Scarcely had he time to impress upon her lips his deep but chastened sense of happiness, when the party expected, entered the room—Von Vottenberg immediately applying himself to an examination of the patient, whose condition, it was evident from his unusually grave look, he conceived to be highly critical.
Dreading to hear his opinion pronounced in the presence of his betrothed, and the more so, because he had in some degree been its cause, the young officer, after having warmly shaken hands with Mrs. Elmsley, whom he thanked for her prompt attention, urged her to do all in her power to soothe Maria, to whom, at parting, he also offered his hand, while his eye was eloquent with the feelings he could not well openly express.
He first directed his course towards the rose-bush, and approached it with a feeling almost similar to what would have been experienced by him, had he been the actual murderer of Mr. Heywood. Loup Garou was sitting crouched near the head and was so far recovered as to growl rather fiercely at him, as he approached. On hearing the voice of his master, not in anger but in conciliation, he arose, slightly wagged his tail, and came forward slowly and crouching, as if in dread of further punishment, his lip uncurled, showing all his upper teeth, and with a short, quick sneeze, peculiar to his half-wolf-blooded race.
Calling gently to the animal, he preceded him to the gate, desiring him to wait there until he returned—an injunction evidently understood by the dog, which, crouching down in his accustomed posture, ventured not to move. With the small spud, already alluded to, and then near the rose-tree, he put back in small quantities the displaced earth, until the ghastly face, indistinctly seen in the star-light, was again wholly hidden from view. This done, he approached the bank of the river, followed by the dog, and gave a shrill whistle, which, without being answered, speedily brought over the boat in which he now embarked for the opposite shore.
His first care was to seek Elmsley, who, as officer of the guard, was up accoutred for duty, and was now looking over an old “Washington Intelligencer,” that had been read at least a dozen times before, while he smoked his pipe and sipped from a bowl of whisky punch, which Von Vottenberg had just finished brewing, when so suddenly summoned to the cottage.
After Ronayne had detailed to his friend the occurrences of the evening, and communicated his views, they both issued forth to the guard-room, where Sergeant Nixon happened to be upon duty. With the latter, a brief conversation was held by Ronayne, ending with an injunction for him to come to Lieutenant Elmsley’s quarters and announce to him (the former), when certain arrangements which had been agreed upon, were completed.