Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 40

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 40 SOUTHWARD HO !
their estimation as a patriot, had yet suffered from most capri-
cious fortunes. His past history, indeed, except for its patriotism,
offered but very doubtful guarantees in favor of the enterprise
to which they were invoked.
Bolivar was artful and ingenious. He had considerable pow-
ers of eloquence � was specious and persuasive ; had an oily, and
bewitching tongue, like Belial ; and, if not altogether capable of
making the worse appear the better cause, could at least so shape
the aspects of evil fortune, that, to the unsuspicious nature, they
would seem to be the very results aimed at by the most deliber-
ate arrangement and resolve.
But Bolivar, on this occasion, was something more than inge-
nious and persuasive ; he was warmly earnest, and passionately
eloquent. In truth, he was excited much beyond his wont. He
was stung to indignation by a sense of disappointnent. Ile had
calculated largely on this meeting, and it promised now to be a
failure. He had anticipated the eager enthusiasm of a host of
brave and noble spirits, ready to fling out the banner of freedom
to the winds, and cast the scabbard from the sword for ever.
Instead of this, he found but a little knot of cold, irresolute men,
thinking only of the perils of life which they should incur, and
the forfeiture and loss of property which might accrue from any
hazardous experiments.
Bolivar spoke to them in language less artificial and much
more impassioned than was his wont. He was a man of impulse
rather than of thought or principle, and, once aroused, the in-
tense fire of a southern sun seemed to burn fiercely in all his
words and actions.
His speech was heard by other ears than those to which it
was addressed. The shrewd mind of La Pola readily conjec-
tured that the meeting at her father's house, at midnight, and
under peculiar circumstances, contemplated some extraordinary
object. She was aware that a tall, mysterious stranger had
passed through the court, under the immediate conduct of her
father himself. Her instinct divined in this stranger the person
of the deliverer, and her heart would not suffer her to lose the
words, or, if possible to obtain it, to forego the sight of the great
object of its patriotic worship. Besides, she had a right to know