Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 39

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Page 39

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription BOLL A I IN BOGOTA. 39
the missives that communicated this important intelligence to
her father. She little knew the contents of the billet which she
carried him in safety, nor did he confide them to the child. He
himself did not dream of the precocious extent of that enthusiasm
which she felt almost equally for the common cause, and for the
person of its great advocate and champion. Her father simply
praised her care and diligence, rewarded her with his fondest
caresses, and then proceeded with all quiet despatch to make his
preparations for the secret reception of the deliverer.
It was at midnight, and while a thunder-storm was raging,
that he entered the city, making his way, agreeably to previous
arrangement, and under select guidance, into the inner apart-
ments of the house of Zalabariata. A meeting of the conspira-
tors�for such they were� of head men among the patriots of
Bogota, had been contemplated for his reception. Several of
them were accordingly in attendance when he came. These
were persons whose sentiments were well-known to be friendly
to the cause of liberty, who had suffered by the hands, or were
pursued by the suspicions of Zamano, and who, it was naturally
supposed, would be eagerly alive to every opportunity of sha-
king off the rule of the oppressor.
But patriotism, as a philosophic sentiment, to be indulged
after a good dinner, and discussed phlegmatically, if not classi-
cally, over sherry and cigars, is a very different sort of thing
from patriotism as a principle of action, to be prosecuted as a
duty, at every peril, instantly and always, to the death if need
be. Our patriots at Bogota were but too frequently of the con-
templative, the philosophical order. Patriotism with them was
rather a subject for eloquence than use. They could recall
those Utopian histories of Greece and Rome which furnish us
with ideals rather than facts, and sigh for names like those of
Cato, and Brutus, and Aristides. But more than this did not
seem to enter their imaginations as at all necessary to assert
the character which it pleased them to profess, or maintain the
reputation which they had prospectively acquired for the very
commendable virtue which constituted their ordinary theme.
Bolivar found them cold. Accustomed to overthrow and usur-
pation, they were now slow to venture property and life upon
the predictions and promises of one who, however perfect in