Upon this subject he spoke with calm earnestness, as if he were sending Reuben to the battle or the chase while he himself remained secure at home, and not as if the human countenance that was about to leave him were the last he would ever behold.
And, Reuben," added he, as the weakness of mortality made its way at last, "return, when your wounds are healed and your weariness refreshed,--return to this wild rock, and lay my bones in the grave, and say a prayer over them.
Reuben was internally convinced that he should see Malvin's living face no more.
Reuben, Reuben," said he, faintly; and Reuben returned and knelt down by the dying man.
As he gave a parting look, a breeze waved the little banner upon the sapling oak and reminded Reuben of his vow.
Dorcas nourished her apprehensions in silence till one afternoon when Reuben awoke from an unquiet sleep, and seemed to recognize her more perfectly than at any previous time.
All acknowledged that he might worthily demand the hand of the fair maiden to whose father he had been "faithful unto death;" and, as my tale is not of love, it shall suffice to say that in the space of a few months Reuben became the husband of Dorcas Malvin.
There was now in the breast of Reuben Bourne an incommunicable thought--something which he was to conceal most heedfully from her whom he most loved and trusted.
In the course of a few years after their marriage changes began to be visible in the external prosperity of Reuben and Dorcas.
The only child of Reuben and Dorcas was a son, now arrived at the age of fifteen years, beautiful in youth, and giving promise of a glorious manhood.
Reuben, a moody man, and misanthropic because unhappy, strode onward with his usual stern brow and downcast eye, feeling few regrets and disdaining to acknowledge any.
Reuben and his son, their muskets on their shoulders and their axes slung behind them, kept an unwearied pace, each watching with a hunter's eye for the game that supplied their food.