Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 247

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Page 247

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Such was the touching appeal, made to ancient comrades, which the
poor wretch uttered at the parting moment. They looked downward,
in silence, but did not relax their hold upon him.
"And I am to perish on that desolate island; and the people of
my own land, leave me to this solitude! They hear the voice of my
prayer, and shut their ears against it! I am never more to hear
human speech never more to look upon Christian face, nor call
any man brother or friend. Oh! Spaniards, brothers, friends, country-
men!—will you doom me thus will you desert me thus to the
solitude of the sea, which is worse than any death. Christians! help
me speak for me save me ! "
There was a moisture in the eyes of the weather-beaten seamen
who stood around him. At this moment, the woman advanced
suddenly, and stood before Velasquez. Juan beheld her purpose in
her countenance, and whispered as she passed him "Beware!" She
heard, but did not heed the warning.
"Velasquez!"—she spoke with firmness "Surely, you have carried
this jest far enough. You cannot mean really to devote this wretched
man to this place of desolation!"
"Jest!" exclaimed the other; "Jest, call you it? By my faith, but
you have very merrily described a very serious ceremonial. Yet, if
there be a jest designed at all, I see that it hath been omitted.
Ho, Juan, bring forth the guitar of our Prince. See you that it
be slung about the neck of Don Lopez. It hath a band of crimson
truly, the fitting color for a sovereign. It will help him to remember
his old songs when in the .enjoyment of his new seigniory. He shall
have his ditty and jest together. It were cruel, Lady mine! to deprive
him of that which hath been so much his nightly solace! Eh ! what
say'st thou?"
The person addressed, recoiled as if from the tongue of the viper.
She was silent, unless the thought which moved her lips, but did not
escape in words, might be construed into speech.
"At all events it is but death, but death, after all! He hath
weapons, and the sea rolls at his feet. He hath but to will, and his
exile ends in a moment!"
We shorten a scene which was only too painfully protracted.
The victim was hurried to the boat. His feet pressed the lonely islet
of which he was mockingly declared the Prince. He stood erect, but