Julia’s look betrayed incredulity. “There is evidently some mystery in all this,” she rejoined; “but I will not seek to discover more than you choose at present to impart. Later I may hope to possess more of your confidence. One question more, however, and I have done. Have you seen her since your return to Detroit, and did she give you my letter?”
The Colonel made no answer, but produced from his pocket a note, which Julia at once recognized as her own.
“Then,” said Gertrude, “there was not so much danger after all, in intrusting it. You seemed to be in a sad way, when you first heard that it had been given to her.”
“I would have pledged myself on its safe deliverance,” added her sister, “for the promise was too solemnly given, to be broken.”
“And solemnly has it been kept, “gravely returned the American. “But hark, already are they hailing the boat, and we must part.”
The time occupied in conversation, had brought them down to the extreme point, where the river terminated, and the lake commenced. Beyond this lay a sand bar, which it was necessary to clear, before the increasing dusk of the evening rendered it hazardous. All the other vessels had already passed it, and were spreading their white sails before the breeze, which here, unbroken by the island, impelled them rapidly onward. A few strokes of the oar, and the boat once more touched the beach. Low and fervent adieus were exchanged, and the American, resuming his station in the stern, was soon seen to ascend the deck, he had so recently quitted. For a short time, the sisters continued to watch the movements of the vessel, as she in turn having passed, spread all her canvass to the wind, until the fast fading twilight warning them to depart, they retraced their steps along the sands to the town. Both were silent and pensive; and while all around them found subject for rejoicing in the public events of the day, they retired at an early hour to indulge at leisure in the several painful retrospections which related more particularly to themselves.
If the few weeks preceding the fall of Detroit, had been characterized by much bustle and excitement, those which immediately succeeded, were no less remarkable for their utter inactivity and repose. With the surrender of the fortress vanished every vestige of hostility in that remote territory, enabling the sinews of watchfulness to undergo a relaxation, nor longer requiring the sacrifice of private interests to the public good. Scarcely had the American prisoners been despatched to their several destinations, when General Brock, whose activity and decision, were subject of universal remark, quitted his new conquest and again hastened to resume the command on the Niagara frontier, which he had only left to accomplish what had been so happily achieved. The Indians, too, finding their services no longer in immediate demand,