The painful nature of his reflections, added to the fatigue he had undergone, had given to his countenance a more than usually haggard expression. Henry remarked it and inquired the cause, when his brother, in a few brief sentences, explained all that had occurred during his absence. Full of affection as he was for the old man, and utterly unprepared for such a communication, Henry could not avoid expressing deep vexation that his brother, aware as he was of the peculiar weakness of their aged friend, should have been inconsiderate enough to have drawn him thither. Gerald felt the reproof to be just, and for that very reason grew piqued under it. Shocked as he was at the condition of Sambo, Henry was even more distressed at witnessing the apparent apathy of his brother for the fate of one, who had not merely saved his life on a recent occasion, but had evinced a devotedness—a love for him—in every circumstance of life, which seldom had had their parallel in the annals of human servitude. It was in vain that he endeavored to follow the example of Gerald, who, having seated himself at the breakfast table, was silently appeasing an appetite such as he had not exhibited since his return. Incapable of swallowing his food, Henry paced up and down the room, violently agitated and sick at heart. It seemed to him as if Sambo had been a sort of connecting link between themselves and the departed parents; and now that he was suddenly and fearfully afflicted, he thought he could see in the vista of futurity a long train of evils that threw their shadows before, and portended the consummation of some unknown, unseen affliction; having its origin in the incomprehensible alienation of his brother’s heart from the things of his early love.
While he was yet indulging in these painful thoughts, the firing of a gun from the harbour—the signal for the embarkation of the troops—brought both Gerald and himself to a sense of other considerations. The latter was the first to quit the house. “Henry,” he said with much emotion, “God bless you. It is possible that, as our service lies in different lines, we shall see but little of each other during this expedition—Of one thing however be assured—that although I am an unhappy man I am any thing but dead to feeling—Henry,” he continued pressing his hand with warmth, “think not unkindly hereafter of your poor brother Gerald.” A long embrace, in which each, although in silence, seemed to blend heart with heart, ensued, and both greatly relieved, as they always were after this generous expansion of their feelings, separated forthwith whither their respective duties summoned them.