Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 283

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE RANDOM BULLET. 2,33
was well known to them all ; but that Brough should use it after
such a fashion was quite as unexpected to them as to Dunbar
and his tories. One of the latter immediately dropped back, in-
tending to knock the negro regularly on the head ; and, doubt-
less, such would have been the fate of the fellow, had it not been
for the progress of events which called him elsewhere. Richard
Coulter had pressed forward at double quick time as he heard
the wild chant of the African, and, being familiar with the re-
gion, it occupied but little space to enable him to reach the line
across which the party of Dunbar was slowly making its way.
Hearing but a single footfall, and obtaining a glimpse of a single
figure only, Coulter repeated his whistle. He was answered
with a pistol shot´┐Żanother and another followed ; and he had
time only to wind his bugle, giving the signal of flight to his
comrades, when he felt a sudden sickness at his heart, and a
faintness which only did not affect his judgment. IIe could still
feel his danger, and his strength sufficed to enable him to roll
himself close beside the massive trunk of the cypress, upon which
he had unhappily been perched when his whistle drew the fire
upon him of several of the approaching party-. Scarcely had.
he thus covered himself from a random search when he sunk into
insensibility.'
Meanwhile, Bear Castle," rang with the signals of alarm and
assault. At the first sound of danger, Elijah Fields dashed for-
ward in the direction which Coulter had taken. But the pri-
vate signal which he sounded for the other was unanswered, and
the assailants were now breaking through the swamp, and were
to be heard on every hand. To retreat, to rally his comrades,
to mount their steeds, dash into the river and take the stream,
was all the work of an instant. From the middle of the sweep-
ing current the shouts of hate and defiance came to the ears of
the tories as they broke from the copse and appeared on the
banks of the river. A momentary glimpse of the dark bulk of
one or more steeds as they whirled round an interposing head-
laud, drew from them the remaining bullets in their pistols, but
without success ; and, ignorant of the effect of a random bullet
upon the very person whom, of all, he most desired to destroy,
Mat Dunbar felt himself once more foiled in a. pursuit which he
had this time undertaken with every earnest of success.