Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter V >> Page 63

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Page 63

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription ,irHE LEE SHOYE. Vj
" One dark and threatening evening in September, the wind
blowing a gale which increased in fury as the night came on, a
sail was dimly descried in the distance. In the growing dark-
ness she disappeared. But, through the night, at intervals,
the boomings of a cannon might be heard. These appeals of
terror soon ceased ; swallowed up in the united roar of sea and
storm and thunder. The billows, in mountain rollers, came in
upon the sandy shore. But the tempest did not affright our
wreckers. They welcomed the increasing violence of the storm.
'.They were abroad and busy´┐Ż one of them at least.
Dalton had marked the vessel, dimly seen at sunset, for his
prey. The course of the wind, the season, the violence of the
gale, the proximity of the fated craft to the leeshore, all con-
tributed to fill him with the horrid hope of plunder at the ex-
pense of life and humanity. He stole out from his hovel, under
cover of the darkness, heedless of the driving fury of the wind,
to an elevated hammock of sand, where he fired a beacon of tar-
barrels. What mocking hopes did this blaze awaken in the bosoms
of the hapless creatures in that barque ? He thought nothing of
them. Possibly, other lights were kindled, like those of Dalton,
and with like charitable purposes. The diabolical purpose was
aptly answered by the watchful Fates !
"'That night, while Dalton crouched in his cabin, he fancied
that he heard human voices appealing to him, above all the voices
of the storm. It was not the lingering human feeling within his
heart, which made him listen and tremble with strange and sti-
fling sensations. 13ut, he fancied that he was called by name.
He fancied that the voices were familiar, and it seemed to him
that, in his very ears were syllabled in shrieks, the several words
- brother,'' husband,'" son.' He was paralyzed. A cold
sweat covered his frame. He could not stir. He could not
speak. He sat beside his chimney in a strange stupor, which
forbade that he should either sleep or go forth !
" But habitual guilt is a thing of rare powers of hardihood
and endurance. Cupidity came to his relief. IIe meditated the
great gains of his trade. The prey was in the toils, beyond
possibility of escape, and before the dawn its struggles would
have ceased. rT'lle morning came. With the first gray streak
of light he was forth and upon the sands. The storm had sub-