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.

At the end of the week, Duncan of Lundie sent for Sergeant Dunham, after evening roll-call, on business of a nature that, it was understood, required a personal conference.  The old veteran dwelt in a movable hut, which, being placed on trucks, he could order to be wheeled about at pleasure, sometimes living in one part of the area within the fort, and sometimes in another.  On the present occasion, he had made a halt near the centre; and there he was found by his subordinate, who was admitted to his presence without any delay or dancing attendance in an ante-chamber.  In point of fact, there was very little difference in the quality of the accommodations allowed to the officers and those allowed to the men, the former being merely granted the most room.

“Walk in, Sergeant, walk in, my good friend,” said old Lundie heartily, as his inferior stood in a respectful attitude at the door of a sort of library and bedroom into which he had been ushered; —­ “walk in, and take a seat on that stool.  I have sent for you, man; to discuss anything but rosters and pay-rolls this evening.  It is now many years since we have been comrades, and ‘auld lang syne’ should count for something, even between a major and his orderly, a Scot and a Yankee.  Sit ye down, man, and just put yourself at your ease.  It has been a fine day, Sergeant.”

“It has indeed, Major Duncan,” returned the other, who, though he complied so far as to take the seat, was much too practised not to understand the degree of respect it was necessary to maintain in his manner; “a very fine day, sir, it has been and we may look for more of them at this season.”

“I hope so with all my heart.  The crops look well as it is, man, and you’ll be finding that the 55th make almost as good farmers as soldiers.  I never saw better potatoes in Scotland than we are likely to have in that new patch of ours.”

“They promise a good yield, Major Duncan; and, in that light, a more comfortable winter than the last.”

“Life is progressive, Sergeant, in its comforts as well as in its need of them.  We grow old, and I begin to think it time to retire and settle in life.  I feel that my working days are nearly over.”

“The king, God bless him! sir, has much good service in your honor yet.”

“It may be so, Sergeant Dunham, especially if he should happen to have a spare lieutenant-colonelcy left.”

“The 55th will be honored the day that commission is given to Duncan of Lundie, sir.”

“And Duncan of Lundie will be honored the day he receives it.  But, Sergeant, if you have never had a lieutenant-colonelcy, you have had a good wife, and that is the next thing to rank in making a man happy.”

“I have been married, Major Duncan; but it is now a long time since I have had no drawback on the love I bear his majesty and my duty.”

“What, man! not even the love you bear that active little round-limbed, rosy-cheeked daughter that I have seen in the fort these last few days!  Out upon you, Sergeant! old fellow as I am, I could almost love that little lassie myself, and send the lieutenant-colonelcy to the devil.”

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