Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLIV: The Cold Trail >> Page 371

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Page 371

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription TIIE COLD TRAIL. 371
tirely concealed its opposite termination), between themselves
and the enemy he pursued. If this had been the case, his
opportunity to shoot down Humphries, and make his escape
before the other two could possibly return, would be complete.
All these conjectures and calculations were instantaneous,
and the result of his natural instinct. The image of his suc-
cess rose vividly before him as he pressed forward to secure a
fair shot at the figure of which he momently caught glimpses
through the foliage ; and, but for the heedful thought of
Humphries with whom the present was the life and thought-
absorbing affair the opportunity might have been won by
the vindictive pursuer who desired it. The partisan was suf-
ficiently observant, however, of all these chances. He knew
not that his enemy was at hand, and, indeed, did not think it ;
but he omitted no precaution, and clung close to his compan-
ions. They moved forward together into the pond ; and when
Blonay reached the edge of it, they had emerged through its
waters, and, gaining the opposite side, were out of his reach
and sight, and in safety for the present.
Blonay was a patient enemy no less patient- than perse-
vering. He sank back into cover, and prepared to wait, as he
had often done before, for the return of his victim.
He goes to place his scouts will come back alone,"
were the muttered words of the half-breed ; and, unconscious
that he himself was an object of as close a watch as that
which he maintained on Humphries, he coolly sought his place
of rest behind a little clump of cane and a thicket of close
brier, which formed much of the undergrowth among the
gigantic cypresses spreading around him, and formed no unfit-
ting fringe for the edge of tha swamp.
Meanwhile, Witherspoon had not been idle or unobservant.
He had pushed forward after Blonay with precautions similar
to those which the latter. had practised ; and, with a speed
accelerated in accordant 3 with the due increase of confidence
arising from the absence of his horse, he had contrived to gain
a point of observation which commanded the entrance to the
swamp quite as soon as Blonay, and just when Humphries and
h:.; companions were about to pass into the pond. At first