Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 374

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 374

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 374 SOUTHWARD HO
CHAPTER VIII.
WHILE the tears of the two were yet mingling, the scene un-
derwent a change corresponding with my anxiety for the denoue-
ment. A vast area opened before me, surrounded by the seats
and scaffolding as if for a tournay, and the space was filling fast
with spectators. I will not attempt to describe the splendor of
the scene. Lords and ladies, in their most gorgeous attire, oc-
cupied the high places ; princes were conspicuous ; the people
were assembled in thousands. At the sound of trumpets the
king made his appearance. A grand burst of music announced
that he was on his throne. Among the knights and nobles by
whom he was attended, I readily distinguished the favorite."
He was in armor, but it was of an exceedingly simple pattern,
and seemed designed for service rather than display. He looked
grave and apprehensive, and his eyes were frequently turned
upon the barriers, as if in anxious waiting for the champions.
The accused was the first to appear. Ho was soon followed,
however, by the accuser, and both made their way through the
crown to the foot of the throne. As the old man approached,
the favorite drew nigh, and addressed him in subdued, but earn-
est accents.
It is not yet too late ! Call upon me as thy champion. The
king dare not refuse thee, and as I live, I will avenge mine own
and thy wrongs together."
It can not be, my lord," was the reply, with a sad shake of
the 'head. Besides," he continued, I have no wrongs to
avenge. I seek for safety only. It is only as my life is pledged
equally to the living and the dead, that I care to struggle for it,
and to save."
The face of the favorite was clouded with chagrin. He led
the way in silence to the foot of the throne, followed by the
venerable man. There, the latter made obeisance, and encoun-
tered the hostile and fierce glance of his enemy, whom he re-
garded only with looks of sorrow and commiseration. A breath-
less silence pervaded the vast assembly as they beheld the
white locks, the simple majesty of his face and air, and the cos-
tume --singular for such an occasion which he wore. This did.