The Yemassee

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

CHAPTER XLVI

"A sudden trial, and the danger comes
Noiseless and nameless."

LET us go back once more to the Block House, and look into the condition of its defenders. We remember the breaking of the ladder, the only one in the possession of the garrison, which led to the upper story of the building. This accident left them in an ugly predicament, since some time must necessarily be taken up in its repair, and, in the meanwhile, the forces of the garrison were divided in the different apartments above and below. In the section devoted to the women and children, and somewhat endangered, as we have seen, from the exposed window and the fallen tree, they were its exclusive occupants. The opposite chamber held a few of the more sturdy and common sense defenders, while in the great hall below, a miscellaneous group of fifteen or twenty — the inferior spirits — were assembled. Two or three of these were busied in patching up the broken ladder, which was to renew the communication between the several parties, thus, of necessity, thrown asunder.

The watchers of the fortress, from their several loop-holes, looked forth, east and west, yet saw no enemy. All was soft in the picture, all was silent in the deep repose of the forest. The night was clear and lovely, and the vague and dim beauty with which, in the imperfect moonlight, the foliage of the woods spread away in distant shadows, or clung and clustered together as in groups, shrinking for concealment from her glances, touched the spirits even of those rude foresters. With them the poetry of the natural world is a matter of feeling — with the refined, it is an instrument of art. Hence it is, indeed, that the poetry of the early ages speaks in the simplest language, while that of civilization, becoming only the agent for artificial enjoyment, is ornate in its dress, and complex in its form and structure.

The night wore on, still calm and serene in all its aspects about the Block House. Far away in the distance, like glimpses of a spirit, little sweeps of the river, in its crooked windings, flashed

-345-

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The Yemassee
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Fiction Series *
  • The Yemassee *
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A Simms Chronology xxxvi
  • Selected Bibliography xxxvii
  • The Yemassee Uprising xlii
  • Note on the Text *
  • To Professor Samuel Henry Dickson, M.D., of South Carolina 3
  • Chapter I 9
  • Chapter II 15
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 28
  • Chapter V 34
  • Chapter VI 43
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 65
  • Chapter IX 74
  • Chapter X 81
  • Chapter XI 91
  • Chapter XII 98
  • Chapter XIII 105
  • Chapter XIV 113
  • Chapter XV 118
  • Chapter XVI 123
  • Chapter XVII 133
  • Chapter XVIII 139
  • Chapter XIX 146
  • Chapter XX 151
  • Chapter XXI 159
  • Chapter XXII 165
  • Chapter XXIII 173
  • Chapter XXIV 182
  • Chapter XXV 188
  • Chapter XXVI 201
  • Chapter XXVII 210
  • Chapter XXVIII 215
  • Chapter XXIX 222
  • Chapter XXX 229
  • Chapter XXXI 235
  • Chapter XXXII 243
  • Chapter XXXIII 249
  • Chapter XXXIV 255
  • Chapter XXXV 265
  • Chapter XXXVI 271
  • Chapter XXXVII 276
  • Chapter XXXVIII 283
  • Chapter Xxxix 295
  • Chapter XL 300
  • Chapter XLI 307
  • Chapter XLII 314
  • Chapter XLIII 322
  • Chapter XLIV 329
  • Chapter XLV 336
  • Chapter XLVI 345
  • Chapter XLVII 355
  • Chapter XLVIII 363
  • Chapter Xlix 375
  • Chapter L 382
  • Chapter LI 389
  • Chapter LII 396
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