Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXVII: Picture of Lynch-Law >> Page 309

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription PICTURE OF LYNCH-LAW. 309
me. I can not now deceive myself on the subject of your re-
gards. I am not so self blinded as to mistake your feelings
for him."
Nor I to deny them, Mr. Barsfield. There was a time, sir,
when I should have shrunk, as from death, from such an avowal
as this. It is now my pride, my boast now that he is desert-
ed by friends, and in the hands of enemies "
In your hands, Miss Berkeley," he said, interrupting her.
" How, sir ?"
In no other hands than yours. Let me show you this.
He is not in the hands of enemies, only as you so decree it.""Proceed, sir, proceed," she said, impatiently, seeing that
he paused in his utterance.
A few words from you, Miss Berkeley, and, such is your
power over me, such my regard for you, that, though Meili-
champe be my deadly enemy one who has sought my life,
and one whose life my own sense of self-preservation prompts
me with like perseverance equally to seek, I am yet willing,
in the face of my pledges, my interest, my duty, to connive at
his release from this most unpleasant custody. I am willing
to place the key of his prison-door in your hands, and to give
the signal myself when he shall fly in safety."
You speak fairly, sir, very fairly, very nobly, indeed, if
you have spoken all that you design, all that you mean. But
is it your regard for me alone that prompts these sentiments
-- are there no conditions which you deem of value to your-
self? Let me hear all-- all that you have in reserve, Captain
Barsfield, for you will pardon me if, hitherto, I have not es-
teemed you one to forfeit your pledges, your interests, your
duty, to serve, without conditions, a poor maiden like myself."
The cheek of the tory grew to a deep crimson as he spoke,
and his words were crowded and uttered chokingly when he
replied:
I am not now to learn for the first time, that, influenced
as she has been by the speech of others, unfriendly and ma-
lignant, the opinions of Miss Berkeley have done me at all
times less than justice. The words of old Max Mellichampe,
the father of this boy, were thus hostile ever and they have