Momentary, however, was the duration of this scene. Furious with anger at the evident disgust of his victim, Wacousta no sooner saw her sink into the arms of her lover, than with that agility for which he was remarkable he was again on his feet, and stood in the next instant at her side. Uniting to the generous strength of his manhood all that was wrung from his mingled love and despair, the officer clasped his hands round the waist of the drooping Clara; and with clenched teeth, and feet firmly set, seemed resolved to defy every effort of the warrior to remove her. Not a word was uttered on either side; but in the fierce smile that curled the lip of the savage, there spoke a language even more terrible than the words that smile implied. Sir Everard could not suppress an involuntary shudder; and when at length Wacousta, after a short but violent struggle, succeeded in again securing and bearing off his prize, the wretchedness of soul of the former was indescribable.
“You see ’tis vain to struggle against your destiny, Clara de Haldimar,” sneered the warrior. “Ours is but a rude nuptial couch, it is true; but the wife of an Indian chief must not expect the luxuries of Europe in the heart of an American wilderness.”
“Almighty Heaven! where am I?” exclaimed the wretched girl, again unclosing her eyes to all the horror of her position; for again she lay at the side, and within the encircling arm, of her enemy. “Oh, Sir Everard Valletort, I thought I was with you, and that you had saved me from this monster. Where is my brother?—Where are Frederick and Madeline?—“Why have they deserted me?—Ah! my heart will break. I cannot endure this longer, and live.”
“Clara, Miss de Haldimar,” groaned Sir Everard, in a voice of searching agony; “could I lay down my life for you, I would; but you see these bonds. Oh God! oh God! have pity on the innocent; and for once incline the heart of yon fierce monster to the whisperings of mercy.” As he uttered the last sentence, he attempted to sink on his knees in supplication to Him he addressed, but the tension of the cord prevented him; yet were his hands clasped, and his eyes upraised to heaven, while his countenance beamed with an expression of fervent enthusiasm.