Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLIV: The Cold Trail >> Page 367

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Page 367

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription TIIE COLD TRAIL. 3 67

and I'll take the short track at the bend and git there before
him. Adrat it, that I should have missed him as I did !"
Thus muttering, he left the woods, and was soon pacing, with
the utmost caution, upon the road which had been taken by
his enemy.
Marking his time duly, and heedful of every object upon the
road, our friend Witherspoon might have been seen, a little
while after, going over the same ground with no little solemnity.
He had carefully noted the several tracks made by the horse
of Humphries, along with those of his companions, and, step
by step, had kept on their trail until he reached the spot at
which, emerging from the place of his concealment, the way-
laying Blonay had set off also in pursuit. The observant eye
of Witherspoon, accustomed to note every sign of this descrip-
tion, soon detected .the track made by the hoof of the animal
which Blonay bestrode. He alighted from his horse, and care-
fully examined it ; then, entering the woods on that side from
which the pony had evidently emerged, he traced out the
course of the half-breed by the crushed grass and disordered
foliage, until be found, not only where the pony had been kept,
but the very branch to which be had been tethered. The
branch was broken at the end, and the bridle, having been
passed over it., by its friction, had chafed a little ring around
the bark. From this spot he passed to that in which Blonay
himself had been hidden on the roadside when Humphries had
ridden by. His exclamation, as he made this discovery, was
natural and involuntary
Gimini, if Bill had only know'd it, how be could have wound
up the animal ! Only to think here he squatted, not twenty
steps off, and a single leap of a good nag would ha' put a hoof
on each of his shoulders ! But it ain't all a clear track for
him yet. Push is the word ; and, if he don't keep wide awake,
he'll larn more in the next two hours than he'll ever understand
in a week after. Come, Button, we'll know this place next
time in case we have to look after the Indian a.gen."
He resumed his course, and with something more of rapidity,
as he now discovered that the game was fairly afoot. The
track was distinctly defined for him; and, yherever the foot