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ter, "and Captain Sanglier has come himself to offer terms. You'll no be denying a brave enemy an honourable retreat, when he has fought ye fairly, and done all the credit he could to king and country. Ye are too loyal a subject, yourself, to visit loyalty and fidelity with a heavy judgment. I am authorized to offer, on the part of the enemy, an evacuation of the island, a mutual exchange of prisoners, and a restoration of scalps. In the absence of baggage and artillery, little more can be done."
As the conversation was necessarily carried on in a high key, both on account of the wind, and on account of the distance, all that was said was heard equally by those in the block, and those in the cutter.
"What do you say to that, Jasper?" called out Pathfinder. "You hear the proposal: shall we let the vagabonds go? or shall we mark them, as they mark their sheep in the settlements, that we may know them again?"
What has befallen Mabel Dunham?" demanded the young man, with a frown on his handsome face, that was visible even to those in the block. "If a hair of her head has been touched, it will go hard with the whole Iroquois tribe."
"Nay, nay, she is safe below, nursing a dying parent, as becomes her sex. We owe no grudge on account of the Sergeant's hurt, which comes of lawful warfare; and as for Mabel
"She is here!" exclaimed the girl, herself, who had mounted to the roof the moment she found the direction things were taking. "She is here! and, in the name of our holy religion, and of that God whom we profess to worship in common, let there be no more bloodshed! Enough has been spilt already; and if these men will go away, Pathfinder-if they will depart peaceably, Jasper-oh! do not detain one of them. My poor father is approaching his end, and it were better that he should draw his last breath in peace with the world. Go, go, Frenchmen and Indians; we are no longer your enemies, and will harm none of you."
“Tut, tut, Magnet," put in Cap, "this sounds religious, perhaps, or like a book of poetry; but it does not sound like common sense. The enemy is just ready to strike; Jasper is anchored with his broadside to bear, and, no doubt, with springs on his cables; Pathfinder's eye and hand are as true as the needle; and we shall get prize money, head-money, and honour in the bargain, if you will not interfere for the next half hour."
"Well," said Pathfinder, "I incline to Mabel's way of thinking. There has been enough bloodshed to answer our purpose, and to sarve the King; and as for honour, in that meaning, it will do better for young ensigns and recruits, than for cool-headed, obsarvant, Christian men. There is honour in doing what's right, and
unhonour in doing what's wrong; and I think it wrong to take the life, even of a Mingo, without a useful end in view, I do; and right to hear reason at all times. So, Lieutenant Muir, letus know what your friends, the Frenchers and Indians, have to say for themselves." "My friends!" said Muir, starting: "you'll no be calling the King's enemies my friends, Pathfinder, because the fortune of war has thrown me into their hands? Some of the greatest warriors, both of ancient and modern times, have been prisoners of war; and yon is Master Cap, who can testify whether we did not do all that men could devise to escape the calamity.'
"Ay, ay," drily answered Cap; "escape is the proper word. We ran below and hid ourselves, and so discreetly, that we might have remained in the hole to this hour, had it not been for the necessity of re-stowing the bread-lockers. You burrowed on that occasion, Quarter-Master, as handily as a fox; and how the d-l you knew so well where to find the spot, is a matter of wonder to me. A regular skulk on board ship does not trail aft more readily, when the jib is to be stowed, than you went into that same hole."
And did ye no follow? There are moments in a man's life when reason ascends to instinct-"
"And men descend into holes," interrupted Cap, laughing, in his boisterous way, while Pathfinder chimed in, in his peculiar manner. Even Jasper, though still filled with concern for Mabel, was obliged to smile. "They say the d-1 wouldn't make a sailor if he didn't look aloft; and now, it seems, he'll not make a soldier, if he doesn't look below!"
This burst of merriment, though it was anything but agreeable to Muir, contributed largely towards keeping the peace. Cap fancied he had said a thing much better than common; and that disposed him to yield his own opinion on the main point, so long as he got the good opinion of his companions on his novel claim to be a wit. After a short discussion, all the savages on the island were collected in a body, without arms, at the distance of a hundred yards from the block, and under the gun of the Scud; while Pathfinder descended to the door of the blockhouse, and settled the terms on which the island was to be finally evacuated by the enemy. Considering all the circumstances, the conditions were not very discreditable to either party. The Indians were compelled to give up all their arms, even to their knives and tomahawks, as a measure of precaution, their force being still quadruple that of their foes. The French officer, Monsieur Sanglier, as he was usually styled, and chose to call himself, remonstrated against this act as one likely to reflect more discredit on his command than any other part of the affair; but Path
finder, who had witnessed one or two Indian massacres, and knew how valueless pledges became when put in opposition to interest, where a savage was concerned, was obdurate. The second stipulation was of nearly the same importance. It compelled Captain Sanglier to give up all his prisoners, who had been kept well guarded in the very hole or cave in which Cap and Muir had taken refuge. When these men were produced, four of them were found to be unhurt: they had fallen merely to save their lives, a common artifice in that species of warfare; and of the remainder, two were so slighty injured as not to be unfit for service. As they brought their muskets with them, this addition to his force immediately put Pathfinder at his ease; for, having collected all the arms of the enemy in the blockhouse, he directed these men to take possession of the building, stationing a regular sentinel at the door. The remainder of the soldiers were dead, the badly wounded having been instantly despatched in order to obtain the much-coveted scalps.
As soon as Jasper was made acquainted with the terms, and the preliminaries had been so far observed as to render it safe for him to be absent, he got the Scud under weigh; and, running down to the point where the boats had stranded, he took them in tow again, and making a few stretches, brought them into the leeward passage. Here all the savages instantly embarked, when Jasper took the boats in tow a third time, and, running off before the wind, he soon set them adrift quite a mile to leeward of the Island. The Indians were furnished with but a single oar in each boat to steer with, the young sailor well knowing that, by keeping before the wind, they would land on the shores of Canada in the course of the morning.
Captain Sanglier, Arrowhead, and June alone remained, when this disposition had been made of the rest of the party; the former having certain papers to draw up and sign with Lieutenant Muir, who, in his eyes, possessed the virtues which are attached to a commission; and the latter preferring, for reasons of his own, not to depart in company with his late friends, the Iroquois. Canoes were detained for the departure of these three, when the proper moment should arrive.
In the mean time, or while the Scud was running down with the boats in tow, Pathfinder and Cap, aided by proper assistants, busied themselves with preparing a breakfast; most of the party not having eaten for four-and-twenty hours. The brief space that passed in this manner, before the Scud came-to again, was little interrupted by discourse, though Pathfinder found leisure to pay a visit to the Sergeant, to say a few friendly words to Mabel, and to give such directions as he thought might smooth the pas
sage of the dying man. As for Mabel, herself, he insisted on her taking some light refreshment, and there no longer existing any motive for keeping it there, he had the guard removed from the block, in order that the daughter might have no impediment to her attentions to her father. These little arrangements completed, our hero returned to the fire, around which he found all the remainder of the party assembled, including Jasper.
You saw but sorrow in its waning form;
A working sea remaining from a storm,
Where now the weary waves roll o'er the deep,
And faintly murmur ere they fall asleep.-DRYDEN.
MEN accustomed to a warfare like that we have been describing, are not apt to be much under the influence of the tender feelings while still in the field. Notwithstanding their habits, however, more than one heart was with Mabel in the block, while the incidents we are about to relate were in the course of occurrence; and even the indispensable meal was less relished by the hardiest of the soldiers than it might have been, had not the Sergeant been so near his end.
As Pathfinder returned from the block, he was met by Muir, who led him aside in order to hold a private discourse. The manner of the Quarter-Master had that air of supererogatory courtesy about it, which almost invariably denotes artifice; for while physiognomy and phrenology are but lame sciences at the best, and perhaps lead to as many false as right conclusions, we hold that there is no more infallible evidence of insincerity of purpose, short of overt acts, than a face that smiles when there is no occasion, and the tongue that is out of measure smooth. Muir had much of this manner in common, mingled with an apparent frankness that his Scottish intonation of voice, Scottish accent, and Scottish modes of expression, were singularly adapted to sustain. He owed his preferment, indeed, to a long-exercised deference to Lundie and his family; for, while the Major himself was much too acute to be the dupe of one so much his inferior in real talents and attainments, most persons are accustomed to make liberal concessions to the flatterer, even while they distrust his truth, and are perfectly aware of his motives. On the present occasion, the contest in skill was between two men as completely the opposites of each other in all the leading essentials of character, as very well could be. Pathfinder was as simple as the Quarter
Master was practised; he was as sincere as the other was false, and as direct as the last was tortuous. Both were cool and calculating, and both were brave, though in different modes and degrees; Muir never exposing his person except for effect, while the guide included fear among the rational passions, or as a sensation to be deferred to, only when good might come of it.
"My dearest friend," Muir commenced, "for ye 'll be dearer to us all, by seventy and seven-fold, after your late conduct, than ever ye were, ye've just established yourself, in this late transaction. It's true, that they'll not be making ye a commissioned officer, for that species of prefairment is not much in your line, nor much in your wishes, I'm thinking; but as a guide and a counsellor, and a loyal subject, and an expert marksman, yer renown may be said to be full. I doubt if the commander-inchief will carry away with him from America as much credit as will fall to yer share, and ye ought just to set down in content, and enjoy yoursal' for the remainder of yer days. Get married, man, without delay, and look to your precious happiness; for ye've no occasion to look any longer to your glory. Take Mabel Dunham, for Heaven's sake, to your bosom, and ye'll have both a bonny bride, and a bonny reputation.'
"Why, Quarter-Master, this is a new piece of advice to come from your mouth. They've told me I had a rival in you."
“And ye had, man; and a formidable one, too, I can tell ye. One that has never yet courted in vain, and yet one that has courted five times. Lundie twits me with four, and I deny the charge; but he little thinks the truth would outdo even his arithmetic. Yes, yes, ye had a rival, Pathfinder; but ye 've one no longer in me. Ye've my hearty wishes for yer success with Mabel; and were the honest Sergeant likely to survive, ye might rely on my good word with him, too, for a certainty."
"I feel your friendship, Quarter-Master, I feel your friendship, though I have no great need of any favour with Sergeant Dunham, who has long been my friend. I believe we may look upon the matter to be as sartain as most things in war-time; for Mabel and her father consenting, the whole 55th couldn't very well put a stop to it. Ah's me! the poor father will scarcely live to see what his heart has so long been set upon."
"But he'll have the consolation of knowing it will come to pass, in dying. Oh! it's a great relief, Pathfinder, for the parting spirit to feel certain that the beloved ones left behind will be well provided for, after its departure. All the Mistress Muirs have duly expressed that sentiment with their dying breaths."
"All your wives, Quarter-Master, have been likely to feel this consolation."