Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter VIII: Janet Berkeley >> Page 74

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Page 74

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 74 MELLICHAMPE.
secured the company of Miss Duncan; and they were soon seated round the hospitable board. But where was Blonay--the despised�the deformed the desolate ? Miss Berkeley, presiding at the head of the table, remarked his absence, and her eye at once addressed her father.
" The other gentleman, father ?" she said inquiringly.
"Gentleman, indeed !" was the exclamation of Barsfield, accompanied by a rude laugh, which was slightly echoed by his companions ; " Gentleman, indeed ! give yourself no manner of concern on his account, Miss Berkeley. He is some miserable overseer�a sand-lapper from Goose Creek, of whom we know nothing, except that Proctor, the commandant at Dorchester, has thought proper to give him a passport to go where he pleases.""He is my father's guest, sir," was the dignified and rebuking reply ; " and we can take no exception to his poverty, or his occupation, or the place from which he comes. We have not heretofore been accustomed to do so, and it would be far less than good policy now, when the vicissitudes of the times are such, that even a person such as you describe him to be may become not only our neighbor but our superior, to-morrow."
Mr. Berkeley started from his chair in some little confusion. He felt the truth of what his daughter said, yet he saw that her speech had touched Barsfield to the quick. The red spot was on the cheek of the tory, and his lips quivered for an instant.
"Janet is right, Captain Barsfield ; the hospitality of Piney Grove must not be impeached. Its doors must be open to the poor as weal as the rich ; we can not discriminate between them :" and, so speaking, he hurried out to look after the half-breed. He had not far to look. To the great surprise of the old man, he found Blonay a listener at the door of the apartment. He must have heard every syllable that had been spoken. He had been practising after his Indian nature, and was not sensible of any impropriety in the act. Revolting at the task before him, Mr. Berkeley, with as good a grace as possible, invited the scout into the apartment� an invitation