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The Pathfınder - Chapter 14

 

The Pathfınder - Chapter 4
 
Only a few facts now remain to be told.Through the help of her two friends, Pathfinder and Jasper, Mabel Dunham was thus twice saved from death, or from a fate even worse—within a period of only a few weeks. She now was free to return to Os­wego, and a few days after the Iroquois left, she and the rest of the party set out from Station Island.
 
Sergeant Dunham had died in the meantime, so that the trip back to Oswego was not as happy for Mabel as it might have been. Yet she went in the company of the man whom she was shortly to marry, and so, though losing a father, she gained a husband who was to love and to care for her.
 
The man whom Mabel married was Jasper Western. They were married at Oswego a few weeks after the party returned there. They settled down to live happily in a small house not far from the fort.
 
If it comes as a surprise to the reader that Mabel married Jasper rather than Pathfinder, it should be remembered that Pathfinder had known all along that she was not in love with him. He was much older than she. He was also not the kind of man to attract such a young and pretty girl. Mabel had been brought up in the east and was well educated. He was a simple man of the woods. His only education was that which he had picked up as a hunter and guide.
 
Pathfinder knew all this and was often troubled in his mind. He felt that even though he cared for Mabel very much, he
 
might never be able to make her happy. Therefore, when he discovered that Jasper Western had been in love with Mabel since they first met, and that she in turn loved him, he gave up any claim he had on Mabel’s affections in favor of Jasper.
 
In his usual kind and simple manner, Pathfinder advised Mabel and Jasper to think only of their own happiness and to forget him, except as a good and loyal friend—which he assured them he would always be.
 
Except for one short visit of a few hours which Pathfinder made some months after Jasper and Mabel were married, he passed out of their lives completely. He continued to be famous all through the west as a hunter and guide, but he chose to be stationed at another fort, far away.
 
Several years later, Mabel and Jasper moved to the east, where they joined Charles Cap, Mabel’s uncle. There Jasper went into the shipping business and became a successful business man. Now and then, through the later years, Mabel would receive valuable presents of furs from the west. Her feelings told her where these furs came from, but the name of the sender never accompanied the presents.
 
As to Jasper, who was fortunate enough to marry Mabel, the reader may also be curious to know, before our story ends, how he was freed of the charge of being a traitor to the English cause. The way in which he returned in the Scud to Station Island to help in the victory over the Iroquois would seem to have proven him innocent of such a charge. If this was not enough, an event which took place even before they had left the island, served to establish his loyalty beyond any possible doubt.
 
Mabel and Pathfinder had never lost their trust in Jasper. But Lieutenant Muir, who took over command of the island after the death of Sergeant Dunham, still insisted it was Jasper who had betrayed them to the enemy. He therefore ordered two of the English soldiers to make Jasper prisoner until they should return to Oswego. All of this took place during the period of the signing of the papers of surrender. Lieutenant Muir, Path­finder and Captain Sanglier, the French officer, took part in these conversations. Arrowhead and several English soldiers who stood guard were also present.
 
“Those are my orders,” said Muir when Pathfinder objected
 
strongly to the action against Jasper. “Surely you will not ques­tion my command, which is held in the name of the King.”
 
“I would question the King’s words if they came from the King’s own mouth, did he say that Jasper deserves this,” an­swered Pathfinder. “Has Jasper not just saved all our scalps and helped us to gain a victory?”
 
“It is true that Jasper seemed to serve us in this matter,” said Muir. “But let us not forget what happened earlier. Did not the commanding officer at Oswego warn Sergeant Dunham about him before we left? Have we not seen enough to know that some­one betrayed us to the enemy, and is it not natural to believe that this unfortunate young man has been the traitor?”
 
“Jasper Western is my friend,” insisted Pathfinder. “He is a brave young man, and an honest one. No one of the 55th shall lay hands on him while I can prevent it. You may have com­mand over your soldiers, but you have none over Jasper or me, Mister Muir.”
 
“Good! Bon!” interrupted the French officer, Captain Sang- lier.
 
“Well, since I must speak clearly,” continued Lieutenant Muir, “I must warn you that Captain Sanglier here, and Arrow­head, this brave Tuscarora, have both advised me that this boy is a traitor. After the word of such witnesses, surely you can no longer object to my right to hold him prisoner.”
 
“Captain Sanglier is a brave soldier,” shouted out Jasper at this point. “He will not hesitate to speak the truth. Is there any traitor here, Captain?”
 
“Oui! Yes, sir. In fact, there is,” answered the French captain. 
 
“Too much he here,” suddenly broke in Arrowhead in a voice filled with emotion, seeming to lose control of himself and strik­ing the chest of Muir with the back of his hand. “Where my Indian fighters? Where all the Yankee scalps these men promise me? Too much lie!”
 
Muir, surprised by this sudden turn of events, stepped back and, thinking only to protect himself, reached for a gun. But Arrowhead was too quick for him. With a wild expression in his eye, the Tuscarora looked about him, then drew a long knife which he had kept hidden in his belt, and drove it into the body of Muir. Muir fell to the ground, dying.
 
The act was too sudden to be prevented, and when Arrow­head jumped into the bushes, the white men were too confused to follow. Chingachgook, however, was ready. The bushes had no sooner closed on Arrowhead, when they were again opened by the Serpent, who followed him. It was not long, it should be added, before Chingachgook returned with a new and bloody scalp hanging at his belt.
 
The white men, meanwhile, stood looking down in silence at the body of Lieutenant Muir. Jasper Western understood French perfectly. The words—and more especially the manner— of Captain Sanglier had impressed him.
 
“Speak, monsieur,” he said in English. “Am I the traitor?” The French captain hesitated for a moment. Then he pointed a finger at the body of Muir. “There is your traitor,” he said calmly, and with little show of interest. “It was he who was our friend. Now that he can no longer serve us, I see no reason for not telling the truth.”
 
As he spoke, Sanglier leaned over the body, and putting his hand into the lieutenant’s pocket, drew out a roll of French and English bank notes. These, as though in great disgust, he threw upon the ground. Some of the English soldiers ran over and picked them up.
 
“As you see,” continued Sanglier, “we paid him well.”
 
The French officer then explained that Muir had been working for the French for more than a year, selling them whatever in­formation they needed. Arrowhead had served to carry his mes­sages to and from the enemy. It was also Muir who had written the letter to the English commander at Oswego, naming Jasper as a traitor. The letter had been first sent to Frontenac, copied, and then carried back to the English by Arrowhead. It is hardly necessary to add that all this had been done in order to direct suspicion away from Muir, and that it was he who had be­trayed the position of the island to the enemy.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why was the trip back to Oswego not a happy one for Mabel?
2. Whom did Mabel marry?
3.Where did they settle?
4.Why did Pathfinder give up any claim to Mabel?
5.Where did Pathfinder go after this?
6.What happened to Mabel and Jasper several years later?
7.What did Lieutenant Muir try to do to Jasper?
8.What did Arrowhead do when Muir reached for his gun?
9.What finally happened to Arrowhead?
10.Who did Captain Sanglier say that the traitor had been?
11.What did Sanglier pull out of Muir’s pocket?
12. What did Sanglier reveal about Muir?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
fate                meantime
settle             set out
educate        care for
claim             pick up
loyalty             in favor of
charge            think of
copy                take over command of
suspicion       lay hands on