Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 237

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Page 237

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Juan, she had addressed to him a single glance of equal bitterness and
scorn, and, while he stooped and whispered in the ears of his uncle,
her look was that of a loathing such as one would naturally feel at
contact, suddenly, with a reptile equally hideous and dangerous. But
her features, under the control of a most watchful will, resumed their
look of icy indifference before her tyrant could detect their changes.
The whispered dialogue with Juan over, the latter drew nigh to
the lady, and proceeded to whisper in her ear also. She recoiled
from him with unqualified disgust.
"Beware!" he exclaimed, but in subdued accents, "Beware, Maria,
you are on the eve of the precipice, and a single word may incur for
you the fate of your favorite."
"Assure me of that and I welcome it," she answered, with a
sudden resumption of all the vivacity which could be made to gather
in an eye of unexampled brilliancy and beauty.
The youth smiled spitefully, but said "You are wild! That fate
would realize no hopes for either of you. It would be death, and
something worse than death denial to the grave, and, of course,
beyond it. But I am not now speaking of your death. It is through
me, Maria, that you live. Nay, you live—need I tell you that
because I love!"
"What! if I proclaim you where you stand, the villain that you
are," answered the lady in accents similarly subdued with his own.
"It would avail you nothing! He would regard it only as a mode
of escape, which, in your desperation, you seek to adopt. Does it
need still that I should prove to you how completely I control his
ear and fashion his will."
"Alas! no!—But what is the purpose, as he understands it, of this
whispered conference with me ! "
"Ah! that is my secret," the other answered with a smile
"enough, that I speak of anything but that! My true purpose is with
you, and for you, and myself! I will save this favorite of yours save
him unharmed aboard the vessel, with probably no greater penalty
than close imprisonment, and" he spoke this with a grin "perhaps
a denial of his guitar; —1 will do this, Maria, if you will become
wise as I would have youif "
"I understand you but that is impossible! I tell you, Juan de
Silva, I loathe you too much to keep terms with you. You have gone