When, after the expiration of an hour, he returned to the drawing room, Gerald was awake, and so far restored by the effect of his sound sleep, as to be, not only more communicative, but more cordial towards his brother. He even reverted to past scenes, and spoke of the mutual frolics of their youth, with a cheerfulness bordering on levity; but this pained Henry the more, for he saw in it but the fruit of a forced excitement—as melancholy in adoption as pernicious in effect—and his own heart repugned all participation in so unnatural a gaiety, although, he enforced himself to share it to the outward eye. Fatigue at length compelled Gerald to court the quiet of his pillow, and, overcome as his senses were with wine, he slept profoundly until morning.
When they met at breakfast, Henry was more than ever struck and afflicted by the alteration in his brother’s person and manner. All traces of the last night’s excitement had disappeared with its cause, and pale, haggard, and embarrassed, he seemed but the shadow of his former self, while the melancholy of his countenance had in it something wild and even fierce. As at their first meeting, his language was dry and reserved, and he seemed rather impatient of conversation, as though it interfered with the indulgence of some secret and all absorbing reflection, while, to Henry’s affectionate questioning of his adventures since they first parted, he replied in the vague unsatisfactory manner of one who seeks to shun the subject altogether. At another moment, this apparent prostration of the physical man might have been ascribed to his long immersion of the preceding day, and the efforts that were necessary to rescue him from a watery grave; but, from the account Sambo had given him, Henry had but too much reason to fear that the disease of body and mind which had so completely encompassed his unfortunate brother, not only had its being in a different cause, but might be dated from an earlier period. Although burning with desire to share that confidence which it grieved him to the soul to find thus unkindly withheld, he made no effort to remove the cloak of reserve in which his brother had invested himself. That day they both dined at the garrison mess, and Henry saw, with additional pain, that the warm felicitation of his brother officers on his return, were received by Gerald with the same reserve and indifference which had characterized his meeting with him, while he evinced the same disinclination to enter upon the solicited history of his captivity, as well as the causes which led to his bold venture, and consequent narrow escape, of the preceding day. Finding him thus uncommunicative, and not comprehending the change in his manner, they rallied him; and, as the bottle circulated, he seemed more and more disposed to meet their raillery with a cheerfulness and good humour that brought even the color into his sunken cheeks; but when, finally, some