Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 363

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Page 363

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE ACCUSATION. 363
of those finely illuminated manuscripts of an early day of Chris-
tian history in Europe, which are now worth their weight in
gold. I could just perceive, as he opened the massive volume,
by its heavy metallic clasps, that the characters were strange,
and readily conjectured them to be Hebrew. The work, from
what he said, and the use to which he applied it, I assumed to
be the Holy Scriptures. He received it reverently from the
child, placed it deliberately upon one of the steps of the dais,
then knelt before it, his venerable head for a moment, being
bowed to the very floor. Then raising his eyes, but without
rising from his position, he placed one hand upon this volume,
raised the other to heaven, and, with a deep and solemn voice,
called upon God and the Holy Evangelists, to witness that what
he had spoken, and was about to speak, was the truth, and the
truth only spoken with no malice´┐Żno wicked or evil intent
and rather to defeat and prevent the evil designs of the per-
son he accused." In this posture, and thus affirming, he pro-
ceeded to declare that the accused had applied to him for a
potent poison which should have the power of usurping life
slowly, and without producing any of those striking effects upon
the outward man, as would induce suspicion of criminal practice."
He added, with other particulars, that the accused had invited
him, under certain temptations, which had been succeeded by
threats, to become one of a party to his designs, the victim of
which was to be his majesty then sitting upon the throne."
SUCH was the tenor of the asseverations which he made, for-
tified by numerous details, all tending strongly to confirm the
truth of his accusations, his own testimony once being relied on.
There was something so noble in this man's action, so delicate,
so impressive, so simple, yet so grand ; and the particulars which
he gave were all so probably arrayed, so well put together, and
so seemingly in confirmation of other circumstances drawn from
the testimony of other parties, that all around appeared fully
impressed with the most perfect conviction that his accusation
was justly made, A short but painful silence followed his nar-
ration, which seemed, for an instant, to confound the guilty no-