“Henry,” he said, “I have already told you that Miss Montgomerie and I have parted forever; but not the less devotedly do I love her. If, therefore, you would not further wring a heart already half broken with affliction, oblige me by never making the slightest mention of her name in my presence—or ever adverting again to our conversation of this morning. I am sure Henry, you will not deny me this.”
Henry offered no other reply than by throwing himself into the arms that were extended to receive him. The embrace of the brothers was long and fervent, and, although there was perhaps more of pain than pleasure, in their mutual sense of the causes which had led to it in the present instance—still was it productive of a luxury the most heartfelt. It seemed to both as if the spirits of their departed parents hovered over, and blessed them in this indication of their returning affection, hallowing, with their invisible presence, a scene connected with the last admonitions from their dying lips. When they had thus given vent to their feelings, although the sense of unhappiness continued undiminished, their hearts experienced a sensible relief; and when they separated for the morning, in pursuit of their respective avocations, it was with a subdued manner on the part of Gerald, and a vague hope with Henry, that his brother’s disease would eventually yield to various influences, and that other and happier days were yet in store for both.
Meanwhile the preparations for the departure of the expedition for the Miami were rapidly completing. To the majority of the regular force of the two garrisons were added several companies of militia, and a considerable body of Indians, under Tecumseh—the two former portions of the force being destined to advance by water, the latter by land. The spring had been unusually early, and the whole of April remarkably warm; on some occasions sultry to oppressiveness—as for instance on the morning of the tempest. They were now in the first days of the last week of that month, and every where a quick and luxuriant vegetation had succeeded to the stubborn barrenness and monotony of winter. Not a vestige of that dense mass of ice which, three months previously, had borne them over lake and river, was now to be seen. The sun danced joyously and sportively on the golden wave, and where recently towered the rugged surface of the tiny iceberg, the still, calm, unbroken level of the mirroring lake was only visible. On the beach, just below the town, and on a line with the little fleet, that lay at anchor between the island and the main, were drawn up numerous batteaux, ready for the reception of the troops, while on the decks of two gun boats, that were moored a few yards without them, were to be seen the battering train and entrenching tools intended to accompany the expedition. Opposite to each bateau was kindled a fire, around which were