Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XX: Sharp Passages at Arms >> Page 179

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Page 179

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SHARP PASSAGES AT ARMS. 179
posed to adopt some of the light humor of her companion, and
annoy her after her own fashion.
Interest ! heart ! how can you talk such stuff, Janet, and
look so serious all the while? You should be pelted with
pine-burs, and I will undertake your punishment before the
day is well over. By-the-way, talking of pine-burs, I am
reminded, though I don't . see why, of the strange blear-eyed
countryman. What a curious creature, with that stiff, straight
black hair so glossy black and those eyes that seem pop-
ping from his. head, and look of all colors; and then the rigid,
yet loose fixture of his limbs, that seem like those of a statue,
drawn asunder, and left - hanging by the merest ligatures.
What a. queer creature !"
He seems poor and humble," replied Janet, and is
probably affected mentally. He seems idiotic."
Not he not he ! His gaze is too concentrative and too
fixed, to indicate a wandering intellect : then, why his fre-
quent conversations with that bull-necked lover of yours, Bars-
field ? Did be not take him into the woods when the country-
man came back yesterday evening, and keep him there a full
hour ? I tell you what, Janet, that fellow's a spy ; he's after
no good here : and, as I live, here he is, coming- back full
tilt upoH. his crooked pony, that's just as queer and ugly as
himself."
As she said, Blonay reappeared at this moment, and the
dialogue ceased accordingly between the maidens. The half-
breed grinned with an effort at pleasantness as he bowed to
them, and, speaking a few words to Mr. Berkeley, as if in
explanation of his return, he proceeded to loiter about the
grounds. The eyes of Rose watched him narrowly, and with
no favorable import ; but Blonay did not seem to heed her
observation. He now sauntered in the park, and now he
leaned against a tree in the pleasant sunshine; and, by his
torpid habit of body, seemed to justify Janet to her more lively
cousin in the opinion which she had uttered of his idiocy.
But the scout was never more actively employed than just
when he seemed most sluggish. He was planning the sale of
Marion's camp to Tarleton. He was loitering about Piney