Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLVIII: Remorse >> Page 401

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Page 401

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription REMORSE. 401
up long enough. Go, Singleton, order in your remote scouts.
Get all your men in readiness, and send your lieutenant, Hum-
phries, to me. I have some instructions for him. I will lead
in this business myself."
Singleton proceeded to the spot where Humphries usually
slept, but he was not to be found. Let us account for his
absence.
Humphries, secure of his enemy, excited by the trying scene
through which he had passed, and scarcely less so by the
novel form of death to which circumstances had prompted him
to devote his victim, returned to the camp in a state of the
utmost mental agitation. It was yet daylight, and sundry lit-
tle duties in the camp called for his *attention. These he per-
formed .almost unconsciously. His thoughts were elsewhere.
An excitation of feeling, which sometimes moved him like
insanity, disturbed his judgmeft, and affected the coherence
and the regularity of his movements. In this state of mind,
with just enough of consciousness to feel that he was wander-
ing, and that he needed repose, he made his way about dusk
from the observation of the camp, and seeking out a little
bank in the swamp, with which he was familiar, where he
might sleep in secresy, he threw himself under a tree and
strove to forget the past. Shutting his eyes, he hoped in this
way to shut out all the images of strife and terror which yet
continued.to annoy him.
He succeeded in his desire, and at length slept. But his
sleep was more full of terrors than his waking thoughts. He
dreamed, and the horror of his dreams aroused him. He
heard the cries of the victim whom he had buried while yet
alive. His dreadful shrieks rang in his ears ; and, bursting
from their sockets in blood, he saw the goggle-eyes looking
down upon him, through the crevice in the cypress where he
had last seen them. This was not long to be endured. He
started from his sleep´┐Żfrom his place of repose and stood
upon his feet. Had he slept ? This was doubtful to him, so
vivid, so imposing and real, had been the forms and fancies of
his vision. But the night had fairly set in, and this convinced
him that he had slept. A faint light from the stars came scat-