Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLIII: Swamp Strategics >> Page 359

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Page 359

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SWAMP STRATEGICS. 359
short order, and the way you'd have tumbled over would be a
warning to tall men like myself."
Humphries winced as much from the remarks of Wither-
spoon as under the heavy pressure of his finger, which rambled
over the wounded spot upon his head with the proverbial
callousness of a regular army-surgeon's.
'Tis just as you say, Thumby," replied the other, with
much good-humor�" a mighty close scrape, and ticklishly
nigh. But a miss is good as a mile; and though this shot
can't be considered a miss exactly, yet, as no harm's done, it
may very well be counted such. The matter now is, how to
prevent another chance, and this question leads to a difficulty.
How did the fellow come to take track upon me so keenly
from the jump? and how has he contrived to keep on it so
truly until now? These are questions that aint so easy to
answer, and we must find out their answer before we can fall
on any way to circumvent the varmint. I thought at first
that he might have got information from some of Barsfield's
tories ; but since we've been in the swamp they can't take
track upon us, and only he has done it ; for the general now
knows that it was this same skunk that showed the back track
of the swamp to Tarleton, and that he most certainly found
out only by following after me. I've been thinking over all
these matters for a spell now of more than ten days, and I can
make little or nothing out of it ; and to say truth, Thumby,
it's no little trouble to a man to know there's a hound always
hunting after him, go where he will, in swamp or in thicket,
on the high-road and everywhere�that never goes aside
thirsting after his blood, and trying all sort of contrivances to
git at it.""It's mighty ugly,sir, that's clear," said his companion,
musing.
"Yet, this trouble I've known ever since we chased the
fellow along the back track, when be cut the throat of his
dog, which only an Indian would do, to put us off his own
trail."
It's an ugly business, that's a truth, Humphries ; for, not
to know where one's enemy is, is to look for a bullet out of