Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter V: The Tory Squad >> Page 47

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Page 47

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE TORY SQUAD. 47
termination a bloody death. Their merriment, however, as it
was subdued, in comparison with that of the officers, did not pro-
voke their notice or rebuke. The whole party, in all respects,
seemed one fitted out for the purposes of pleasure rather than
of war. Elated by the recent victories of Cornwallis over
Gates, and Tarleton over Sumter, together with the supposed
flight of Marion into North Carolina, and the dispersion of his
partisans, the British officers bad foregone much of that severe,
but proper discipline, through which alone they had already
been able to achieve so much. The commander of the little
troop before us moved on with as much indifference as if ene-
mies had ceased to exist, and as if his whole business now was
the triumph and the pageant which should follow successes so
complete.
"Gimini !" exclaimed Thumbscrew, as he beheld, at a dis-
tance, their irregular approach. Gimini ! if the major was
only here now, jist with twenty lads only twenty would do
maybe he wouldn't roll them redjackets in the mud !"
The close approach of the troop silenced the further
speculations of the woodman, and he crouched among the
shrubbery, silent as death, but watchful of every movement.
The person of the captain who commanded them was rather
remarkable for its strength than symmetry. He was a man
of brawn and muscle of broad shoulders and considerable
height. His figure was unwieldy, however, and, though a
good, he was not a graceful horseman. His features were fine,
but inexpressive, and his skin brown with frequent exposure.
There was something savage rather than brave in the expres-
sion of his mouth, and his nose, in addition to its exceeding
feebleness, had an ugly bend upward at its termination, which
spoke of a vexing and querulous disposition. His companion
was something slenderer in his person, and considerably more
youthful. There was nothing worthy of remark in his ap-
pearance, unless it be that he was greatly given to laughter
an unprofitable habit, which seemed to be irresistible and con-
firmed in him, and which was not often found to await the
proper time and provocation. He appeared of a thoughtless
temper one who was content with the surfaces of things, and