Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XIV: Thumbscrew in Practice >> Page 126

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Page 126

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 12 6 3IELLICH AMPS..
which I now give you, that I can not hold my senses, and con-
sent to any connection with the person you .speak of."
Bless you, dear Janet, but I needed no such assurance. I
only feared that you might be driven by circumstances, by
trick, by contrivances, to make a sacrifice of yourself for the
good of another."" Alas ! Ernest, I now know what you would say. You
would tell me that my father, at the mercy of this man, as he
is, may require me as the offering by which he is to be saved..
God help me ! it is a strait I have not thought upon. I will
not, I dare not, think upon it ! Let us speak no more of this."
Gloomily and sternly the youth replied :
But you will think upon it, Janet ; it may be required of
you ere long. Think upon it, and provide your strength."
God forbid, Ernest ; God forbid ! Let me die first ! Let
me perish before it becomes a question with me, whether to
sacrifice peace, hope, the proper delicacy of my sex, and all
that I live for, and all that I would love, to the safety of an
only parent. Oh, how false I should be to promise love to a
being whom I could only hate or despise ! What a daughter
could. I be, to resist the prayers of a father requiring me to do
so ! Alas, Ernest, you bring me every form of trial. You
make me most unhappy. You come rashly into the clutches
of your deadly foe, and I tremble hourly, however I may
rejoice when I hear that you are coming. I dread to see you
perish before my eyes, under the weapons of these men ; and,
when you come, what is it that I am compelled to hear ! what
fears are before me ! what horrors ! Ab, if love be a treasure,
if it be a joy to love and to be loved, it is so much the harder
to think hourly of its loss, and of its so unguarded condition.
Better not to feel, better to be hollow-hearted and insensible,
than thus continually to dread, and as continually to desire--
to fear with every hope, and to weep even where you would
smile the most."
She buried her face in his bosom as she spoke, and her sobs
were audible. His arm gently supported while enclasping her,
and her afflictions greatly tended to subdue the impetuous
character of his previous mood. He replied to her fondly, in