This was not uttered boastfully, but with the honest confidence of one who well knew that by whatever name others might have heard of him, who had no reason to blush at the reports. The effect on Mabel was instantaneous. The moment she heard the last sobriquet she clasped her hands eagerly and repeated the word “Pathfinder!”
“So they call me, young woman, and many a great lord has got a title that he did not half so well merit; though, if truth be said, I rather pride myself in finding my way where there is no path, than in finding it where there is. But the regular troops are by no means particular, and half the time they don’t know the difference between a trail and a path, though one is a matter for the eye, while the other is little more than scent.”
“Then you are the friend my father promised to send to meet us?”
“If you are Sergeant Dunham’s daughter, the great Prophet of the Delawares never uttered more truth.”
“I am Mabel; and yonder, hid by the trees, are my uncle, whose name is Cap, and a Tuscarora called Arrowhead. We did not hope to meet you until we had nearly reached the shores of the lake.”
“I wish a juster-minded Indian had been your guide,” said Pathfinder; “for I am no lover of the Tuscaroras, who have travelled too far from the graves of their fathers always to remember the Great Spirit; and Arrowhead is an ambitious chief. Is the Dew-of-June with him?”
“His wife accompanies us, and a humble and mild creature she is.”
“Ay, and true-hearted; which is more than any who know him will say of Arrowhead. Well, we must take the fare that Providence bestows, while we follow the trail of life. I suppose worse guides might have been found than the Tuscarora; though he has too much Mingo blood for one who consorts altogether with the Delawares.”
“It is, then, perhaps, fortunate we have met,” said Mabel.
“It is not misfortunate, at any rate; for I promised the Sergeant I would see his child safe to the garrison, though I died for it. We expected to meet you before you reached the Falls, where we have left our own canoe; while we thought it might do no harm to come up a few miles, in order to be of service if wanted. It is lucky we did, for I doubt if Arrowhead be the man to shoot the current.”
“Here come my uncle and the Tuscarora, and our parties can now join.” As Mabel concluded, Cap and Arrowhead, who saw that the conference was amicable, drew nigh; and a few words sufficed to let them know as much as the girl herself had learned from the strangers. As soon as this was done, the party proceeded towards the two who still remained near the fire.
Yea! long as Nature’s humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled
By simple sacrifice,
Earth’s fairest scenes are all his own,
He is a monarch and his throne
Is built amid the skies!