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A Red Girl’s Reasoning
by [?]

“Be pretty good to her, Charlie, my boy, or she’ll balk sure as shooting.”

That was what old Jimmy Robinson said to his brand new son-in-law, while they waited for the bride to reappear.

“Oh! you bet, there’s no danger of much else. I’ll be good to her, help me Heaven,” replied Charlie McDonald, brightly.

“Yes, of course you will,” answered the old man, “but don’t you forget, there’s a good big bit of her mother in her, and,” closing his left eye significantly, “you don’t understand these Indians as I do.”

“But I’m just as fond of them, Mr. Robinson,” Charlie said assertively, “and I get on with them too, now, don’t I?”

“Yes, pretty well for a town boy; but when you have lived forty years among these people, as I have done; when you have had your wife as long as I have had mine–for there’s no getting over it, Christine’s disposition is as native as her mother’s, every bit–and perhaps when you’ve owned for eighteen years a daughter as dutiful, as loving, as fearless, and, alas! as obstinate as that little piece you are stealing away from me to-day–I tell you, youngster, you’ll know more than you know now. It is kindness for kindness, bullet for bullet, blood for blood. Remember, what you are, she will be,” and the old Hudson Bay trader scrutinized Charlie McDonald’s face like a detective.

It was a happy, fair face, good to look at, with a certain ripple of dimples somewhere about the mouth, and eyes that laughed out the very sunniness of their owner’s soul. There was not a severe nor yet a weak line anywhere. He was a well-meaning young fellow, happily dispositioned, and a great favorite with the tribe at Robinson’s Post, whither he had gone in the service of the Department of Agriculture, to assist the local agent through the tedium of a long census-taking.

As a boy he had had the Indian relic-hunting craze, as a youth he had studied Indian archaeology and folk-lore, as a man he consummated his predilections for Indianology, by loving, winning and marrying the quiet little daughter of the English trader, who himself had married a native woman twenty years ago. The country was all backwoods, and the Post miles and miles from even the semblance of civilization, and the lonely young Englishman’s heart had gone out to the girl who, apart from speaking a very few words of English, was utterly uncivilized and uncultured, but had withal that marvellously innate refinement so universally possessed by the higher tribes of North American Indians.

Like all her race, observant, intuitive, having a horror of ridicule, consequently quick at acquirement and teachable in mental and social habits, she had developed from absolute pagan indifference into a sweet, elderly Christian woman, whose broken English, quiet manner, and still handsome copper-colored face, were the joy of old Robinson’s declining years.

He had given their daughter Christine all the advantages of his own learning–which, if truthfully told, was not universal; but the girl had a fair common education, and the native adaptability to progress.

She belonged to neither and still to both types of the cultured Indian. The solemn, silent, almost heavy manner of the one so commingled with the gesticulating Frenchiness and vivacity of the other, that one unfamiliar with native Canadian life would find it difficult to determine her nationality.

She looked very pretty to Charles McDonald’s loving eyes, as she reappeared in the doorway, holding her mother’s hand and saying some happy words of farewell. Personally she looked much the same as her sisters, all Canada through, who are the offspring of red and white parentage–olive-complexioned, gray-eyed, black-haired, with figure slight and delicate, and the wistful, unfathomable expression in her whole face that turns one so heart-sick as they glance at the young Indians of to-day–it is the forerunner too frequently of “the white man’s disease,” consumption–but McDonald was pathetically in love, and thought her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life.