Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter IX: Owls Abroad >> Page 79

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Page 79

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription OWLS ABROAD. 79
That's because I loves you, Airnest, much better than
anybody else, and much better, when the truth's spoken, than
you loves yourself," replied the woodman, affectionately put-
ting his arms around the neck of his youthful companion : I
loves you, Airnest, and I watches you like an old hen that's
got but one chicken left, and I clucks and scratches twice as
much for that very reason. If there was a dozen to look after,
now, the case would be different ; I wouldn't make half the
. fuss that I make about the one : but, you see, when it so
happens that the things a man's got to love gits fewer and
smaller, they gits more valuable, Airnest, in his sight ; for he
knows mighty well, if he loses them, that he's jist like an old
bird that comes back to the tree when the blossoms and the
flowers have all dropped off, and are rotting under it. It's
mighty nigh to winter in his heart then, Airnest mighty
nigh and the sooner he begins to look out for a place to sleep
in, the wiser man you may take him to be. But, Airnest, 'taint
altogither that I loves you so that makes me agin your going
to-night to see the gal
Stop, Thumbscrew, if you please," were the words of inter-
ruption sternly uttered by the youth ; you will change your
mode of speech in speaking of Miss Berkeley, and, when you
refer to her in my hearing, you will please do so with becom-
ing respect."
Swounds, Airnest, don't I respect her? Don't you know
that I respects her ? Don't I love her, I ax you, a-most as
much as I loves you? and wouldn't I do anything for you
both, that wasn't a mean, cowardly thing ? You know I
doesn't mean to be disrespectful in what I says consarning her;
and you mustn't talk so as if you thought I did. I says I'm
agin your going to see her, or anybody at Piney Grove, not
because it's you that's going, but because I wouldn't have any-
body go, that b'longs to Marion's men, into the clutches of
them there thieves and murderers. It'll be as much as your
neck's worth to go there, for Barsfield is something of a Boger,
and will be sure to put out scouts and sentries all round the
house. If he don't he's no better than a nigger, and desarves
to be cashiered."