Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XV: Major Alison—The Orchard Scene >> Page 150

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription ISOJOSCELYN
woman? What hand hath she in it? and is it the old one or the
young one the stately, withered Miss Janet, or my beautiful, bud-
ding Annie? She, too! It is just possible! These women are mostly
pestilent rebels, and encourage the men to rebellion. It behooves that
I should take watch of these parties and ferret them out ! Where lies
the fox? We shall see ! "
And so soliloquizing, having now dressed himself, he stole quietly
into the great passage, down the stairway, and finally to the rear door,
opening upon the piazza. The door was unlocked simply on the
latch.
"Yes!" quoth Alison, "they have come out of the house, as I
thought."
He made his way out also, but paused to survey the route, to the
gate of the orchard; noted that there were certain peach-trees about
the area, under whose shadow he might, in all probability, with a
little caution, approach the party unseen; and then promptly pro-
ceeded on the path.
Suddenly, as he neared the orchard, in which he fancied he already
detected several shadowy forms, he came upon a female figure, con-
cealed from him behind a tree, until the moment when he was almost
in contact with her person.
It was the action of his merest instinct, to grasp this person by the
arm. She immediately gave a slight scream of alarm, wheeled about,
confronting the assailant, and disclosed to him neither the stately
Miss Janet, nor the blooming and fair Annie, but the ebony com-
plexion, and African features, and sturdy person of Flora, the sable
waiting-maid of the young lady.
Alison dropped her arm, or rather flung it from him, the moment
he discovered who she was. He heard a movement in the orchard,
and now caught a glimpse of a figure, making quickly towards- its
deeper recesses. Without pausing to think upon what he was doing,
he darted in the direction of the orchard, at the gate of which he
found himself, before perceiving that the tall figure of a man stood
beside it, quietly resting one arm against the post, and apparently
awaiting his approach.
This was Walter Dunbar. In stern accents, the latter asked the
intruder :
"Who is this? What do you wish here?"