Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 366

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 366 SOUTHWARD HO
accused ; but, if thy cause be that of truth, as thou Last chal-
lenged the Most High to witness, what bast thou to fear ? The
stars which thou searchest nightly, will they not do battle in
thy behalf?"
Methinks," said the favorite, who now advanced from behind
the throne, " methinks, old man, thou bast but too little reliance
on the will and power of God to assist thee in this matter. It is
for him to strengthen the feeblest, where he is innocent, and in
the ranks of war to do successful battle with the best and
bravest. Is it not written, ' The race is not always to the swift,
nor the triumph to the strong !'
All ! do I not know this, my lord ? Do not think that I ques-
tion the power of the Lord to do marvels, whenever it becomes his
will to do so ; but who is it, believing in God's might and mercy,
that flings himself idly from the steep, with the hope that an an-
gel's wings shall be sent to bear him up. I have been taught by
the faith which I profess, to honor the Lord our God, and not to
tempt him ; and I do not readily believe that we may command
the extraordinary manifestations of his power by any such vain
and uncertain issue as that which you would now institute. I
believe not that the truth is inevitably sure to follow the wager
and trial of battle, nor will I lean on the succor of any hireling
weapon to avouch for mine."
It need be no hireling sword, old man. The brave and the
noble love adventure, for its own sake, in the paths of danger;
and it may be that thou shalt find some one, even in this assem-
bly, noble as him thou accusest, and not less valiant with his
weapon, who, believing in thy truth, shall be willing to do bat-
tle in thy behalf."
Thyself, perchance !" cried the accused, impetuously, and
turning a fiery glance upon the speaker. In this glance it
seemed to me that I could discover a far greater degree of bit-
terness and hate than in any which he had shown to his accuser.
It is thyself that would do this battle ? Ha ! thou art he, then,
equally noble and not less valiant, art thou ? Be it so ! It will
rejoice me shouldst thou venture thy body in this quarrel. B ut
I know thee�thou lovest it too well�thou durst not."" Choose me for thy champion, old man," was the further
speech of the favorite, with a difficult effort to be calm. I will