Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXIII: Lovers' Doubts and Dreams >> Page 280

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Page 280

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 280 MELLICHAMPE.
of those matters which related to the second attempt of Bars-
field upon his life while he lay prostrate, and of her own inter-
position, which had saved him ; and took especial care to avoid
every topic which could stimulate his anger or increase his
anxiety. Of the conduct of Tarleton, so unusual and generous,
she gave a full account ; an account which gave the hearer
quite as much astonishment as pleasure. It certainly present-
ed to his mind's eye a new and much more agreeable feature
in the character of that famous, or rather infamous, soldier.
So sweet was it thus for him to hear, and so grateful to her to
have such a pleased auditor, that the hours flew by impercep-
tibly, and their mutual dream of love would not soon have
been disturbed but for the sounds of Barsfield's voice, which
came from the passage-way, while he spoke in harsh dictation
to the sentinels who watched the chamber of the wounded
� he youth started as the well-known and hated accents met
his ears. His brow gathered into a cloud, and he half raised
himself from his pillow, while his eye flashed the fire of bat-
tle, and his fingers almost violently grasped the wrist of the
maiden, under the convulsive spasm of fury which seized upon
and shook his enfeebled frame.
That voice is Barsfield's. Said you not, Janet, that I was
Colonel Tarleton's prisoner
She answered him quickly, and with an air of timid appre-
I did, dear Ernest ; but Colonel Tarleton has gone in
pursuit of General Marion."" And I am here at the mercy of this bloody wretch, this
scoundrel without soul or character ; at his mercy, without
strength, unable to lift arm or weapon, and the victim of his
will. Ha ! this is to be weak, this is to be a prisoner, indeed !"
Bitterly and fiercely did he exclaim, as be felt the true des
titution of his present condition.
Not at his will, not at his .mercy, dear Ernest. Colonel
Tarleton has promised me that you shall be safe, that he dare
not harm you."
She spoke rapidly in striving to reassure her lover. Her