Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XIV: Thumbscrew in Practice >> Page 121

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THUMBSCREW IN PRACTICE. 121
impulse was to advance and show himself ; but, knowing the
nature of his companion well, he felt assured he should only
give offence, and do no service. His cooler decision was to lie
snugly where he was, and await the progress of events.
At length the torches disappeared from the garden, and it
was not long after when the lights seemed extinguished in the
house all but one. A candle, a pale and trembling light,
was still to be seen in one window of the dwelling, and to this
the eyes of Mellichampe were turned with as fond a glance as
ever Chaldean shepherd sent in worship to the star with which
he held his fate to be connected. The light came from the
chamber of Janet Berkeley. It was the light of love to Melli-
champe, and it brought a sweet promise and a pleasant hope
to his warm and active fancy.
Not long could he remain in his quiet perch after beholding
it. He leaped down, glided around the garden-paling, and
took his way to the park in front, keeping on the opposite Bide
of the fence which divided the ground immediately about the
dwelling from the forest and the fields. The fence, as is com-
mon to most fences of like description in the luxuriant regions
of the south, was thickly girdled with brush, serving admirably
the purpose of concealment. Pursuing it with this object, in
all its windings, he at length approached the park where the
British troops were .encamped. Well and closely did he scan
their position ; and, with the eye of a partisan, he saw with
how much ease a force of but half the number, properly guided,
might effect their discomfiture. He did not linger, however,
in idle regrets of his inability ; but, moving around the chain
of sentries, he ascertained that their position had undergone
no alteration, and felt assured that he could now penetrate the
garden safely. This done, he made his way back to the place
of his concealment.
In the examination which he had just taken, he had been
closely watched and followed by the faithful Thumbscrew.
The movements of the youth regulated duly those of his at-
tendant. When the former halted, the latter fell back behind
the brush, advancing when he advanced, and checking his own
progress whenever the dusky shadow of Mellichampe appeared
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