Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XII: The Trail Lost >> Page 107

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Page 107

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE TRAIL LOST. 107
sweet solemnity of shade its refreshing fragrance its slen-
der branches and twining shrubs, that quivered and mur-
mured in the night breeze; or of that exquisite Art in the dis-
position of its groves and flowers, which, concealing herself in
their clustering folds, peeps out only here and there, as if in
childlike and innocent sport with her sister Nature.
Having made his camp arrangements for the night, Barsfield
left Clayton in command of the troop, still occupying the park
as at their coming, and proceeded once more to the dwelling.
Mr. Berkeley awaited his approach at the entrance. The old
gentleman was in no little tribulation. The presence of Mel-
lichampe at such a time in his grounds, and under circum-
stances which seemed to indicate the privity of one or more of
the household to his visits, was calculated, he well knew, to
make Barsfield suspicious of his loyalty. It was his policy,
and he was solicitous to prove to the tory that the youth re-
ceived no manner of encouragement from him ; that his presence
was unlooked-for, and, if not contrary to his commands, was at
least without his sanction. He also well knew the aim of
Barsfield with reference to his daughter, and it was not less
his object, on this account, to impress the tory with the idea
of his own ignorance on all subjects which concerned the rebel.
In tremulous accents, confusedly and timidly, he strove to win
the ear of his sullen and dissatified guest.
I am truly happy Ah ! I mean I am very sorry, Captain
Barsfield�" and here he paused �the words were too contra-
dictory, and his first blunder frightened him ; but Barsfield,
who also had his game to play, came to his relief by inter-
rupting him in his speech.
" Sorry for what, Mr. Berkeley ? What should make you
sorry ? You have nothing, that I can see, to be sorry for.
Your house is haunted by a rebel, and, though you may not
encourage him, and I suppose do not, I yet know that hitherto
you have been unable to drive him thoroughly away. It is
your misfortune, sir, but will not be a misfortune much longer.
You will soon be relieved from this difficulty. My force in a
short time will be adequate to clear the country in this quarter
of the troop of outliers that haunt it ; and this duty, sir, I have