Henry Grantham was petrified with astonishment and dismay at a declaration, the full elucidation of which we must, reserve for a future opportunity. The daring confession rang in his ears long after the voice had ceased, and it was not until a light vehicle had been brought for Middlemore from Sampson’s farm, that he could be induced to quit the shore, where he still lingered, as if in expectation of the return of the avowed murderer of his father.
At the especial invitation of Captain Molineux, Gerald Grantham dined at the garrison mess, on the evening of the day when the circumstances, detailed in our last chapter, took place. During dinner the extraordinary adventure of the morning formed the chief topic of conversation, for it had become one of general interest, not only throughout the military circles, but in the town of Amherstburg itself, in which the father of the Granthams had been held in an esteem amounting almost to veneration. Horrible as had been the announcement made by the dejected and discomfited settler to him who now, for the first time, learnt that his parent had fallen a victim to ruffian vindictiveness, too many years had elapsed since that event, to produce more than the ordinary emotion which might be supposed to be awakened by a knowledge rather of the manner than the fact of his death. Whatever therefore might have been the pain inflicted on the hearts of the brothers, by this cruel re-opening of a partially closed wound, there was no other evidence of suffering than the suddenly compressed lip and glistening eye, whenever allusion was made to the villain with whom each felt he had a fearful account to settle. Much indeed of the interest of the hour was derived from the animated account, given by Gerald, of the circumstances which had led to his lying in ambuscade for the American on the preceding day; and as his narrative embraces not only the reasons for Captain Molineux’s strange conduct, but other hitherto unexplained facts, we cannot do better than follow him in his detail.
“I think it must have been about half past eleven o’clock, on the night preceding the capture,” commenced Gerald, “that, as my gun boat was at anchor close under the American shore, at rather more than half a mile below the farther extremity of Bois Blanc, my faithful old Sambo silently approached me, while I lay wrapped in my watch cloak on deck, calculating the chances of falling in with some spirited bark of the enemy which would afford me an opportunity of proving the mettle of my crew.
“‘Massa Geral,’ he said in a mysterious whisper, for old age and long services in my family have given him privileges which I have neither the power nor the inclination to check—’Massa Geral,’ pulling me by the collar—’I dam ib he no go sleep when him ought to hab all him eyes about him—him pretty fellow to keep watch when Yankee pass him in e channel.’