“Oh, Julia, you have been indeed imprudent. But what said she—how looked she when you confided to her our secret?”
“She made no other remark than to ask how long our attachment had existed, adding that she had once known something of you herself; and her look and voice were calm, and her cheek underwent no variation from the settled paleness observable there since her arrival.”
“And in what manner did she receive her trust?” again eagerly demanded the Colonel.
“With a solemn assurance that it should be delivered to you with her own hand—then, and then only, did a faint smile animate her still but beautiful features. Yet why all these questions, Ernest? Or can it really be? Tell me,” and the voice of the young girl became imperative, “has Miss Montgomerie any claim upon your hand—she admitted to have known you?”
“On my honor, none;” impressively returned the Colonel.
“Oh, what a weight you have removed from my heart, Ernest, but wherefore your alarm, and wherein consists my imprudence?”
“In this only, dearest Julia, that I had much rather another than she had been admitted into your confidence. But as you have acted for the best, I cannot blame you. Still I doubt not,” and the tones of the American were low and desponding, “that, as she has promised, she will find means to deliver your note into my own hands—the seal is—?”
“A fancy one—Andromache disarming Hector.”
“Rise, for Heaven’s sake rise,” interrupted Gertrude; “here comes mamma.”
One fond pressure of her graceful form, and the Colonel had resumed his seat. In the next moment Mrs. D’Egville entered, by one door, and immediately afterwards her husband by another. The former handed her note, and during the remarks which accompanied its delivery, gave the little party (for Gertrude was scarcely less agitated than her sister) time to recover from their embarassment. Some casual conversation then ensued, when the American, despite of Mrs. D’Egville’s declaration that he could not have touched a single thing during her absence, expressed his anxiety to depart. The same testimonies of friendly greeting, which had marked his entrance, were exchanged, and preceded by his kind host. The Colonel once more gained the apartment where the General still lingered, awaiting his reappearance.
Nothing remaining to be added to the answer already given to the summons, the American, after exchanging salutations with such of the English Officers as were personally known to him, again submitted himself to the operation of blindfolding; after which he was reconducted to the beach, where his boat’s crew, who had in their turn been supplied with refreshments, were ready to receive him. As on his arrival, the loud yellings of the Indians accompanied his departure but as these had been found to be harmless, they were even less heeded than before. Within two hours, despite of the strong current, the boat had disappeared altogether from the view.