Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXVIII: Tarleton in Time >> Page 244

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Page 244

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 244 MELLICHAMPE.
The maiden rose. She approached Tarleton, and said to
him, in low, but still audible tones,
"Because I would not trust him. He would have killed
him he would have murdered him with his bloody sword, if
I had not come between."
But who is he, young lady, what is the youth in whom
you take such interest ?"
Her lips quivered, and a faint flush spread itself over her
cheeks, but she did not reply.
"'Who is the prisoner, Captain Barsfield ?"" A rebel, sir one Mellichampe."
Son of Max Mellichampe ?" demanded Tarleton, inter-
rupting him.
" The same, sir ; as malignant a rebel as his father ; and
one not only liable to be dealt with as such, but one whom I
would secure for trial as a spy."
At these words she spoke. The accusation against her lover
aroused her. Her eye flashed indignant fires upon the tory
as she spoke fearlessly in reply.
" It is false, sir ´┐Ża wilful falsehood, believe me. Ernest
Mellichampe was no spy ; he could not be. This man con-
ceives his enemy's character from his own. Mellichampe is
incapable, sir, of so base an employment ; and C aptain Bars-
field knows him sufficiently well to know it. Ernest did but
come to the house to see us, as he was accustomed to come ;
and it so happened that Captain Barsfield, with his troop,
came that very day also. My father always extended to Er
nest Mellichampe the same hospitality which he extended to
Captain Barsfield ; and so, sir, you see that Ernest was our
visiter, our guest, like Captain Barsfield, and one of them
could no more be a spy than the other. Captain Barsfield
knows all this ; and, if he did not hate Ernest, I should not
have to tell it you. But I tell you the truth, sir, as I am a
woman: Ernest was no spy, and the charge against him is
false and sinful"
She paused, breathless and agitated. Tarleton smiled
faintly as he heard her through, and his eyes rested with
a gentle and most unwonted expression -upon the glowing