Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter II: Indian Blood >> Page 24

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Page 24

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 24 MELLICHAMPE.
worthy of that of the ablest Indian hunter, was thorough and
complete. From the one island, he took his way to sundry
others which lay in its neighborhood, susceptible of occupa-
tion, in all of which he found traces of men and horses, encour-
aging him to proceed farther and with continued caution. At
length he passed an oozy bog, and stood upon a little hum-
mock, which seemed formed for a place of refuge and repose.
An awful silence rested over the spot, and the exceeding height
of the cypresses, and the dense volume of undergrowth which
surrounded and darkened the wide intervals between them,
seemed almost too solid to admit of his progress. The gloom
of the region had all the intensity of night, and appeared to
impress itself upon the feelings of one even so habitually want-
ing in reverence as the half-breeds. He stopped for an in-
stant, then moving forward by a route which he seemed to
adopt with confidence, he rounded the natural obstruction of
woods and thicket, and an amphitheatre opened before him,
not so spacious as it was perfect.
He paused suddenly he heard a footstep there was evi-
dently a rustling in the woods. He stole behind a tree for an
instant, sank upon his knee, lifted his rifle, which he cocked
with caution, and watched the quarter intently from which the
sound had arisen. A -shrill scream rose upon the air, and in
the next instant he beheld a monstrous wildcat, startled like
himself, and by him, bound forward to an opposite point of the
area, and leap into the extending arms of a rotten tree, that
shook under its pressure. Perching upon the very edge of a
broken limb which jutted considerably out, it looked down with
threatening glance upon his approach. He rose from his knees
and advanced to the spot whence the animal had fled and over
which it still continued to brood with flaming eyes and an
aroused appetite. It was not long before Blonay discovered
the occasion of its presence.
The figuro.of a man, huge in frame, seemingly powerless,
lay stretched upon the ground. The half-breed soon recog-
nised the person of the maniac Frampton. He lay upon the
little mound which covered the remains of his wife. To this
he seemed to have crawled with the latest efforts of his strength.