Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXVIII: Tarleton in Time >> Page 246

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Page 246

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 246 MELLICHAMPE.
desperately for an instant, gnashed his teeth, threw his eyes
upon the group with an air of defiance even in their vacancy,
then closed them again, as he fainted away in a deathlike
sickness in the firms which now uplifted him.
Janet would have clung still to her lover as they bore him
toward the dwelling, but Tarleton interposed. He approached
her with a smile of gentleness, which was always beautiful
and imposing when it made its appearance upon his habitually
sombre features.
Come, Miss Berkeley, let us go forward together. You
will not fear to take the arm of one whom you doubtless consid-
er in the character of an enemy one, probably, of the very
worst sort. Your rebel there, in whom you have taken such
a sweet interest, has no doubt taught you to believe me so :
and you have readily believed all that he has taught you. I
see how matters stand between you, nay, blush not, you have
nothing to blush for. You have only done your duty the
duty of a woman, always a more delicate, often a more holy,
and sometimes a far more arduous duty than any of those which
are particularly the performance of man. I admire you for
what you have done, and�you will regard me as a friend here-
after, though I am at war now with some of those whom you
love most dearly. This matters nothing with me : nor am I
always the stern monster which I appear to so many. I am,
they say, fond of blood-spilling, and I fear me that much of
what they say is true ; But Bannister Tarleton was not always
what he now appears. Some of his boy feelings have worked
in your favor ; and, so long as they last and Heaven grant
that they may last for ever I will admire your virtues, and
freely die to preserve and promote them. Go now and attend
upon this youth : and, hear me, young lady, persuade him back
to his true allegiance. You will do him .as good a service by
doing that, as you have done him now. He will be well at-
tended by my own surgeon, and shall want for nothing; but
he must remain a prisoner. The charges of Captain Barsfield
must be examined into, but he shall have justice."" Oh, sir, do not believe those charges do not believe
that man. .He is a bad man, who personally hates Ernest,