Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XIX: The Game Afoot >> Page 168

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Page 168

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription . 1f8 MELLICHAMPE.
THE stirring tones of the trumpet, a long and lively peal,
resounded through the swamp. Its summons was never un-
heeded by the men of Marion. They gathered on all hands,
and from every quarter of. its comprehensive recesses. From
the hammock where they slept, from the lakelet where they
fished, from the' green where they leaped the frog, hurled the
bar, or wrestled in emulous sport, in all the buoyancy of full
life and conscious strength. They were soon thick around the
person of the partisan, and nothing for some time could be
heard but the busy hum, the mingling voices of the crowd, in
all the confusion of that sort of preparation and bustle which
usually precedes the long march and anticipated conflict.
But the quick, sharp, yet low tones of the " swamp-fox"
soon reduced to silence the commotion, and brought to sym-
metry and order all that was confusion before. His words
were powerful, as they were uttered in a voice of unquestion-
able command, and with that unhesitating decision which, as
it compels respect from the foe, is always sure to secure con-
fidence in the follower. Strange that, in domestic life, and in
moments of irresponsible and unexciting calm, usually dis-
tinguished by a halting and ungraceful hesitation of manner,
which materially took from the dignity of his deportment, it
was far otherwise when he came to command and in the hour
of collision. He possessed a wonderful elasticity of character,
which was never so apparent as when in the time of danger.
At such periods there was a lively play of expression in his
countenance, denoting a cool and fearless spirit. His manner
now was marked by this elasticity ; and, instead of anticipated