Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ Thou wast the child of Manneyto

He gave thee arrows and an eye, -
Thou wast the strong son of Manneyto,
He gave thee feathers and a wing,–
Thou wast a young brave of Manneyto,
He gave thee scalps and a war-song,
But he knows thee no more—he knows thee no more."

And the clustering multitude again gave back the last line in wild chorus. The prophet continued his chant:

“ That Opitchi-Manneyto !

He commands thee for his slave-
And the Yemassee must hear him,
Hear, and give thee for his slave-
They will take from thee the arrow,
The broad arrow of thy people,-
Thou shalt see no blessed valley,
Where the plum-groves always bloom-
Thou shalt hear no songs of valour,
From the ancient Yemassee-
Father, mother, name, and people,
Thou shalt lose with that broad arrow,
Thou art lost to the Manneyto,-
He knows thee no more-he knows thee no more."

The despair of hell was in the face of the victim, and he howled forth, in a cry of agony that for a moment silenced the wild chorus of the crowd around, the terrible consciousness in his mind of that privation which the doom entailed upon him. Every feature was convulsed with emotion; and the terrors of Opitchi-Manneyto's dominion seemed already in strong exercise upon the muscles of his heart, when Sanutee, the father, silently approached him, and with a pause of a few moments, stood gazing upon the son from whom he was to be separated eternally

In a loud and bitter voice he exclaimed, “Thy father knows thee no more,”—and once more came to the ears of the victim the melancholy chorus of the multitude—“He knows thee no more, he knows thee no more." Sanutee turned quickly away as he had spoken; and as if he suffered more than he was willing to show, the old man rapidly hastened to the little mound where he had been previously sitting, his eyes averted from the further spectacle. Occonestoga, goaded to madness by these several incidents, shrieked forth the bitterest execrations, until Enoree-Mattee, preceding Malatchie, again approached. Having given some directions in an under-tone to the latter, he retired, leaving the executioner alone with his victim. Malatchie, then, while all was silence in the crowd,-a thick silence, in which even respiration seemed to be suspended, -proceeded to his duty; and, lifting the feet of Occonestoga carefully from the ground, he placed a log under themthen addressing him, as he again bared his knife which he stuck in the tree above his head, he sung

“I take from thee the earth of Yemassee-
I take from thee the water of Yemassee-
I take from thee the arrow of Yemassee-
Thou art no longer a Yemassee-
The Yemassee knows thee no more."

“The Yemassee knows thee no more,” cried the multitude, and their universal shout was deafening upon the ear. Occonestoga said no word now—he could offer no resistance to the unnerving hands of Malatchie, who now bared the arm more completely of its covering. But his limbs were convulsed with the spasms of that dreadful terror of the future which was racking and raging in every pulse of his heart. He had full faith in the superstitions of his people.

His terrors acknowledged the full horrors of their doom. A despairing agony which no language could describe had possession of his soul.

Meanwhile, the silence of all indicated the general anxiety ; and Malatchie prepared to seize the knife and perform the operation, when a confused murmur arose from the crowd around; the mass gave way and parted, and, rushing wildly into the area, came Matiwan, his mother, the long black hair streaming, the features, an astonishing likeness to his own, convulsed like his; and her action that of one reckless of all things in the way of the forward progress she was making to the person of her child. She cried aloud as she came, with a voice that rang like a sudden death-bell through the ring.

“Would you keep a mother from her boy, and he to be lost to her for ever? Shall she have no parting with the young brave she bore in her bosom? Away, keep me not back-I will look upon him, I will love him. He shall have the blessing of Matiwan, though the Yemassee and the Manneyto curse."

The victim heard, and a momentary renovation of mental life, perhaps a renovation of hope, spoke out in the simple exclamation which fell from his lips :

“Oh, Matiwan-oh, mother!"

She rushed towards the spot where she heard his appeal, and thrusting the executioner aside, threw her arms desperately about his neck.

“ Touch him not, Matiwan,” was the general cry from the crowd; "touch him not, Matiwan,-Manneyto knows him no more.'

“But Matiwan knows him—the mother knows her child, though Manney to denies him. Oh, boy-oh, boy, boy, boy.” And she sobbed like an infant on his neck.

[ocr errors]

“Thou art come, Matiwan-thou art come, but wherefore? To curse, like the father—to curse, like the Manneyto?" mournfully said the captive.

No, no, no! Not to curse, not to curse. When did mother curse the child she bore? Not to curse, but to bless thee. To bless thee and forgive."

“ Tear her away,” cried the prophet; “let Opitchi-Manneyto have his slave."

“Tear her away, Malatchie,” cried the crowd, now impatient for the execution. Malatchie approached. “Not yet, not yet," appealed the woman.

“ Shall not the mother say farewell to the child she shall see no more? and she waved Malatchie back, and in the next instant drew hastily from the drapery of her dress a small hatchet, which she had there carefully concealed.

“ What wouldst thou do, Matiwan?” asked Occonestoga, as his eye caught the glare of the weapon.

“Save thee, my boy-save thee for thy mother, Occonestoga-save thee for the happy valley."

“ Wouldst thou slay me, mother, wouldst strike the heart of thy son?” he asked, with a something of reluctance to receive death from the hands of a parent.

I strike thee but to save thee, my son ; since they cannot take the totem from thee after the life is gone. Turn away from me thy head-let me not look

upon
thine

eyes as I strike, lest my hands grow weak and tremble. Turn thine eyes away; I will not lose thee.”

His eyes closed, and the fatal instrument, lifted above her head, was now visible in the sight of all. The executioner rushed forward to interpose, but he came too late. The tomahawk was driven deep into the skull, and but a single sentence from his lips preceded the final insensibility of of the victim.

[ocr errors]

VII.
Break up that hoe-cake, boys, and hand

The sly and silent jug that's there;
I love not it should idly stand,

When Marion's men have need of cheer. 'Tis seldom that our luck affords

A stuff like this we just have quaffed, And dry potatoes on our boards

May always call for such a draught.

VIII.
Now pile the brush and roll the log;

Hard pillow, but a soldier's head
That's half the time in brake and bog

Must never think of softer bed. The owl is hooting to the night,

The cooter crawling o'er the bank, And in that pond the flashing light

Tells where the alligator sank.

IX.
What! 'tis the signal! start so soon.

And through the Santee swamp so deep, Without the aid of friendly moon,

And we, Heaven help us! half asleep! But courage, comrades! Marion leads,

The Swamp Fox takes us out to-night; So clear your swords, and spur your steeds,

There's goodly chance, I think, of fight.

X. We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,

We leave the swamp and cypress tree, Our spurs are in our coursers' sides,

And ready for the strife are we, The Tory camp is now in sight,

And there he cowers within his den,He hears our shouts, he dreads the fight,

He fears, and Aies from Marion's men.

« PreviousContinue »