Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLVI: The Signal >> Page 387

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Page 387

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE SIGNAL. 387
doubted nothing at that moment ; for she knew how noble
was the heart that beat beneath it.
Her fears were elsewhere. The fate of her lover hung sus-
pended, as it were, upon a thread. He was about to seek a
perilous chance for life, to escape from a more perilous, and,
as it appeared to them, an. unavoidable necessity. Upon the
cunning of the slave upon his successful search after the
partisans� and upon their readiness and ability for the adven-
ture, the life of Mellichampe depended. How many contin-
gencies to be met and overcome ! how many difficulties to be
avoided or surmounted ! how many dangers to be hazarded
and sought ! The accumulating thoughts of these took from
her all hope. She was no longer sanguine, though her more
buoyant lover, in all the eloquent warmth of a young heart,
strove to persuade her into confidence. She lay upon his
bosom, and wept bitter tears.
Suddenly there came again to the apartmeut the faint, dis-
tant, but distinct sound the whistle of the woodman. Melli-
champe lifted her head from its place of rest, and his heart
increased its beatings. His eye brightened ; and, as she be-
held its glance, her own kindled amid its tears. Again and
again did the well-known notes glide into the apartment, and
well did the youth know then that his friends were at hand.
Hear ! hear it, my Janet? He is there�it is Wither-
spoon�it is his signal the same that has come to me, and
cheered me, night after night, when you could no longer be
with me. Do you not hear it ?"
The sense of the maiden did not seem so quick as that of
her lover. She paused; and, though her eye had caught a
glow from the kindled expression of his, it still seemed that
she doubted the reality of the sounds when an appeal was made
to her own distinct consciousness. She was a sweet depen-
dant�one who could receive consolation from the assurances
of another ; but, save in love, who could give little in return.
Is it a whistle, Ernest ?�it seems to me little more than
a murmur of the wind ... Ah ! I do -- I do hear it now it
is ; it is a whistle." And her head sank, in joy, again upon
the manly and aroused bosom of her lover.