“Be of good cheer, you are in the hands of Durant, the ‘DOG!’ who distinctly remembers your former kindness and amiability!”
With all the speed possible, Durant hurried off toward the Ohio, determined as soon as it could be done, to place that river between himself and captives and any pursuers that might follow them, when it became known that the lovers were missing.
It was a matter of wonder with Ellen’s family what could keep her and Hamilton out so late in the evening; and when darkness set in, and they were still absent, the wonder changed to alarm. Search was instantly made; they were traced to their resting-place; the evident marks of a scuffle were visible; and the unanimous opinion of all was that they were in the hands of Indians. Preparations for pursuit were immediately instituted, and by daylight next morning, a strong band of armed pioneers, well mounted, were on the trail of the fugitives, determined to retake the captives, if such a feat were in the bounds of possibility.
Durant had everything so arranged, that his party need not be subjected to a moment’s delay. Every member of his band, including the prisoners, expected a vigorous pursuit, and the lovers were not without hope that it would prove successful. In this hope, they, as far as circumstances and ability permitted, endeavored to retard the progress of the captors by slow movements; and Durant was finally constrained to threaten them, if they did not step with greater alacrity; for he feared they might be overtaken.
At length the hilly banks of the Ohio were reached; the clear waters of that noble stream lay before them; and between the prisoners and despair, and no friends in sight to bid them hope! Durant now concluded all was safe; and the malice of his heart, which the pressure of circumstances had kept smothered, began again to display itself. Pointing to the verdure-clad and tree-crowned hills on the other side of the river, he said:
“Once there, amid the lovely groves of Ohio, and you are beyond the last hope of recovery from my power, my beautiful girl! Then and there I shall have the exquisite pleasure of informing you more particularly concerning my plans for the future. For the present, receive my assurances, that nothing else could give me such unbounded satisfaction as the felicity unspeakable of having won my old and dear love from all competitors for her hand and person, and the certain assurance, that, for the time to come, she is all my own, without fear of rivalship!”
The bitter irony attempted in this malignantly polite address went to the heart of the fair girl; but she resolutely set herself against any display of fear, or the least manifestation of alarm, well knowing that the marks of such emotions would but increase the revengeful feeling of delight evinced by her adversary.