Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXVIII: Unprofitable Interview >> Page 319

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription UNPROFITABLE INTERVIEW. 319
bough upon which a fond hope might perch and rest itself.
But in vain. The letter was a stern and business-like one.
"You must convey the prisoner, Mellicbampe," so ran that
portion of it which concerned the maiden, "so soon as his
wounds will permit, under a strong guard, to the city, where a
court of officers will be designated for his trial as a spy upon
your encampment. You will spare no effort to secure all the
evidence necessary to his conviction, and will yourself attend
to the preferment of the charges." And there, after the details
of other matters and duties to be attended to and executed,
was the signature of the bloody dragoon, which she more than
once had seen before--
"B. 2ARLETON,
" Lt. Col. Legion."
She closed her eyes, gave back the paper, and clasped her
hands in prayer to Heaven, as the last reliance of earth seemed
to be taken away. She had so confidently rested upon the
personal assurances of Tarleton, that she had almost dismissed
entirely from, her thought the charge in question ; and which
Barsfield had originally made when the legionary colonel was
at "Piney Grove." Now, when she read these orders, she
wondered at herself for so implicitly confiding in the assu-
rances of one .so habitually distrusted by the Americans, and
so notoriously fond of bloodshed. Yet, why had he deemed it
necessary to give these assurances to a poor maiden one
not a party to the war, and to whom he could have no cause
of hostility. Why practise thus upon an innocent heart and
a young affection ? Could he be so wanton´┐Żso merciless
so fond of all forms of cruelty ? These thoughts, these doubts,
all filled the brain of the maiden, confusedly and actively,
during the brief moments in which she stood silently in the
presence of Barsfield, after having possessed herself of the
orders with regard to Mellichampe. Her fears had almost
stupefied her, and it was only the voice of the tory which
seemed to arouse her to a full consciousness, not less of the
predicament in which her lover stood, than of the presence of
his enemy. She raised her eyes, and, without a word, listened
anew to the suggestions of Barsfield, who speakitg, as he