Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLVI: The Signal >> Page 382

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Page 382

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 3S2 MELLICHAMPE.

THE deed was done ; and Humphries, fatigued by a long and
arduous duty on the previous night, and doubly so from the
exciting circumstances just narrated, hurried to his place of
retreat and repose in the swamp covert of the partisans. He
could sleep now. For a long period his sleep had been trou-
bled and unsatisfactory. His apprehensions were now quieted,
and sweet must be that first sleep which we feel to be secure
from the efforts off a long-sleepless enemy.
His companions, meanwhile, had the duties of the scout to
execute, and each had gone upon his several tasks. Wither-
spoon, with whom our course now lies, true to his friend, pro-
ceeded at once to the woods that surrounded the camp of Bars-
field. He maintained a close watch upon the premises in which
Mellichampe lay a prisoner. How he knew of the youth's pre-
dicament may not be said, but certain it is he was informed
both as to the nature of his injuries and his condition. He
had, probably, lurked in the hollow, or listened from a tree,
while an incautious sentinel prattled to his comrade ; or, which
is not less probable, he had gathered his intelligence from some
outlying negro of t�e plantation, whose address enabled him
to steal forth at intervals, in spite of the surrounding sentinels.
Solicitous, to the last degree, for the safety of the youth, of
whose safety, while in the custody of Barsfield, he half des-
paired, he availed himself of his duties as a scout to lurk about
the neighborhood, in the faint hope to communicate with, or in
some other way to serve, the prisoner. Night after night, for
a week before the period to which we have now come, had he
cheered the heart and strengthened the hope of 1Vlellichampe