Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XL: The Half-Breed Betrays the Tory >> Page 339

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Page 339

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE HALF-BREED BETRAYS THE TORY. 339
faithful to Barsfield, the half-breed will be faithful to me ; and,
from all that I can see, there must be some secret reason for
his desire to serve you, which you will learn in time. Mean-
while we will accept his services we will make the most of
him, and bribe high in order to secure him at all points.""But may not all this be only another form of deception,
dear Ernest ?" cried the less sanguine maiden. " Think you
we can rely upon one whom money can buy ? Alas ! Ernest,
it seems to me that these_ dangers grow more terrible and
numerous the more we survey them."
To be sure they do, dear Janet the thing is a proverb.
But we should never look at the fear, but the hope never at
the danger, always at the success. Whether Blonay be honest
or not, it matters no great deal to me in the plan which I have
formed. To a certain extent we may still rely upon him, and
be independent of him in every other respect. We want but
little at his hands little in his thought, and little in that of
Barsfield if it be the design of the latter to entrap me into
flight the better to effect my murder. I only desire to secure
my escape beyond this dwelling�to escape these sentinels,
and once more plant my footstep in the green woods that grow
around us. Let him help me but to that degree of freedom,
and I ask nothing further. Let the strife come then�let the
ambuscade close then its toils about me, and the danger ap-
pear. I shall then be free : my arms to strike my voice to
shout aloud my soul to exult in the fresh air of these old
forests, though I perish the very next moment."
Speak not so, Ernest," she implored.
"I must : for I will then breathe again in freedom, though
I breathe in death. I shall complain nothing of the fight.""This is madness, Ernest. This is only flying from one
form of death to another.""Granted�and that is much. Who would not fly to the
knife, or the sudden shot, to escape the cord�the degradation
�the high tree�and the howling hate that surrounds it, and
mingles in with the last agonies of death. Such escape would
be freedom, though it brought death along with it. But I
would not die, my Janet ; with proper management I should