Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXI: The Maiden's Gift >> Page 195

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Page 195

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE MAIDEN'S GIFT. 195
watching for an occasional exposure of the persons of their
enemies within certain reach of their muskets.
The bugle of Singleton ,called up his officers. They assem-
bled, as at a central and safe point, at the overseer's dwelling,
to which the family of Mr. Berkeley had retired. A small
room was assigned the partisans, and there they carried on
their hurried deliberations.
This is child's play, gentlemen," said Singleton ; can we
find no better mode of dislodging these rascals ? Our shot do
little good now. There is no object to aim at. Barsfield has
discovered the difference between rifled and smooth bore, and
keeps too snug to suffer any harm at our hands. We must
think of something, gentlemen ; and it must be done quickly,
or not at all, for Tarleton's on the road, and we must beat
Barsfield by noon, or leave him. What do you say ? I should
be pleased, gentlemen, to have your suggestions."
Many men, many minds." It would be needless to say,
that there must be various counsels when there are many coun-
sellors. Each had his notion and his plan, but to all there
were objections. Humphries, at length, proposed to fire the
dwelling. All agreed that this was the wisest suggestion
the effective plan, if it could only be made available. But
who was to carry the fire to the fortress who was to cross
the yard, in the teeth of thirty muskets, and bell the cat" ?
and what would be the chances of his life, or of his success, in
the endeavor ? This was the question, to which there was no
ready answer. It was obvious enough that any one approach-
ing the building with such a purpose, or with any purpose, as
an enemy, must be shot down by its defenders. A silence of
several minutes followed the utterance of these views by Sin-
gleton. The silence was broken by one �a slender, pale, and
trembling youth, who emerged from behind the commander.
His lips quivered as he spoke, but it was not with fear. His
eye kindled with light, even while its long dark lashes seemed
suffused with the dews of a tender heart.
I will go, major," were his quickly-uttered words.
You, Lance ? why, boy, you will be shot down instantly.
Impossible !�you must not think of it !" was the imperative
reply.