Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 232

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Page 232

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
meaning for our ears, though clearly of ready comprehension by all
Happily, a stir takes place among them; they rise to their
feet the groups separate; there is a sudden show of restraint, as
from the approach of authority. A word has gone forth which leads
to expectation, and the eagerness, but partially suppressed, which now,
in every visage, follows prompt upon its former simple look of doubt
and anxiety, may well encourage us to hope for the gratification of
our own curiosity. Patience, the door of the cabin is thrown open!
The group which appears within is one to add somewhat to the
interest of expectation. In the foreground appears a person seated in
a chair, one of those ancient high-backed fabrics used, about that
period, in all European countries which had reached any degree of
civilization. This person is a man of countenance more striking
than impressive. He is, we may be permitted to say at once, the
captain of the Diana Don Velasquez de Tornel—a personage, short
and corpulent, with great hands and limbs, a neck thick and short,
like that of a bull, and of a face plethoric and fiery red. His features
are dark and fierce, and marked by the signs of an angry passion, the
appearance of which he seems laboring to suppress. His eyes are
small, intense, and catlike of expression, keen, vigilant, and cunning.
His nose is short and sharp, his lips thick, and marked, at moments,
by a slight quiver, which betrays the secret emotion. A thin, but
grisly beard overspreads his chin and cheeks. He would seem to be
a person about fifty years of age —a man of strifes and violence, of
quick and irritable temper, and of restless, unforgiving moods. His
feet are wrapped in bandages of flannel, and suggest the true reason
why he remains seated at a time when his thoughts and passions
would seem disposed to goad him into the most eager exercise. Thus
seated, he is wheeled out upon the deck by his attendants; while,
slowly following him, appears a female whose highly expressive
features, and wild peculiar beauty, makes her less an object of interest
than study. Her person is small, but highly formed; commanding,
from its ease of carriage, its erectness, the bold defiance in her eye,
and the imperious curling of her lip. The style of her beauty is not
of the noblest order. It possesses but little of the spiritual, but is of
a kind more likely to secure admiration during an age, and in a
region, where the passions learn to triumph and command in the