Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter II: Indian Blood >> Page 23

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Page 23

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription INDIAN BLOOD. 23
"'Taint so much, major, but I can't do so well without it.
I've been in want of it long enough, and I'm dubous him that
owes me will clear away and go into North Carolina, and so
I'll lose it. You needn't be scared for me, major ; I'm not
going to put my head in the bull's mouth because his hide has
a price in market ; and I think, by the time I get up there,
Marion's men will be all off. I a'n't afeard."
Proctor, after several efforts to dissuade him from his pur-
pose, finding all his efforts unavailing, gave him the required
passport, which he carefully concealed from sight, and with
many acknowledgments and professions of loyalty, took his
departure. From Dorchester, proceeding to the battle-ground,
he again carefully noted the tracks of the one shoe, which he
followed with the keen eye of a hunter, from side to side of the
road, in its progress upward to the cypress swamp. Sometimes
losing it, he turned to the bushes on either hand, and where
they seemed disordered or broken, he continued the trail,
until, again emerging from the cover, he would find, and resume
the more distinct impression, as it was made upon the clay or
sandy road. In this way he reached the broken ground of
the swamp, and there he lost it. Alighting, therefore, he con-
cealed his pony in a clump of bushes, and with his rifle primed
and ready for any emergency, he pursued his farther search
into the bosom of the swamp on foot. Here he still thought
that he might find the partisans if not the entire troop of
Singleton, a least a portion of it ; probably�though on this
head he was not sanguine the very object of his search.
From point to point, with unrelaxing vigilance and caution, he
stole along until he reached the little creek which surrounded
and made an island of the spot where Singleton had held his
temporary camp.
The place was silent as the grave. He crossed the narrow
stream, and carefully inspected the ground. It bore traces
enough of recent occupation. The ashes of several fires, still
retaining a slight degree of warmth the fresh track of horses,
that of the broken shoe among them--hacked trees and torn
bushes all told of the presence there, within a brief space, of
the very persons whom he now sought. The search of Blonay,