Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter I: The Curtain Rises >> Page 17

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 17

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE CURTAIN RISES. 17
soft red clay, which had retained every impression, the various
marks made by the hoofs of the shodden horses. One of these
he heedfully regarded, and pursued with an air of intense sat-
isfaction. The impression was that of a very small shoe �a
deer like hoof-trace�quite unlike, and much smaller than
those made by the other horses. There was another peculiar-
ity in the shoe which may be noted. That of the right forefoot
seemed in one place to be defective. It had the appearance
of being either completely snapped in twain, and. the parts
slightly separated directly in the centre, or by a stroke of the
hammer, while the metal was yet malleable, it had been de-
pressed by a straight narrow line evenly across. Whatever
may have been the cause, the' impression of the shoe upon the
earth left this appearance of defect, making the track of its
owner sufficiently conspicuous to one having a knowledge of,
and on the look-out for, it. Having once satisfied himself of
the continued presence of the shoe, with which he seemed to
have been previously familiar, he gave over his examination ;
and, as the cart was now ready, and all preparations completed
for the return of the party to the village, he gathered up his
rifle, drew the 'coon-skin cap over his eyes, ,and, without a
word, at once fell in procession with the rest, following close
behind the body of his mother. Passing through the village
of Dorchester, where they only paused to procure a coffin,
which was furnished by the garrison, they proceeded directly
to the miserable cabin a few miles beyond, which she had hith-
erto inhabited. Here, under a stunted cedar, in a little hollow
of the woods behind her dwelling, a stake, already driven at
head and foot, designated the spot which she had chosen for
her burial-place. The spade soon scooped out a space for her
reception, and in a few moments the miserable and battered
hulk' of a vexed and violent spirit was deposited in silence.
The son lingered but a little while after the burial was over.
He turned away soon after the rest ; and, without much show
of sympathy, and with none of its feeling, those who had thus
far assisted left him to his own mood in the now desolate abi-
ding-place of his mother.