Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 365

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Page 365

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE GAGE OF BATTLE. 365
his favorite was a party. The former again addressed the ac-
cuser.
Have you any other testimony but that which you yourself
offer of the truth of your accusation.
None, your majesty. I have no witness of my truth but
God, and it is not for vain man to prescribe to him at what sea-
sons his testimony should be given. In bringing this accusa-
tion, my purpose was not the destruction of the criminal, but the
safety of my sovereign ; and I am the more happy that no con-
viction can now follow from my charge, as from the dreadful
oath which he has just taken, he places it out of the power of
human tribunal to resolve between us. For the same reasons,
sire, he is in no condition to suffer death ! Let him live ! It is
enough for me that your majesty is safe from the present, and
has been warned against all future danger at his hands."
But not enough for me !" cried the accused, breaking in im-
petuously. I have been charged with a foul crime ; I must
free my scutcheon from the shame. I will not rest beneath it.
If this Jewish sorcerer bath no better proof than his own false
tongue, I demand from your majesty the wager of battle ! I, too,
invoke God and the blessed Jesu, in testimony of my innocence.
This enemy bath slandered me ; I will wash out the slander
with his blood ! I demand the trial, sire, his arm against mine,
according to the laws and custom of this realm."" It can not be denied !" was the cry from many voices. The
favorite looked grave and troubled. The eyes of the king were
fixed sadly upon the venerable accuser. The latter seemed to
understand the expression.
I am not a man of blood, your majesty. Strife bath long
been banished from this bosom ; carnal weapons have long been
discarded from these hands.""Let him find a champion !" was the fierce answer of the
accused.
And of what avail to me," returned the accuser, the brute
valor of the hireling who sells for wages the strength of his man-
hood, and perils for gain the safety of his life. Little should I
hope from the skill of such as he, opposed in combat to one of
the greatest warriors of the realm."� Ah, sorcerer ! thou fearest !" was the exulting cry of the