Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XV: A Friendly Hitch >> Page 133

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Page 133

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription A FRIENDLY HITCH. 133
tion, and his passions triumphed. All his. more violent and
vexing impulses were active in dictation. His eye was full
of desperate intention : his hand grasped his bare dagger, and
his movement was hurried toward the prisoner, whose eye
turned appealingly to that of Witherspoon. The latter had
his own apprehensions, but he had his decision also. He saw
the manner of Mellichamp-e's approach; he understood directly
the dreadful language which was uttered from his eye, though
sleeping upon his lips; and he prepared himself accordingly
to encounter and resist the movement which the glance of his
comrade evidently meditated.
He was scarcely quick enough for this. A sudden and fierce
bound, like that which the catamount makes from his tree
upon the shoulders of his approaching victim, carried the form
of Mellichampe full upon the breast of the tory, who strove, but
vainly, to shrink away.froin beneath. The impetuous movement
half displaced the woodman. In another moment the weapon
must have been in the throat of the tory, but for the ready
effort and athletic arms of Witherspoon. He grasped the
youth from behind. His embrace encircled completely, while
securing him from the commission of the deed.
" Release me, Witherspoon," cried Mellichampe to his com-
panion, while the thick foam gathered about his lips and half
choked his utterance.
"I'll be G�d derned if I do, Airnest," was the decisive
reply. The youth insisted the woodman was inflexible.
You will repent it, Witherspoon."
Can't be helped, Airnest, but I can't think to let you go to
do murder. 'Taint right, Airnest ; and dang my buttons if any
man that I calls my friend shall do wrong when I'm standing
by, if so be I can keep his hands off."
Shall this wretch always cross my path, John Wither-
spoon ? shall he always go unpunished? Does he not even
now seek my life his hands not yet clean from the blood of
my father? Release me, Witherspoon it will be worse if
you do not." .
That's my look-out, Airnest, I know ; it's the risk I runs
always, and it's no new thing. But, Airnest, I can't let you