Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXVI: The Subtlety of the Tory >> Page 298

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Page 298

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 29S MELLICHAMPE.
WHAT were the designs of the tory ? " What bloody scene
had Roscius now to act ?" Could it be that Barsfield was
really prompted by a new emotion of generous hostility?
Had his feelings undergone a change, and did he really feel
an honorable desire, and meditate to save his rival Melli-
champe from an ignominious death, only for the self-satisfying
vengeance which he promised to himself from the employment
of his own weapon? No : these were not. the thoughts, not
the purposes, of the malignant tory.
The half-breed was not deceived by the gracious and strange
shows of new-born benevolence which appeared to prompt him.
Had the death of Mellichampe been certain, as the result of his
threatened trial, Barsfield would have been content to have
obeyed his orders, and to carry the victim to Charleston for
trial and execution. But that fate was not certain. He felt
assured, too, that it was not even probable. Cornwallis and
Tarleton, both, had shed more blood wantonly already than
they could well account or atone for to public indignation.
The British house of commons already began to declaim upon
the wanton and brutal excesses which popular indignation had
ascribed to the British commanders in America ; and the offi-
cers of the southern invading armies now half repented of the
crimes which, in the moment of exasperation, they had been
tempted to commit upon those who, as they were familiarly
styled rebels, seemed consequently to have been excluded
hitherto from the consideration due to men. There was a
pause in that sanguinary mood which had heretofore stimu-
lated Cornwallis, Rawdon, Tarleton, Balfour, and a dozen