The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX

"The hunters are upon thee keep thy pace,
Nor falter, lest the arrow strike thy back,
And the foe trample on thy prostrate form."

IT was about noon of the same day, when the son of Sanutee, the outcast and exiled Occonestoga, escaping from his father's assault and flying from the place of council as already narrated, appeared on the banks of the river nearly opposite the denser settlement of the whites, and several miles below Pocota-ligo. But the avenger had followed hard upon his footsteps, and the fugitive had suffered terribly in his flight. His whole appearance was that of the extremest wretchedness. His dress was torn by the thorns of many a thicket in which he had been compelled to crawl for shelter. His skin was lacerated, and the brakes and creeks through which he had been compelled to plough and plunge, had left the tribute of their mud and mire on every inch of his person. Nor had the trials of his mind been less. Previous drunkenness, the want of food, and extreme fatigue (for, circuitously doubling from his pursuers, he had run nearly the whole night, scarcely able to rest for a moment), contributed duly to the miserable figure which he made. His eyes were swollen, his cheeks sunken, and there was a wobegone feebleness and utter desolateness about his whole appearance. He had been completely sobered by the hunt made after him; and the instinct of life, for he knew nothing of the peculiar nature of the doom in reserve for him, had effectually called all his faculties into exercise.

When hurried from the council-house by Sir Edmund Bellinger, to save him from the anger of his father, he had taken the way, under a filial and natural influence, to the lodge of Matiwan. And she cheered and would have cherished him, could that have been done consistently with her duty to her lord. What she could do, however, she did; and, though deeply sorrowing over his prostituted manhood, she could not, at the same time, forget that he was her son. But in her cabin he was not permitted to linger long. Watchful for the return of Sanutee, Matiwan was soon apprised of the approach of the pursuers. The people, collected

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