Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XX: Sharp Passages at Arms >> Page 187

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Page 187

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SHARP PASSAGES AT ARMS. 187
his feet, resting upon one hand, looking partly upon his foe
and partly round, as if imploring succor from his friends.
Mellichampe distinguished the features instantly, though
smeared with blood. They were those of Gabriel Marion, the
nephew of the general, a youth of nineteen only.
He shall not die, by Heaven !" cried Mellichampe aloud ;
in the same moment, with a daring effort, drawing his horse
back from the encounter with the enemy with whom he was
engaged, as if in flight �a movement which, encouraging the
other to press forward, disordered his guard, and placed him
at disadvantage. Meeting his stroke, Mellichampe set it read-
ily aside; then, striking in turn at the head of his oppo-
nent, ha put spurs to his horse, without looking to see what
had been the effect of his blow, and, passing quickly beyond
him, rushed forward to meet with Barsfield. But, as he ap-
proached, he saw that nothing could be done for the youth,
whose hand was uplifted �a frail defence in opposition to
his conqueror's weapon.
Stay, Barsfield strike him not, scoundrel, or look for the
vengeance "
But, ere the speech was finished, the youth leaped once more
to his feet, and the weapon meant for his head passed over it.
Young Marion then grasped the sword-arm of his enemy ; but,
drawing his remaining pistol in the same moment, Barsfield
shot him through the breast.
The cry of grief on the one hand, and of triumph on the
other, contributed greatly to discourage the partisans. That
moment was fatal to several more in their ranks, and the
disparity of force was now in favor of the tories. They were
soon conscious of the fact, and pressed upon their enemies.
Stung with shame, Mellichampe made a desperate effort, and,
nobly seconded by a few, threw himself in the path of the
enemy, and bravely disputed every inch of ground, yielding
it only under the pressure of-numbers.
I can not fly, Witherspoon--speak not of it, I tell you. I
know that the odds are against us, but we must only strike the
oftener."