Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXV: The Courage of Love >> Page 226

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 226 MELLICHAMPE.
stole out of the apartment. She hurried from the house un-
seen. She reached the tree under which the dead body had
been laid. It was covered with a cloak, which was stained
with blood, apparently still flowing from the bosom of the
wounded man. She dared not lift the garment. Her hand
was extended, but trembled feebly above it. But she heard
approaching voices, and was nerved for the occasion. She
hastily threw the cloak from the face, and once more she
breathed freely : the features were unknown happily un-
known. There was none to feel the loss while bending over
him ; and she rejoiced, with a sad pleasure, that the loss was
not hers.
She hurried back with a new life to the apartment, and had
scarcely reached it when she heard the sound of a trumpet borne
upon the winds from a direction opposite, and beyond, that in
which the combatants had been engaged. A new enemy was
at hand. The shrill and inspiriting notes approached rapidly,
swelling more and more loudly until the avenue was gained,
and then there was a pause �a dreadful silence among
those who had lately been so fearfully at strife. In a few
moments after, and she saw Major Singleton rush toward her,
followed by several of his men. She heard his orders dis-
tinctly, and they brought a new terror to her soul.
Forward, John Davis, with a dozen rifles, and bring off
Mellichampe : that bugle is Tarleton's, and the whole of the
mounted men of the legion are upon him. Give the advance
a close fire, and that will relieve him ; then fall back behind
those bays�reload, and renew your fire. That done, take to
the branch, and stand prepared to mount. Away !"
They obeyed him promptly, stole up behind the copse, and
received the advance of Tarleton with a fire as of one man.
We have seen the result : the enemy leaped the ditch, broke
through the copse, and found no foe. But the purposed relief
of Mellichampe came too late to bring off the brave youth for
whose succor it had been intended. The personal effort of
Witherspoon had failed also. That faithful attendant had
barely crossed the ditch when the riflemen came forward.
Having no rifle, he could not contribute to their strength'; and,