I am a sanguinary murderer of time, and would kill him inchmeal just now. But the snake is vital.
I'm confused because of "just now". Doesn't that mean 'a short while ago'? If so, why is there 'would'?
From a letter by Charles Lamb (1775-1834). As well as "a short while ago", "just now" can also mean "at present or at this moment", which would fit the context. This useage is very common in Scottish speech.
a. very short time ago
b. at this moment
c. (South Africa informal) in a little while
In the above context "would" implies a hypothetical scenario. And, as typical, the usage above suggests a condition that argues against this hypothetical outcome.