Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 52

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Page 52

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 52 SOUTHWARD HO
adhered to the enthusiastic faith which she had voluntarily pledged to him in behalf of herself and people ?
Nov, it may be supposed that a woman's promise, to participate in the business of an insurrection, is not the thing upon which much stress is to be laid. We are apt to assume for the sex a too humble capacity for high performances, and a too small sympathy with the interests and affairs of public life. In both respects we are mistaken. A proper education for the sex would result in showing their ability to share with man in all his toils, and to sympathize with him in all the legitimate concerns of manhood. But what, demands the caviller, can be expected of a child of fifteen ? and should her promises be held against her for rigid fulfilment and performance ? It might be enough to answer that we are writing a sober history. There is the record. The fact is as we give it. But a girl of fifteen, in the warm latitude of South America, is quite as mature as the northern maiden of twenty-five ; with an ardor in her nature that seems to wing the operations of the mind, making that intuitive with her, which, in the person of a colder climate, is the result only of long calculation and deliberate thought. She is sometimes a mother at twelve, and, as in the case of La Pola, a heroine at fifteen. We freely admit that Bolivar, though greatly interested in the improvvisatrice, was chiefly grateful to her for the timely rebuke which she administered, through her peculiar faculty of lyric song, to the unpatriotic inactivity of her country-men. As a matter of course, he might still expect that the same muse would take fire under similar provocation hereafter. But he certainly never calculated on other and more decided services at her hands. He misunderstood the being whom he had somewhat contributed to inspire. He did not appreciate her ambition, or comprehend Iler resources. From the moment of his meeting with Tier she became a woman. She was already a politician as she was a poet. Intrigue is natural to the genius of the sex, and the faculty is enlivened by the possession of a warm imagination. La Pola put all her faculties in requisition. Her soul was now addressed to the achievement of some plan of co-operation with the republican chief, and she succeeded, where wiser persons must have failed, in compassing the desirable facilities.