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Colin of the Ninth Concession
Chapter XLIV - A Lover’s Anxiety

IT was but a very few weeks after the shooting of Simon that hostilities ceased, and the Union troops returned to the North. The two young Canadians, who with thousands of their countrymen had participated in the great struggle with honour to themselves and credit to the cause, shared in the plaudits which greeted the troops as they marched through the northern towns and cities upon their triumphant return.

Both Willie and Colin bore marks of the struggle from which they had just emerged. None of the wounds which Colin had received were of a serious character, although some of the marks he will carry to the grave with him. Willie’s had been more serious, and he had a number of minor scars which to the present day he is proud to exhibit. The two young men were treated in the most generous and flattering manner by the military authorities. Willie was offered a commission in the standing army, and decided to accept it, — for a time at least, or until he should settle upon his plans for the future. Colin was also offered

a position, but as the bent of his mind was against war and a military career, he declined it. At the time of disbandment, he had attained the rank of captain, and was gazetted to that of major in the militia, but as he was not fond of military titles, he declined to use his in after life.

As might be expected, the Rolphes gave the two young men the warmest kind of a welcome, while Jamie was delighted beyond measure over the safe return of his brothers and their honourable record.

Willie, who had learned much in the war, and who had developed wondrously, was soon upon the best of terms with Helen, who, during the four years of his absence, had grown into womanhood. The young man, if he was in love before he left, was fairly enraptured upon his return. She treated him with the utmost frankness and respect, his career-in-arms having strongly appealed to the young woman. She had always regarded Willie as a hero, since he had saved her life at the burning building, and when he joined the troops she looked for a corresponding distinction. Indeed, she would have concluded that some evil genius had intervened, if Willie had not distinguished himself upon the field, and she regarded his promotion as the most natural thing that could have occurred. In a word, she was proud of Willie, and when a girl is proud of a young man, the path to her heart, if it has not already been trodden, is an easy one.

Even Willie, who was not an expert lover, and who stood in great awe of the gentler sex, was not slow in realising the altered condition of the situation since he had left, over four years ago, and it may easily be surmised what joy was in his soul as a consequence.

He was often at the Rolphe home, where both Mr. and Mrs. Rolphe extended him the most genial and hearty welcome. He could not but feel from the nature of their conduct towards him, and from the uninterrupted freedom of intercourse which they permitted between himself and their daughter, that he was regarded as worthy of her. If they did not positively encourage his attentions to Helen, they at least approved of them. Truth to say, both Mr. and Mrs. Rolphe were proud of the young man. They respected his noble courage and the manliness of his character, and if the time ever came when the happiness of their much-loved daughter had to be entrusted to another, they would prefer such a son-in-law as they knew the young man would make.

But it was not the disposition of Mr. or Mrs. Rolphe’s minds that Willie was anxious about; it was the nature of Helen’s feelings towards himself that caused him the keenest anxiety.

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