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Saved By The Bible






Category: ON AND NEAR THE DELAWARE

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

It was on the day after the battle of Germantown that Warner, who wore
the blue, met his hated neighbor, the Tory Dabney, near that bloody
field.

By a common impulse the men fell upon each other with their knives, and
Warner soon had his enemy in a position to give him the death-stroke, but
Dabney began to bellow for quarter. My brother cried for quarter at
Paoli, answered the other, and you struck him to the heart.

I have a wife and child. Spare me for their sakes.

My brother had a wife and two children. Perhaps you would like to beg
your life of them.

Though made in mockery, this proposition was caught at so earnestly that
Warner at length consented to take his adversary, firmly bound, to the
house where the bereaved family was living. The widow was reading the
Bible to her children, but her grief was too fresh to gather comfort from
it. When Dabney was flung into the room he grovelled at her feet and
begged piteously for mercy. Her face did not soften, but there was a kind
of contempt in the settled sadness of her tone as she said, It shall be
as God directs. I will close this Bible, open it at chance, and when this
boy shall put his finger at random on a line, by that you must live or
die.

The book was opened, and the child put his finger on a line: That man
shall die.

Warner drew his knife and motioned his prisoner to the door. He was going
to lead him into the wood to offer him as a sacrifice to his brother's
spirit.

No, no! shrieked the wretch. Give me one more chance; one more! Let
the girl open the book.

The woman coldly consents, and when the book is opened for the second
time she reads, Love your enemies. There are no other words. The knife
is used, but it is to cut the prisoner's bonds, and he walks away with
head hung down, never more to take arms against his countrymen. And glad
are they all at this, when the husband is brought home--not dead, though
left among the corpses at Paoli, but alive and certain of recovery, with
such nursing as his wife will give him. After tears of joy have been shed
she tells him the story of the Bible judgment, and all the members of the
family fall on their knees in thanksgiving that the blood of Dabney is
not upon their heads.





Next: Parricide Of The Wissahickon

Previous: Lord Percy's Dream



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