Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXIII: Lovers' Doubts and Dreams >> Page 281

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription LOVERS' DOUBTS AND DREAMS. 2.81
arm encircled his neck, her tears flowed freely upon his cheeks,
while her voice, even while it uttered clearly the very words
of assurance which Tarleton had expressed, trembled as much
with the force of her own secret fears as at the open expression
of his. But her lover remained unsatisfied. He did not know
the nature of those securities which Barsfield tacitly placed
in the hands of his superior.
Alas, Janet, I know this monster but too well not to appre-
hend the worst at his hands. He is capable of the vilest and
the darkest wrongs where he hates and fears. But why should
I fear ? The power of the base and the tyrannical, thank
Heaven ! has its limits, and he can but "
Say not, Ernest, say not. He dare not, be will not. I
believe in Colonel Tarleton."
So do not I ; but I fear not, my beloved. I have dared
death too often already ; I have seen him in too many shapes,
to tremble at him now. I fear him not: but to die like a
caged rat, cooped in a narrow dungeon, and only preparing
myself for the knife of the murderer, is to die doubly ; and
this, most probably, is the doom reserved for me."" Think not so, think not so, Ernest, I pray you, think
not so. God keep me from the horrible thought ! It can
not be that Tarleton will suffer it ; it can not be that God
will suffer it. I would not that you should speak so, Ernest ;
and I can not think that this bad man, bad enough, though
I believe him to be, for anything, will yet dare so far to
incur the danger of offending his superior as to abuse his
trust and gratify his malignity in the present instance. Oh,
no ! he greatly fears Colonel Tarleton ; and, could you but
have seen the look that Tarleton gave him, as he ordered
him to take all care of you, had you but heard his words
to me and to him both, you would not feel so apprehensive;
and then, you know, Colonel Tarleton's own surgeon is left
with you, and none are to be permitted to see you but my-
self and such persons as he thinks proper.
I fear nothing, Janet, but distrust everything that belongs
to this man Barsfield. Colonel Tarleton, I doubt not, has
taken every precaution in my favor, though why he should do