The Yemassee

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

"I must dare all myself. I cannot dare
Avoid the danger. There is in my soul,
That which may look on death, but not on shame."

As soon as his interview was over with Bess Matthews, Harrison hurried back to the Block House. He there received intelligence confirming that which she had given him, concerning the movements of Chorley and his craft. The strange vessel had indeed taken up anchors and changed her position. Availing herself of a favouring breeze, she had ascended the river, a few miles nigher to the settlements of the Yemassees, and now lay fronting the left wing of the pastor's cottage; the right of it, as it stood upon the jutting tongue of land around which wound the river, she had before fronted from below. The new position could only have been chosen for the facility of intercourse with the Indians, which, from the lack of a good landing on this side of the river, had been wanting to her where she originally lay. In addition to this intelligence, Harrison learned that which still further quickened his anxieties. The wife of Granger, a woman of a calm, stern, energetic disposition, who had been something more observant than her husband, informed him that there had been a considerable intercourse already between the vessel and the Indians since her remove that their boats had been around her constantly during the morning, and that boxes and packages of sundry kinds had been carried from her to the shore; individual Indians, too, had been distinguished walking her decks; a privilege which, it was well known, had been denied to the whites, who had not been permitted the slightest intercourse with the stranger. All this confirmed the already active apprehensions of Harrison. He could no longer doubt of her intentions, or of the intentions of the Yemassees; yet, how to proceed how to prepare on whom to rely in what quarter to look for the attack, and what was the extent of the proposed insurrection? was it partial, or general ? Did it include the Indian nations generally twenty-eight of which, at that time, occupied the Carolinas or was it confined to the Yemassees and Spaniards? and if the latter were concerned, were they to be

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