Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Page 233

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE MAROON: A ROMANCE OF THE CARIB233
absence of the sentiments. She takes her place at a little distance in
front of the spot occupied by Velasquez. Her arms folded across her
breast, she preserves an erect posture, while her eyes, neither gazing
upon, nor averted from him, seem to be filled with a twofold expres-
sion of wounded pride and lurking anxiety.
His glance surveys her keenly and unreservedly. There is a mixture
of tenderness and suspicion in his gaze, while the sinister smile which
now curls his lips gives to his whole countenance the air of a brooding
and sleepless malignity. This silent watch is so prolonged as to be pain-
ful; but her features never swerve, nor does her expression alter. She
looks as she did when she took her first position. There is evidently a
motive for this inflexibility, which she maintains without faltering,
so long as his eye is upon her. But when he turns away and summons
the pilot to his side, then, it is seen, that her breast heaves as if to
throw off the oppressive burden of self-constraint—then it is that
her cheek pales and lip quivers, and all her countenance betrays a
fear which it has hitherto been its business to suppress.
But a few words are spoken by the captain to his pilot; a question
is asked—a command is given ; and while the latter is retiring, he is
reminded to "see that all things are in readiness, and to keep a
bright look out." The pilot withdrawn, the eyes of Velasquez once
more, but slowly, address themselves to the lady. But she has
recovered from the momentary emotion which oppressed her. Her
features are once more inflexible; her look is steady; she has nerved
herself to a resolute endurance of his gaze; and the muscles of
her face, like the strings of her soul, are rendered tenacious by
a will which his would vainly endeavor to overcome. Failing in this
sort of examination, he addressed her—seemingly resuming a dia-
logue which the previous scene had interrupted.
"You have answered clearly, Maria! It is well for us both that
you did so. It would have been a grief to me that I should visit
your head with my wrath, even though it should be shown Madre
de Dios!—that you had merited it by such a crime as this. For, did
I not pluck you from the accursed gipsy—have I not made you a
lady, and bestowed my love upon you? It were a crime against god
if you had been false to me ! "
"I have answered you, Don Velasquez! "