“In veerity an unaccoontable geerl,” said Cranstoun, as he sipped his wine that day after dinner in the mess room at Detroit. “A always seed she was the cheeld of the deevil.”
“Child of the devil in soul, if you will,” observed Granville, “but a true woman—a beautiful, a superb woman in person at least, did she appear this morning, when we first entered that room—did she not Henry?”
“Beautiful indeed,” was the reply—“yet, I confess, she more awed than pleased me. I could not avoid, even amid that melancholy scene, comparing her to a beautiful casket, which, on opening is found to contain not a gem of price, but a subtle poison, contact with which is fatal; or to a fair looking fruit which, when divided, proves to be rotten at the core.”
“Allegorical, by all that is good, bad, and indifferent.” exclaimed Villiers. “How devilish severe you are Henry, upon the pale Venus. It is hardly fair in you thus to rate Gerald’s intended.”
“Gerald’s intended! God forbid.”
This was uttered with an energy that startled his companions. Perceiving that the subject gave him pain, they discontinued allusion to the lady in question, further than to inquire how she was to be disposed of, and whether she was to remain in attendance on her uncle.
In answer, they were informed, that as the Major could not be removed, orders had been given by the General, for every due care to be taken of him where he now lay, while Miss Montgomerie, yielding to solicitation, had been induced to retire into the family of the American General in the town, there to remain until it should be found convenient to have the whole party conveyed to the next American post on the frontier.
It is impossible to review the whole tenor of General Brock’s conduct, on the occasion more immediately before our notice, and fail to be struck by the energy and decision of character which must have prompted so bold an enterprise. To understand fully the importance of the operation it will be necessary to take a partial survey of the position of affairs anterior to this period. When the announcement of the American declaration of war first reached the Michigan frontier, the garrisons of Amherstburg and Detroit were nearly equal in strength, neither of them exceeding five hundred men; but the scale was soon made to preponderate immeasurably in favor of the latter, by the sudden arrival of a force of upwards of two thousand men. General Hull, who was in command of that army immediately crossed over into Canada, occupying the village of Sandwich as his head quarters, and pouring his wild Kentuckians over the face of the country which they speedily laid under contribution. Instead, however, of marching without delay upon Amherstburg, as ill defended as it was weakly garrisoned, he contented himself with pushing forward skirmishers, who amused themselves during the day, against an advanced post of regulars, militia and Indians, stationed for the defence of an important pass, and retired invariably on the approach of night. This pass, the Canard bridge—and the key to Amherstburg —was, at this period, the theatre of several hot and exciting affairs. In this manner passed the whole of the month of July.