“Yes,” resumed his young and timid wife, instantly withdrawing the stolen look she had hazarded, and hurriedly pursuing the train of the discourse, as if glad to make him forget the liberty she had just taken, “I have been told, there are men so base as to perjure themselves at the altar, in order to command the gold of ignorant and confiding girls; and if love of money will lead to such baseness, we may surely expect it will hurry those, who devote themselves to gain, into acts of lesser fraud.”

“It must be so; and now, Inez, though I am here to guard you with my life, and we are in possession of this rock, our difficulties, perhaps our dangers, are not ended. You will summon all your courage to meet the trial and prove yourself a soldier’s wife, my Inez?”

“I am ready to depart this instant. The letter you sent by the physician, had prepared me to hope for the best, and I have every thing arranged for flight, at the shortest warning.”

“Let us then leave this place and join our friends.”

“Friends!” interrupted Inez, glancing her eyes around the little tent in quest of the form of Ellen. “I, too, have a friend who must not be forgotten, but who is pledged to pass the remainder of her life with us. She is gone!”

Middleton gently led her from the spot, as he smilingly answered—

“She may have had, like myself, her own private communications for some favoured ear.”

The young man had not however done justice to the motives of Ellen Wade. The sensitive and intelligent girl had readily perceived how little her presence was necessary in the interview that has just been related, and had retired with that intuitive delicacy of feeling which seems to belong more properly to her sex. She was now to be seen seated on a point of the rock, with her person so entirely enveloped in her dress as to conceal her features. Here she had remained for near an hour, no one approaching to address her, and as it appeared to her own quick and jealous eyes, totally unobserved. In the latter particular, however, even the viligance of the quick-sighted Ellen was deceived.

The first act of Paul Hover, on finding himself the master of Ishmael’s citadel, had been to sound the note of victory, after the quaint and ludicrous manner that is so often practised among the borderers of the West. Flapping his sides with his hands, as the conquering game-cock is wont to do with his wings, he raised a loud and laughable imitation of the exultation of this bird; a cry which might have proved a dangerous challenge had any one of the athletic sons of the squatter been within hearing.

“This has been a regular knock-down and drag-out,” he cried, “and no bones broke! How now, old trapper, you have been one of your training, platoon, rank and file soldiers in your day, and have seen forts taken and batteries stormed before this—am I right?”

“Ay, ay, that have I,” answered the old man, who still maintained his post at the foot of the rock, so little disturbed by what he had just witnessed, as to return the grin of Paul, with a hearty indulgence in his own silent and peculiar laughter; “you have gone through the exploit like men!”

“Now tell me, is it not in rule, to call over the names of the living, and to bury the dead, after every bloody battle?”

“Some did and other some didn’t. When Sir William push’d the German, Dieskau, thro’ the defiles at the foot of the Hori—”

“Your Sir William was a drone to Sir Paul, and knew nothing of regularity. So here begins the rollcall—by the by, old man, what between bee-hunting and buffaloe humps, and certain other matters, I have been too busy to ask your name; for I intend to begin with my rear-guard, well knowing that my man in front is too busy to answer.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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