Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 275

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Page 275

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE ORDEAL OF ROPE AND TREE.. 275 CHAPTER IV.
THE moment she had disappeared from the kitchen, the ne
gro was taken forth by the captain of loyalists, who by this time
had surrounded himself with nearly all his band. A single sol-
dier had been stationed by Clymes between the house and
kitchen, in order to arrest the approach of any of the whites from
the former to the scene where Brough was about to undergo a cer-
tain painful ordeal. The stout old African, doggedly, with a,
single shake of his head, obeyed his captors, as they ordered
him to a neighboring wood � a small copse of scrubby oaks, that
lay between the settlement and the swamp forest along the river.
Here, without delay, Brough was commanded, on pain of rope
and hickory, to deliver up the secret of Richard Coulter's hiding-
place. But the old fellow had promised to be faithful. He
stubbornly refused to know or to reveal anything. The scene
which followed is one that we do not care to describe in detail.
The reader must imagine its particulars. Let it suffice that the
poor old creature was haltered by the neck, and drawn up re-
peatedly to the swinging limb of a tree, until the moral nature,
feeble at least, and overawed by the terrors of the last mortal
agony, surrendered in despair. Brough consented to conduct the
party to the biding-place of Richard Coulter.
The savage nature of Matthew Dunbar was now in full exer-
cise.
" Boot and saddle !" was the cry ; and, with the negro, both
arms pinioned, and running at the Lead of one of the dragoon's
horses, leashed to the stirrup-leather, and in constant danger,
should he be found tripping, of a sudden sabre cut, the whole
party, with two exceptions, made their way down the country,
and under the guidance of the African. Two of the soldiers had
been placed in watch upon the premises, with instructions, how-
ever, to keep from sight, and not suffer their proximity to be
suspected. But the suspicion of such an arrangement in exist-
ence was now natural enough to a mind, like that of Frederica
Sabb, made wary by her recent misfortune. She was soon ap-
prized of the departure of the loyalist troop. She was soon
taught to fear from the weakness of poor Brough. What was