Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLV: Humphries Trees the Half-Breed >> Page 381

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 381

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
prolonged torture consequent upon such a doom as that to
which he was now destined. But the partisan readily divined
his object, and denied him the desired boon.
No, no, catch old birds with chaff," he replied, coolly,
" You shall die as you are. I'll just take the liberty of putting a
plug into that hollow, which will give you less chance to talk out,
as you now seem pleased to do. I'll stop out a little more of
the sweet air, so that you may enjoy better what I leave you."
Thus saying, he threw together a, few chunks at the foot of
the tree, and, rising upon them, well provided with a wedge
estimated to fit the aperture, he prepared to drive it in, and
placed it a.t the opening for that purpose. The desperate Blo-
nay thrust one hand through the crevice, in, the vain hope to
exclude the wedge. But a blow from the lightwood knot with
which Humphries had provided himself as a sort of mallet,
crushed the extended fingers almost into a mass, and the half-
breed must have fainted from the pain, as the hand was in-
stantly withdrawn ; and when the partisan drove in the wedge,
the face of the victim had sunk below the opening, and was no
longer to be seen. His task completed, he descended from
his perch, threw aside the chunks which had supported him,
and set off to find his horse. He was at last secure from the
hunter of blood he had triumphed and yet he could not
keep down the fancy, which continually, as he went, imbodied
the supposed cries of the half-breed in little gusts of wind,
that seemed to pursue him ; and, when he emerged from the
wood, a strange chill went through his bones, and he looked
back momently, even when the gigantic cypress, which was
the sepulchre of his enemy, no longer reared up its solemn
spire in his sight. It was no longer behind him. It seemed
to move before him. faster than his horse ; and he spurred the
animal furiously forward, seeking to pass the fast-travelling
tree, and to escape the moaning sound which ever came after
him upon the breeze.