Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter X: Thunder in a Clear Sky >> Page 86

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 86

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 86 MELLICHAMPE.
and, with all the adroitness of an old practitioner, knotted
them together as fast as his superior, in his clumsy efforts to
do likewise, tore them asunder.
Clayton was a lively, brisk, ready youth, not over well-
informed, but with just sufficient reading and experience to
while away a dull hour with a thoughtless maiden. Janet
heard him with respect, but said little. Rose Duncan, how-
ever, had few restraints certainly none like those restraining
the former and she chatted on with as thoughtless. a spirit as
if there had been no suffering in the land. Barsfield envied
his lieutenant the immense gift of the gab which the latter
possessed, and his envy grew into a feeling of bitter mortifi-
cation, when every effort of his own to engage Janet in dia-
logue failed utterly, and, evidently, quite as often from his
own inefficiency, as from the maiden's reluctance, to maintain
it. A quiet Yes" or No". was the only response which she
appeared to find necessary in answer to all his suggestions ;
and these, too, were uttered so coldly and so calmly, as to dis-
courage the otherwise sanguine tory in the hope that maiden
bashfulness alone, and not indifference, was the true cause of
her taciturnity. The old man, her father, as be saw the
anxiety of Barsfield to fix his daughter's attention, and, as he
hoped to conciliate one having a useful influence, strove to
second his efforts, by so directing the course of the conversa-
tion as to bring out the resources of the maiden; but even
his efforts proved in a great degree unsuccessful. Her mind
seemed not at home in all the scene, and exhibited but little
sympathy with those around her. To those who looked close-
ly, and could read so. mysterious a language as that of a young
maiden's eye, it might be seen that, in addition to her reluc-
tance to converse with Barsfield, there was also a creeping fear
in her bosom, which chilled and fevered all its elasticity. As
the hour advanced, this feeling showed itself by occasional
unquiet movements of her eye, which glanced its sweet fires
fitfully around, as if in searching for some object which it yet
dreaded to encounter.
This state of disquietude did not fail to strike the keen
watchfulness of Barsfield, whose own imperfect success only