Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLVIII: Remorse >> Page 404

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Page 404

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 404 MELLICHAMPE.
He strove in every known way to assist the workings of
nature in the resuscitation of his enemy. He fanned him
with his cap he sprinkled him freely with water, and spared
no means supposed in his mind to be beneficial, to bring
about the perfect restoration of his victim.
At length he succeeded. The legs of the half-breed were,
one after the other, suddenly drawn up, then relaxed �he
sighed deeply�and, finally, the light stole into his glazed
orbs, as if it had been some blessed charity from the moon,
that now glistened over them.
As he continued to improve, and with the first show of con-
sciousness, Humphries lifted him higher up the bank, and laid
him at the foot of a shrub tree which grew at hand. He then
receded from him to a little distance placed himself di-
rectly before his eyes�resumed his rifle, which he prepared
and presented, and thus, squat upon one knee in front of him,
he awaited the moment of perfect recovery, which should again,
in the consciousness of new life, inform him at the same time,
of the presence of an ancient enemy.
Thus stationed, he watched the slowly recovering Blonay,
for the space of half an hour, in silence and in doubt. The
scene was a strange one ; and to his mind, not yet relieved
from the previously active terrors of his imagination, an awful
and imposing one. In the deep habitual gloom of that swamp
region, among its flickering shadows�girdled by its thick
and oppressive *silence, and watching its skeleton trees until
they seemed imbued with life, and, in the ghostly and increas-
ing moonlight, appeared to advance upon, and then to recede
away from him he felt, at every moment of his watch, an
increasing and superstitious dread of all things and thoughts,
all sounds and objects, that assailed his senses, however re-
motely, and roused his emotions, however slight. And as the
slow consciousness grew, like a shadow itself, in the cheek and
eye of the man whom he had so lately beheld as lifeless, he
half doubted whether it was human, and not spectral life, that
he now beheld. He had believed that an evil spirit had pos-
sessed the mangled and deformed frame of the man before him,
and was now beginning, with an aspect of anxious malignity,