Pathfinder; or, the inland sea eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about Pathfinder; or, the inland sea.
This was done with a view to prevent discussions and inquiries that might embarrass our heroine:  she determining to render her uncle, the Corporal, and his men more cautious, by adopting a different course.  Unfortunately, the British army could not have furnished a worse person for the particular duty that he was now required to discharge than Corporal M’Nab, the individual who had been left in command during the absence of Sergeant Dunham.  On the one hand, he was resolute, prompt, familiar with all the details of a soldier’s life, and used to war; on the other, he was supercilious as regards the provincials, opinionated on every subject connected with the narrow limits of his professional practice, much disposed to fancy the British empire the centre of all that is excellent in the world, and Scotland the focus of, at least, all moral excellence in that empire.  In short, he was an epitome, though on a scale suited to his rank, of those very qualities which were so peculiar to the servants of the Crown that were sent into the colonies, as these servants estimated themselves in comparison with the natives of the country; or, in other words, he considered the American as an animal inferior to the parent stock, and viewed all his notions of military service, in particular, as undigested and absurd.  A more impracticable subject, therefore, could not well have offered for the purpose of Mabel, and yet she felt obliged to lose no time in putting her plan in execution.

“My father has left you a responsible command, Corporal,” she said, as soon as she could catch M’Nab a little apart; “for should the island fall into the hands of the enemy, not only should we be captured, but the party that is now out would in all probability become their prisoners also.”

“It needs no journey from Scotland to this place to know the facts needful to be o’ that way of thinking.” returned M’Nab drily.

“I do not doubt your understanding it as well as myself, Mr. M’Nab, but I’m fearful that you veterans, accustomed as you are to dangers and battles, are a little apt to overlook some of the precautions that may be necessary in a situation as peculiar as ours.”

“They say Scotland is no conquered country, young woman, but I’m thinking there must be some mistak’ in the matter, as we, her children, are so drowsy-headed and apt to be o’ertaken when we least expect it.”

“Nay, my good friend, you mistake my meaning.  In the first place, I’m not thinking of Scotland at all, but of this island; and then I am far from doubting your vigilance when you think it necessary to practise it; but my great fear is that there may be danger to which your courage will make you indifferent.”

“My courage, Mistress Dunham, is doubtless of a very pool quality, being nothing but Scottish courage; your father’s is Yankee, and were he here among us we should see different preparations, beyond a doubt.  Well, times are getting wrang, when foreigners hold commissions and carry halberds in Scottish corps; and I no wonder that battles are lost, and campaigns go wrang end foremost.”

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Pathfinder; or, the inland sea from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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