Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXII: The Bird Flown >> Page 275

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Page 275

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription TIl E BIRD FLOWN. 275
being in it. He may get wind of you, if his scouts happen to be out.""I know, I know, you said this before, and proposed, if I remember rightly, that I should divide my force in order to mislead. But I know better than to do that. I risk nothing now when I know nothing of his force, and I am not so sure, sir, that you are altogether the man to be relied on. I shall watch you, sirrali ; and remember, it is easier, fellow, to hang you up to a bough than to threaten it. Go prepare. Ho ! there, Hodgson, put half a dozen of your best dragoons in charge of this guide, and keep him safe, as you value your bones."
I will not run, sir," said Blonay, looking up for the first time into the face of Tarleton.
I know that, sir--you shall not," responded the other coolly.
The signal to move was given in a few moments after, and Barsfield saw the departure of Tarleton in pursuit of Marion with a singular feeling of.satisfaction and relief.
It is not our present purpose, however, to pursue the route taken by Colonel Tarleton in search of his famous adversary. Such a course does not fall within the purpose of our present narrative. It may be well, however, as it must be sufficient, to say, that, under the guidance of Blonay, he penetrated the spacious swamp of the Santee, and was led faithfully into and through its intricacies but he penetrated them in vain. Step by step, as the dense body pressed its way through brake, bog, and brier, did they hear the mysterious signals of the watchful partisans, duly communicating to one another the approach of the impending danger.
Vainly did Tarleton press forward his advance in the hope of arriving at the camp before these signals could possibly reach it ; but such a pathway to his heavily-mounted men was very different in its facilities to those who were accustomed daily to glide through it ; and the scouts of Marion hung about Tarleton's advance in front, sometimes venturing in sight, and continually within hearing, to the utter defiance of the infuriated legionary, who saw that nothing could be done to diminish the distance between them. At length they reached the island where the swamp-fox" made his home, but the bird had flown.