Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXVII: Picture of Lynch-Law >> Page 312

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 312 MELLICi3AMPE.
too utterly disproportioned to the offence, to make a part of
the narrative. But I was punished, Miss Berkeley, and, for a
crime so monstrous as that of thinking differently from my
neighbor, even you will doubtlessly conceive the penalty a
slight one."
He paused ; bitter emotions seemed to gather in his bosom,
and he turned away hastily, and strode to the opposite end of
the room. In another moment he returned.
You have heard of my offence�you should know how it
was dealt with not by strangers, not by enemies�but by
those with whom I had lived by whose indulgence I had
been nurtured. Would you hear, Miss Berkeley ?"
Go on, sir."
Hear me then. My neighbors came to me at midnight �
not as neighbors, but armed, and painted, and howling�at
midnight. They broke into my dwelling �a small exercise
of their newly-gotten liberty ; they tore me from the bed where
I was sleeping ; they dragged me into the highway, amid a
crowd of my brethren my countrymen all cheering, and
most of them assisting in the work of punishment."
They surely did not this ?" was her exclamation.
They surely did ! but this was not all. An offence so hor-
rible as mine, free thinking in a free country, was yet to have
its punishment. What was that punishment, do you think,
Miss Berkeley ?"
His eyes glared upon her with a ghastly stare as he put this
question, from which her own shrank involuntarily as she replied,
I can not think �I know not."
They bound me to a tree�fast�immovable. I could
only see their proceedings, I could only endure their tortures
--I could stir neither hand not foot to resist them "
He shivered, as with a convulsion, while recalling these
memories, though the sympathizing and pitying expression of
her face brought, a moment after, a smile into his own. He
continued
There, bound hand and foot, a victim, at their mercy, and
hopeless of any plea, and incapable of any effort to avoid
their judgment, I bore its tortures. You will 'ask, what more ?"