Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXIX: Troubles of the Lovers >> Page 328

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 328 MELLICHAMPE.
noble head should be in the grasp of the executioner� that
manly, high, pure white brow obscured by his cowling blind ---
and that polished and lifted neck grasped by the polluting
halter.
These were the dreadful thoughts which came crowding to
her mind on that instant ; and they might have been the
thoughts and the apprehensions, at that period, of a far
more masculine mind than that of Janet Berkeley ; for, what
was so common then as the certainty of execution to the ac-
cused American ? what so sure as the execution of death to
one doomed by Balfour, Tarleton, or Cornwallis ? In these
hands Iay the destiny of her lover. A few clays would convey
him to the place of trial. A few hours travel through all its
abridged forms, and the hurried process of examination, mis-
representing justice ; and how brief was the sad interval al-
lowed for the final preparation between the doom and its exe-
cution. These thoughts, which, to the strong and fearless man,
would have been only so many stirring apprehensions, were a
full conviction in the gentle heart of the timid and fond Janet.
She feared the worst, and, being of no sanguine temper, she
saw no hope upon which to lean for succor. Nothing but
clouds and storms rose before her sight, and her love, undevia-
ting and growing warmer to the last, was the only star that
rayed out in blessing through the thickness and the gloom.
" Oh, what, dearest Janet, is this suffering that wrings you
thus ? What dream of danger, what wild apprehension, trou-
bles you ? Speak to me, say what you know. Let me relieve
your sorrows, or, at least., share them with you."
It was thus that the youth pleaded, it was thus that he fondly
implored her to pour the griefs of her bosom into his, and make
him a partaker of those evils which she evidently was not
strong enough to bear alone. She replied by sobs, and it was
only at remote intervals that, coupling together the broken
parts of her speech, he was enabled to gather from her that he
was about to be carried to Charleston as a prisoner. Hearing
thus much, the first thought of Mellicharnpe was one gratify-
ing to his vanity, and grateful in the extreme to his own warm
affection. He clasped her fervently to his heart as he replied,