Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter III >> Page 27

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Page 27

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription ViE VICTIS ! 27
he wound up by an eloquent allusion to the oysters as among
the benefactors of mankind. They suffered themselves to live
and fatten only for our gratification ; and the least that could be
done would be to put to death all persons who, without legal
rights, presumed to penetrate their sleeping.places and tear them
from their beds with violence.""-I begin to tremble for the captives," quoth the lady.
" Well you may. The ex-chancellor had gone into the ac-
tion only after certain free potations, and he was eloquent in
the extreme. The situation of the prisoners became a very
perilous one. They were permitted to hearken to the keen de-
bate respecting their crimes and probable fate. Roped in boats,
or along the shores, they waited in fear and trembling for their
doom. Fortunately, the counsels of humanity prevailed. The
Jerseyans, satisfied with having asserted their rights, and pleased
with victory, were prepared to be magnanimous. They spared
the lives of the offenders, but did not suffer them to depart
wholly without punishment. It may be said, that, considering
the appetites of the 31anhattanese, they adopted the severest
of all possible punishments. With their captives fast tethered
in sight, they prepared to indulge in a feast of oysters in which
the Manhattanese were not allowed to share.
They provided an ample supply, and dressed them in all pos-
sible modes by which to tempt the desires of the epicure. The
captives inhaled the pleasant fumes of the fried ; they beheld
the precious liquid which embraced the portly dimensions of the
stewed ; they inhaled the odors of choice claret as it amalgamated
with other select virtues of the stew, and they gloated over the
deliciously-brown aspects of a large platter of oyster-fritters.
Oysters on all sides, in all shapes, in every style of dressing,
rewarded the victors for their toils, while the conquered, permit-
ted to behold, were denied altogether to enjoy. The meat being
extracted, the odorous shells were placed before them, and they
were bidden to eat. ' You claimed a share in our beds,' was the
scornful speech of the conquerors,�' your share is before you.
Fall to and welcome.' Violent groans of anguish and mortifi-
cation burst from the bosoms of the prisoners at this indignity.
Sam Jones, with a broken sconce, roared his rage aloud with
the breath of a wounded buffalo. But there was no redress�