Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XII: The Trail Lost >> Page 106

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Page 106

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 1 0 6 MELLICHAMPE.
ferret him out in at night. Familiar of old with the region,
which had been consecrated in the walks and worship of love,
he strolled off to a favorite tree, not thirty yards from the
fence, in an arm of which, sheltering himself snugly, he lis-
tened with scornful indifference to the clamors of that hot pur-
suit which the tory still continued. He saw the torches bla-
zing in the groves where he had crouched but a little while
before, and almost fancied that he could distinguish at inter-
vals the features of those who bore them, and sometimes even
the lineaments of that one deadliest enemy, whom of all the
world he most desired on equal terms to encounter.
The chase was at length given over. . Barsfield was too
good a scout himself not to know that the woods in the rear
of the garden must contain the fugitive. He was quite too
familiar, however, with the nature of a Carolina thicket to
hope for any successful result of pursuit and search in that
quarter. And yet he still looked with straining eyes upon its
dense and gloomy spots, as if longing to penetrate them. Had
he been strong enough in men could he even have spared
the force which he had under his command for any such pur-
pose, he would not have hesitated for an instant; but, under
existing circumstances, the risk would have been rash and
foolish, to have exposed so small a body of men to the possi-
bility of contact with a lurking enemy. He little knew that
the particular foe was alone and that, even at the moment
when these meditations were passing through his mind, his
hated rival sat looking composedly down upon the unavailing
toil of his long pursuit. How many circumstances were there
in his past history to. make him detest the fugitive ! How
many interests and feelings, active at the moment in his bosom,
to make him doubly desire to rid himself of one so inimical
so greatly in his way ! He turned from the garden in a bitter
mood of disappointment. The fever of a vexing fear and of a
sleepless discontent was goading him with every additional
moment of thought, and kept him from all appreciation of the
beauty of the rich flowers and those sweet walks which, in the
intercourse of Mellichampe and Janet, had made a fitly associ-
ated scene. He felt nothing of the garden's beauties´┐Żits