes led to imagine
the avenging of her injuries an imperative duty; but such
was his view of the subject only when the spell of her
presence was upon him. When restored to his calmer and
more unbiassed judgment, in the solitude of his own
chamber, conscience resumed her sway, and no plausibility
of pretence could conceal from himself that he was about
to become that vilest of beings--a common murderer. There
were moments even when the dread deed to which he had
pledged himself appeared in such hideous deformity that
he fain would have fled on the instant far from the
influence of her who had incited him to its perpetration,
but when the form of Matilda rose to his mental eye,
remorse, conscience, every latent principle of virtue,
dissolved away, and although he no longer sought to
conceal from himself that what he meditated was crime of
the blackest dye, his determination to secure entire
possession of that beauty, even at the accursed price of
blood, became but the more resolute and confirmed.

The night previous to that fixed for the assassination
was passed by the guilty Gerald in a state of dreadful
excitement. Large drops fell from his forehead in agony,
and when he arose at a late hour, his pale emaciated
features and wavering step betrayed how little the mind
or the body had tasted of repose. Accustomed however, as
he had latterly been, to sustain his sinking spirits by
artificial means, he was not long in having recourse to
his wonted stimulants. He called for brandy to deaden
the acuteness of his feelings, and give strength to his
tottering limbs; and when he had drank freely of this,
he sallied forth into the forest, where he wandered during
the day without other aim or purpose than to hide the
brand of guilt, which he almost felt upon his brow, from
the curious gaze of his fellow men. It was dark when he
returned to the hotel, and as, on his way to his own
private apartment, he passed the low large room chiefly
used as an ordinary, the loud hum of voices which met
his ear, mingled with the drawing of corks and ringing
of glasses, told him that the entertainment provided for
his unconscious victim had already commenced. Moving
hastily on, he gained his own apartment, and summoning
one of the domestics, directed that his own frugal meal
(the first he had tasted that day) should be brought up.
But even for this he had no appetite, and he had recourse
once more to the stimulant for assistance. As the night
drew on he grew more nervous and agitated, yet without
at all wavering in his purpose. At length ten o'clock
struck. It was the hour at which he had promised to issue
forth to join Matilda in the path, there to await the
passage of his victim to his home. He cautiously descended
the staircase, and in the confusion that reigned among
the household, all of whom were too much occupied with
the entertainment within to heed the movements of
individuals, succeeded in gaining the street without
notice. The room in which the dinner was given was on
the ground floor, and looked through numerous low windows
into the street, through which Gerald must necessarily
pass to reach the place of his appointment. Sounds of
loud revelry, mixed with laughter and the strains of
music, now issued from these, attesting that the banquet
was at its height, and the wine fast taking effect on
its several participators.

A momentary feeling of vague curiosity caused the degraded
youth to glance his eye through one of the uncurtained
windows upon the scene within, but scarcely had he caught
an indistinct and confused view of the company, most of
whom glittered in the gay trappings of military uniforms,
when a secret and involuntary dread of distinguishing
from his fellows the man whom he was about to slay, caused
him as instantaneously to turn away. Guilty as he felt
himself to be, he could not bear the thought of beholding
the features of the individual he had sworn to destroy.
As there were crowds of the humbler citizens of the place
collected round the windows to view the revelry within,
neither his appearance nor his action had excited surprise;
nor indeed was it even suspected, habited as he was in
the common garments of the country, that he was other
than a native of the town.

On gaining the narrow pass or lane, he found Matilda
wrapped in her cloak, beneath which she carried the
disguise prepared for both. The moon was in the last
quarter, and as the fleecy clouds passed away from before
it, he could observe that the lips and cheek of the
American were almost livid, although her eyes sparkled
with deep mental excitement. Neither spoke, yet their
breathing was heavy and audible to each. Gerald seated
himself on a projection of the hill, and removing his
shoes, substituted those which his companion had wrought
for him. He then assumed the hood, and dropping his head
between his hands, continued for some minutes in that
attitude, buried in profound abstraction.

At length Matilda approached him. She seated herself at
his side, threw her arms around his neck, called him in
those rich and searching tones which were so peculiarly
her own--her beloved and affianced husband; and bidding
him be firm of purpose, as he valued the lives and
happiness of both, placed in his hand a small dagger,
the handle of which was richly mounted in silver. Gerald
clutched the naked weapon with a convulsive grasp, while
a hoarse low groan escaped him, and again he sank his
head in silence upon his chest.

Nearly an hour had passed in this manner, neither seeking
to disturb the thoughts of the other, nor daring to break
the profound silence that every where prevailed around
them. At length a distant and solitary footstep was
heard, and Matilda sprang to her feet, and with her head
thrown eagerly forward, while one small foot alone
supported the whole weight of her inclined body, gazed
intently out upon the open space, and in the direction
whence the sounds proceeded.

"He comes, Gerald, he comes;" she at length whispered in
a quick tone.

Gerald, who had also risen, and now stood looking over
the shoulder of the American, was not slow in discovering
the tall figure of a man, whose outline, cloaked even as
it was, bespoke the soldier, moving in an oblique direction
towards the building already described.

"It is he, too well do I know him," continued Matilda,
in the same eager yet almost inaudible whisper, "and mark
how inflated with the incense which has been heaped upon
him this night does he appear. His proud step tells of
the ambitious projects of his vile heart. Little does he
imagine that this arm (and she tightly grasped that which
held the fatal dagger) will crush them for ever in the
bud. But hist!"

The officer was now within a few paces of the path, in
the gloom of which the guilty pair found ample concealment,
and as he drew nearer and nearer their very breathing
was stayed to prevent the slightest chance of a discovery
of their presence. Gerald suffered him to pass some yards
beyond the opening, and advanced with long yet cautious
strides across the grass towards his victim. As he moved
thus noiselessly along, he fancied that there was something
in the bearing of the figure that reminded him of one he
had previously known, but he had not time to pause upon
the circumstance, for the officer was already within ten
yards of his own door, and the delay of a single moment
would not only deprive him of the opportunity on which
he had perilled all in this world and in the next, but
expose himself and his companion to the ignominy of
discovery and punishment.

A single foot of ground now intervened between him and
the unhappy officer, whom wine, or abstraction, or both,
had rendered totally unconscious of his danger. Already
was the hand of Gerald raised to strike the fatal blow
--another moment and it would have descended, but even
in the very act he found his arm suddenly arrested.
Turning quickly to see who it was who thus interfered
with his purpose, he beheld Matilda.

"One moment stay," she said in a hurried voice; "poor
were my revenge indeed, were he to perish not knowing
who planned his death;" then in a hoarser tone, in which
could be detected the action of the fiercest passions of
the human mind.--"Slanderer--villain--we meet again."

Startled by the sound of a familiar voice, the officer
turned hastily round, and seeing all his danger at a
single glance, made a movement of his right hand to his
side, as if he would have grasped his sword--but finding
no weapon there he contented himself with throwing his
left arm forward, covered with the ample folds of his
cloak, with a view to the defence of his person.

"Yes, Forrester," continued Matilda, in the same impassioned
voice, "we meet again, and mark you," pulling back the
disguise from Gerald, "'tis no vile slave, no sable
paramour by whose hand you die--villain," she pursued,
her voice trembling with excitement, "my own arm should
have done the deed, but that he whose service I have
purchased with the hand you rejected and despised, once
baulked me of my vengeance when I had deemed it most
secure. But enough! To his heart, Gerald, now that in
the fulness of his wine and his ambition, he may the
deeper feel the sting of death--strike to his heart--
what! do you falter--do you turn coward?"

Gerald neither moved nor spoke; his upraised hand had
sunk at his side, at the first address of Matilda to her
enemy, and the dagger had fallen from his hand upon the
sward, where it might he seen glittering in the rays of
the pale moon. His head was bent upon his chest in abject
shame, and he seemed as one who had suddenly been turned
to stone.

"Gerald, my husband!" urged Matilda, rapidly changing
her tone into that of earnest persuasion, "wherefore do
you hesitate. Am I not your wife, your own wife, and is
not yon monster the wretch who has consigned my fair fame
to obloquy for ever--Gerald!" she added impetuously.

But the spell had lost its power, and Gerald continued
immoveable--apparently fixed to the spot on which he
stood.

"Gerald, Gerald!" repeated the officer, with the air of
one endeavouring to recollect.

At the sound of that voice, Gerald looked up. The moon
was at that moment unobscured by a single cloud, and as
the eyes of the murderer and his intended victim met,
their recognition was mutual and perfect.

"I had never expected to see Lieutenant Grantham figuring
in the character of an assassin," said Colonel Forrester,
in a voice of deep and bitter reproach, "still less to
find his arm raised against the preserver of his life.
This," he continued, as if speaking to himself, "will be
a bitter tale to recount to his family."

"Almighty God! have mercy!" exclaimed Gerald, as overcome
with shame and misery, he threw himself upon the earth
at his full length, his head nearly touching the feet of
the officer. Then clasping his feet--"Oh! Colonel Forrester,
lost, degraded as I am, believe me when I swear that I
knew not against whom my arm was to be directed. Nay,
that you live at this moment is the best evidence of the
truth of what I utter, for I came with a heart made up
to murder. But YOUR blood worlds could not tempt me to
spill."

"I believe you," said the American, feelingly. "Well do
I know the arts of the woman who seems to have lured you
into the depths of crime; yet low as you are fallen,
Lieutenant Grantham--much as you have disgraced your
country and profession, I cannot think you would willingly
have sought the life of him who saved your own. And now
rise, sir, and gain the place of your abode, before
accident bring other eyes than my own to be witnesses of
your shame. We will discourse of this tomorrow. Meanwhile,
be satisfied with my promise, that your attempt shall
remain a secret with myself."

While he spoke, Colonel Forrester made a movement as if
to depart. Aroused by the apprehension of losing her
victim, Matilda, who had hitherto been an impatient
listener, called wildly upon Gerald, who had now risen,
to fulfil his compact; but the youth turned from her with
a movement of disgust, exclaiming with bitterness--"leave
me, woman, leave me!"

Matilda looked after him for an instant with an expression
of intensest scorn, then springing to, and snatching up
the dagger, which lay glittering a few paces from the
spot on which she stood, she advanced silently, but
rapidly, upon her retreating enemy. Colonel Forrester
had gained his threshhold, and had already knocked for
admittance, when he heard the deep voice of Matilda at
his ear, exclaiming in a triumphant tone,

"Think you twice then to escape your doom, traitor?"

Before he could make an attempt to shield himself, the
fatal steel had entered deep into his side. Uttering a
groan, he sank senseless on the steps, whither Gerald,
who had watched the action of his companion, had flown
in the hope of arresting the blow. Confused voices,
mingled with the tramp of feet, were now heard within
the hall. Presently the door opened, and a crowd of
servants, chiefly blacks, appeared with lights. The view
of their bleeding master, added to the disguise of Gerald,
and the expression of triumph visible in the pale
countenance of Matilda, at once revealed the truth. By
some the former was borne to his apartment, while the
greater portion busied themselves in securing the two
latter, who however made not the slightest effort at
resistance, but suffered themselves to be borne, amid
hootings and execrations, from the spot.

The different groups we have described as being gathered
together in front of the hotel, had dispersed with the
breaking up of the party, which Colonel Forrester, in
compliment to those who entertained him, had been one of
the last to quit; so that on passing through the streets
not an idler was found to swell the sable crowd that bore
the wretched prisoners onward to the common prison of
the town. Just as they had arrived at this latter, and
a tall and muscular negro, apparently enjoying some
distinction in his master's household, was about to pull
the bell for admission, a man came running breathlessly
to the spot, and communicated to the negro just mentioned,
a message, in which the name of Colonel Forrester was
distinctly audible to the ear of Gerald. A retrograde
movement was the immediate consequence of this interruption,
and the party, came once more upon the open space they
had so recently quitted. Stupified with the excess of
abjectness in which he had continued plunged, from the
moment of his discovery of the identity of his intended
victim, Gerald had moved unconsciously and recklessly
whithersoever his conductors led; but now that he expected
to be confronted face to face with the dying man, as the
sudden alteration in the movement of the party gave him
reason to apprehend, he felt for the first time that his
position, bitter as it was, might be rendered even worse.
It was a relief to him, therefore, when he found that,
instead of taking the course which led to the residence
of Colonel Forrester, the head of the party, of which
Matilda and himself were the centre, suddenly immerged
into the narrow lane which conducted to the residence of
that unhappy woman. Instead, however, of approaching
this, Gerald remarked that they made immediately for the
fatal temple. When they had reached this, the door was
unlocked by the tall negro above described, who, with a
deference in his manner not less at variance with the
occasion than with the excited conduct of the whole party
on their way to the prison, motioned both his prisoners
to enter. They did so, and the lock having been turned
and the key removed, they silently withdrew.



CHAPTER XV.

Hours passed away without either of the guilty parties
finding courage or inclination to address the other. The
hearts of both were too full for utterance--and yet did
they acknowledge no sympathy in common. Remorse, shame,
fear, regret, simultaneously assailed and weighed down
the mind of Gerald. Triumphant vengeance, unmixed with
any apprehension of self, reigned exclusively in the
bosom of Matilda. The intense passion of the former, like
a mist that is dissipated before the strong rays of the
sun, had yielded before the masculine and practical
display of the energetic hate of its object, while on
the contrary she, whose beauty of person was now to him
a thing without price, acknowledged no other feeling than
contempt for the vacillating character of her associate.
In this only did they agree that each looked upon each
in the light of a being sunk in crime--steeped in
dishonor--and while the love of the one was turned to
almost loathing at the thought, the other merely wondered
how one so feeble of heart had ever been linked to so
determined a purpose.

The only light admitted into the temple was through the
window already described, and this was so feeble as
scarcely to allow of the more distant objects in the room
being seen. Gradually, as the moon sunk beneath the
forest ridge, the gloom increased, until in the end the
darkness became almost profound. At their first entrance
Matilda, enshrouding herself in the folds of her cloak,
had thrown herself upon the sofa; while Gerald continued
to pace up and down the apartment with hurried steps,
and in a state of feeling it would be a vain attempt to
describe. It was now for the first time that, uninfluenced
by passion, the miserable young man had leisure to reflect
on the past, and the chain of fatality which had led to
his present disgraceful position. He recollected the
conversation he had held with his brother on the day
succeeding his escape from the storm; and as the pledge
which had been given in his name to his dying father,
that no action of his life should reflect dishonor on
his family now occurred to him in all its force, he
groaned in agony of spirit, less in apprehension of the
fate that awaited him than in sorrow and in shame that
that pledge should have been violated. By a natural
transition of his feelings, his imagination recurred to
the traditions connected with his family, and the dreadful
curse which had been uttered by one on whom his ancestor
was said to have heaped injury to the very extinction of
reason--and associating as he did Matilda's visit to the
Cottage at Detroit, on the memorable night when he had
unconsciously saved the life of Colonel Forrester, with
the fact of her having previously knelt and prayed upon
the grave that was known to cover the ashes of the unhappy
maniac, Ellen Halloway, he felt a shuddering conviction
that she was in some way connected with that wretched
woman. In the intenseness of his new desire to satisfy
his doubts--a desire which in itself partook of the
character of the fatality by which he was beset--he
overcame the repugnance he had hitherto felt to enter
into conversation with her, and advancing to the couch,
seated himself upon its edge at her side.

"Matilda" he said, after a few moments of silence, "by
all the love you once bore me, I conjure you answer me
one question while yet there is time."

"Fool," returned the American, "I never loved you. A soul
like mine feels passion but once. Hitherto I have played
a part, hut the drama approaches to a close, and disguise
of plot is no longer necessary. Gerald Grantham, you have
been my dupe,--you came a convenient puppet to my hands,
and as such I used you until the snapped wire proclaimed
you no longer serviceable. No further."

Shame, anguish, mortification--all the most humiliating
sensations natural to man, for a moment assailed the
breast of the unfortunate and guilty Grantham, rendering
him insensible even to the greater evil which awaited
him. In the bitterness of his agony he struck his clenched
hand against his forehead, uttering curses upon himself
for his weakness, in one breath, and calling upon his
God, in the next, to pardon him for his crime.

"This is good!" said Matilda. "To see you writhe thus,
under the wound inflicted upon your vanity, is some small
atonement for the base violation of your oath; yet what
question would you ask, the solution of which can so much
import one about to figure on the scaffold for a crime
he has not even had the courage to commit?"

The taunting manner in which the concluding part of the
sentence was conveyed, had the effect of restoring Gerald
in some degree to himself, and he said with considerable
firmness:

"What I would ask is of yourself,--namely, the relationship,
if any, you bear to those who lie within the mound on
which I beheld you kneeling, on the night of your first
attempt on Colonel Forrester's life."

"The very recollection of that ill-timed intrusion would
prevent me from satisfying your curiosity, did not
something whisper to me that, in so doing, I shall add
another pang to those you already experience," returned
the American with bitter sarcasm.

"You are right," said Gerald hurriedly; "my miseries need
but the assurance of your connexion with those mouldering
bones to be indeed complete."

"Then," said Matilda eagerly, and half raising her head,
"your cup of misery may yet admit of increase. My mother
and my father's mother both sleep within that grave."

"How knew you this?" demanded Gerald quickly. "Instinct
could not have guided you to the spot, and by your own
admission you were taken from the place of your home
while yet a mere child."

"Not instinct, but my father Desborough, pointed out the
spot, as he had long previously acquainted me with the
history of my birth."

"One question more--your grandmother's name?"

"Mad Ellen she was called, an English soldier's wife,
who died in giving birth to my father--and now that you
are answered, leave me."

"Almighty Providence," aspirated Gerald, in tones of
inconceivable agony; "it is then as I had feared, and
this woman has Destiny chosen to accomplish my ruin."

He quitted the sofa and paced up and down the room in a
state of mind bordering on distraction. The past crowded
upon his mind in all the confused manner of a dream, and
amid the chaos of contending feelings by which he was
beset, one idea only was distinct--namely, that the
wretched woman before him had been but the agent of Fate
in effecting his destruction. Strange as it may appear,
the idea, so far from increasing the acerbity of his
feelings, had the tendency to soften his heart towards
her. He beheld in her but a being whose actions had been
fated like his own, and although every vestige of passion
had fled--even although her surpassing beauty had lost
its subjugating influence, his heart yearned towards her
as one who, wrecked on the same shore, had some claim to
his sympathy and compassion. All that was now left them
was to make their peace with God, since with man their
final account would be so speedily closed, and with a
view to impress her with a sense of the religious aid
from which alone they could hope for consolation, he
again seated himself at her side on the edge of the sofa.

"Matilda," he said, in a voice in which melancholy and
sternness were blended, "We have been the children of
guilt--the victims of our own evil passions; but God is
merciful, and if our penitence be sincere, we may yet be
forgiven in Heaven, although on earth there is no hope--even
if after this we could wish to live. Matilda, let us pray
together."

There was no answer--neither did the slightest movement
of her form indicate consciousness that she was addressed.
"Matilda," repeated Gerald--still there was no answer.
He placed his hand upon her cheek, and thought the touch
was cold--he caught her hand, it too was cold and but
for the absence of rigidity he would have deemed her
dead.

Scarcely knowing what he did, yet with an indefinable
terror at his heart, he grasped and shook her by the arm,
and again, but with greater vehemence, pronounced her
name.

"Who calls?" she said, in a faint but deep tone, as she
raised her head slowly from the cushion which supported
it. "Ha! I recollect. Tell me," she added more quickly,
"was not the blow well aimed. Marked you how the traitor
fell. Villain, to accuse the woman whose only fault was
loving him too well, with ignominious commerce with a
slave!"

"Wretched woman," exclaimed Gerald with solemn emphasis,
"instead of exulting over the evil we have done, let us
rather make our peace with Heaven, during the few hours
we have yet to live. Matilda Desborough--daughter of a
murderer; thyself a murderess--the scaffold awaits us
both."

"Coward--fool--thou liest," she returned with suddenly
awakened energy. "For one so changeling as thyself the
scaffold were befitting;, but know, if I have had the
heart to do this deed, I have also had the head to provide
against its consequences--see--feel--."

One of her cold hands was extended in search of Gerald's.
They met, and a vial placed in the palm of the latter,
betrayed the secret of her previous lassitude and
insensibility.

Even amid all the horrors which environed him, and called
so largely on attention to his own personal danger, Gerald
was inexpressibly shocked.

"What! poisoned?" he exclaimed.

"Yes--poisoned!" she murmured, and her hand again sank
heavily at her side.

Gerald dashed the vial away from him to the farther end
of the apartment, and taking the cold hand of the unhappy
woman, he continued:

"Matilda--is this the manner in which you prepare yourself
to meet the presence of your God. What! add suicide to
murder?"

But she spoke not--presently the hand he clasped sank
heavily from his touch. Then there was a spasmodic
convulsion of the whole frame. Then there burst a piercing
shriek from her lips, as she half raised herself in agony
from the sofa, and then each limb was set and motionless
in the stern rigidity of death.

While Gerald was yet bending over the body of his
unfortunate companion, shocked, grieved and agitated
beyond all expression, the door of the temple was unlocked,
and a man enveloped in a cloak, and bearing a small dark
lantern, suddenly appeared in the opening. He advanced
towards the spot where Gerald, stupified with the events
of the past night, stood gazing upon the corpse, almost
unconscious of the presence of the intruder.

"A pretty fix you have got into, Liftenant Grantham,"
said the well known voice of Jackson, "and I little
calculated, when I advised you to make love to the Kentucky
gals to raise your spirits, that they would lead you into
such a deuced scrape as this."

"Captain Jackson," said Gerald imploringly; "I am
sufficiently aware of all the enormity of my crime, and
am prepared to expiate it; but in mercy spare the bitterness
of reproach."

"Now as I'm a true Tennessee man, bred and born, I meant
no reproach, and why should I, since you could'nt help
her doing it, (and he pointed to Matilda), yet you know
its sometimes dangerous to be found in bad company. Every
body might'nt believe you so innocent as we do.

"Innocent! Captain Jackson," exclaimed Gerald, losing
sight of all other feelings in unfeigned surprise--"I
cannot say that I quite understand you."

"Why, the meaning's plain enough, I take it. Others might
be apt, I say, to think you had something to do with the
thing as well as she, and therefore its just as well you
should make yourself scarce. The Colonel says he would'nt,
on any account, you shall even be suspected."

"The Colonel says--not suspected," again exclaimed Gerald
with increasing astonishment--then, suddenly recollecting
the situation of the latter--"tell me," he continued,
"is Colonel Forrester in danger--is his life despaired of?"

"Worth a dozen dead men yet, or you would'nt see me taking
the thing so coolly. The dagger certainly let the day
light into him, but though the wound was pretty considerably
deep, the doctors say its not mortal. He thinks it might
have been worse if you had not come up, and partly stopped
her arm when she struck at him."

Gerald was deeply affected by what he had just heard. It
was evident that Colonel Forrester had, with a generosity
to which no gratitude of his own could render adequate
justice, sought to exonerate him from all suspicion of
participation in the guilty design upon his life, and as
he glanced his eye again for a moment upon the lifeless
form of his companion, he was at once sensible that the
only being who could defeat the benevolent object of his
benefactor had now no longer the power to do so.

"She sleeps sound enough now," said Jackson, again pointing
to the ill-fated and motionless girl, "but she'll sleep
sounder still before long, I take it."

"She will never sleep sounder than at this moment, Captain
Jackson," said Gerald, with solemn emphasis.

"Why, you don't mean to say she has cheated the hangman,
Liftenant."

As he spoke, Jackson approached the sofa, and turning
the light full upon the face, saw indeed that she was
dead. Gerald shuddered as the rays from the lamp revealed
for the first time the appalling change which had been
wrought upon that once beautiful countenance. The open
and finely formed brow was deeply knit, and the features
distorted by the acute agony which had wrung the shriek
from her heart at the very moment of dissolution, were
set in a stern expression of despair. The parted lips
were drawn up at the corners in a manner to convey the
idea of the severest internal pain, and there was already
a general discoloration about the mouth, betraying the
subtle influence of the poison which had effected her
death.

Gerald, after the first glance, turned away his head in
horror from the view; but the Aid-de-Camp remained for
some moments calmly regarding the remains of all that
had once been most beautiful in nature.

"She certainly is not like what she was when Colonel
Forrester first knew her," he said, in the abstracted
tone of one talking without reference to any other auditor
than himself; "but this comes of prefering a nigger to
a white man. Such unnatural courses never can prosper,
I take it."

"Captain Jackson," said Gerald, aroused by this remark,
and with great emphasis of tone, while he laid his hand
impressively on the shoulder of the other, "you do her
wrong. Guilty she has been, fearfully guilty, but not in
the sense you would imply."

"How do you know this?" asked the Aid-de-Camp.

"From her own solemn declaration at a moment when deception
could avail her not. Even before she swallowed the fatal
poison, her horror at the imputation, which drove her to
the perpetration of murder, was expressed in terms of
indignant warmth that belong to truth alone."

"If this be so," said Jackson, musingly, "she is indeed
a much injured woman, and deep I know will be the regret
of Colonel Forrester when he hears it, for he himself
has ever believed her guilty. But come, Liftenant Grantham,
we have no time to lose. The day will soon break, and I
expect you must be a considerable way from Frankfort
before sunrise."

I--from Frankfort--before sunrise!" exclaimed Gerald, in
perfect astonishment.

"Why, it's rather short warning to be sure; but the
Colonel thinks you'd better start before the thing gets
wind in the morning; for as so many of the niggers say
you wore a sort of a disguise as well as the poor girl,
he fears the citizens may suspect you of something more
than an intrigue, and insult you desperately."

"Generous, excellent man!" exclaimed Gerald, "how can I
ever repay this most unmerited service?"

"Why, the best way I take it, is to profit by the offer
that is made you of getting back to Canada as fast as
you can."

"But how is this to be done, and will not the very fact
of my flight confirm the suspicion it is intended to
remove?"

"As for the matter of how it is to be done, Liftenant,
I have as slick a horse waiting outside for you as man
ever crossed--one of the fleetest in Colonel Forrester's
stud. Then as for suspicion, he means to set that at
rest, by saying that he has taken upon himself to give
you leave to return on parole to your friends, who wish
to see you on a case of life and death, and now let's be
moving."

Oppressed with the weight of contending feelings, which
this generous conduct had inspired, Gerald waited but to
cast a last look upon the ill-fated Matilda; and then
with a slow step and a heavy heart for ever quitted a
scene fraught with the most exciting and the most painful
occurrences of his life. The first rays of early dawn
beginning to develop themselves as they issued from the
temple, Jackson extinguished his lamp, and leading through
the narrow pass that conducted to the town, made the
circuit of the ridge of hills until they arrived at a
point where a negro (the same who had led the party that
bore Matilda and himself to the temple) was in waiting,
with a horse ready saddled and the arms and accoutrements
of a rifleman.

The equipment of Gerald was soon completed, and with the
shot-bag and powder-horn slung over his shoulder, and
the long rifle in his hand, he soon presented the appearance
of a backwoodsman hastening to the theatre of war.

When he had seated himself in the saddle, Jackson drew
forth a well filled purse, which he said he had been
directed by Colonel Forrester to present him with to
defray the expences of his journey to the frontier.

Deeply affected by this new proof of the favor of the
generous American, Gerald received the purse, saying, as
he confided them to the breast of his hunting frock--

"Captain Jackson, tell Colonel Forrester from me, that
I accept his present merely because in doing so I give
the best evidence of my appreciation of ALL he has done
for me on this trying occasion. In his own heart, however,
he must look for the only reward to which this most noble
of actions justly entitles him."

The frank-hearted Aid-de-Camp promised compliance with
this parting message, and after pointing out the route
it would be necessary to follow, warmly pressed the hand
of his charge in a final grasp, that told how little he
deemed the man before him capable of the foul intention
with which his soul had been so recently sullied.

How often during those hours of mad infatuation, when
his weakened mind had been balancing between the possession
of Matilda at the price of crime, and his abandonment of
her at that of happiness, had the observation of the Aid-
de-Camp, on a former occasion, that he "was never born
to be an assassin," occurred to his mind, suffusing his
cheek with shame and his soul with remorse. Now, too,
that conscious of having fallen in all but the positive
commission of the deed, he saw that the unsuspecting
American regarded him merely as one whom accident or
intrigue had made an unwilling witness of the deadly act
of a desperate woman, his feelings were those of profound
abasement and self disesteem.

There was a moment, when urged by an involuntary impulse,
he would have undeceived Captain Jackson as to his positive
share in the transaction; but pride suddenly interposed
and saved him from the degradation of the confession.
He returned the pressure of the American's hand with
emphasis, and then turning his horse in the direction
which he had been recommended to take, quitted Frankfort
for ever.



CHAPTER XVI.

While the success of the British and American arms had
been alternating (with eventual triumph to the latter)
in the manner we have shown during the campaign of 1813,
on the Western District of Upper Canada, some highly
important operations had taken place in the army of the
centre. Of these our space will admit but of a detail of
one, and we thus travel out of the scene to which we have
hitherto confined our labors, not only because it was
the most dashing affair that occurred during the war,
but because it offers a striking parallel to the enterprise
and daring which destroyed the American power, at the
outset of hostilities, and was productive of similar
results.

Towards the close of May 1813, the Americans, after having
hotly bombarded Fort George on the Niagara frontier, for
two successive days, crossed the river and succeeded in
establishing themselves in that post which was evacuated
as untenable. The British loss on this occasion was
considerable, and General Vincent, who commanded the army
of the centre, retreated with much precipitation towards
Burlington Heights, withdrawing at the same time the
garrison from Fort Erie.

Emboldened by the absence of serious opposition, the
American Generals (Winder and Chandler) pushed forward
a force, exceeding three thousand men, as far as Stoney
Creek, close to the position then occupied by the little
British army, not more than one fifth of this number.
Here they halted for the night, evidently to refresh
their troops for the attack, which was meditated for the
following morning.

The result of such attack, with so overwhelming a force,
upon a small body of men dispirited, by recent discomfiture,
and destitute of supplies or reserves, could scarcely
have been doubtful. Fortunately however for the honor of
the British arms, Colonel Harvey, to whose conduct on
this occasion allusion has been incidentally made in an
early chapter of the present volume, had recently joined
the centre Division from Lower Canada, and to his quick
and comprehensive mind it immediately suggested itself,
that if the attack of the American army should be awaited,
the result, under the circumstances already alluded to,
and in the position occupied by the British force (literally
a Cul-de-Sac) must inevitably be attended by their utter
discomfiture, if not annihilation. On the contrary, he
felt persuaded that, even with the small force at the
disposal of the British General, there was every probability
that a bold and well concerted night attack would have
the effect of restoring to the assailants that confidence
in themselves, which had been weakened by a series of
reverses, while it must necessarily, and in the same
proportion, carry dismay into the ranks of the hitherto
victorious enemy.

It was, we believe--indeed we have reason to know--a
favorite military maxim with Colonel Harvey, and invariably
acted up to whenever opportunity was afforded for its
application, that defensive warfare, when the invading
foe is greatly superior in number, is best carried on by
a succession of bold and active offensive operations.
The result of this theory was, in the instance under
question, an offer to General Vincent to head a night
attack and penetrate into the very heart of the enemy's
encampment, as an only means of extricating the army from
its perilous position, and restoring (if successful) to
the victors that moral confidence which was necessary to
the honor of the army, and the preservation of the country.
Fortunately, we repeat, for the glory of the British
arms, Colonel Harvey's proposal was accepted, although
not without much doubt and indecision on the subject,
and during the night of the 5th June the small band of
heroes, destined to achieve so glorious a result, were
silently get under arms for the disproportionate encounter.
At the head of seven hundred and twenty bayonets Colonel
Harvey dashed in upon his slumbering and unsuspecting
enemy, amounting to more than quadruple his own force,
and well provided with field artillery. So bold and
unexpected was the attack, that the enemy fled, with the
utmost precipitation, to a position called the forty mile
creek, a distance of ten miles, leaving their Generals
and a vast number of prisoners and military stores in
the hands of the victors. Here they fell in with a
reinforcement under General Lewis. So opportune however
had been the blow struck by Colonel Harvey, and such the
panic created by it in the American ranks, that even with
this additional force, they, on the sudden appearance of
the British fleet, with a small body of troops on board,
after sustaining a short cannonade, continued their
retreat to Fort George, leaving their tents standing,
nor halting until they had gained their place of
destination.

Thus, by this judicious and by far the most brilliant
achievement of the war, was the centre District freed
from the triumphant presence of the enemy, as the western
had been, in the preceding year, by the bold and well
timed movement of General Brock upon Detroit, with an
equally inferior force.

The history of the war furnishes no similar enterprizes.
Both were the results of a bold conception, and prompt
and successful execution. Of the two, perhaps Stoney
Creek was the most dashing and decided, since there the
adverse armies actually came into collision.

In October of the same year, [Footnote: The anachronism
referred to in the Preface. The events here described,
occurred in 1812, and not in 1813.] a numerous body of
Americans, principally troops of the line, had been
collected under the orders of General Van Ransaellar,
and advantage was taken of a dark night in October to
push them across the river, with a view to the occupation
of the commanding heights above the village of Queenston.
In this, favored by circumstances, the enemy were eminently
successful.--

They carried the batteries, and at day break the heights
were to be seen covered with their battalions, before
whom were thrown out a considerable body of tirailleurs,
or riflemen. At the first alarm, the little detachment
stationed at Queenston, marched out to dislodge them;
but such was the impatient gallantry of General Brock,
who had succeeded to the command on this line of frontier,
that without waiting for the main body from Fort George
to come up, he threw himself at the head of the flank
companies of the Forty-Ninth, and moving forward in double
quick time, soon came within sight of the enemy.

Among the General's Aides-de-Camps, was Henry Grantham,
who having succeeded in making his escape at the fatal
defeat of the Moravian Village, with a few men of his
company, had in the absence of his Regiment, (then
prisoners of war) and from considerations of personal
esteem, been attached as a supernumerary to his staff.
With him at this moment was the light hearted De Courcy,
and as the young men rode a little in rear of their Chief,
they were so rapt in admiration of his fine form and
noble daring, (as he still kept dashing onward, far in
advance even of the handful of troops who followed eagerly
and rapidly in his rear,) that they utterly forgot the
danger to which he was exposed.

On arriving at the ascent, the General for a moment.
reined in his charger, in order to give time to the rear
to close in, then removing and waving his plumed hat,

"Hurrah, Forty-Ninth!" he exclaimed, in language suited
to those he addressed. "Up these heights lies our road--on
ourselves depends the victory. Not a shot till we gain
the summit--then three cheers for old England--a volley--and
the bayonet must do the rest!"

So saying, he resumed his hat, and wheeling his horse,
once more led his gallant little band up the hill.

But it was not likely that the Americans would suffer
the approach of so determined an enemy without attempting
to check their progress in the most efficient manner.
Distinguished from those around him by his commanding
air, not less than by the military insignia that adorned
him, the person of the General was at once recognized
for one bearing high rank, and as such became an object
of especial attention to the dispersed riflemen. Shot
after shot flew past the undaunted officer, carrying
death into the close ranks that followed noiselessly in
his rear, yet without harming him. At length he was seen
by his Aides-de-Camps, both of whom had kept their eyes
upon him, to reel in his saddle. An instant brought the
young men to his side, De Courcy on his right and Grantham
on his left hand. They looked up into his face. It was
suffused with the hues of death. A moment afterwards and
he fell from his horse, with his head reclining upon the
chest of Henry Grantham. There was a momentary halt in
the advancing column; all were dismayed at the dreadful
event.

De Courcy and Grantham, having abandoned their horses,
now bore their beloved leader to the side of the road,
in order to admit of the unimpeded progress of the men.
Even in his last moments the General had no other thought
but for the duty in which he was engaged.

"Bid them move on, De Courcy," he said in a faint voice,
as he remarked the sudden check which had been given to
the advance by his fall. Then, as if obedient to the
command, they renewed the ascent, each man eyeing him as
he past with a look in which deep sorrow and a desire to
avenge his death were intimately blended. "Forty-Ninth,
I have served with you from boyhood, and if ye would I
die with honor this day--carry those heights."

There was a deep murmur through the ranks of both
companies, that showed how each and all were affected by
this appealing address of the dying officer. At that
moment there arose a loud shout from the hill, as of
triumph at the fall of him they mourned. They answered
it with the fierce expression of men resolved to turn
that shout of triumph into a cry of woe; and excited,
maddened, infuriated, yet with a steadiness of movement
that claimed the admiration even of their enemies, dashed,
heedless of the galling fire of the riflemen, up the steep.

Left alone with the dying General, it became a first
consideration with the young officers to convey him
(provided he could bear removal) to some spot out of
reach of the enemy's fire, where he might breathe his
last moments in peace.

As Henry Grantham glanced his eye towards an old untenanted
building, that lay some fifty yards off the road, and
which he conceived fully adapted to the purpose, he saw
the form of a rifleman partly exposed at a corner of the
building, whose action at the moment was evidently that
of one in the act of loading his piece. The idea that
this skulking enemy might have been the same who had
given the fatal death-wound to his beloved Chief, added
to the conviction that he was preparing to put the coup
de grace to his work, filled him with the deepest desire
of vengeance. As the bodies of several men, picked off
by the tirailleurs, lay along the road, (one at no great
distance from the spot on which he stood,) he hastened
to secure the nearest musket, which, as no shot had yet
been fired by the English, he knew to be loaded.

Leaving De Courcy to support the head of the General,
the young Aid-de-Camp moved with due caution towards the
building; but ere he had gone ten paces, he beheld the
object of his pursuit issue altogether from the cover of
the building, and advance towards him with his rifle at
the trail. More and more convinced that his design was
to obtain a nearer approach, with a view to a more certain
aim, he suddenly halted, and raised the musket to his
shoulder. In vain was a shout to desist uttered by the
advancing man--in vain was his rifle thrown aside as if
in token of the absence of all hostile purpose. The
excited Henry Grantham heeded not the words--saw not the
action. He thought only of the danger of his General,
and of his desire to avenge his fall. He fired--the
rifleman staggered, and putting his hand to his breast--

"My brother! oh, my unhappy brother!" he exclaimed, and
sank senseless to the earth.

Who shall tell the horror of the unfortunate young Aid-de-
Camp, at recognizing in the supposed enemy his long
mourned and much loved Gerald--motion, sense, life, seemed
for the instant annihilated by the astounding consciousness
of the fratricidal act: the musket fell from his hands,
and he who had never known sorrow before, save through
those most closely linked to his warm affections, was
now overwhelmed, crushed by the mountain of despair that
fell upon his heart. It was some moments before he could
so far recover from the stupor into which that dear and
well remembered voice had plunged him, as to perceive
the possibility of the wound not being mortal. The thought
acted like electricity upon each stupified sense, and
palsied limb; and eager with the renewed hope, he bounded
forward to the spot where lay the unfortunate Gerald,
writhing in his agony. He had fallen on his face, but as
Henry approached him, he raised himself with one hand,
and with the other beckoned to his brother to draw near.

"Great God, what have I done!" exclaimed the unhappy
Henry, throwing himself in a paroxysm of despair upon
the body of his bleeding brother. "Gerald, my own beloved
Gerald, is it thus we meet again. Oh! if you would not
kill me, tell me that your wound is not mortal. Assure
me that I am not a fratricide. Oh, Gerald, Gerald! my
brother, tell me that you are not dying."

A faint smile passed over the pale haggard features of
Gerald: he grasped the hand of his brother and pressed
it fervently, saying--

"Henry, the hand of fate is visible in all this, therefore
condemn not yourself for that which was inevitable. I
knew of the attempt of the Americans to possess themselves
of the heights, and I crossed over with them under favor
of this disguise, determined to find death, combatting
at the side of our gallant General. Detaching myself from
the ranks, I but waited the advance of the British column
to remove from my concealment--you know the rest. But
oh, Henry! if you could divine what a relief it is to me
to part with existence, you would not wish the act undone.
This was all I asked: to see you once more--to embrace
you--and to die. Life offered me no hope but this."

Gerald expressed himself with the effort of one laboring
under strong bodily pain; and as he spoke he again sank
exhausted upon the ground.

"This packet," he continued, taking one from the breast
of the hunting frock he wore, and handing it to his
brother, who, silent and full of agony, had again raised
his head from the ground and supported it on his shoulder;
"this packet, Henry, written at various times during the
last fortnight, will explain all that has passed since
we last parted, in the Miami. When I am no more, read
it; and while you mourn over his dishonor, pity the
weakness and the sufferings of the unhappy Gerald."

Henry was nearly frantic, the hot tears fell from his
burning eyes upon the pale emaciated cheek of his
brother--and he groaned in agony.

"Oh, God!" he exclaimed, "how shall I ever survive this
blow--my brother! oh, my brother! tell me that you
forgive me."

"Most willingly; yet what is there to be forgiven? You
took me for an enemy and hence alone your error. It was
fate, Henry. A dreadful doom has long been prophesied to
the last of our race. We are the last--and this is the
consummation. Let it console you however to think that,
though your hand had not slain me another's would. In
the ranks of the enemy I should have found--Henry, my
kind, my affectionate brother--your hand--there--there--
what dreadful faintness at my heart--Matilda, it is my
turn now--Oh, God have mercy, oh--"

While this scene was passing by the road side between
the unfortunate brothers, the main body of the British
force had come up to the spot where the General still
lay expiring in the arms of De Courcy, and surrounded by
the principal of the medical staff. The majority of these
were of the Regiment previously named--veterans who had
known and loved their gallant leader during the whole
course of his spotless career, and more than one rude
hand might be seen dashing the tear that started
involuntarily to the eye. As the colors of the Forty-Ninth
passed before him, the General made an effort to address
some language of encouragement to his old corps, but the
words died away in indistinct murmurs, and waving his
hand in the direction of the heights, he sank back
exhausted with the effort, and resigned his gallant
spirit for ever.

For some minutes after life had departed, Henry Grantham
continued to hang over the body of his ill-fated brother,
with an intenseness of absorption that rendered him
heedless even of the rapid fire of musketry in the advance.
The sound of De Courcy's voice was the first thing that
seemed to call him to consciousness. De Courcy had heard
the cry uttered by the latter, on receiving the fatal
shot, and his imagination had too faithfully portrayed
the painful scene that had ensued. A friend of both
brothers, and particularly attached of late to the younger
from the similar nature of their service, he was
inexpressibly shocked, but still cherishing a hope that
the wound might not be attended with loss of life, he
expected to find his anticipations realized by some
communication from his friend. Finding however that the
one rose not, and remarking that the general demeanour
of the other was that of profound despair, he began at
length to draw the most unfavorable conclusion, and
causing the body of his Commander to be borne under cover
of the building, until proper means of transport could
be found, he hastened to ascertain the full extent of
the tragedy.

The horror and dismay depicted in his friend's countenance
were speedily reflected on his own, when he saw that the
unfortunate Gerald, whose blood had completely saturated
the earth on which he lay, was indeed no more. Language
at such a moment would not only have been superfluous,
but an insult. De Courcy caught and pressed the hand of
his friend in silence. The unfortunate young man pointed
to the dead body of his brother, and burst into tears.
While these were yet flowing in a fulness that promised
to give relief to his oppressed heart, a loud shout from
the British ranks arrested the attention of both. The
sound seemed to have an electric effect on the actions
of Henry Grantham. For the first time he appeared
conscious there was such a thing as a battle being fought.

"De Courcy!" he said starting up, and with sudden animation,
"why do we linger here--the dead," and he pointed first
to the body of the General in the distance--and then to
his brother "the wretched dead claim no service from us
now."

"You are right, Henry, our interest in those beloved
objects has caused us to be mindless of our duty to
ourselves.--See, too, how the flankers have cleared the
brow of the hill for the advance of the main body. Victory
is our own--but alas! how dearly purchased!"

"How dearly purchased, indeed!" responded Henry, in a
tone of such heart-rending agony as caused his friend to
repent the allusion. "De Courcy keep this packet, and
should I fall, let it be sent to my uncle, Colonel
D'Egville."

De Courcy accepted the trust, and the young men mounted
their horses, which a Canadian peasant had held for them
in the mean time, and dashing up the ascent, soon found
themselves where the action was hottest.

Burning with revenge, the flank companies had already
succeeded, despite of a hot and incessant fire, in gaining
the heights, and here for a considerable time they
maintained the struggle unsupported against the whole
force of the enemy. Already their bayonets had cleared
for themselves a passage to the more even ground, and
the Americans, dismayed at the intrepidity of this handful
of assailants, were evidently beginning to waver in their
ranks. A shout of victory, which was answered by the main
body of the English troops, just then gaining the summit
of the hill, completed their disorder. They stood the
charge but for a moment, then broke and fled, pursued by
their excited enemies in every direction. The chief object
of the Americans was to gain the cover of a wood that
lay at a short distance in their rear, but a body of
militia with some Indians having been sent round to occupy
it the moment the landing of the Americans was made known,
they were driven back from this their last refuge upon
the open ground, and with considerable loss.

Thus hemmed in on both sides--the rifles of the militia
and Indians on one hand; the bayonets of the British
force on the other--the Americans had no other alternative
than throw down their arms or perish to the last. Many
surrendered at discretion, and those who resisted were
driven at the point of the bayonet, to the verge of the
terrific precipices which descend abruptly from the
Heights of Queenston. Here their confusion was at the
highest--some threw down their arms and were saved, others
precipitated themselves down the abyss, where their bodies
were afterwards found, crushed and mangled in a manner
to render them scarcely recognizable even as human beings.

It was at the moment when the Americans, driven back by
the fire from the wood, were to be seen flying in despair
towards the frowning precipices of Queenston, that De
Courcy and Grantham, quitting their horses at the brow
of the hill, threw themselves in front of the victorious
and still leading flank companies. Carried away by the
excitement of his feelings, Grantham was considerably in
advance of his companion, and when the Americans, yielding
to the panic which had seized them, flew wildly, madly,
and almost unconscious of the danger, towards the precipice,
he suddenly found himself on the very verge, and amid a
group of irregulars, who arriving at the brink and seeing
the hell that yawned beneath, had turned to seek a less
terrific death at the hands of their pursuers. Despair,
rage, agony, and even terror, were imprinted on the
countenances of these, for they fought under an apparent
consciousness of disadvantage, and utterly as men without
hope.

"Forward! victory!" shouted Henry Grantham, and his sword
was plunged deep into the side of his nearest enemy.
The man fell, and writhing in the last agonies of death,
rolled onward to the precipice, and disappeared for ever
from the view.

The words--the action had excited the attention of a
tall, muscular, ferocious looking rifleman, who, hotly
pursued by a couple of Indians, was crossing the open
ground at his full speed to gain the main body of his
comrades. A ball struck him just as he had arrived within
a few feet of the spot where Henry stood, yet still
leaping onward, he made a desparate blow at the head of
the officer with the butt end of his rifle. A quick
movement disappointed the American of his aim, yet the
blow fell so violently on the shoulder that the stock
snapped suddenly asunder at the small of the butt. Stung
with pain, Henry Grantham turned to behold his enemy.
It was Desborough! The features of the settler expressed
the most savage and vindictive passions, as with the
barrel of the rifle upraised and clenched in both his
iron hands, he was about to repeat his blow. Ere it could
descend Grantham had rushed in upon him, and his sword
still reeking with the blood it had so recently spilt,
was driven to the very hilt in the body of the settler.
The latter uttered a terrific scream in which all the
most infernal of human passions were wildly blended, and
casting aside his rifle, seized the young officer in his
powerful gripe. Then ensued a contest the most strange
and awful; the settler using every endeavour to gain the
edge of the precipice, the other struggling, but in vain,
to free himself from his hold. As if by tacit consent,
both parties discontinued the struggle, and became mere
spectators of the scene.

"Villain!" shouted De Courcy, who saw with dismay the
terrible object of the settler, whose person he had
recognized--"if you would have quarter, release your
hold."

But Desborough, too much given to his revenge to heed
the words of the Aid-de-Camp, continued silently, yet
with advantage, to drag his victim nearer and nearer to
the fatal precipice; and every man in the British ranks
felt his blood to creep as they beheld the unhappy officer
borne, notwithstanding a desperate resistance, at each
moment nigher to the brink.

"For Heaven's sake, advance and seize him" exclaimed the
terrified De Courcy, leaping forward to the rescue.

Acting on the hint, two or three of the most active of
the light infantry rushed from the ranks in the direction
taken by the officer.

Desborough saw the movement, and his exertions to defeat
its object became, considering the loss of blood he had
sustained from his wounds, almost Herculean. He now stood
on the extreme verge of the precipice, where he paused
for a moment as if utterly exhausted with his previous
efforts. De Courcy was now within a few feet of his
unhappy friend, who still struggled ineffectually to free
himself, when the settler, suddenly collecting all his
energy into a final and desparate effort, raised the
unfortunate Grantham from the ground, and with a loud
and exulting laugh, dashed his foot violently against
the edge of the crag, and threw himself backward into
the hideous abyss.

A cry of horror from the lips of De Courcy was answered
by a savage shout of vengeance from the British ranks.
On rushed the line with their glittering bayonets, and
at a pace which scarcely left their enemies time to sue
for, much less obtain quarter--shrieks and groans rent
the atmosphere, and above the horrid din, might be heard
the wild and greeting cry of the vulture and the buzzard,
as the mangled bodies of the Americans rolled from rock
to rock, crashing the autumnal leaves and dried underwood
in their fall, some hanging suspended by their rent
garments to the larger trees encountered in their
course--yet by far the greater number falling into the
bottom of a chasm into which the sunbeam had never yet
penetrated. The picked and whitened bones may be seen,
shining through the deep gloom that envelopes every part
of the abyss, even to this day.

THE END.





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