Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 242

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Page 242

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
had rendered his faculties obtuse. But Velasquez proceeded rapidly
to his complete enlightenment.
"Look out upon the sea, good Lopez;" and his hand waved in the
direction of the object to which the ship had been sensibly approach-
ing. At a league's distance, a little island was distinctly perceptible,
though seeming to be scarcely upheaved above the billows which
encircled it. Trees in groups might be seen to wave upon it, the earth
rose into moderate hills, and elevations as the eye penetrated the
interior. Numerous wild fowl sailed in swift gyrations above it, and
gigantic birds strode majestically along its white and sandy shores.
"That island, Lopez de Levya, I discovered, for the first time,
when I last traversed this ocean. I made the discovery against my
own will, being driven hither by stress of weather. I little dreamed
at that time of its future usefulness; but when our weather-beaten
pilot, old Gomez, in beholding its solitude, declared that it would be
the spot, of all the world, in which Love would be most likely to
find security, we called it in a merry jest, `The Isle of Lovers,'
and when I remembered that it was farther said; `One might be a
sovereign here without paying his tenth to any crown,' then did
I conceive how fitly I might reward merit by bestowing this island
upon the deserving upon one who would desire security for his
love, and a sovereignty beyond dispute."
The eyes of the culprit were gradually enlarging. He had slowly
begun to guess the terrible destiny which was before him: and the
first feeling of overwhelming apprehension, necessarily kept him
dumb. He looked at his tyrant with eyes full of a vacant terror. The
latter gave him but few moments for meditation, or doubt, as he
thus proceeded:
"Thou hast done me great wrong, Lopez de Levya. Thou hast
audaciously presumed upon the lady of my love. For this wrong will
I reward thee! we are commanded, as thou knowest, my son, to
forgive those who do us injury. I will go farther than the command-
ment. I will honor thee with wealth and territory, and the highest
distinction. Henceforth, shalt thou be a prince, an absolute sovereign,
Lopez de Levya; and as thy suitable empire, behold the `Isle of
Lovers' which I now bestow upon thee. There shalt thou make music
to the night, with no constraint. None shalt say nay to thy strumming.
If thou shalt please no damsel's ears with thy song, thou shalt at