Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 282

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Page 282

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 282 SOUTHWARD HO
Our preacher was disposed to be merry at the expense of our
lover.
Yes, it is Brough's signal, but feeble, as if the old fellow
was really sick. He has probably passed through this fire,
and has been choked with the smoke. But he must have an
answer."
And, eager to hear from his beloved one, our hero gave his
whistle in reply, and moved forward in the direction of the isth-
mus. The preacher, meanwhile, went toward the camp, quite
prompt in the performance of the duties assigned him.
He answers," muttered the tory captain ; the rebels are
delivered to our hands !" And his preparations were sternly
prosecuted to make a satisfactory finish to the adventure of the
night. He, too, it must be remarked, though somewhat wonder-
ing at the blazing forest behind him, never for a moment divined
the real origin of the conflagration. He ascribed it to acci-
dent, and, possibly, to the carelessness of one of the troopers
whom he left as sentinels. With an internal resolution to make
the fellow, if offending, familiar with the halberds, he pushed
forward, as we have seen, till reaching the swamp ; while the
fire, obeying the course of the wind, swept away to the right of
the path kept by the pursuing party, leaving them entirely with-
out cause of apprehension from this quarter.
The plans of Dunbar, for penetrating the place of Coulter's
refuge, were as judicious as they could be made under the cir-
cumstances. Having brought the troopers to the verge of the
encampment, the negro was fastened to a tree by the same rope
which had so frequently threatened his neck. The tories pushed
forward, each with pistol cocked and ready in the grasp. They
had scattered themselves abroad, so as to form a front sufficient
to cover, at moderate intervals, the space across the isthmus.
But, with the withdrawal of the immediate danger, Brough's
courage returned to him, and, to the furious rage and discomfi-
ture of Dunbar, the old negro set up on a sudden a most bois-
terous African howl´┐Żsuch a song as the Ebo cheers himself
with when in the doubtful neighborhood of a jungle which may
hide the lion or the tiger. ' The sound re-echoed through the
swamp, and startled, with a keen suspicion, not only our captain
of patriots, but the preacher and his associates. Brough's voice