Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXII: Caprices of the Conflict >> Page 206

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Page 206

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 206 MELLICHAMPE.
lief. It announced the coming of a new force, and the probability was that it was British. Of this Barsfield, in another moment, had no doubt, as he saw Witherspoon, no longer seeking the conflict, rush past him in the direction of the burning mansion. The woodman had beheld the steel caps and the blue uniforms of the approaching force, and at once recognised the formidable corps, two hundred strong, of the legionary Tarleton. Barsfield rode on to meet his superior, and explain the situation of affairs before him. Witherspoon, meanwhile, leaping from his horse, which he let go free, rushed to the spot where Mellichampe had fallen.
" Airnest! Airnest, boy !" he cried, as he stooped down to the insensible body ? Speak to me, Airnest speak to me, it's me, Jack it's Thumbscrew, Airnest. Only say something�only a word �I don't care what you says, Airnest ; but say something. God ha' mercy ! He don't ' hear ! he can't talk. Airnest ! Airnest !"
A groan met his ears and half relieved him.
Thank God, it 'taint so bad. He's got life in him yet; and, if I can only carry him out of the way of the horses, and let Miss Janet know where to find him "
Thus speaking, he raised the insensible body in his arms, and hurried with him toward the ditch, over which he sought to pass. His aim was to carry the youth into the 'thick copse beyond, where he could place him out of sight of the approaching enemy. But he had overtasked his own strength, after the severe fatigue and fighting which he had under-gone, and the labor called for more time than the circumstances of the field would allow. The advance of Tarleton was too rapid to permit of his performing the affectionate service which he contemplated for his friend ; and, before he reached the ditch, the swords of the legion were flashing before his eyes, as the troop wheeled round a bend in the avenue which hitherto had concealed him from their sight.
" Gimini ! I must leave him, I must put you down, Air-nest ! I cant't help it, boy ! I did the best !"
He spoke to the insensible youth as if he could hear;