There was a pause in the conversation, when Malachi addressed Mr
Martin wishes me to speak to you, sir, said Malachi.
Martin, said Mr Campbell, looking round for him, and perceiving that
he was not in the room; why, yes, I perceive he is gone out. What is it
that he cannot say himself?
Thats just what I said to him, replied Malachi; but he thought it
were better to come through me; the fact is, sir, that he has taken a
liking to the Strawberry, and wishes to make her his wife.
Yes, sir; I dont think that he would have said anything about it as
yet, but you see, there are so many soldiers here, and that makes him
feel uncomfortable till the thing is settled; and as he cant well marry
while in your service without your leave, he has asked me to speak about
Well, but the Strawberry is your property, not mine, Malachi.
Yes, sir, according to Injun fashion, I am her father; but Ive no
objection, and shant demand any presents for her.
Presents for her! why we in general give presents or money with a
wife, said Emma.
Yes, I know you do, but English wives ant Injun wives; an English wife
requires people to work for her and costs money to keep, but an Injun
wife works for herself and her husband, so she is of value and is
generally bought of the father; I reckon in the end that its cheaper to
pay for an Injun wife than to receive money with an English one; but
thats as may be.
Thats not a very polite speech of yours, Malachi, said Mrs Campbell.
Perhaps it ant, maam, but it is near the mark, nevertheless. Now I am
willing that Martin should have the Strawberry, because I know that he
is a smart hunter, and will keep her well; and somehow or another, I
feel that if he made her his wife, I should be more comfortable; I shall
live with them here close by, and Martin will serve you, and when he has
a wife he will not feel inclined to change service and go into the
think it is an excellent proposal, Malachi, and am much pleased with it,
as we now shall have you all together, said Mrs Campbell.
Yes, maam, so you will, and then Ill be always with the boy to look
after him, and youll always know where we are, and not be frightened.
Very true, Malachi, said Mr Campbell; I consider it a very good
arrangement. We must build you a better lodge than the one that you are
No, sir, not a better one, for if you have all you want, you cant want
more; its big enough, but perhaps not quite near enough. Im thinking
that when the sheep-fold is finished, it might be as well to raise our
lodge inside of the palisades, and then we shall be a sort of guard to
very excellent idea, Malachi. Well, then, as far as I am concerned,
Martin has my full consent to marry as soon as he pleases.
And mine, if it is at all necessary, observed Mrs Campbell.
But who is to marry them? said Emma; they have no chaplain at the
fort; he went away ill last year.
Why, miss, they dont want no chaplain; she is an Injun girl, and he
will marry her Injun fashion.
But what fashion is that, Malachi? said Mary.
Why, miss, hell come to the lodge, and fetch her away to his own
Alfred burst out into laughter. Thats making short work of it, said
Yes, rather too short for my approval, said Mrs Campbell. Malachi,
its very true that the Strawberry is an Indian girl; but we are not
Indians, and Martin is not an Indian, neither are you who stand as her
father; indeed, I cannot consent to give my sanction to such a
Well, maam, as you please, but it appears to me to be all right. If
you go into a country and wish to marry a girl of that country, you
marry her according to the rules of that country. Now, Martin seeks an
Injun squaw, and why not, therefore, marry her after Injun fashion?
You may be right, Malachi, in your argument, said Mrs Campbell; but
still you must make allowances for our prejudices. We never should think
that she was a married woman, if no further ceremony was to take place.
Well, maam, just as you please; but, still, suppose you marry them
after your fashion, the girl wont understand a word that is said, so
what good will it do?
None to her at present, Malachi; but recollect, if she is not a
Christian at present, she may be hereafter; I have often thought upon
that subject, and although I feel it useless to speak to her just now,
yet as soon as she understands English well enough to know what I say to
her, I hope to persuade her to become one. Now, if she should become a
Christian, as I hope in God she will, she then will perceive that she
has not been properly married, and will be anxious to have the ceremony
properly performed over again; so why not do it now?
Well, maam, if it pleases you, I have no objection; Im sure Martin
will have none.
It will please me very much, Malachi, replied Mrs Campbell.
And although there is no chaplain at the fort, observed Mr Campbell,
yet the Colonel can marry in his absence; a marriage by a commanding
officer is quite legal.
Yes, replied Alfred, and so is one by a Captain of a man-of-war.
So be it then, replied Malachi; the sooner the better, for the
soldiers are very troublesome, and I cannot keep them out of my lodge.
Martin, who had remained outside the door, and overheard all that
passed, now came in; the subject was again canvassed, and Martin
returned his thanks for the permission given to him.
Well, said Emma, I little thought we should have a wedding in the
family so soon; this is quite an event. Martin, I wish you joy; you will
have a very pretty and a very good wife.
think so too, miss, replied Martin.
Where is she? said Mary.
She is in the garden, miss, said Malachi, getting out of the way of
the soldiers; now that the work is done, they torment her not a little,
and she is glad to escape from them; Id tell them to go away, but they
dont mind me; they know I must not use my rifle.
should hope not, replied Mrs Campbell; it would be hard to shoot a
good man merely because he wished to marry your daughter.
Why, yes, maam, it would, replied Malachi; so the sooner she is
given to Martin, the sooner we shall have peace.