Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXII: Caprices of the Conflict >> Page 204

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Page 204

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 204 MELLICHAMPE.
buckled together ; and then there was a momentary pause in
the combat, as the weapons crossed in air, in which the eyes of
the inveterate foes glared upon each other with the thirstful
expression of demoniac hate. Like lightning then, for a few
moments, the opposing blades darted around each combatant's
head ; then came the deadly thrust and the heavy blow the
ready guard, and the swift stroke in return.
Though brave enough in common parlance, there was yet
that in the face of Mellichampe from which the tory seemed
to shrink. The youth had been roused by repeated wrongs,
and maddened by continued disappointments, which defeated
his promised hope of vengeance. The accumulated venom of
a fierce and injured spirit shot forth from his eye, and gave a
dreadful earnestness to every effort of his arm, so that the ine-
quality of physical strength between himself and his enemy
&icy not at first seem so evident.
The consciousness of having wronged the youth, and the
moral inferiority which, in all respects, he felt to him, neutral-
ized in some degree the natural advantage which the tory pos-
sessed of greater muscle, acid the acquired- advantage of great-
er skill and experience. How else, indeed, could one so slender
as Mellichampe his bones not yet hardened to manhood, and
he yet in the gristle of youth contend so long and so equally
Z+vitlf a frame so huge as that of Barsfield ? How else, if the
heart were not conscious of right in the one and of wrong in
the other, could the former put aside the weighty blow of his
enemy with so much ease, and respond to it with so much
power ? Thrice, in the deadliest stroke, had he foiled the
tory, and now he pressed on him in return.
It is now for me, villain," cried the youth, as he struck the
rowel into his steed, and rose upon his stirrups a moment after,
to give point with a downward stroke at the breast of his ene-
my, whose steed had sunk, under the sudden press of his
rider's curb, backward upon his haunches
It is now my turn, villain, and my father's ' blood clamors
for that of his murderer. Have at your heart. Ha !"
The stroke was descending, and was with difficulty parried
by the sabre of the tory. It was put aside, however, at the