Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXIII: Summary Processes of Regulation >> Page 277

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Page 277

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription CHAPTER XXXIII.
Some time before daylight that morning, a group of five men
separated after some consultation, along the main road some five
miles from the dwelling where Walter had found shelter, and, taking
opposite sides, but still in close proximity to the road lying perdu
behind trees or amidst covering brushes, one of the party alone, not
seeking a cover while the darkness prevailed, strode to and fro,
patrolling up and down the road, but never so far as to be beyond
hearing of the party. All of these persons were afoot. It was hardly
an hour after this arrangement, when the tramp of horses might be
heard coming up the road.
Our sentinel fell back, and the whole party was in an instant on the
qui vine. The result almost immediately followed in the arrest of a
person who rode one horse and led another. His bridle rein was
seized without a word, the horse backed upon his haunches, and the
rider commanded, in brief, but imperative language to alight and
"show his papers."
The new corner was slow to consent to this proposition, on the
contrary, he made desperate efforts by spurring his steed to send him
forward, but another grasp quite as vigorous as that which held his
steed, was laid upon his own shoulder, and he was drawn from the
animal to the ground, while striking -blindly right and left, in the
effort to defend himself.
This violent effort, more spasmodic than sensible or well directed,
was made with a sharp hunting-knife of large blade, any one of the
strokes of which, well delivered and with resolute will and aim,
might have sufficed to hew off a man's arm at the wrist, and as the
fellow sought to defend himself rather by chopping than stabbing,
this was the danger to his assailant.