“I understand you, Mabel, and have no hard feelings, I haven’t. I sometimes think I should like to live in your neighborhood, that I might look at your happiness; but, on the whole, it’s better I should quit the 55th altogether, and go back to the 60th, which is my natyve rigiment, as it might be. It would have been better, perhaps, had I never left it, though my sarvices were much wanted in this quarter, and I’d been with some of the 55th years agone; Sergeant Dunham, for instance, when he was in another corps. Still, Jasper, I do not regret that I’ve known you — "
“And me, Pathfinder!” impetuously interrupted Mabel; “do you regret having known me? Could I think so, I should never be at peace with myself.”
“You, Mabel!” returned the guide, taking the hand of our heroine and looking up into her countenance with guileless simplicity, but earnest affection; “How could I be sorry that a ray of the sun came across the gloom of a cheerless day — that light has broken in upon darkness, though it remained so short a time? I do not flatter myself with being able to march quite so light-hearted as I once used to could, or to sleep as sound, for some time to come; but I shall always remember how near I was to being undeservedly happy, I shall. So far from blaming you, Mabel, I only blame myself for being so vain as to think it possible I could please such a creatur’; for sartainly you told me how it was, when we talked it over on the mountain, and I ought to have believed you then; for I do suppose it’s nat’ral that young women should know their own minds better than their fathers. Ah’s me! It’s settled now, and nothing remains but for me to take leave of you, that you may depart; I feel that Master Cap must be impatient, and there is danger of his coming on shore to look for us all.”
“To take leave!” exclaimed Mabel.
“Leave!” echoed Jasper; “You do not mean to quit us, my friend?”
“’Tis best, Mabel, ’tis altogether best, Eau-douce; and it’s wisest. I could live and die in your company, if I only followed feeling; but, if I follow reason, I shall quit you here. You will go back to Oswego, and become man and wife as soon as you arrive, — for all that is determined with Master Cap, who hankers after the sea again, and who knows what is to happen, — while I shall return to the wilderness and my Maker. Come, Mabel,” continued Pathfinder, rising and drawing nearer to our heroine, with grave decorum, “kiss me; Jasper will not grudge me one kiss; then we’ll part.”
“Oh, Pathfinder!” exclaimed Mabel, falling into the arms of the guide, and kissing his cheeks again and again, with a freedom and warmth she had been far from manifesting while held to the bosom of Jasper; “God bless you, dearest Pathfinder! You’ll come to us hereafter. We shall see you again. When old, you will come to our dwelling, and let me be a daughter to you?”