Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter V: The Tory Squad >> Page 46

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Page 46

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 40 MELLICHAMPE.
THE two watchers had not long to wait in their several
places of concealment. The sound which had disturbed their
conference, and sent them into shelter, drew nigher momen-
tarily, and a small body of mounted men, emerging at length
from a bend in the irregular road over which they came, ap-
peared in sight. They were clothed in the rich, gorgeous
uniform of the British army, and were well-mounted. Their
number, however, did not exceed thirty, and their general form
of advance and movement announced them to be less thought-
ful, at that moment, of the dangers of ambuscade and battle,
than of the pleasant cheer and well-filled larder of the. neigh-
boring gentry. Two officers rode together, in advance of them
some little distance, and the free style of their conversation,
the loud, careless tones of their voices, and the lounging, indif-
ferent manner in which they sat upon their horses, showed
them to be, if not neglectful of proper precautions, at least
perfectly. un´┐Żapprehensive of any enemy. A couple of large
military wagons, drawn each by four able-bodied horses, ap-
peared in the centre of the cavalcade, the contents of which,
no doubt, were of sufficient importance to call for such a guard.
Yet there was little or nothing of a proper military discipline
preserved in the ranks of the troop. Following the example
of the officers who commanded them, and who seemed, from
their unrestrained mirth, to be engaged in the discussion of
some topic particularly agreeable to both, the soldiers gave a
loose to the playfullest moods wild jest and free remark
passed from mouth to mouth, and they spoke, and looked, and
laughed, as if their trade was not suffering, and its probable