“Had I been a cold-blooded villain—a selfish and remorseless seducer,” continued Wacousta with vehemence —“what was to have prevented my triumph at that moment? But I came not to blight the flower that had long been nurtured, though unseen, with the life-blood of my own being. Whatever I may be now, I was then the soul of disinterestedness and honour; and had she reposed on the bosom of her own father, that devoted and unresisting girl could not have been pressed there with holier tenderness. But even to this there was too soon a term. The hour of parting at length arrived, announced, as before, by the small bell of her father, and I again tore myself from her arms; not, however, without first securing the treasured letter, and obtaining a promise from your mother that I should receive another at each succeeding visit.”
“Nearly a month passed away in this manner; and at each interview our affection seemed to increase. The days of our meeting were ever days of pure and unalloyed happiness; while the alternate ones of absence were, on my part, occupied chiefly with reading the glowing letters given me at each parting by your mother. Of all these, however, there was not one so impassioned, so natural, so every way devoted, as the first. Not that she who wrote them felt less, but that the emotion excited in her bosom by the manifestation of mine on that occasion, had imparted a diffidence to her style of expression, plainly indicating the source whence it sprung.
“One day, while preparing to set out on my customary excursion, a report suddenly reached me that the route had arrived for the regiment, who were to march from —— within three days. This intelligence I received with inconceivable delight; for it had been settled between your mother and myself, that this should be the moment chosen for her departure. It was not to be supposed (and I should have been both pained and disappointed had it been otherwise,) that she would consent to abandon her parent without some degree of regret; but, having foreseen this objection from the first, I had gradually prepared her for the sacrifice. This was the less difficult, as he appeared never to have treated her with affection, —seldom with the marked favour that might have been presumed to distinguish the manner of a father towards a lovely and only daughter. Living for himself and the indulgence of his misanthropy alone, he cared little for the immolation of his child’s happiness on its unhallowed shrine; and this was an act of injustice I had particularly dwelt upon; upheld in truth, as it was, by the knowledge she herself possessed, that no consideration could induce him to bestow her hand on any one individual of a race he so cordially detested; and this was not without considerable weight in her decision.