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A short story by Charles M. Skinner

Revenge Of The Accabee

Title:     Revenge Of The Accabee
Author: Charles M. Skinner [More Titles by Skinner]

The settlement made by Lord Cardross, near Beaufort, South Carolina, was beset by Spaniards and Indians, who laid it in ashes and slew every person in it but one. She, a child of thirteen, had supposed the young chief of the Accabees to be her father, as he passed in the smoke, and had thrown herself into his arms. The savage raised his axe to strike, but, catching her blue eye raised to his, more in grief and wonder than alarm, the menacing hand fell to his side, and, tossing the girl lightly to a seat on his shoulder, he strode off into the forest. Mile after mile he bore her, and if she slept he held her to his breast as a father holds a babe. When she awoke it was in his lodge on the Ashley, and he was smiling in her face. The chief became her protector; but those who marked, with the flight of time, how his fierceness had softened, knew that she was more to him than a daughter. Years passed, the girl had grown to womanhood, and her captor declared himself her lover. She seemed not ill pleased at this, for she consented to be his wife. After the betrothal the chief joined a hunting party and was absent for a time. On his return the girl was gone. A trader who had been bartering merchandise for furs had seen her, had been inspired by passion, and, favored by suave manners and a white skin, he had won in a day a stronger affection than the Indian could claim after years of loving watchfulness.

When this discovery was made the chief, without a word, set off on the trail, and by broken twig, by bended grass and footprints at the brook-edge, he followed their course until he found them resting beneath a tree. The girl sprang from her new lover's arms with a cry of fear as the savage, with knife and tomahawk girt upon him, stepped into view, and she would have clasped his knees, but he motioned her away; then, ordering them to continue their march, he went behind them until they had reached a fertile spot on the Ashley, near the present site of Charleston, where he halted. "Though guilty, you shall not die," said he to the woman; then, to his rival, "You shall marry her, and a white priest shall join your hands. Here is your future home. I give you many acres of my land, but look that you care for her. As I have been merciful to you, do good to her. If you treat her ill, I shall not be far away."

The twain were married and went to live on the acres that had been so generously ceded to them, and for a time all went well; but the true disposition of the husband, which was sullen and selfish, soon began to disclose itself; disagreements arose, then quarrels; at last the man struck his wife, and, seizing the deed of the Accabee land and a paper that he had forced her to sign without knowing its contents, he started for the settlements, intending to sell the property and sail for England. On the edge of the village his flight was stayed by a tall form that arose in his path-that of the Indian. "I gave you all," said the chief, "the woman who should have been my wife, and then my land. This is your thanks. You shall go no farther."

With a quick stroke of the axe he cleft the skull of the shrinking wretch, and then, cutting off his scalp, the Indian ran to the cottage where sat the abandoned wife, weeping before the embers of her fire. He roused her by tossing on fresh fuel, but she shrank back in grief and shame when she saw who had come to her. "Do not fear," he said. "The man who struck you meant to sell your home to strangers"--and he laid the deed of sale before her, "but he will never play you false or lay hands on you again. Look!" He tossed the dripping scalp upon the paper. "Now I leave you forever. I cannot take you back among my people, who do not know deceit like yours, nor could I ever love you as I did at first." Turning, without other farewell he went out at the door. When this gift of Accabee land was sold--for the woman could no longer bear to live on it, but went to a northern city--a handsome house was built by the new owner, who added game preserves and pleasure grounds to the estate, but it was "haunted by a grief." Illness and ill luck followed the purchase, and the house fell into ruin.

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Charles M. Skinner's short story: Revenge Of The Accabee