Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 376

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 376 SOUTHWARD HO !
"None, sire, as I stand uncovered in the sight of heaven.
The reverend father in God, to whom thou didst give in charge
this inquiry, is here, and will answer to your majesty. He bath
heard and seen the secret of my strength that strength which
I know and declare is powerful to destroy my foe. He knows
it to be a secret of mortal wisdom only, as patiently wrought out
by human art and labor, as were the sword and axe of him who
now seeks my destruction. I have warned him already of the
fearful power which they impart. I would still have him live,
unharmed by me."
Peace, insolent !" cried the accused. I am here, your
majesty, to fight, not to prate ! �to chastise, not to hearken to
the speeches of this pagan sorcerer. Let his power be what he
esteems it : I trust to my good sword and to the favor of the
Mother of God ; and I doubt not of this good steel, which bath
been crowned with a threefold conquest, on the plains of the
Saracen. I entreat that your majesty will give command for
the combat."
THE eye of the venerable accuser, regarded the face of the
speaker with a sad and touching solemnity ; but at this moment,
the little girl who had before accompanied him, was conducted
into the foreground by the archbishop. She bore in her hand a
sarbacane seemingly of brass, long and narrow like a wand, and
crowned, at the extremity, by a small globe or bulb of the same
material. The length of this instrument was fully six feet or
more. The old man took it into his hands, and having unscrewed
a part of the bulb which seemed a mere sheathing of brass, he
discovered beneath it another globe, similar, in shape and size,
to that which had been removed ; but the inner bulb was man-
ufactured of glass, of a whiteness equally crystalline and beauti-
ful. He then took from beneath his robes a little box of ebony,
which he unlocked, and from which he produced a headpiece,
the face of which, instead of being hard steel or iron, was of glass
also, very thin, and quite transparent, through which every
muscle and motion of the features might be seen with the great-
est distinctness. To the thoughtless vulgar, such a shield
seemed only a mockery of that more solid furniture of metal,