Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

industry. The ramparts were crowded with spectators; but Lundie, who knew the persons of his old friends, refused to allow them to be even hailed.

It was noon when Chingachgook entered a little bay where the Scud lay at anchor, in a sort of road-stead. A small ancient clearing was on the shore; and near the margin of the lake was a log dwelling, recently and completely, though rudely fitted up. There was an air of frontier comfort, and of frontier abundance, around the place, though it was necessarily wild and solitary. Jasper stood on the shore ; and when Pathfinder landed, he was the first to take him by the hand. The meeting was simple, but very cordial. No questions were asked, it being apparent that Chingachgook had made the necessary explanations. Pathfinder never squeezed his friend's hand more cordially than in this interview ; and he even laughed cordially in his face as he told him how happy and well he appeared.

“ Where is she, Jasper ? where is she?” the guide at length whispered; for, at first, he had

so, lad,

seemed to be afraid to trust himself with the question.

“ She is waiting for us in the house, my dear friend, where you see that June has already hastened before us."

“ June may use a lighter step to meet Mabel, but she cannot carry a lighter heart. And

you

found the chaplain at the garrison, and all was soon settled ? "

6. We were married within a week after we left you, and Master Cap departed next day. You have forgotten to inquire about your friend, Salt-water."

“ Not I, not I; the Sarpent has told me all that: and then I love to hear so much of Mabel and her happiness, I do. Did the child smile or did she

weep

when the ceremony was

over?

“She did both, my friend ; but —-"

“Yes, that's their natur', tearful and cheerful. Ah's me! they are very pleasant to us of the woods; and I do believe I should think all right, whatever Mabel might do. And do you think, Jasper, that she thought of me at all on that joyful occasion ?”

" I know she did, Pathfinder; and she thinks of you, and talks of you, daily, almost hourly. None love you as we do."

“I know few love me better than yourself, Jasper : Chingachgook is perhaps, now, the only creatur' of whom I can say that. Well, there's no use in putting it off any longer ; it must be done, and may as well be done at once; so, Jasper, lead the way, and I'll endivour to look upon her sweet countenance once more.”

Jasper did lead the way, and they were soon in the presence of Mabel. The latter met her late suitor with a bright blush, and her limbs trembled so, she could hardly stand: still her manner was affectionate and frank. During the hour of Pathfinder's visit, (for it lasted no longer, though he ate in the dwelling of his friends,) one who was expert in tracing the workings of the human mind might have seen a faithful index to the feelings of Mabel in her manner to Pathfinder and her husband. With the latter she still had a little of the reserve that usually accompanies young wedlock; but the tones of her voice were kinder even than common; the glance of her eye was tender, and she seldom looked at him without the glow that tinged her cheeks betraying the existence of feelings that habit and time had not yet soothed into absolute tranquillity. With Pathfinder, all was earnest, sincere, even anxious; but the tones never trembled, the eye never fell; and if the cheek flushed, it was with the emotions that are connected with

concern.

At length the moment came, when Pathfinder must go his way. Chingachgook had already abandoned the canoes, and was posted on the margin of the woods, where a path led into the forest. Here he calmly waited to be joined by his friend. As soon as the latter was aware of this fact, he rose in a solemn manner, and took his leave.

“I've sometimes thought that my own fate has been a little hard,” he said ; “but that of this woman, Mabel, has shamed me into rea

son

The poor

6 June remains, and lives with me,” eagerly interrupted our heroine.

“So I comprehend it. If anybody can bring her back from her grief, and make her wish to live, you can do it, Mabel ; though I've misgivings about even your success. creatur' is without a tribe, as well as without a husband, and it's not easy to reconcile the feelings to both losses. Ah’s me !—what have I to do with other people's miseries and marriages, as if I hadn't affliction enough of my own ? Don't speak to me, Mabel, — don't speak to me, Jasper,-let me go my way in peace,

and like a man. I've seen your happiness, and that is a great deal, and I shall be able to bear my own sorrow, all the better for it. No,-I'll never kiss you ag'in, Mabel ; I'll never kiss you, ag'in.--Here's my hand, Jasper,--squeeze it, boy, squeeze it; no fear of its giving way, for it's the hand of a man,and, now Mabel, do you take it,-nay, you must not do this,” preventing Mabel from

« ÎnapoiContinuați »