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have any legal authority with the little garrison I leave behind on the island; but you may counsel and influence. Strictly speaking, Corporal M‘Nab will be the commandingofficer, and I have endeavoured to impress him with a sense of his dignity, lest he might give way too much to the superior rank of Lieutenant Muir, who, being a volunteer, can have no right to interfere with the duty. I wish you to sustain the Corporal, brother Cap; for should the Quarter-master once break through the regulations of the expedition, he may pretend to command me, as well as M‘Nab.”
“More particularly, should Mabel really cut him adrift, while you are absent. Of course, Sergeant, you'll leave every thing that is afloat under my care ? The most d—ble confusion has grown out of misunderstandings between commanders-in-chief, ashore and afloat.”
“ In one sense, brother, though, in a general way, the Corporal is commander-in-chief. The Corporal must command; but you can counsel freely, particularly in all matters relating to the boats, of which I shall leave one behind to secure your retreat, should there be occasion. I know the Corporal well; he is a brave man, and a good soldier ; and one that may be relied on, if the Santa Cruz can be kept from him. But then be is a Scotchman, and will be liable to the Quarter-master's influence, against which I desire both you and Mabel to be on your guard." “ But why leave us behind, dear father ?
I have come thus far to be a comfort to you, and why not go further ?”
“ You are a good girl, Mabel, and very like the Dunhamg. But you must halt here. We shall leave the island to-morrow, before the day dawns, in order not to be seen by any prying eyes coming from our cover, and we shall take the two largest boats, leaving you the other and one bark canoe.
We are about to go into the channel used by the French, where we shall lie in wait, perhaps a week, to intercept their supply-boats, which are about to pass up, on their way to Frontenac, loaded, in particular, with a heavy amount of Indian goods."
“ Have you looked well to your papers, brother ?” Cap anxiously demanded. « Of course you know a capture on the high seas is piracy, unless your boat is regularly commissioned, either as a public or a private armed cruiser.”
“ I have the honour to hold the Colonel's appointment as sergeant-major of the 55th,” returned the other, drawing himself
" and that will be sufficient even for the French king. If not, I have Major Duncan's written orders.”
No papers, then, for a warlike cruiser.” “ They must suffice, brother, as I have no other. It is of vast importance to his majesty's interests, in this part of the world, that the boats in question should be captured and carried into Oswego. They contain the blankets, trinkets, rifles, ammunition, in short, all the stores with which the French bribe their accursed savage allies to commit their unholy acts, setting at nought our holy religion and its precepts, the laws of humanity, and all that is sacred and dear among men. By cutting off these supplies we shall derange their plans, and gain time on them; for the articles cannot be sent across the ocean again this autumn."
But, father, does not his majesty employ Indians also ?” asked Mabel, with some curiosity.
Certainly, girl, and he has a right to employ them God bless him ! It's a very different thing, whether an Englishman or a Frenchman employs a savage, as everybody can understand.”
“ But, father, I cannot see that this alters the case. If it be wrong in a Frenchman to hire savages to fight his enemies, it would seem to be equally wrong in an Englishman. You will admit this, Pathfinder?”
" It's reasonable, it's reasonable; and I have never been one of them that has raised a cry ag'in the Frenchers for doing the very thing we do ourselves.
Still it is worse to consort with a Mingo than to consort with a Delaware. If any of that just tribe were left, I should think it no sin to send them out ag’in the foe.”
6 And yet they scalp and slay young and old, women and children!'
• They have their gifts, Mabel, and are not blamed for following them : natur' is natur', though the
different tribes have different ways of showing it. For my part I am white, and endeavour to maintain white feelings.”
“ This is all unintelligible to me," answered Mabel. “ What is right in King George, it would seem, ought to be right in King Louis.”
As all parties, Mabel excepted, seemed satisfied with the course the discussion had taken, no one appeared to think it necessary to pursue the subject. Supper was no sooner ended than the Sergeant dismissed his guests, and then held a long and confidential dialogue with his daughter. He was little addicted to giving way to the gentler emotions, but the novelty of his present situation awakened feelings that he was unused to experience. The soldier or the sailor, so long as he acts under the immediate supervision of a superior, thinks little of the risks he runs, but the moment he feels the responsibility of command, all the hazards of his undertaking begin to associate themselves in his mind with the chances of success or failure. While he dwells less on his own personal danger, perhaps, than when that is the principal consideration, he has more lively general perceptions of all the risks, and submits more to the influence of the feelings which doubt creates. Such was now the case with Sergeant Dunham, who, instead of looking forward to victory as certain, according to his usual habits, began to feel the possibility that he might be parting with his child
Never before had Mabel struck him as so beautiful as she appeared that night. Possibly she never had displayed so many engaging qualities to her father ; for concern on his account had begun to be active in her breast; and then her sympathies met with unusual encouragement through those which had been stirred up in the sterner bosom of the veteran. She had never been entirely at her ease with her parent, the great superiority of her education creating a sort of chasm, which had been widened by the military severity of manner he had acquired by dealing so long with beings who could only be kept in subjection by an unremitted discipline. On the present occasion, however, the conversation between the father and daughter became
more confidential than usual, until Mabel rejoiced to find that it was gradually becoming endearing, a state of feeling that the warm-hearted girl had silently pined for in vain ever since her arrival.
“ Then mother was about my height ? ” Mabel said, as she held one of her father's hands in both her own, look. ing up into his face with humid eyes. “I had thought her taller.”
“ That is the way with most children who get a habit of thinking of their parents with respect, until they fancy them larger and more commanding than they actually are. Your mother, Mabel, was as near your height as one woman could be to another.'
“And her eyes, father ?
“Her eyes were like thine, child, too ; blue and soft, and inviting like, though hardly so laughing."
“ Mine will never laugh again, dearest father, if you do not take care of yourself in this expedition.” “ Thank you, Mabel — hem thank
you, child; but I must do my duty. I wish I had seen you comfortably married before we left Oswego; my mind would be easier.”
66 Married ! to whom, father?'
“ You know the man I wish you to love. You may meet with many gayer, and many dressed in finer clothes ; but with none with so true a heart, and just a mind.”
“I know of none: in these particulars Pathfinder has few equals at least.”
“ But I need not marry at all. You are single, and I can remain to take care of you.”
“ God bless you, Mabel! I know you would, and I do not say that the feeling is not right, for I suppose it is ; and yet I believe there is another that is more so.”
- What can be more right than to honour one's parents ?"
“ It is just as right to honour one's husband, my dear child.”
“ But I have no husband, father.”
" Then take one as soon as possible, that you may have a husband to honour. I cannot live for ever, Mabel ; but must drop off in the course of nature ere long, if I am
not carried off in the course of war. You are young, and may yet live long; and it is proper that you should have a male protector, who can see you safe through life, and take care of you in age, as you now wish to take care of me.”
“ And do you think, father,” said Mabel, playing with his sinewy fingers with her own little hands, and looking down at them, as if they were subjects of intense interest, though her lips curled in a slight smile, as the words came from them ; “and do you think, father, that Pathfinder is just the man to do this? Is he not, within ten or twelve years, as old as yourself ? "
" What of that? His life has been one of moderation and exercise, and years are less to be counted, girl, than constitution. Do you know another more likely to be your protector ?
Mabel did not; at least another who had expressed a desire to that effect, whatever might have been her hopes and her wishes.
“Nay, father, we are not talking of another, but of the Pathfinder,” she answered evasively.
có If he were younger, I think it would be more natural for me to think of him for a husband.”
“'Tis all in the constitution, I tell you, child; Pathfinder is a younger man than half our subalterns.” “ He is certainly younger than one, sir
Mabel's laugh was joyous and light-hearted, as if just then she felt no care. “That he is
- young enough to be his grandson; he is younger in
God forbid ! Mabel, that you should ever become an officer's lady, at least until you are an officer's daughter."
" There will be little fear of that, father, if I marry Pathfinder,” returned the girl, looking up archly in the Sergeant's face again.
“Not by the king's commission, perhaps, though the man is even now the friend and companion of generals. I think I could die happy, Mabel, if you were his wife.”
~ Father !”
“ 'Tis a sad thing to go into battle with the weight of an unprotected daughter laid upon the heart.”