Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXI: The Maiden's Gift >> Page 196

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Page 196

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 196 MELLICHAMPE.
But, sir, I can run fast : I can first get to the fallen tree,
and so quickly, I don't think they can hit me in that time ;
and then the next push is for the piazza. Once I get under
the piazza, I will be safe :" and the lad trembled with his own
earnestness.
Perhaps you might, Lance, but it would be impossible to
preserve your fire in such a race, and the risk is too great to
be undertaken with such a prospect."
Singleton was imperative, but the youth continued to urge
his plan. At that moment a servant, entering the apartment,
beckoned Mellichampe away. He .was sent for by Janet, who
received him in the adjoining room.
I have heard," said she, some of your deliberations with-
out intending it : but your voices are loud, and these are thin
partitions. The youth must not be suffered to go to certain
death. I understand your difficulty, and think it may be
overcome. I have a plan for you.
You !" exclaimed Mellichampe, with a smile.
Yes : look at this bow and these arrows," pointing to a
noble shaft, which leaned in the corner of the room; they
were the gift of a Catawba warrior to my father when I was
but a child. They are as good as new. They will convey
combustibles to the roof they will do what you desire."" But your old home your family dwelling, Janet� sacred
to you as your birthplace, and as the birthplace of your
mother�" was the suggestion of her lover.
Sacred as my home, as my own and my mother's birth-
place, it is yet doubly sacred as my country's. Place your
combustibles upon these arrows, and send them to the aged
roof of that family mansion ; and I shall not joy the less to see
it burn because it is my father's, and should be mine, when I
know that in its ruin the people and the cause I love must
triumph. God forbid and keep me from the mean thought
that I shall lose by that which to my country must be so great
a gain."
The wondering and delighted Mellichampe could only look
his admiration. She stood before him, with her dark eye
flashing, but suffused, and her lip trembling with the awful