Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XIV: Thumbscrew in Practice >> Page 130

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 130 MELLICIHAMPE.
I shall be bound to take up a stitch or two in your jaw here,
that'll be mighty disagreeable to both of us. Airnest, now,
boy, don't stop for last words, but let's be -off, or we'll have all
the cubs looking after the great bear. I'll hold the lad quiet
till you see the gal safe to the gate, but don't go farther."
He kept his word and his good-mature, in spite of all the
struggles of his prisoner. Once, and once only, he seemed to
become angry, as the tory gave him something more than the
customary annoyance ; but a judicious obtrusion of a monstrous
knife, which was made to flash in the moonlight before the
eyes of the captive, was thought sufficient by the scout in the
way of exhortation.
" It's a nasty fine piece of steel, now, captain, and if you
gives me much more trouble I shall let you have a small taste
of its qualities ; so you had better lay still till I lets you off,
which won't be long, for you're of no more use to me here than
a dead 'possum in a hollow thirty miles off. If I had you in
the swamp, now, I could drive a little trade in your skin. I
could swap you for some . better man than yourself; but I'm
your friend here, for, to say the gospel truth to you, captain,
if I didn't stand between you and Airnest Mellichampe, you
wouldn't see what hurt you : he'd be through you like a ground-
mole, though in much shorter time ; and there wouldn't be an
inch of your heart that his dirk wouldn't bite into. But you're
safe, you see, as you're my prisoner the captive, as they used
to say in old times, of my bow and spear though, to be sure,
it was only my fist that did your business."
It was thus that, like a good companion as he was, Thumb-
screw regaled the ears of his prisoner with a commentary upon
the particulars of. his situation. In the meantime, Mellichampe
conducted, or -rather supported, the maiden to the garden en-
trance. When there she recovered her strength, as she per-
ceived that he designed attending her to the dwelling. This
she resisted.
"No, Ernest, no !�risk no more ! I will not see �I will
not suffer it. Let us part now in danger still, as we have
ever been. In sorrow let us separate alas ! I fear, in sorrow
to meet again, if again we ever meet."