Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 267

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription MAVI1 DUNBAR'S VISIT. 267
sions were always eager in the desire which led him to seek for
this particular victim. The contest was a well-known issue of
life and death. The fugitive patriot was predoomed always to
the halter, by those, who desired to pacify old revenges, or ac-
quire new estates. Dunbar did not actually know that Coulter
and Frederica Sabb were in the habit of meeting ; but that they
had met, he knew, and he had sworn their detection. IIe had
become a declared suitor of that maiden, and the fears of old
Sabb would not suffer him to decline his attentions to his daugh-
ter, or to declare against them. Dunbar had become notoriously
an unmitigated ruffian. His insolence disgusted the old Dutch-
man, who, nevertheless, feared his violence and influence. Still,
sustained by good old l\Tinnicker Sabb, his vrow, the father had
the firmness to tell Dunbar freely, that his daughter's affections
should remain unforced ; while the daughter herself, seeing the
strait of her parents, was equally careful to avoid the final ne-
cessity of repulsing her repulsive suitor. She continued, by a
happy assertion of maidenly dignity, to keep him at bay, with-
out vexing his self-esteem ; and to receive him with civility, with-
out affording him positive encouragement. Such was the con-
dition of things among our several parties, when the partisan war
began ; when the favorite native leaders in the south the first
panic of their people having passed´┐Żbad rallied their little
squads, in swamp and thicket, and were making those first de-
monstrations which began to disquiet the British authorities, ren-
dering them doubtful of the conquests which they had so lately
deemed secure. This, be it remembered, was after the defeat
of Gates at Camden, when there was no sign of a Continental
aimy withhi the state.
It was at the close of a cloudy afternoon, late in October,
1780, when Mat Dunbar, with a small command of eighteen
mounted men, approached the well-known farmstead of Fred-
erick Sabb. The road lay along the west bank of the eastern
branch of the Edisto, inclining to or receding from the river, in
correspondence with the width of the swamp, or the sinuosities
of the stream. The farm of Sabb was bounded on one side by
the river, and his cottage stood within a mile of it. Between,
however, the lands were entirely uncleared. The woods offered
a physical barrier to the malaria of the swamp ; while the ground,