In spite of all his friendship for the successful wooer, in spite of all his honest, sincere wished for his happiness, we should be unfaithful chroniclers did we not own that Jasper felt his heart bound with an uncontrollable feeling of delight at this admission. It was not that he saw or felt any hope connected with the circumstance; but it was grateful to the jealous covetousness of unlimited love thus to learn that no other ears had heard the sweet confessions that were denied its own.
“Tell me more of this manner of talking without the use of the tongue,” continued Pathfinder, whose countenance was becoming grave, and who now questioned his companion like one who seemed to anticipate evil in the reply. “I can and have conversed with Chingachgook, and with his son Uncas too, in that mode, afore the latter fell; but I didn’t know that young girls practysed this art, and, least of all, Mabel Dunham.”
“’Tis nothing, Pathfinder. I mean only a look, or a smile, or a glance of the eye, or the trembling of an arm or a hand when the young woman has had occasion to touch me; and because I have been weak enough to tremble even at Mabel’s breath, or her brushing me with her clothes, my vain thoughts have misled me. I never spoke plainly to Mabel myself, and now there is no use for it, since there is clearly no hope.”
“Jasper,” returned Pathfinder simply, but with a dignity that precluded further remarks at the moment, “we will talk of the Sergeant’s funeral and of our own departure from this island. After these things are disposed of, it will be time enough to say more of the Sergeant’s daughter. This matter must be looked into, for the father left me the care of his child.”
Jasper was glad enough to change the subject, and the friends separated, each charged with the duty most peculiar to his own station and habits.
That afternoon all the dead were interred, the grave of Sergeant Dunham being dug in the centre of the glade, beneath the shade of a huge elm. Mabel wept bitterly at the ceremony, and she found relief in thus disburthening her sorrow. The night passed tranquilly, as did the whole of the following day, Jasper declaring that the gale was too severe to venture on the lake. This circumstance detained Captain Sanglier also, who did not quit the island until the morning of the third day after the death of Dunham, when the weather had moderated, and the wind had become fair. Then, indeed, he departed, after taking leave of the Pathfinder, in the manner of one who believed he was in company of a distinguished character for the last time. The two separated like those who respect one another, while each felt that the other was all enigma to himself.
Playful she turn’d that he might see
The passing smile her cheek put on;
But when she marked how mournfully
His eyes met hers, that smile was gone.