Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XV / More of the Genius of the Old North State >> Page 327

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Page 327

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription PROWESS OF THE ORATOR. 327
" Why, you'd only try it at some peril."
Peril of what ?"� Of a fight to be sure ! We'd see who was the best man
after all."� There is something in the warning to prompt a person to
tread cautiously. The rattle announces the snake. Now, look
you, my friend, once for all, I beg leave to disclaim all desire to
offend you. I simply sought to enjoy my jest, in an innocent
way, and to amuse other people by it. That ought to be suffi-
cient ; but, for my own sake and self-esteem, I must add that
it is only as a good Christian that I say so much. I am apt to
be riled rather, � feel skin and hair both raised unnaturally �
when I am threatened ; and, as for a fight, it sounds to me rather
like an invitation than a warning. Were you now to desire to
do battle with me how would you propose to fight ?"
Whey, if I were really anxious, I shouldn't much care how.
I am good at pistol and rifle, and have heft enough for a good
bout at arms-length with a bigger man than myself."
Well, my good fellow, for all that, you'd stand no chance
with me at either. I should whip you out of your breeches,
without unbuttoning mine.""You?"
Yes, I."
We were all now somewhat curious. The orator did not look
half the man of his opponent.
"Now," said he, " without fighting, which wouldn't do here
of course, we can test the chances of the two. Suppose you
try and lift that little brass piece yonder," pointing to the can-
non of the steamer, our captain's brazen beauty."� I can't do it, nor you."
Answer for yourself. I can. But here is a test."
With these words he seized two chairs that stood at hand.
Hold the backs of these firmly," he said to the bystanders.
He placed the chairs some five feet apart, and in the twinkling
of an eye had stretched himself at length, the back of his head
resting upon one chair, his heels upon the other.
Now, some half dozen of you sit upon me."
To the astonishment of all, the slight-looking person, who
seemed too frail to support himself, maintained two or three per-