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merely to give Jasper credit with me. I am told that the gentry at Frontenac will care more for the capture of the Scud, with Sergeant Dunham and a party of men, together with the defeat of our favourite plan, than for the capture of a girl, and the scalp of her uncle."


I understand the hint, sir, but I do not give it credit. Jasper can hardly be true, and Pathfinder false; and, as for the last, I would as soon distrust your honour, as distrust him."

"It would seem so, Sergeant; it would indeed seem so. But Jasper is not the Pathfinder after all, and I will own, Dunham, I should put more faith in the lad, if he didn't speak French."

"It's no recommendation in my eyes, I assure your honour; but the boy learned it by compulsion, as it were, and ought not to be condemned too hastily for the circumstance, by your honour's leave. If he does speak French, it's because he can't well help it."

"It's a d-d lingo, and never did any one good--at least no British subject; for I suppose the French themselves must talk together, in some language or other. I should have much more faith in this Jasper, did he know nothing of their language. This letter has made me uneasy; and, were there another to whom I could trust the cutter, I would devise some means to detain him here. I have spoken to you already of a brother-in-law who goes with you, Sergeant, and who is a sailor?"

"A real seafaring-man, your honcur, and somewhat prejudiced against fresh water. I doubt if he could be induced to risk his character on a lake, and I'm certain he never could find the station."

"The last is probably true, and then, the man cannot know enough of this treacherous lake to be fit for the employment. You will have to be doubly vigilant, Dunham. I give you full powers; and should you detect this Jasper in any treachery, make him a sacrifice at once to offended justice."

"Being in the service of the Crown, your honour, he is amenable to martial law-"

"Very true; then iron him, from his head to his heels, and send him up here, in his own cutter. That brother-in-law of yours must be able to find the way back, after he has once travelled the road."


"I make no doubt, Major Dunham, we shall be able to do all that will be necessary, should Jasper turn out as you seem to anticipate; though I think I would risk my life on his truth."

"I like your confidence-it speaks well for the fellow: but that infernal letter! there is such an air of truth about it; nay, there is so much truth in it, touching other matters-"

"I think your honour said it wanted the name at the bottom; a great omission for an honest man to make."

"Quite right, Dunham, and no one but a rascal, and a cowardly rascal in the bargain, would write an anonymous letter on private affairs. It is different, however, in war; despatches are feigned, and artifice is generally allowed to be justifiable.”

"Military manly artifices, sir, if you will; such as ambushes, surprises, feints, false attacks, and even spies; but I never heard of a true soldier who could wish to undermine the character of an honest young man, by such means as these.'

"I have met with many strange events, and some stranger people, in the course of my experience. But fare you well, Sergeant; I must detain you no longer. You are now on your guard, and I recommend to you untiring vigilance. I think Muir means shortly to retire; and should you fully succeed in this enterprise, my influence will not be wanting, in endeavouring to put you in the vacancy, to which you have many claims."

"I humbly thank your honour," coolly returned the Sergeant, who had been encouraged in this manner, any time for the twenty preceding years, "and hope I shall never disgrace my station, whatever it may be. I am what nature and Providence have made me, and hope I'm satisfied."

"You have not forgotten the howitzer?"

"Jasper took it on board this morning, sir."

"Be wary, and do not trust that man unnecessarily. Make a confidant of Pathfinder at once; he may be of service in detecting any villany that may be stirring. His simple honesty will fayour his observation, by concealing it. He must be true."

"For him, sir, my own head shall answer, or even my rank in the regiment. I have seen him too often tried to doubt him."

"Of all wretched sensations, Dunham, distrust, where one is compelled to confide, is the most painful. You have bethought you of the spare flints?"

"A sergeant is a safe commander for all such details, your honour."

"Well, then, give me your hand, Dunham. God bless you! and may you be successful! Muir means to retire,-by the way, let the man have an equal chance with your daughter, for it may facilitate future operations about the promotion. One would retire more cheerfully with such a companion as Mabel, than in cheerless widowerhood, and with nothing but oneself to love,-and such a self, too, as Davy's!"

"I hope, sir, my child will make a prudent choice, and I think her mind is already pretty much made up in favour of Pathfinder.

Still she shall have fair play, though disobedience is the next crime to mutiny."

"Have all the ammunition carefully examined and dried, as soon as you arrive; the damp of the lake may affect it: and now, once more, farewell, Sergeant. Beware of that Jasper, and consult with Muir in any difficulty. I shall expect you to return triumphant this day month."


God bless your honour! if anything should happen to me, I trust to you, Major Duncan, to care for an old soldier's character." “Rely on me, Dunham-you will rely on a friend. Be vigilant : remember you will be in the very jaws of the lion;-pshaw! of no lion neither; but of treacherous tigers: in their very jaws, and beyond support. Have the flints counted and examined in the morning,-and-farewell, Dunham, farewell!”

The Sergeant took the extended hand of his superior with proper respect, and they finally parted; Lundie hastening into his own movable abode, while the other left the fort, descended to the beach, and got into a boat.

Duncan of Lundie had said no more than the truth, when he spoke of the painful nature of distrust; of all the feelings of the human mind, it is that which is the most treacherous in its workings, the most insidious in its approaches, and the least at the command of a generous temperament. While doubt exists, everything may be suspected; the thoughts, having no definite facts to set bounds to their wanderings, and distrust once admitted, it is impossible to say to what extent conjecture may lead or whither credulity may follow. That which had previously seemed innocent assumes the hue of guilt, as soon as this uneasy tenant has taken possession of the thoughts; and nothing is said or done without being subjected to the colourings and disfigurations of jealousy and apprehension. If this is true in ordinary affairs, it is doubly true when any heavy responsibility, involving life or death, weighs on the unsettled mind of its subject ;-as in the case of the military commander, or the agent in the management of any great political interest. It is not to be supposed, then, that Sergeant Dunham, after he had parted from his commanding officer, was likely to forget the injunctions he had received. He thought highly of Jasper in general; but distrust had been insinuated between his former confidence and the obligations of duty; and, as he now felt that everything depended on his own vigilance, by the time the boat reached the side of the Scud, he was in a proper humour to let no suspicious circumstance go unheeded, or any unusual movement in the young sailor pass without its comment. As a matter of course, he viewed things in the light suited to his peculiar mood; and his precautions, as well

as his distrust, partook of the habits, opinions, and education of the man.

The Scud's kedge was lifted, as soon as the boat with the Sergeant, who was the last person expected, was seen to quit the shore, and the head of the cutter was cast to the eastward by means of the sweeps. A few vigorous strokes of the latter, in which the soldiers aided, now sent the light craft into the line of the current that flowed from the river, when she was suffered to drift into the offing again. As yet there was no wind, the light and almost imperceptible air from the lake, that had existed previously to the setting of the sun, having entirely failed.

All this time an unusual quiet prevailed in the cutter. It appeared as if those on board of her felt that they were entering upon an uncertain enterprise, in the obscurity of night; and that their duty, the hour, and the manner of their departure, lent a solemnity to their movements. Discipline also came in aid of these feelings. Most were silent; and those who did speak, spoke seldom and in low voices. In this manner, the cutter set slowly out into the lake, until she had got as far as the river current would carry her, when she became stationary, waiting for the usual landbreeze. An interval of half an hour followed, during the whole of which time the Scud lay as motionless as a log, floating on the water. While the little changes just mentioned were occurring in the situation of the vessel, notwithstanding the general quiet that prevailed, all conversation had not been repressed; for Sergeant Dunham, having first ascertained that both his daughter and her female companion were on the quarter-deck, led the Pathfinder to the after-cabin, where, closing the door with great caution, and otherwise making certain he was beyond the reach of eaves-droppers, he commenced as follows:

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"It is now many years, my friend, since you began to experience the hardships and dangers of the woods in my company."

"It is, Sergeant; yes it is. I sometimes fear I am too old for Mabel, who was not born until you and I had fought the Frenchers as comrades."

"No fear on that account, Pathfinder. I was near your age before I prevailed on the mind of her mother; and Mabel is a steady thoughtful girl, one that will regard character more than anything else. A lad like Jasper Eau-douce, for instance, will have no chance with her, though he is both young and comely." "Does Jasper think of marrying ?" inquired the guide, simply, but earnestly.

"I should hope not—at least, not until he has satisfied every one of his fitness to possess a wife."



Jasper is a gallant boy, and one of great gifts in his way; he claim a wife as well as another."

"To be frank with you, Pathfinder, I brought you here to talk about this very youngster. Major Duncan has received some information which has led him to suspect that Eau-douce is false, and in the pay of the enemy; I wish to hear your opinion on the subject."

" Anan ?"


"I say, the Major suspects Jasper of being a traitor-a French spy-or, what is worse, of being bought to betray us. He has received a letter to this effect, and has been charging me to keep an eye on the boy's movements; for he fears we shall meet with enemies when we least suspect it, and by his means."

"Duncan of Lundie has told you this, Sergeant Dunham ?" "He has, indeed, Pathfinder; and though I have been loth to believe anything to the injury of Jasper, I have a feeling which tells me I ought to distrust him. Do you believe in presentiments, my friend ?"

"In what, Sergeant ?"

"Presentiments,—a sort of secret foreknowledge of events that are about to happen. The Scotch of our regiment are great sticklers for such things; and my opinion of Jasper is changing so fast, that I begin to fear there must be some truth in their doctrines."

"But you've been talking with Duncan of Lundie concerning Jasper, and his words have raised misgivings."

"Not it; not so in the least: for, while conversing with the Major, my feelings were altogether the other way; and I endeavoured to convince him all I could that he did the boy injustice. But there is no use in holding out against a presentiment, I find ; and I fear there is something in the suspicion after all."

"I know nothing of presentiments, Sergeant; but I have know Jasper Eau-douce since he was a boy, and I have as much faith in his honesty as I have in my own, or that of the Sarpent himself."

"But the Serpent, Pathfinder, has his tricks and ambushes in war as well as another."

"Ay, them are his nat❜ral gifts, and are such as belong to his people. Neither redskin nor pale-face can deny natur'; but Chingachgook is not a man to feel a presentiment against."

66 That I believe; nor should I have thought ill of Jasper this very morning. It seems to me, Pathfinder, since I've taken up this presentiment, that the lad does not bustle about his deck naturally, as he used to do; but that he is silent, and moody, and thoughtful, like a man who has a load on his conscience."

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