Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 372

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 372

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 372 SOUTHWARD HO
the previous scene, were, at first, the only occupants of the apartment. But a few moments elapsed, however, when an inner door was thrown open, and a third party appeared, closely enveloped in a cloak of sable. This he threw aside, and I discovered him to be the same person who had been the chief counsellor of the king, and whom I supposed to be his favorite. At his entrance the damsel disappeared. The stranger then, some-what abruptly, began in the following manner
" Why, 0 why did you not choose me for your champion ?"" And why, my lord, expose you to a conflict with one of the bravest warriors in all the realm ?""He is brave, but I fear him not; besides, he who fights against guilt bath a strength of arm which supplies all deficiencies. But it is not too late. I may still supply your place."
Forgive me, dear lord, but I have made my election."" Alas, old man, why are you thus obstinate ? He will slay you at the first encounter."
And if he does, what matter ! I have but a brief space to live, according to the common allotment. He Bath more, which were well employed devoted to repentance. It were terrible, indeed, that he should be hurried before the awful tribunal of Heaven with all the blackness in his soul, with all his sins unpurged, upon his conscience."" Why, this is veriest madness. Think you what will follow your submission and defeat? He will pursue his conspiracy. Others will do what you have refused. He will drag other and bitter spirits into his scheme. He will bring murder into our palaces, and desolation into our cities. Know you not the man as I know him ? Shall he be suffered to escape, when the hand of God has clearly shown you that his purposes are to be overthrown, and his crime to be punished through your agency."
And it shall be so, my dear lord. It is not my purpose to submit. The traitor shall be met in battle."
But by thyself ? Why not a champion ? I am ready."" Greatly indeed do I thank and honor thee, my lord ; but it can not be."" Methinks there is some touch of' insanity about thee, old man, in spite of all thy wisdom. Thou canst not hope to con-tend, in sooth, against this powerful warrior. He will hurl thee