Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXI: Scouting >> Page 269

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Page 269

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SCOUTING. 269
Barsfield looked with some surprise at the speaker, as he
heard him utter a language so like that of genuine feeling, and
in tones that seemed to say that he felt it ; and he was about to
make some remark when Blonay, who had stood during this
dialogue leaning with his shoulder against a tree, and his head
down in a listless manner upon his bosom, now started into an
attitude and expression of the most watchful consciousness.
A pause of a few moments ensued, when, hearing nothing,
Barsfield was about to go on with the speech which the man-
ner of his companion had interrupted, when the half-breed
again stopped him with a whisper, while his finger rested upon
the arm of the tory in cautious warning.
Hist I hear them there are no less than three feet in
that swamp don't you hear them walking in the water ?
There, now. You hear when the flat of the foot comes down
upon the water."
I hear nothing," said. Barsfield.
Without a word, the half-breed stooped to the single brand
that was now blazing near them, and gathering a double hand-
ful of dirt from the hillock, he threw it upon the flame and
extinguished it in an instant. The next moment they heard
the distant crackling of dry sticks and a rustling among the
leaves.
It may be your great alligator," said Barsfield.
No it's men Marion's men, I reckon and there's three
of them, at least. They are spying on the camp. Lie close."
Barsfield did not immediately stoop, and the half-breed did
not scruple to grasp his arm with an urgency and force which
brought the tory captain forward. He trod heavily as he did
so upon a cluster of the dried leaves which had formed the
couch of Blonay, and a slight whistle reached their ears a
moment after, and then all was silence. The tory and his
companion crouched' together behind the huge gum under
which the latter had been accustomed to sleep, and thus they
remained without a word for several minutes. No sound in all
that time came to their senses; and Barsfield, rather more
adventurous than Blonay, or less taught in the subtleties of
swamp warfare, tired of his position, arose slowly from the
ground and thrust his head from behinci,tlie tree, endeavoring,