Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter X: Thunder in a Clear Sky >> Page 85

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Page 85

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THUNDER IN A CLEAR SKY. 85
AT the hospitable board of Mr. Berkeley, to which we now
return, the parties appear seated precisely as we left them.
Their condition is not the same, however. They have done
full justice, during our absence, to the repast, and to their own
appetites, rendered more acute from their active travel of the
day. The first rude demands of hunger had been satisfied ;
the urgent business of the table was fairly over ; and nothing
now remained to prevent the tory captain from playing the
double part of social guest and earnest lover. His position
might well have prompted him to an unwonted effort in the
presence of one whose favor he sought to win. Not so, how-
ever. Barsfield, though bold and insolent enough with a rude
troop and in the forest, was yet abashed in the presence of the
beautiful and innocent Janet. He was one of those instances,
so frequently to be met with, of a man possessed of energies
of mind calculated to reach distinction, but wanting in that
delicacy of feeling and demeanor, the result only of polished
society, which alone can sustain him there unembarrassed and
at ease. Too harsh in his habits to conciliate without an
effort, he was, at the same time, too little familiar with the nice
delicacies and acute sensibilities of the female heart to make
the attempt with judgment ; and we find him, accordingly, the
well-dressed boor, in a strange circle, endeavoring to disguise
his own consciousness of inadequacy by a dashing and forward
demeanor, which had all the aspect of impertinence. He
made sundry efforts to engage the maiden and her young com-
panion in the toils of conversation, but proved far less suc-
cessful than his second in command, who led the way in the
suggestion of topics, caught up the falling ends of chit-chat,