Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter I: The Curtain Rises >> Page 12

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 12 MELLICHAMPE.

been hottest. A pile of dead bodies was around him, and,
when discovered, he was employed in turning over the sense-
less carcases and dragging them apart, as if searching for some
particular object. The British major started when he beheld
him ; and, as he gazed upon the bronzed, sinister, and well-
known features, and saw with what calm indifference the blear
eye of the half-breed Blonay met his own, a doubt of his fidel-
ity grew active, at the expense of one whose character had
always been too equivocal to be held above the commission of
the basest treachery. The brow of the Briton put on new
terrors as be surveyed him; and, glad of any victim, even
though not the most odious, he addressed the reckless savage
in the sternest language of distrust. .
What do you here, Blonay ? Speak quickly, and without
evasion, or you shall swing, by heaven, on that gallows, instead
of him whom you have helped from it. Tell out the whole
story of this traitorous scheme unfold the share you had in
it, and who were your abettors who rescued the prisoner
by whom were they commanded�how many and where
are they gone ? Answer, fellow ; answer, and without delay ; speak out !"
Proctor could scarcely articulate his own requisitions, so
intense were his anxiety and passion. The person addressed
seemed almost totally unmoved by an exhortation so earnestly
made, or .only moved to defiance. His swarthy cheek grew
even darker in its depth of hue, and his lips were now reso-
lutely fastened together, as he listened to the language of his
superior. His air, full of scornful indifference, and his position,
lounging and listless, might have provoked Proctor to an act
of violence, had they been maintained mucl'i longer. But, as
if moved by more prudent counsels from within, the half-breed,
in a moment after, changed his posture to one of more respect-
ful attention. The rigidity passed away from his muscles �
his high cheek-bones seemed to shrink his eyes were lowered
-- and his head, which had been elevated before into an un-
wonted loftiness, was now suffered, in compliance with his
usual habit, to fall upon one shoulder. His mood grew more
conciliatory as be proceeded to reply to one, at least, of the