Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 240

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Page 240

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 240THE MAROON: A ROMANCE OF THE CARIB
"Well?" was the brief but intelligible inquiry. It was sufficiently
understood.
"We approach, Senor."
"Good! see to your ship."
The pilot disappeared —a bustle announced new parties to the
scene; and preceded by Juan, a youth came forward under the
conduct of two soldiers. He was manacled, hand and foot, and moved
with difficulty. The rattling of the chains was heard. It smote upon
the soul of the woman, but she turned not once her head. The eyes
of Velasquez were upon her. A savage grin lighted up his dark
satanic countenance, and left no doubt in the minds of those who
beheld, that he meditated a purpose of the deadliest malice. The
youth in bonds was of graceful person, and handsome features, but
they were not those of a man of character or courage. The cheeks
were of a deadly paleness, the lips quivered with apprehension—the
whole air and expression were those of one totally unequal to the
trial that lay before him. His eye wandered restlessly and appre-
hensively to the countenances of one or the other of the three parties
to whom the reader has been introduced, without daring to encounter
the gaze of either. Velasquez watched his movements with the
exultation of a cat in possession of her prey. The face of Juan
bore a similar expression; while in the fine masculine spirit which
made itself conspicuous, in the face of the woman, in spite of all her
efforts to subdue it, there might be seen a strange conflict between
tenderness and scorn.
"Unbind him ! " said Velasquez.
"Oh, thanks! thanks! " muttered the victim, looking appealingly to
his tyrant. The scorn deepened in its shadows upon the face of the
woman.
"You know not yet for what you have to be thankful," was the
sneer of Juan, as he busied himself in undoing the manacles.
"Speak to me, Juan. For what am I reserved; what may this mean,
if it be not mercy?"
"It means freedom!" was the response, still in a whisper.
"Well and that"
"May be mercy ! " was the ironical return of Juan, as he withdrew
from between Velasquez and his prey. The latter now looked with
features in which hope and doubt were still at a lively struggle, upon