“It’s a sin and a shame to waste them on a man who only employs them to kill deer, b’ar, and turkey,” said Bruce, “yet a man musn’t starve, even whar he’s a quaker. So go you along with my son Dick thar, to the store, and he’ll give you the value of your plunder. A poor, miserable brute, thar’s no denying,” he continued, contemptuously, as Nathan, obeying the direction, followed Bruce’s second son into the fortress. “The man has some spirit now and then; but whar’s the use of it, while he’s nothing but a no-fight quaker? I tried to reason him out of his notions; but thar war no use in trying, no how I could work it. I have an idea about these quakers—”
But here, luckily, the worthy Colonel’s idea was suddenly put to flight by the appearance of Telie Doe, who came stealing through the throng, to summon him to his evening meal,—a call which neither he nor his guest was indisposed to obey; and taking Telie by the hand in a paternal manner, he ushered the young soldier back into the fort.
The girl, Roland observed, had changed her attire at the bidding of her protector, and now, though dressed with the greatest simplicity, appeared to more advantage than before. He thought her, indeed, quite handsome, and pitying her more than orphan condition, he endeavoured to show her such kindness as was in his power, by addressing to her some complimentary remarks, as he walked along at her side. His words, however, only revived the terror she seemed really to experience, whenever any one accosted her; seeing which, he desisted, doubting if she deserved the compliment the benevolent Bruce had so recently paid to her good sense.
The evening meal being concluded, and a few brief moments devoted to conversation with her new friends, Edith was glad, when, at a hint from her kinsman as to the early hour appointed for setting out on the morrow, she was permitted to seek the rest of which she stood in need. Her chamber—and, by a rare exercise of hospitality, the merit of which she appreciated, since she was sensible it could not have been made without sacrifice, she occupied it alone—boasted few of the luxuries, few even of the comforts, to which she had been accustomed in her native land, and her father’s house. But misfortune had taught her spirit humility; and the recollection of nights passed in the desert, with only a thin mattress betwixt her and the naked earth, and a little tent-cloth and the boughs of trees to protect her from inclement skies, caused her to regard her present retreat with such feelings of satisfaction as she might have indulged if in the chamber of a palace.
She was followed to the apartment by a bevy of the fair Bruces, all solicitous to render her such assistance as they could, and all, perhaps, equally anxious to indulge their admiration, for the second or third time, over the slender store of finery, which Edith good-naturedly opened to their inspection. In this way the time fled amain until Mrs. Bruce, more considerate than her daughters, and somewhat scandalised by the loud commendations which they passed on sundry articles of dress such as were never before seen in Kentucky, rushed into the chamber, and drove them manfully away.