Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 276

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 276 SOUTHWARD HO !
to be done ? Was her lover to be caught in the toils ? Was
she to become indirectly the agent of his destruction ? She de-
termined at all events to forego no effort by which to effect his
escape. She was a girl of quick wit and prompt expedients.
No longer exposing herself in her white cotton garments, she
wrapped herself closely up in the great brown overcoat of her
father, which buried her person from head to foot. She stole
forth from the front entrance with cautious footsteps, employing
tree and shrub for her shelter whenever they offered. In this
way she moved forward to a spot inclining to the river, but
taking an upward route, one which she naturally concluded had
been left without a guard. But her objects required finally that
she should change her course, and take the downward path, as
soon as she could persuade herself that her progress was fairly
under cover. Still she knew not but that she was seen, and
perhaps followed, as well as watched. The spy might arrest
her at the very moment when she was most hopeful of her
object. How to guard against this danger ? How to attain the
necessary security ? The question was no sooner formed than
answered. Her way lay through a wilderness of leaves. The
silent droppings from the trees for many years had accumulated
around her, and their constant crinkling beneath her tread,
drawing her notice to this source of fear, suggested to her the
means of safety. There had not been a rain for many weeks.
The earth was parched with thirst.. The drought had driven
the sap from shrub and plant ; and just below, on the very route
taken by the pursuing party, a natural meadow, a long, thin
strip, the seat of a bayou or lake long since dried up, was cov-
ered with a rank forest of broom-grass, parched and dried by
the sun. The wind was fresh, and driving right below. To
one familiar with the effect of firing the woods in a southern
country under such circumstances, the idea which possessed the
mind of our heroine was almost intuitive. She immediately stole
back to the house, her eagerness finding wings, which, however,
did not betray her caution. The sentinels of Dunbar kept easy
watch, but she had not been unseen. The cool, deliberate tort'
had more than once fitted his finger to the trigger of his horse-
man's pistol, as he beheld the approach toward him of the shroud-
ed figure. But he was not disposed to show himself, or to give