Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLV: Humphries Trees the Half-Breed >> Page 377

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Page 377

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
where he was, and could by no possibility inflict a vital injury,
he yet proceeded to employ it.
It may bring him out," he muttered to himself, it'll vex
and bring him out."
He thrust the weapon up the hollow, and struck right and
left at the feet and ankles of the inmate. But with the first
graze of the weapon upon his legs Blonay drew them up
contracting his knees, an effort which the immense size of
the tree, the hollow of which might have contained three men
with ease, readily enabled him to make. Humphries soon saw
the fruitlessness of his effort with the knife, and, seemingly,
the fruitlessness of any effort which he could then make.
In his rage, exasperated at the vicinity of his foe, yet of
his seeming safety, he shouted aloud, in the hope to bring
back his departed companions. A fiendish chuckle sounded
scornfully from within the tree, and seemed to taunt him with
his feebleness and fury. He renewed his efforts, he struck
idly with his knife within the hollow, until, burying the blade
in one of the projecting knobs, it snapped off short at the
handle, and was of no more service. Furious at these re-
peated failures, and almost exhausted by his efforts, he poured
forth curses and denunciations in the utmost profusion upon
the unheeding and seemingly indifferent half-breed.
Come out like a man," he cried to him, in an idle chal-
lenge ; come out and meet your enemy, and not, like a
snake, crawl into your hollow, and lie in waiting for his heel.
Come out, you skunk, and you shall have a fair fight, and
nobody shall come between us. You shall have your distance
jist as you want it, and it shall be the quickest fire that
shall make the difference of chances between us. Come out,
you spawn of a nigger, and face me, if you're a man."
Thus did he run on in his ineffectual fury, and impotently
challenge an enemy who was quite too wary to give up the
vantage-ground which he possessed. The same fiendish
chuckle which had enraged the trooper so much before, again
responded to his challenge from the tree, again stimulated
him to newer efforts, which, like the past, were unavailing.
The half-breed condescended no other reply. He gave no