Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter L: The Pine-Knot >> Page 421

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Page 421

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE PINE-KNOT, 421
encountered one of the pursuers. The affair, however, was
soon over. The man had met a sabre where he had looked
only for a victim.
It's one less of the niggers," cried Witherspoon, aloud, as
he struck his enemy down with a fatal blow. Hello ! Air-
nest, boy, where is you ?"
But the youth could not answer. He himself was about to
become busily engaged. Barsfield was before him, and be-
tween him and Witherspoon. Mellichampe had but his pistol,
and he determined, as he saw the copse disturbed in front, to
conceal his weapon, as he hoped that Barsfield would precipi-
tate himself forward, as if upon an unarmed enemy, when he
might employ it- suddenly and fatally. Indeed, he had no
other chance for life. In part, his plan was successful. The
tory leaped forward with a mad fury as he beheld the youth.
His sabre was waving above Mellichampe's head, when the
latter sank upon his knee and fired unerringly, but not
fatally.
The ball penetrated the thigh of the tory, who sank down
upon him. They grappled with each other upon the ground,
struggling in a little area where the trees seemed to have been
scooped out, as it were, expressly to afford them room for a
struggle of this sort. The physical power of Barsfield was
naturally greater than that of Mellichampe, and the recent
illness of the youth still further increased the inequalities
between them ; but Mellichampe had succeeded in grasping
the neckcloth of his enemy, while the latter had a hold only
upon one wrist and part of the dress of the former. They
were yet struggling upon the ground without advantage to
either, when one of Barsfield's men came to his assistance.
The moment was full of peril to the youth ; but his friend
Witherspoon was no less prompt to succor and save, than the
tory to destroy. He bounded through the intervening bushes
in time to neutralize the efforts of the new-comer. A sabre-
stroke from the woodman brought him to the ground, and dis-
abled him from any movement toward the combatants; but,
raising a pistol, even after he had fallen, before Witherspoon
could help Mellichampe or get out of .his way, he shot him in