Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 11: No 1) >> Chronicles of Ashley River — No. 2 >> [Page 9]

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[Page 9]

Short Stories | 2003
Transcription ever of Mrs Abigail, but to the people she
Made known that she came to hear the
Dews from England, there being, she said,
a barque last night in the bay. But the
people laughed outright, for Jim Hillman
being the pilot and guide to the town,
had seen no signal, and knew that no
vessel was within twelve miles of the
town that was not there before. So that
when the day was out, and no vessel in
sight, the old woman was very much dis-
concerted, and left the town in a sad
quandary. She was rowed over by Ben
Peters and Richard Moore, for. Jim Hill-
man, having now got his favorite boat,
'the Columbus,' into his own hands once
more, was very loth to get quit of her
for nothing. But the next day, up came
the old lady to the town again, declaring
what she had seen to be true, for that she
had seen a low rigged schooner stand off
and on, at the break of day, in Indian
Creek, hard by the very point. There-
fore came she again to hear tidings of
England. Whereupon Jim Hillman, see-
ing the people in the market place look
as if they found cause of marvel in the
account- of Mistress Abigail, did take
Pharoah, his Negro man, being a tall fel-
low and a stout, and with his boat he
pushed over to find the vessel that Mis-
tress Abigail averred to have seen. But
no vessel was to be found. Yet did there
remain some signs that showed there was
something in the matter, for at the very
creek, called Indian Creek, he found the
ashes of a large fire hardly cold, and a
large iron knife. Looking farther, he
found a small tree that stood some fifteen
or twenty feet from the Creek, chafed
and stript of the bark, making a ring a-
bout the middle, as a rope had been pass-
ed tightly around it. But they were un-
able to say whether the mark be old or
new. The fire was no doubt made up
by the Indians to roast oysters, and the
knife to open them. Thereupon, having