Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XI: Scipio >> Page 99

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SCIPIO.
diversified by the rushing tumults and the wild cries of the
pursuers, and it was not many minutes before the chase was
encouraged by a glimpse which they caught of the flying
negro. At once all feet were turned in the one direction.
Soldier after soldier passed in emulous haste over the log
where Mellichampe lay, and, when the clamor had sunk away
in the distance, he rose quietly, and coolly listening for a few
seconds to the distant uproar, he stole cautiously back into
the garden, in the crowded shrubbery and thick umbrage of
which be might have readily anticipated a tolerable conceal-
ment while the night lasted from all the troop which Barsfield
could muster. Here he could distinguish the various sounds
and stages of the pursuit; now spreading far away to the fields
and on the borders of the park and now, as the adroit Scipio
doubled upon his pursuers, coming nigher to the original start-
ing-place. But whether it was that Scip's heart failed him,
or his legs first, may not be said. It is enough to know that
he began to falter. His enemies gained ground rapidly upon
him. He passed into a briar-copse, and lay close for a while,
though torn by their thorns at every forward movement, in the
hope to gain a temporary rest from the pursuit ; but the chase
tracked him out, and its thick recesses gave him no shelter.
The sabres were thrust into the copse in several places, and,
dreading their ungentle contact, the hunted negro once more
took to his heels. He dashed forward and made for a little
pine thicket that seemed to promise him a fair hope for
concealment ; but, when most sanguine, an obtrusive vine
caught his uplifted foot as he sprang desperately forward, and,
with a heavy squelch that nearly took the breath out of his
body, he lay prostrate at the mercy of his enemy. Barsfield
himself was upon him. With a fierce oath and a cry of tri-
umph he shook his sabre over his head, and threatened instant
death to the supposed Mellichampe. The poor negro, though
not unwilling to risk his life for the youth, now thought it high
time to speak ; and, in real or affected terror, he cried aloud
in language not to be mistaken,
Don't you chop a nigger with your sword now, I tell you.