Pathfinder; or, the inland sea eBook

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

“Jasper,” Pathfinder commenced, in a tone so solemn as to thrill on every nerve in his listener’s body, “this has surprised me!  You have kinder feelings towards Mabel than I had thought; and, unless my own mistaken vanity and consait have cruelly deceived me, I pity you, boy, from my soul I do!  Yes, I think I know how to pity any one who has set his heart on a creature like Mabel, unless he sees a prospect of her regarding him as he regards her.  This matter must be cleared up, Eau-douce, as the Delawares say, until there shall not be a cloud ’atween us.”

“What clearing up can it want, Pathfinder?  I love Mabel Dunham, and Mabel Dunham does not love me; she prefers you for a husband; and the wisest thing I can do is to go off at once to the salt water, and try to forget you both.”

“Forget me, Jasper!  That would be a punishment I don’t desarve.  But how do you know that Mabel prefars me?  How do you know it, lad?  To me it seems impossible like!”

“Is she not to marry you, and would Mabel marry a man she does not love?”

“She has been hard urged by the Sergeant, she has; and a dutiful child may have found it difficult to withstand the wishes of a dying parent.  Have you ever told Mabel that you prefarred her, Jasper —­ that you bore her these feelings?”

“Never, Pathfinder.  I would not do you that wrong.”

“I believe you, lad, I do believe you; and I think you would now go off to the salt water, and let the scent die with you.  But this must not be.  Mabel shall hear all, and she shall have her own way, if my heart breaks in the trial, she shall.  No words have ever passed ’atween you, then, Jasper?”

“Nothing of account, nothing direct.  Still, I will own all my foolishness, Pathfinder; for I ought to own it to a generous friend like you, and there will be an end of it.  You know how young people understand each other, or think they understand each other, without always speaking out in plain speech, and get to know each other’s thoughts, or to think they know them, by means of a hundred little ways.”

“Not I, Jasper, not I,” truly answered the guide; for, sooth to say, his advances had never been met with any of that sweet and precious encouragement which silently marks the course of sympathy united to passion.  “Not I, Jasper; I know nothing of all this.  Mabel has always treated me fairly, and said what she has had to say in speech as plain as tongue could tell it.”

“You have had the pleasure of hearing her say that she loved you, Pathfinder?”

“Why, no, Jasper, not just that in words.  She has told me that we never could, never ought to be married; that she was not good enough for me, though she did say that she honored me and respected me.  But then the Sergeant said it was always so with the youthful and timid; that her mother did so and said so afore her; and that I ought to be satisfied if she would consent on any terms to marry me, and therefore I have concluded that all was right, I have.”

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