Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 358

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription evidently of different effect upon many others in the assembly.
The costume of the place was that of the Norman sway in Eng-
land, before the Saxons had quite succeeded,�through the
jealousy entertained by the kings, of their nobles,--in obtaining
a share of those indulgences which finally paved the way to
their recognition by the conquerors. Yet, even in this respect
of costume, I was conscious of some discrepancies. Some of the
habits worn were decidedly Spanish ; but as these were mingled
with others which bore conclusive proof of the presence of the
wearers in the wars of the Crusades, it was not improbable that
they had been adopted as things of fancy, from a free com-
munion of the parties with knights of Spain whom they had
encountered in the Holy Land.
But I was not long permitted to bestow my regards on a sub-
ject so subordinate as dress. The scene was evidently no mere
spectacle. Important and adverse interests were depending �
wild passions were at work, and the action of a very vivid drama
was about to open upon me. A sudden blast of a trumpet pene-
trated the ball. I say blast, though the sounds were faint as if
subdued by distance. But the note itself, and the instrument
could not have been mistaken. A stir ensued among the spec-
tators. The crowd divided before an outer door, and those more
distant bent forward, looking in this direction with an eager anx-
iety which none seemed disposed to conceal. They were not
long kept in suspense. A sudden unfolding of the great valves
of the entrance followed, when a rush was made from without.
The tread of heavy footsteps, the waving of tall plumes, and a
murmur from the multitude, announced the presence of other
parties for whom the action of the drama was kept in abeyance.
The crowd opened from right to left, and one of the company
stood alone, with every eye of the vast assemblage fixed curi-
ously upon his person.
CHAPTER III.
AND well, apart from every consideration yet to be developed,
might they gaze upon the princely form that now stood erect,
and with something approaching to defiance in his air and man-
ner, in the centre of the vast assemblage. He was lbabited in