There was a flutter of excitement at the settlement when the betrothal of the Colonel’s daughter and the King’s courier became known. The young people, especially, were quite excited, and discussed it in the most animated manner. But it did not end in talk, for they decided to celebrate the event that very evening. In every home preparations were soon under way, and the women vied with one another in the culinary art. Jean was to know nothing about what was taking place, hence a careful watch was kept upon her movements. Old Mammy was let into the secret, and her face beamed with pleasure as the news was whispered into her ear.
“And you must not tell, Mammy,” was the warning. “We want you to know so that you can help us to keep the secret from Jean until the right minute.”
“Why, bress yo’ life,” the faithful servant replied, “dis ol’ colored woman won’t say nuffin’. She nebber knows nuffin’, anyway, ’cept to hol’ her tongue at de right time, which is more’n mos’ folks kin do. An’ doan yo’ worry ‘bout Missie Jean takin’ any hint of what’s goin’ on. She’s in lub, an’ when a pusson’s in lub, she’s so near to heaben dat she doan pay much heed to what’s goin’ on ‘round her. An’ dat’s de way wif Missie Jean.”
Of all this excitement and innocent deception Jean was totally unaware. Part of the morning she played with the little Indian child along the shore, and rambling in the woods a short distance from the house. Much of the afternoon she spent in the canoe upon the water. She visited again the place up the creek under the big maple, and recalled the happy day when she and Dane had been last there, and the words of love which had been breathed into her ears. Taking the arrow-pin in her hand, she looked at it for some time. The words “Love’s-Charm,” kept running through her mind, and she wondered in what way that little trinket would be a Love-Charm to her. Suddenly and impulsively she raised it to her lips. Then she gave a quick, startled glance around, fearful lest she had been observed. She smiled at what she considered her foolishness, replaced the pin, and pushed the canoe from the shore.
When she reached home she was surprised that her father and Dane had not returned. The days were much shorter now, so the shades of night were stealing over the land as she entered the house. She had noticed a great heap of drift-wood piled upon the shore, but thought little about it, as it was a common occurrence on these cool nights for the young people to have a bonfire. She found Mammy preparing supper, with the child playing upon the floor nearby. The fire-place was aglow, and the flames, licking about several sticks of white maple, illuminated the room. It was a cheery, homelike scene, but Jean’s first thoughts were for the hunters. She expressed her anxiety to Mammy, and asked what could be keeping them so late.