Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 243

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Page 243

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
least offend in nothing the rights of others. Thou shalt sing thy
areytos to the stars, and find them more gentle in thy sight, than such
eyes as thou hast but too frequently offended with thy wilful fondness.
Am I not right in this, lady mine?" and with a smirk quite as full
of sarcasm as of tenderness, the persecutor of both parties, turned
his gaze from the face of the wretched man to that of the scarcely
less wretched woman. But he gained nothing by the scrutiny. Her
glance was fixed, and obdurate, and conveyed no meaning in it, such
as that which his jealous suspicions might have looked to see. He
watched her features for a few moments with a dissatisfied expression,
then resuming his former tones and aspect, he addressed himself to
his nephew, Juan:
"Juan, my son, we trust we have sufficiently said, to make
this excellent prince understand what honors are designed him, in
requital for his evil deeds. It is for thee to do the rest. Take the
prince, therefore, conduct him to the boat, and do thou see him safely
placed within the limits of his empire. Give him provision for a
month, in which space of time, doubtless, he will be able to bring
his subjects to proper subjection, and take his tithes of the produce of
the land. Give him a crossbow and a spear, that he may coerce them
should they rebel or fly; and see that you forget not to hang his
guitar about his neck, that he may regale his hours of recreation and
repose with the precious ditties which he so much loves to sing in
other ears. So shall he have pleasing recollections of one at least
for whom he will scarcely ever touch guitar again."
The doom was pronounced—the hand of the executioner, the hand
of his most bitter enemy, Juan de Silva, was laid upon the shoulder
of the victim, but he refused to yield his faith to his own fears. He
still hoped against conviction still shrunk from a belief in that
punishment which, to the timid and dependent nature, such as his,
seemed to involve terrors much more extreme than any threatened
form of death. But when he at last yielded to the conviction which
had long been entertained by all around, unless, perhaps, by the
woman, his supposed associate in crime, then the whole strength of
his soul,—feeble in its best moments seemed to give way on the