Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XLVIII: Remorse >> Page 398

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Page 398

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 398 MELLICHAMPE.
shortly after tea was over, of the hitherto gay gallant who sat
beside her. The old gentleman, Mr. Berkeley as had been
usual with him for some time past�had retired early. His
daughter, as a matter now of course, was with her lover ; and
Rose and Clayton as was much the case since the capture of
Mellichampe, were tete-a-tete. There was nothing in the words
themselves indicative of more than a common feeling of curi-
osity--nothing, perhaps, in the manner of their expression;
and yet the lieutenant could not help the fancy that persuaded
him to think that there was a hesitating thickness of voice in
the utterance of the speaker, that spoke of a present emotion.
His eyes were at once turned searchingly upon her face, as he
listened to the flattering inquiry, and her own sank to the
ground beneath his gaze. He replied after the pause of a sin-
gle instant.
If I could persuade myself, Miss Duncan, that you shared
in any degree the regret which I feel at leaving ' Piney Grove'
though it would greatly increase my reluctance to do so, it
would afford me no small consolation during my absence."
The lieutenant began to look serious and sentimental, and
the maiden recovered her caprice. Her answer was full of
girlish simplicity, while her manner was most annoying, arch,
and satirical.
Well, I do, Mr. Clayton �I do regret your going�that I
do, from the bottom of mi heart. Bless me, what should I
have done all this time but for you ? �how monstrous dull must
have been these hours. I really shall miss you very much."
The lieutenant was disappointed. He had not looked for a
transition so sudden, in the voice, words, and manner of his
fair but capricious companion ; and, for a moment, he was
something daunted. But, recovering himself with an effort, as
from frequent intercourse he had discovered that the only way
to contend with one of her character was to assume some of its
features, he proceeded to reply in a manner which had the
effect of compelling her somewhat to resume that momentary
gravity of demeanor which had accompanied her first speech ;
and which, as it was unfrequent, he had found, in her, rather
interesting.