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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 536 pages of information about Pathfinder; or, the inland sea.

“Many thanks, dear Major; and a speedy termination to an old courtship, of which I know something.  This is real mountain dew, Lundie, and it warms the heart like a gleam of bonnie Scotland.  As for the men you’ve just mentioned, they could have had but one wife a piece; for where there are several, the deeds of the women themselves may carry them different ways.  I think a reasonable husband ought to be satisfied with passing his allotted time with any particular wife in this world, and not to go about moping for things unattainable.  I’m infinitely obliged to you, Major Duncan, for this and all your other acts of friendship; and if you could but add another, I should think you had not altogether forgotten the play-fellow of your boyhood.”

“Well, Davy, if the request be reasonable, and such as a superior ought to grant, out with it, man.”

“If ye could only contrive a little service for me, down among the Thousand Isles, for a fortnight or so, I think this matter might be settled to the satisfaction of all parties.  Just remember, Lundie, the lassie is the only marriageable white female on this frontier.”

“There is always duty for one in your line at a post, however small; but this below can be done by the Sergeant as well as by the Quartermaster-general, and better too.”

“But not better than by a regimental officer.  There is great waste, in common, among the orderlies.”

“I’ll think of it, Muir,” said the Major, laughing, “and you shall have my answer in the morning.  Here will be a fine occasion, man, the morrow, to show yourself off before the lady; you are expert with the rifle, and prizes are to be won.  Make up your mind to display your skill, and who knows what may yet happen before the Scud sails.”

“I’m thinking most of the young men will try their hands in this sport, Major!”

“That will they, and some of the old ones too, if you appear.  To keep you in countenance, I’ll try a shot or two myself, Davy; and you know I have some name that way.”

“It might, indeed, do good.  The female heart, Major Duncan, is susceptible in many different modes, and sometimes in a way that the rules of philosophy might reject.  Some require a suitor to sit down before them, as it might be, in a regular siege, and only capitulate when the place can hold out no longer; others, again, like to be carried by storm; while there are hussies who can only be caught by leading them into an ambush.  The first is the most creditable and officer-like process, perhaps; but I must say I think the last the most pleasing.”

“An opinion formed from experience, out of all question.  And what of the storming parties?”

“They may do for younger men, Lundie,” returned the Quartermaster, rising and winking, a liberty that he often took with his commanding officer on the score of a long intimacy; “every period of life has its necessities, and at forty-seven it’s just as well to trust a little to the head.  I wish you a very good even, Major Duncan, and freedom from gout, with a sweet and refreshing sleep.”

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