Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 246

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Page 246

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
his own purposes, that there should be no relentings in the brutal
spirit of Velasquez. He left the side of Maria de Pacheco, at the
summons of his uncle, and, with his own hand, grappled the victim,
while giving the word to the sailors chosen to assist him.
But, rising to his feet, Lopez dashed away from the grasp of his
assailant, and once more rushed in supplication to Velasquez. His ter-
rors gave him wonderful strength, and a faculty of speech scarcely less
wonderful. He was positively eloquent. Never was prayer for mercy
more passionate, or more pregnant with the best argument in behalf
of mercy. They touched all hearts but the two, alone, whom it had
been of any avail to move. These were immovable. Again were his
entreaties answered by scurril jest, mocking suggestion and derisive
laughter. The taste for the sports of the tauridor, who tortures the
bull to madness before he bestows the coup de grace, could alone
afford any likeness to the sort of pleasure which this sea despot
enjoyed in the fruitless agonies of his victim. It was in a sort of
defiance, produced by very shame and despair, that the culprit rose
at length to his feet, and folding his arms upon his breast, submitted
to his fate, from which, it was evident, that no degree of humiliation
could possibly suffice to save him. A smile softened the features of
Maria de Pacheco.
"It is well ! " she murmured to herself. "A little sooner and the
shame would have been spared to both ! "
The victim seemed to hear her accents, though not to understand
them. He turned a timid glance toward her, but her eye no longer
sought his own. She was conscious that other eyes were then keenly
fixed on both.
The boat was declared to be in readiness. The month's store of
provisions, accorded by Velasquez, were thrown into her; the spear
and the crossbow followed; and the hands of the seamen, appointed
to convey the Maroon, were fastened firmly on his shoulder. He was
now subdued to submission, if not reconciled to his fate. He no
longer opposed himself to their efforts, and though he still spoke
the language of entreaty, it was no longer addressed to his tyrant.
"Oh! my countrymen, Antonio, Pedro is it you who do me
thus—is it you, my countrymen, who help to give me up to such a
dreadful doom."