Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XX: Sharp Passages at Arms >> Page 186

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Page 186

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 186 MELLICHAMPE.
True valor is quite as con-
tagious as fear, since it is always quite as earnest. The parti-
sans heard the words of their leaders they saw the headlong
rush of their steeds ; and they rushed forward also with as
generous an emotion. They were received with a front quite
as firm, and a spirit not less forward than their own. The
tories, too, had been inspirited by their success in the first
shock, and, with loud cheers, they prepared for the second.
The encounter, as it was made just at the mouth of the defile,
a circumscribed position, where each man fouird his opponent,
had something of the character of the mixed fight of the mid-
dle ages.
The rush was tremendous; the strife, for a few moments,
terrible. But all in vain did the eye of Mellichampe distin-
guish, and his spirit burn once more to contend with his deadly
enemy. They were kept asunder by the tide of battle. The
ranks were broken ; the fight became pell-mell; and, on a
sudden, while each man was contending with his enemy, a
fierce cry of triumph and of vengeance burst from the lips of
Barsfield himself. Mellichampe, though closely engaged with
a stout dragoon, suffered his eye to seek the spot whence the
sound arose, and once beheld its occasion. Barsfield had been
contending with a slender, but fine-looking youth, whom he
bad disarmed. The hand of his conqueror had torn him from
his horse with all the strength of a giant. The youth lay at
quick and mortifying signal. But the voice of the youthful
Mellichampe sounded even above the shrill alarum of the in-
strument, as, with a desperate blow with his sabre, he struck
the recreant trumpeter to the earth.
Shame to you, men of Marion ! shame! do you fly
from the tories of Waccamaw ? Do you give-back before the
Winyah mud-eaters ? Follow me !"
The cry of Witherspoon was yet more characteristic, and,
perhaps, far more potential.
You forget, boys, sartainly, that the tories find it nateral
to be licked; and if they was to lick you now, that's licked
them so often, they wouldn't know what to do for joy. Turn
to, and let's lick 'em ag'in !"
The call was not made in vain.