‘ “In his way, Mr. Sympson honestly wished you well. All he has done, or intended to do, he believed to be for the best.”

‘ “You are kind to undertake the defence of a man who has permitted himself to treat you with so much insolence.’

‘ “I never feel shocked at, or bear malice for, what is spoken in character; and most perfectly in character was that vulgar and violent onset against me, when he had quitted you worsted.”

‘ “You cease now to be Henry’s tutor?”

‘ “I shall be parted from Henry for awhile (if he and I live, we shall meet again somehow, for we love each other), and be ousted from the bosom of the Sympson family for ever. Happily this change does not leave me stranded; it but hurries into premature execution designs long formed.”

‘ “No change finds you off your guard. I was sure, in your calm way, you would be prepared for sudden mutation. I always think you stand in the world like a solitary, but watchful, thoughtful, archer in a wood, and the quiver on your shoulder holds more arrows than one; your bow is provided with a second string. Such, too, is your brother’s wont. You too might go forth homeless hunters to the loneliest western wilds; all would be well with you. The hewn tree would make you a hut, the cleared forest yield you fields from its stripped bosom, the buffalo would feel your rifleshot, and with lowered horns and hump pay homage at your feet.”

‘ “And any Indian tribe of Black-feet or Flat-heads would afford us a bride, perhaps?”

‘ “No” (hesitating); “I think not. The savage is sordid. I think—that is, I hope—you would neither of you share your hearth with that to which you could not give your heart.”

‘ “What suggested the wild West to your mind, Miss Keeldar? Have you been with me in spirit when I did not see you? Have you entered into my day-dreams, and beheld my brain labouring at its scheme of a future?”

‘She had separated a slip of paper for lighting tapers —a spill, as it is called—into fragments. She threw morsel by morsel into the fire, and stood pensively watching them consume. She did not speak.

‘ “How did you learn what you seem to know about my intentions?”

‘ “I know nothing; I am only discovering them now. I spoke at hazard.”

‘Your hazard sounds like divination. A tutor I will never be again—never take a pupil after Henry and yourself; not again will I sit habitually at another man’s table—no more be the appendage of a family. I am now a man of thirty; I have never been free since I was a boy of ten. I have such a thirst for Freedom —such a deep passion to know her and call her mine— such a day-desire and a night-longing to win her and possess her, I will not refuse to cross the Atlantic for her sake; her I will follow deep into virgin woods. Mine it shall not be to accept a savage girl as a slave; she could not be a wife. I know no white woman whom I love that would accompany me; but I am certain Liberty will await me, sitting under a pine; when I call her she will come to my loghouse, and she shall fill my arms.”

‘She could not hear me speak so unmoved, and she was moved. It was right—I meant to move her. She could not answer me, nor could she look at me; I should have been sorry if she could have done either. Her cheek glowed as if a crimson flower, through whose petals the sun shone, had cast its light upon it. On the white lid and dark lashes of her downcast eye trembled all that is graceful in the sense of half-painful, half-pleasing shame.

‘Soon she controlled her emotion, and took all her feelings under command. I saw she had felt insurrection, and was waking to empire—she sat down. There was that in her face which I could read; it said, “I see

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