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.

“Not he, not he; he is as prudent as he is brave, in the main, though so forgetful of himself in the late ambushment.  Hark’e, Jasper,” leading the other a little aside, just as they heard the Indian’s plunge into the water, —­“hark’e, lad; Chingachgook is not a Christian white man, like ourselves, but a Mohican chief, who has his gifts and traditions to tell him what he ought to do; and he who consorts with them that are not strictly and altogether of his own kind had better leave natur’ and use to govern his comrades.  A king’s soldier will swear and he will drink, and it is of little use to try to prevent him; a gentleman likes his delicacies, and a lady her feathers and it does not avail much to struggle against either; whereas an Indian’s natur’ and gifts are much stronger than these, and no doubt were bestowed by the Lord for wise ends, though neither you nor me can follow them in all their windings.”

“What does this mean?  See, the Delaware is swimming towards the body that is lodged on the rock?  Why does he risk this?”

“For honor and glory and renown, as great gentlemen quit their quiet homes beyond seas —­ where, as they tell me, heart has nothing left to wish for; that is, such hearts as can be satisfied in a clearing —­ to come hither to live on game and fight the Frenchers.”

“I understand you —­ your friend has gone to secure the scalp.”

“’Tis his gift, and let him enjoy it.  We are white men, and cannot mangle a dead enemy; but it is honor in the eyes of a red-skin to do so.  It may seem singular to you, Eau-douce, but I’ve known white men of great name and character manifest as remarkable idees consarning their honor, I have.”

“A savage will be a savage, Pathfinder, let him keep what company he may.”

“It is well for us to say so, lad; but, as I tell you, white honor will not always conform to reason or to the will of God.  I have passed days thinking of these matters, out in the silent woods, and I have come to the opinion, boy, that, as Providence rules all things, no gift is bestowed without some wise and reasonable end.”

“The Serpent greatly exposes himself to the enemy, in order to get his scalp!  This may lose us the day.”

“Not in his mind, Jasper.  That one scalp has more honor in it, according to the Sarpent’s notions of warfare, than a field covered with slain, that kept the hair on their heads.  Now, there was the fine young captain of the 60th that threw away his life in trying to bring off a three-pounder from among the Frenchers in the last skrimmage we had; he thought he was sarving honor; and I have known a young ensign wrap himself up in his colors, and go to sleep in his blood, fancying that he was lying on something softer even than buffalo-skins.”

“Yes, yes; one can understand the merit of not hauling down an ensign.”

“And these are Chingachgook’s colors —­ he will keep them to show his children’s children —­ " Here the Pathfinder interrupted himself, shook his head in melancholy, and slowly added, “Ah’s me! no shoot of the old Mohican stem remains!  He has no children to delight with his trophies; no tribe to honor by his deeds; he is a lone man in this world, and yet he stands true to his training and his gifts!  There is something honest and respectable in these, you must allow, Jasper.”

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