In front of the Hautville house stood waiting a smart chaise with a fine young horse in the shafts, and the bride and groom came out and got in and drove away. But first, while Burr was gathering up the reins, David Hautville’s hoarse voice through the open door besought him to wait, and presently the old man came striding forth with the skin of a mighty bear which he had slain single-handed years ago, and which had been his chiefest treasure next to his viol ever since, kept beside his bed, whence no one dared remove it. He flung it up into the chaise, and tucked it well in over his daughter’s knees. “Oh, father, I will not take your bearskin!” Madelon cried, and the tears came into her eyes, for this touched her more than anything; and the memory of aught that she had ever lacked in tenderness towards them all seemed to smite her in the face.
“’Tis a sharp day for the time of year, and there’ll be a frost to-night,” was all old David Hautville said, and strode back into the house, keeping his face well turned away.
The horse that Burr drove was a young animal that he had purchased lately. It was of the stock of the Morgans, and stood with the faithfulness of a sentinel; but when the signal to start was given stepped out proudly as if to a battle charge, with eager tossings of heavy mane and high flings of knees and hoofs; and yet, when fairly on the road, never broke the swift precision of his course.
“He’s got a fine horse there,” Abner Hautville said, in his emphatic bass, as he watched them out of sight; and he further declared that for his part he would be willing to trade the roan for him. Then the boy Richard turned upon him, with a cry that was something between a sob and an oath: “Yes, trade off the roan and all we’ve got left to him, I’ll warrant ye will!” he choked out. Then he was gone, pelting off madly across the fields, with his bold and innocent young heart, that had as yet known no fiercer passion than this for his sister, all aflame with grief and angry jealousy, as of one who sees his best haled off before his eyes, and still with awed submission to a power which he recognizes and understands not.
As Burr and Madelon, setting forth on their wedding-journey, drove down the village street, they met many whom they knew; and had it not been for their self-engrossment they could not have failed to notice and wonder at the cold greetings they received, and the many averted faces which greeted them not at all.
Indeed, Burr did remark upon it when they met Daniel Plympton, who nodded with a surly air and turned his fat and pleasant countenance resolutely away, with a gesture that seemed to belie his own identity.