Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXIX: Troubles of the Lovers >> Page 330

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Page 330

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 330 MELLICHAMPE.
Barsfield only seeks to alarm or to annoy you. Perhaps, too,
he has some object in it. This affair is his entirely ; Tarleton
and Balfour have nothing to do with it, and Cornwallis is far
off in North Carolina."" Not so, Ernest. Barsfield has convinced me that the or-
ders are from Tarleton : for, when I doubted his word,. he
showed me the letter of Tarleton, written with his own hand."
Ah ! then, there is something in it," was the involuntary
exclamation of the youth. Then, as he beheld the immediate
effect of his own gloomy look and speech upon the counte-
nance of the maiden, he proceeded in a more cheerful manner.
But I fear them not, my Janet, they can not, they dare not
harm me. I can prove my innocence, even should they pro-
ceed to the threatened trial, which I misdoubt they never will
do ; and, if they do me less than justice, my countrymen will
avenge it.!'
But such an assurance gave no animated hope to Janet.
Her tears burst forth afresh, and she clung to his arm and bung
upon his shoulder droopingly and despondingly.
Hear me, Janet, dear love, and have no apprehensions.
You know not how strong is our security now against any such
crimes in future, as these tyrants have been in the habit of
committing upon the brave men who have fallen into their
hands. We have required our commander to retaliate unspar-
ingly, and Marion has pledged himself to do so. When his
pledge is given it is sacred. We have called upon him to
avenge upon a prisoner of equal grade any execution of our
officers by the British commanders ; and we have freely sub-
scribed our names to the paper, in which we offer our lives
freely to sustain him in such a course, and thus afford a solemn
proof of our sincerity. The enemy is not unadvised of this,
and they have become cautious since that affair at Camden.
We hear of no more executions ; they know better, my love,
than to proceed in this matter to any length. They will pay
dearly for every drop which is shed of my blood."
Alas ! Ernest, this consoles me nothing. On the contrary,
this very pledge which you have given to Marion, calling for
retaliation upon the British, and promising to abide the conse-