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and usages of the individual, were deep-rooted, and almost formed a part of his nature. But the most striking feature about the moral organisation of Pathfinder, was his beautiful and unerring sense of justice. This noble trait, and without it no man can be truly great, with it no man other than respectable, probably had its unseen influence on all who associated with him; for the common and unprincipled brawler of the camp had been known to return from an expedition made in his company, rebuked by his sentiments, softened by his language, and improved by his example. As might have been expected, with so elevated a quality his fidelity was like the immoveable rock: treachery in him was classed among the things that are impossible; and as he seldom retired before his enemies, so was he never known, under any circumstances that admitted of an alternative, to abandon a friend. The affinities of such character were, as a matter of course, those of like for like. His associates and intimates, though more or less determined by chance, were generally of the highest order as to moral propensities; for he appeared to possess a species of instinctive discrimination, that led him, insensibly to himself most probably, to cling closest to those whose characters would best reward his friendship. In short, it was said of the Pathfinder, by one accustomed to study his fellows, that he was a fair example of what a just-minded and pure man might be, while untempted by unruly or ambitious desires, and left to follow the bias of his feelings, amid the solitary grandeur and ennobling influences of a sublime nature; neither led aside by the inducements which influence all to do evil amid the incentives of civilisation; nor forgetful of the Almighty Being, whose spirit pervades the wilderness as well as the towns.
Such was the man whom Sergeant Dunham had selected as the husband of Mabel. In making this choice, he had not been as much governed by a clear and judicious view of the merits of the individual, perhaps, as by his own likings; still, no one knew the Pathfinder as intimately as himself, without always conceding to the honest guide a high place in his esteem, on account of these very virtues. That his daughter could find any serious objections to the match the old soldier did not apprehend; while, on the other hand, he saw many advantages to himself, in dim perspective, that were connected with the decline of his days, and an evening of life passed among descendants who were equally dear to him through both parents. He had first made the proposition to his friend, who had listened to it kindly, but who, the Sergeant was now pleased to find, already betrayed a willingness to come into his own views, that was proportioned to the doubts and misgivings proceeding from his humble distrust of himself.
"Think not I love him, though I ask for him;
A WEEK passed in the usual routine of a garrison. becoming used to a situation that, at first, she had found not only novel, but a little irksome; and the officers and men in their turn, gradually familiarized to the presence of a young and blooming girl, whose attire and carriage had that air of modest gentility about them which she had obtained in the family of her patroness, annoyed her less by their ill-concealed admiration, while they gratified her by the respect which, she was fain to think, they paid her on account of her father; but which, in truth, was more to be attributed to her own modest but spirited deportment, than to any deference for the worthy Sergeant.
Acquaintances made in a forest, or in any circumstances of unusual excitement, soon attain their limits. Mabel found one week's residence at Oswego sufficient to determine her, as to those with whom she might be intimate, and those whom she ought to avoid. The sort of neutral position occupied by her father, who was not an officer while he was so much more than a common soldier, by keeping her aloof from the two great classes of military life, lessened the number of those whom she was compelled to know, and made the duty of decision comparatively easy. Still she soon discovered that there were a few, even among those that could aspire to a seat at the commandant's table, who were disposed to overlook the halbert, for the novelty of a well-turned figure, and of a pretty winning face; and by the end of the first two or three days, she had admirers even among the gentlemen. The Quarter-Master, in particular, a middle-aged soldier, who had more than once tried the blessings of matrimony already, but was now a widower, was evidently disposed to increase his intimacy with the Sergeant, though their duties often brought them together; and the youngsters among his messmates did not fail to note than this man of method, who was a Scotsman of the name of Muir, was much more frequent in his visits to the quarters of his subordinate than had formerly been his wont. A laugh or a joke in honour of the "Sergeant's daughter," however, limited their strictures; though "Mabel Dunham" was soon a toast that even the ensign, or the lieutenant, did not disdain to give.
At the end of the week, Duncan of Lundie sent for Sergeant Dunham, after evening roll-call, on business of a nature that, it
was understood, required a personal conference. The old veteran dwelt in a moveable hut, which, being placed on trucks, he could order to be wheeled about at pleasure, sometimes living in one part of the area within the fort, and sometimes in another. On the present occasion he had made a halt near the centre, and there he was found by his subordinate, who was admitted to his presence without any delay, or dancing attendance in an antechamber. In point of fact, there was very little difference in the quality of the accommodations allowed to the officers and those allowed to the men, the former being merely granted the most room; and Mabel and her father were lodged nearly, if not quite, as well as the commandant of the place himself.
"Walk in, Sergeant, walk in, my good friend," said old Lundie, heartily, as his inferior stood in a respectful attitude at the door of a sort of library and bed-room into which he had been ushered. “Walk in, and take a seat on that stool. I have sent for you, man, to discuss anything but rosters and pay-rolls this evening. It is now many years since we have been comrades, and 'auld lang syne' should count for something, even between a major and his orderly, a Scot and a'Yankee. Sit ye down, man, and just put yourself at your ease. It has been a fine day, Sergeant."
"It has, indeed, Major Duncan," returned the other, who, though he complied so far as to take the seat, was much too practised not to understand the degree of respect it was necessary to maintain in his manner; "a very fine day, sir, it has been, and we may look for more of them at this season.
"I hope so, with all my heart. The crops look well as it is, man, and you'll be finding that the 55th make almost as good farmers as soldiers. I never saw better potatoes in Scotland, than we are likely to have in that new patch of ours."
"They promise a good yield, Major Duncan; and, in that light, a more comfortable winter than the last."
"Life is progressive, Sergeant, in its comforts, as well as in its need of them. We grow old, and I begin to think it time to retire and settle in life. I feel that my working days are nearly
"The King, God bless him! sir, has much good service in your honour yet."
"It may be so, Sergeant Dunham, especially if he should happen to have a spare lieutenant-colonelcy left."
"The 55th will be honoured the day that commission is given to Duncan of Lundie, sir."
"And Duncan of Lundie will be honoured the day he receives it. But, Sergeant, if you have never had a lieutenant-colonelcy,
you have had a good wife, and that is the next thing to rank, in making a man happy."
"I have been married, Major Duncan; but it is now a long time since I have had no drawback on the love I bear his Majesty and my duty."
"What, man, not even the love you bear that active, little, round-limbed, rosy-cheeked daughter, that I have seen in the fort these last few days! Out upon you, Sergeant! old fellow as I am, I could almost love that little lassie myself, and send the lieutenant-colonelcy to the devil.”
"We all know where Major Duncan's heart is, and that is in Scotland, where a beautiful lady is ready and willing to make him happy, as soon as his own sense of duty shall permit."
"Ay, hope is ever a far-off thing, Sergeant," returned the superior, a shade of melancholy passing over his hard Scottish features as he spoke; "and bonny Scotland is a far-off country. Well, if we have no heather and oatmeal in this region, we have venison for the killing of it, and salmon as plenty as at Berwickupon Tweed. Is it true, Sergeant, that the men complain of having been over-venisoned and over-pigeoned of late?"
"Not for some weeks, Major Duncan, for neither deer nor birds are so plenty at this season as they have been. They begin to throw their remarks about concerning the salmon, but I trust we shall get through the summer without any serious disturbance on the score of food. The Scotch in the battalion do, indeed, talk more than is prudent of their want of oatmeal, grumbling occasionally of our wheaten bread."
"Ah! that is human nature, Sergeant; pure unadulterated Scotch human nature. A cake, man, to say the truth, is an agreeable morsel, and I often see the time when I pine for a bite myself."
"If the feeling gets to be troublesome, Major Duncan,-in the men I mean, sir, for I would not think of saying so disrespectful a thing to your honour,-but if the men ever pine seriously for their natural food, I would humbly recommend that some oatmeal be imported, or prepared in this country for them, and I think we shall hear no more of it. A very little would answer for a cure, sir."
You are a wag, Sergeant; but hang me if I am sure you are not right. There may be sweeter things in this world, after all, than oatmeal. You have a sweet daughter, Dunham, for one."
"The girl is like her mother, Major Duncan, and will pass inspection," said the Sergeant, proudly. "Neither was brought up on anything better than good American flour. The girl will pass inspection, sir."
"That would she, I'll answer for it. Well, I may as well come to the point at once, man, and bring up my reserve into the front of the battle. Here is Davy Muir, the Quarter-master, disposed to make your daughter his wife, and he has just got me to open the matter to you, being fearful of compromising his own dignity; and I may as well add, that half the youngsters in the fort toast her, and talk of her from morning till night."
"She is much honoured, sir," returned the father, stiffly; "but I trust the gentlemen will find something more worthy of them to talk about ere long. I hope to see her the wife of an honest man before many weeks, sir.'
"Yes, Davy is an honest man, and that is more than can be said for all in the Quarter-master's department, I'm thinking, Sergeant," returned Lundie, with a slight smile. "Well, then, may I tell the Cupid-stricken youth, that the matter is as good as settled?"
"I thank your honour; but Mabel is betrothed to another." "The devil she is! That will produce a stir in the fort; hear it either, for to be frank with you,
though I'm not sorry to
Sergeant, I'm no great admirer of unequal matches."
I think with your honour, and have no desire to see my daughter an officer's lady. If she can get as high as her mother was before her, it ought to satisfy any reasonable
“And may I ask, Sergeant, who is the lucky man that you intend to call son-in-law?"
"The Pathfinder, your honour."
"The same, Major Duncan; and in naming him to you, I give you his whole history. No one is better known on this frontier, than my honest, brave, true-hearted friend."
"All that is true enough; but is he, after all, the sort of person to make a girl of twenty happy?"
"Why not, your honour? The man is at the head of his calling. There is no other guide, or scout, connected with the .army, that has half the reputation of Pathfinder, or who deserves to have it half as well."
"Very true, Sergeant; but is the reputation of a scout exactly the sort of renown to captivate a girl's fancy?"
"Talking of girls' fancies, sir, is, in my humble opinion, much like talking of a recruit's judgment. If we were to take the movements of the awkward squad, sir, as a guide, we should never form a decent line in battalion, Major Duncan."
“But your daughter has nothing awkward about her; for a genteeler girl, of her class, could not be found in old Albion itself.