Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLIV: The Cold Trail >> Page 368

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Page 368

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 368 MELLICIIAMPE.
of Humphries' horse had been set down, there, with unerring
certainty, immediately behind, was that of the pony. Excited
by the prospect of the encounter which he now promised him-
self, lie began unconsciously to accelerate the movements of
his horse, until he gained rapidly, without knowing it himself,
upon the footsteps of the rider he pursued.
Blonay had not, however, laid aside his habitual wariness,
and the precipitancy of Witherspoon betrayed his approach
to the watchful senses of the half-breed. He had himself
gained so much upon Humphries as to hear the sound of his
horse's tread, and his quick ear soon detected the correspond-
ing sound from the feet of Witherspoon's horse in the rear.
He paused instantly, until assured that his senses had not de-
ceived him, and silently then he slided into the bushes on one
side of the road, availing himself of a deep thicket which
spread along to the right. Nor, having done this, did he pause
in a single spot and simply seek concealment. He took a
backward course for a hundred yards or more, and awaited
there in shelter, watching a single opening upon the road,
which he knew must be darkened by the figure of the ap-
proaching person.
Witherspoon rode on, passed the designated spot, and was
recognised by the outlier. But, as it was not the policy of
Blonay to be discovered now by any, he did not come forth and
remind our friend of their former meeting on the highway. The
partisan kept on his way until he missed the track of the pony.
There was that of Humphries plainly enough ; but that of the
pony was no longer perceptible. He checked his own steed,
and rebuked himself for his want of caution. He saw that he
must now change his game; and, and without stopping to
make an examination which might startle Blonay into suspi-
cion �for he knew not but that the half-breed was even
then looking down upon him from some place of safe conceal-
ment�he rode on a short distance farther, and then sank, like
Blonay, into the cover of the very same woods, though on the
side opposite to that which had given shelter to the latter.
Here he dismounted, hid his horse in a recess sufficiently far
ill the rear to prevent any sounds which he might utter from