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“ I would give the world to lighten yours of its load, my dear sir.”
“ It might be done,” said the Sergeant, looking fondly at his child ; though I could not wish to put a burthen on yours in order to do so.”
The voice was deep and tremulous, and never before had Mabel witnessed such a show of affection in her parent. The habitual sternness of the man lent an interest to his emotions which they might otherwise have wanted, and the daughter's heart yearned to relieve the father's mind.
Father, speak plainly!” she cried, almost convulsively. · Nay, Mabel, it might not be right; your wishes and
different.” “ I have no wishes - know nothing of what you mean, Would you speak of my future marriage ?”
“If I could see you promised to Pathfinder - know that you were pledged to become his wife, let my own fate be what it might, I think I could die happy. But I will ask no pledge of you, my child; I will not force you to do what you might repent. Kiss me, Mabel, and go to
Had Sergeant Dunham exacted of Mabel the pledge that he really so much desired, he would have encountered a resistance that he might have found it difficult to overcome ; but, by letting nature have its course, he enlisted a powerful ally on his side, and the warm-hearted generousminded Mabel was ready to concede to her affections, much more than she would ever have yielded to menace. At that touching moment she thought only of her parent, who was about to quit her, perhaps for ever; and all of that ardent love for him, which had possibly been as much fed by the imagination as by any thing else, but which had received a little check by the restrained intercourse of the last fortnight, now returned with a force that was increased by pure and intense feeling. Her father seemed all in all to her, and to render him happy, there was no proper sacrifice which she was not ready to make. One painful, rapid, almost wild gleam of thought shot across the brain of the girl, and her resolution wavered ; but endeavouring to trace the foundation of the pleasing hope on which it was based, she found nothing positive to support it. Trained like a woman to subdue her most ardent feelings, her thoughts reverted to her father, and to the blessings that awaited the child who yielded to a parent's wishes.
“ Father,” she said quietly, almost with a holy calm, “ God blesses the dutiful daughter."
“ He will, Mabel ; we have the Good Book for that." “ I will marry whomever you desire."
Nay, nay, Mabel, you may have a choice of your
“ I have no choice, that is, none have asked me to have a choice, but Pathfinder and Mr. Muir; and between them, neither of us would hesitate. No, father; I will marry whomever you may choose.”
“ Thou knowest my choice, beloved child ; none other can make thee as happy as the noble-hearted guide."
« Well then, if he wish it, if he ask me again for, father, you would not have me offer myself, or that any one should do that office for me,” and the blood stole across the pallid cheeks of Mabel as she spoke, for high and generous resolutions had driven back the stream of life to her heart; no one must speak to him of it; but if he seek me again, and, knowing all that a true girl ought to tell the man she marries, he then wishes to make me his wife, I will be his.” “ Bless you ! my Mabel ; God in heaven bless
and reward you as a pious daughter deserves to be rewarded !"
“ Yes, father, put your mind at peace; go on this expedition with a light heart, and trust in God. For me you will have now no care. In the spring - I must have a little time, father - but, in the spring, I will marry Pathfinder, if that noble-hearted hunter shall then desire it.”
Mabel, he loves you as I loved your mother. I have seen him weep like a child when speaking of his feelings
“ Yes, I believe it; I've seen enough to satisfy me that he thinks better of me than I deserve; and certainly the man is not living for whom I have more respect than for Pathfinder ; not even for you, dear father.”
" That is as it should be, child, and the union will be blessed. May I not tell Pathfinder this ?”
“ I would rather you would not, father.
Let it come of itself, come naturally.” The smile that illuminated Mabel's handsome face was angelic, as even her parent thought, though one better practised in detecting the passing emotions, as they betray themselves in the countenance, might have traced something wild and unnatural in it. “ No, no, we must let things take their course ; father, you have my solemn promise.”
“ That will do, that will do, Mabel; now kiss me. God bless and protect you, girl! you are a good daughter.”
Mabel threw herself into her father's arms, it was the first time in her life, and sobbed on his bosom like an infant. The stern soldier's heart was melted, and the tears of the two mingled: but Sergeant Dunham soon started, as if ashamed of himself, and gently forcing his daughter from him, he bade her good night, and sought his pallet. Mabel went sobbing to the rude corner that had been prepared for her reception; and in a few minutes the hut was undisturbed by any sound, save the heavy breathing of the veteran.
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.
THE THIRD VOLUME.
Wandering, I found on my ruinous walk,
By the dial stone, aged and green,
To mark where a garden had been. CAMPBELL.
It was not only broad daylight when Mabel awoke, but the sun had actually been up some time. Her sleep had been tranquil, for she rested on an approving conscience, and fatigue contributed to render it sweet; and no sound of those who had been so early in motion had interfered with her rest. Springing to her feet, and rapidly dressing herself, the girl was soon breathing the fragrance of the morning in the open air. For the first time she was sensibly struck with the singular beauties, as well as with the profound retirement, of her present situation. The day proved to be one of those of the autumnal glory, so common to a climate that is more abused than appreciated, and its influence was every way inspiriting and genial. Mabel was benefited by this circumstance; for, as she fancied, her heart was heavy on account of the dangers to which a father, whom she now began to love as women love when confidence is created, was exposed.
But the island seemed absolutely deserted. The previous night, the bustle of the arrival had given the spot an appearance of life which was now entirely gone; and our heroine had turned her eyes nearly around on every object in sight, before she caught a view of a single human being to remove the sense of utter solitude. Then, in deed, she beheld all who were left behind, collected in a group, around a fire which might be said to belong to the camp. The person of her uncle, to whom she was so much accustomed, re-assured Mabel; and she examined