As Pathfinder and his military friend descended the hill to the shore of the lake, the discourse did not flag. The latter continued to persuade the former that his diffidence alone prevented complete success with Mabel, and that he had only to persevere in order to prevail. Pathfinder was much too modest by nature, and had been too plainly, though so delicately, discouraged in the recent interview to believe all he heard; still the father used so many arguments which seemed plausible, and it was so grateful to fancy that the daughter might yet be his, that the reader is not to be surprised when he is told that this unsophisticated being did not view Mabel’s recent conduct in precisely the light in which he may be inclined to view it himself. He did not credit all that the Sergeant told him, it is true; but he began to think virgin coyness and ignorance of her own feelings might have induced Mabel to use the language she had.
“The Quartermaster is no favorite,” said Pathfinder in answer to one of his companion’s remarks. “Mabel will never look on him as more than one who has had four or five wives already.”
“Which is more than his share. A man may marry twice without offence to good morals and decency, I allow! but four times is an aggravation.”
“I should think even marrying once what Master Cap calls a circumstance,” put in Pathfinder, laughing in his quiet way, for by this time his spirits had recovered some of their buoyancy.
“It is, indeed, my friend, and a most solemn circumstance too. If it were not that Mabel is to be your wife, I would advise you to remain single. But here is the girl herself, and discretion is the word.”
“Ah’s me, Sergeant, I fear you are mistaken!”
Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view.
Mabel was in waiting on the beach, and the canoe was soon launched. Pathfinder carried the party out through the surf in the same skillful manner that he had brought it in; and though Mabel’s color heightened with excitement, and her heart seemed often ready to leap out of her mouth again, they reached the side of the Scud without having received even a drop of spray.
Ontario is like a quick-tempered man, sudden to be angered, and as soon appeased. The sea had already fallen; and though the breakers bounded the shore, far as the eye could reach, it was merely in lines of brightness, that appeared and vanished like the returning waves produced by a stone which had been dropped into a pool. The cable of the Scud was scarcely seen above the water, and Jasper had already hoisted his sails, in readiness to depart as soon as the expected breeze from the shore should fill the canvas.
It was just sunset as the cutter’s mainsail flapped and its stem began to sever the water. The air was light and southerly, and the head of the vessel was kept looking up along the south shore, it being the intention to get to the eastward again as fast as possible. The night that succeeded was quiet; and the rest of those who slept deep and tranquil.