Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 245

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Page 245

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
conceived its own method for escape and vengeance. Other emotions
than those of scorn filled her bosom, as the whisper of Juan, like
the hissing of a hateful serpent, filled her ears; and, in their sudden
consciousness, she trembled lest her feeling should declare itself
aloud, in spite of the resolute will which she invoked to curb and
keep it in. The emotion, which her lips did not declare, was conspicu-
ous, for the instant, on her countenance, and remained unseen, only
in consequence of the absorbing nature of the event in progress at
the feet of Velasquez. To this spot the abject culprit had continued
to crawl, unrestrained by the stern commands of his tyrant not to
approach him. To his knees he clung, though the latter strove to
shake him off, and to spurn him away with the members which were
too heavily swathed and bandaged to suffer him to use them with any
efficiency for such a purpose.
His pleadings, which were of a sort to move loathing rather than
pity, produced no feeling of either kind in the breast of Velasquez.
They provoked his merriment rather. He grinned as he beheld the
writhings of the wretched creature before him. He had a sorry jest
for all his contortions. Verily, the Spanish adventurers of that day
in America, were a terrible banditti ! of these, Velasquez was a proper
specimen. When his victim appealed to him for the sake of his
widowed mother at Segovia, he answered
"I shall tell her of thy possessions, Lopez; she shall hear of thy
elevation. She was always a woman of rare ambition. Did I not know
her in her younger days? Know'st thou not that she once disposed
her mantilla so that she might make a captive of me? Had she done
so, verily, it might have been mine own son, for whom this Isle of
Lovers hath been found. I shall tell her of thy fortune, Lopez. She
shall rejoice in thy principality; and, it may be, will find her way
out to thee, seeking to share in the wealth of thy dominions. Enough
now,—take him hence, I tell thee; Juan, son, wilt thou not see
the Prince bestowed upon his empire! I begin to weary of this
Again the officers approached, and again they hesitated, all but
Juan—as the cries of the wretched imbecile rang through the vessel.
The sailors would still have suffered him to urge his prayers for
mercy, but Juan had no such yielding nature, and he knew, better
than they, how profitless were all entreaties. He had resolved, for