Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXI: The Maiden's Gift >> Page 192

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Page 192

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 192 ME�LLICHAMPE.
lichampe volunteered to bear the despatches, but Singleton
refused him.
No, no ; the risk will be great to you; and the tory hates
you too well to stop at trifles. He might be tempted to some
desperate act if you are to be the messenger. I prefer With-
erspoon."
Jist as you say, major ; I'm ready, as the alligator said to
the duck. I'm ready ; though I a'n't a great speaker, yet I
can tell I arsfield what he's to reckon on if he don't come to
tams. If so be all I've got to say is to tell him he'll be licked
if he don't give up and surrender, I can do that easy enough,"
was the prompt speech of the scout.
"You know there's danger, Witherspoon," said Singleton.
" This fellow Barsfield may not think it becoming to treat with
a rebel ; ,nd he may send a bullet through the head of a cou-
rier, and think no sin of it.""Well, he'd be a mean skunk to do sich a thing, major;
that's agin all the civilities of war. I knows there's danger,
but I can't help it. 'Man that is born of woman,' says the
Scripture �I don't rightly call to mind the other part but it
means that we've all got to die some time or other, and 'ta'n't
the part of a brave man to be always dodging from danger. I
must take my chance, major, so git your paper ready."
Singleton pencilled brief but honorable proposals to the tort',
pledging the enlargement of himself and party on parole if
they would surrender; and denouncing otherwise the well-
known horrors of a storm. A permission, in the event of his
refusal to surrender, was extended to Mr. Berkeley and his
family, but no other person, to leave the beleaguered dwelling.
Witherspoon received the paper, and prepared to depart.
Mayn't I carry my rifle, major ? I don't feel altogether
natural when I don't have it, partic'larly when I'm to go seek
my enemy."" No arms, Witherspoon ; nothing but the flag."
He handed the weapon to Mellichampe with no small reluc-
tance.
Take care of her, Airnest ; she's a sweet critter, and makes
a crack that's born music, and I loves her."