Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXII: Caprices of the Conflict >> Page 200

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 200

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 200 MMELLICHAIVIPE.
the lips of the partisans attested their joy, and congratulated
their successful captain, through whose fearless and skilful
agency the design had been effected. Their cheering cries,
more than anything besides, announced to the tories the new
dangers of their situation, and the desperate position in which
they stood. Singleton well conceived what might be their
course, and gave his orders accordingly.
"Riflemen! stand by to watch the scuttle. Look out for
the roof!' Mark the scuttle, and shoot closely !"
Ascending to the garret, by the aid of a little ladder which
always stood there for such a purpose, Barsfield himself pro-
ceeded to throw open the scuttle, when he was warned of the
watchfulness of the besiegers by the sharp crack of the rifle,
and the instantaneous passage of the bullet through the scut-
tle-door, and just above his head.
"Too quick, Lance ! too quick by half!" cried Singleton to
the precipitate youth, who had fired before the tory's head
had made its appearance. The boy sank back abashed and
mortified. Barsfield, meanwhile, descended with much greater
rapidity than satisfaction, and the dense smoke rushed clown
the aperture after him, filling the chambers with its suffocating
and increasing masses.
" It burns like tinder, and we have no water," said Clayton.
"And if we had," cried Barsfield fiercely, "who in the
devil's name would apply it under the fire from those rifles ?"
And what are we to do ?" cried one of the subordinates,
emboldened by the near approach of a common danger;
Shall we stay here to be smoked alive, like so many wild
beasts in a hole ?"
Should we not now surrender, Captain Barsfield, if we can
get fair terms of quarter ?" was the suggestion of Clayton.
"What! beg terms of that youngster? Never !" fiercely
responded the tory. I will perish first !""Ay, but we shall all perish with you, and I see no good
reason for that, Captain Barsfield," was the calmer speech of
Clayton. "We should apply for quarters to any youngster,
rather than be smoked alive."
And, if you did apply, would they hear us, think you?