Oliver began to jest at him; had he abandoned the expedition? Oliver could not understand indecision; perhaps he did not see so many sides to the question, his mind was always quickly made up. Action was his forte, not thought. The night came, and still Felix lingered, hesitating.
But the next morning Felix arose straight from his sleep resolved to carry out his plan. Without staying to think a moment, without further examination of the various sides of the problem, he started up the instant his eyes unclosed, fully determined upon his voyage. The breath of the bright June morn as he threw open the window-shutter filled him with hope; his heart responded to its joyous influence. The excitement which had disturbed his mind had had time to subside. In the still slumber of the night the strong undercurrent of his thought resumed its course, and he awoke with his will still firmly bent in one direction.
When he had dressed, he took his bow and the chest bound with the leathern thongs, and went down. It was early, but the Baron had already finished breakfast and gone out to his gardens; the Baroness had not yet appeared. While he was making a hurried breakfast (for having now made up his mind he was eager to put his resolve into execution), Oliver came in, and seeing the chest and the bow, understood that the hour had arrived. He immediately said he should accompany him to Heron Bay, and assist him to start, and went out to order their horses. There were always plenty of riding horses at Old House (as at every fortified mansion), and there was not the least difficulty in getting another for Felix in place of his old favourite.
Oliver insisted upon taking the wooden chest, which was rather heavy, before him on the saddle, so that Felix had nothing to carry but his favourite bow. Oliver was surprised that Felix did not first go to the gardens and say good-bye to the Baron, or at least knock at the Baroness’s door and bid her farewell. But he made no remark, knowing Felix’s proud and occasionally hard temper. Without a word Felix left the old place.
He rode forth from the North Barrier, and did not even so much as look behind him. Neither he nor Oliver thought of the events that might happen before they should again meet in the old familiar house! When the circle is once broken up it is often years before it is reformed. Often, indeed, the members of it never meet again, at least, not in the same manner, which, perhaps, they detested then, and ever afterwards regretted. Without one word of farewell, without a glance, Felix rode out into the forest.
There was not much conversation on the trail to Heron Bay. The serfs were still there in charge of the canoe, and were glad enough to see their approach, and thus to be relieved from their lonely watch. They launched the canoe with ease, the provisions were put on board, the chest lashed to the mast that it might not be lost, the favourite bow was also fastened upright to the mast for safety, and simply shaking hands with Oliver, Felix pushed out into the creek. He paddled the canoe to the entrance and out into the Lake till he arrived where the south-west breeze, coming over the forest, touched and rippled the water, which by the shore was perfectly calm.