Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XVIII: The Half-Breed is Winded >> Page 166

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Page 166

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 166 ME LLICIIAMI'E.
finding him by wantonly yelping at the highest pitch of his
voice, and assailing him with the most uncouth caresses, which
added to his annoyance by impeding. his flight. His clamors
also guided the pursuers upon the true path of the fugitive,
and would continue to guide them. The moment was full of
peril, and everything depended upon his decision. The savage
and .ready mood of the half-breed did not long delay in a
moment of such necessity. Muttering to himself, in few words,
his chagrin, he grasped the dog firmly by the back of his neck,
and, as the skin was tightly drawn upon the throat, with a
quick movement of his hand he passed the keen blade of his
knife but once over it, and thrust the body from him in the
ooze.
With a single .cry and a brief struggle, the animal lay dead
in the path of the pursuers. Hurriedly sending the knife back
into its sheath, the savage resumed the rifle which, while he
slew the dog, he had leaned against a cypress ; and, seemingly
without compunction, he again set forward.
His. flight was now far less desperate, since his pursuers had
no longer the keen faculties of the dog to scent for them the
path, and his clamorous yelp to guide them upon it ; and, with
a more perfect steadiness, Blonay pushed onward until he
gained a small, though impenetrable cane-brake. This he
soon rounded, and it now lay between him and his enemies.
Taking to the water whenever it came in his way, he left but
few traces of his route behind him ; and to find these, at inter-
vals, necessarily impeded the pursuers. When, at length, they
reached the pond in which he had slain his dog, and beheld
the body of their guide before them, they saw that the pursuit
was almost hopeless.
"Look here !" exclaimed Humphries to the rest, as they
severally came up to the spot. Look here ! the skunk, you
see, has been mighty hard pushed, and can't be far off; but
there's no great chance of finding him now. It's like hunting
after a needle in a haystack. So long as we had the dog there
was something to go by, for the beast would find his master
through thick and thin, and we should have got up with him
some time or other. Goggle knew that; and he's done the