Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XX: Sharp Passages at Arms >> Page 185

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Page 185

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SHARP PASSAGES AT ARMS. 185
The sabre of the youth glared in his face at this reply, and
the movement of .the tory was made in another instant with
all the rapidity of thought. His horse, under the quick im-
pulse of a heavy bit, was brought round in a moment : in an-
other, a huge pistol was drawn from his holsters, and the
careering-steed of Mellichampe received the bullet meant for
his master in his own breast. He fell forward upon his knees,
made an imperfect effort to rise, and the next moment plunged
desperately and struggled almost under the feet of Barsfield's
horse. A few seconds sufficed for 1VTellichampe's extrication ;
and he was barely in time by throwing up his sabre, to arrest
the stroke of his enemy's. On foot he now pressed forward
upon Barsfield, and sought to close so nearly in with him as
to make it difficult' for him to employ his sabre, unless by
shortening it too greatly to permit of his using it with any ad-
vantage. But the tory saw his design, and immediately
backed his steed. Mellichampe pursued him with his accus-
tomed rashness, and must certainly have been slain by the
tory, who had now drawn another pistol from his holster, when
Witherspoon, who had been hotly engaged, but had seen with
anxiety the contest between the two enemies, now rushed be-
tween ; and, setting the huge and splendid horse which he
rode directly in the teeth of that of Barsfield, the shock of
their meeting threw the latter completely upon his haunches,
and nearly unseated his rider.
The sabres of Barsfield and Witherspoon then clashed hur-
riedly, and, though chafed to be robbed of his prey even by
his friend, Mellichampe was compelled to forbear his par-
ticular game, and turn his attention entirely to his own safety.
A horse plunged by him riderless, which he was fortunate
enough to seize; and he was mounted opportunely just as a
fresh charge of the tories separated Witherspoon from his op-
ponent, whom he had pressed back into the defile. This charge
drove the sergeant, in his turn, down upon the original posi-
tion of the attacking party. The impulse was for a few mo-
ments irresistible, and two or three of the men fairly turned
their horses and fled from before it. Captain Melton seeing
this, gave the order to retreat, and the trumpet sounded the