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.

“Many of the scouts and guides are desperate knaves; and, like the Quartermaster here, some of them take pay of both sides.  I hope I’m not one of them, though all occupations lead to temptations.  Thrice have I been sorely tried in my life, and once I yielded a little, though I hope it was not in a matter to disturb a man’s conscience in his last moments.  The first time was when I found in the woods a pack of skins that I knowed belonged to a Frencher who was hunting on our side of the lines, where he had no business to be; twenty-six as handsome beavers as ever gladdened human eyes.  Well, that was a sore temptation; for I thought the law would have been almost with me, although it was in peace times.  But then, I remembered that such laws wasn’t made for us hunters, and bethought me that the poor man might have built great expectations for the next winter on the sale of his skins; and I left them where they lay.  Most of our people said I did wrong; but the manner in which I slept that night convinced me that I had done right.  The next trial was when I found the rifle that is sartainly the only one in this part of the world that can be calculated on as surely as Killdeer, and knowed that by taking it, or even hiding it, I might at once rise to be the first shot in all these parts.  I was then young, and by no means so expart as I have since got to be, and youth is ambitious and striving; but, God be praised!  I mastered that feeling; and, friend Cap, what is almost as good, I mastered my rival in as fair a shooting-match as was ever witnessed in a garrison; he with his piece, and I with Killdeer, and before the General in person too!” Here Pathfinder stopped to laugh, his triumph still glittering in his eyes and glowing on his sunburnt and browned cheek.  “Well, the next conflict with the devil was the hardest of them all; and that was when I came suddenly upon a camp of six Mingos asleep in the woods, with their guns and horns piled in away that enabled me to get possession of them without waking a miscreant of them all.  What an opportunity that would have been for the Sarpent, who would have despatched them, one after another, with his knife, and had their six scalps at his girdle, in about the time it takes me to tell you the story.  Oh, he’s a valiant warrior, that Chingachgook, and as honest as he’s brave, and as good as he’s honest!”

“And what may you have done in this matter, Master Pathfinder?” demanded Cap, who began to be interested in the result; “it seems to me you had made either a very lucky, or a very unlucky landfall.”

“’Twas lucky, and ’twas unlucky, if you can understand that.  ’Twas unlucky, for it proved a desperate trial; and yet ’twas lucky, all things considered, in the ind.  I did not touch a hair of their heads, for a white man has no nat’ral gifts to take scalps; nor did I even make sure of one of their rifles.  I distrusted myself, knowing that a Mingo is no favorite in my own eyes.”

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