Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 252

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Page 252

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
rising to the shore, or leaving it with a plunge that echoed through-
out the islet, struck a very palsy to his heart, that, for the time,
seemed to silence all its vibrations. Let us leave the miserable outcast,
thus suffering and apprehensive, while we return to the inmates of
the vessel by whom he was abandoned.
He was not wholly abandoned. Maria de Pacheco, the woman,
who, like himself, was, in some degree, a victim also to the will,
if not the tyranny, of Don Velasquez, was not the creature tamely to
submit to injustice, however she might prudently seem to do so. We
need not ask whether there was any real attachment between herself
and the poor creature whom we have seen "marooned." It is probable
that the degree of regard which she entertained for him was small.
He was not the man to fix the affections, to a very large extent, of a
woman of so proud and fearless a soul. The feebleness which he had
shown, had probably lessened the attachment of a heart, which, in
the possession of large natural courage of its own, might well despise
that of one, who had displayed so little. But as little did she love
the man of whom she had become the slave; we may add, almost
without her own consciousness, and at the will of another, by whom
she had been sold at a very early age. She was still comparatively
young; but with advanced intellect, and an experience that left it no
longer immature. Born under the burning sky of Andalusia, tutored
in the camp of the Gitano, though not of Zingaro race, she had
soon acquired an intensity of mood which was only surpassed by her
capacity of subduing it to quiet, under a rigid and controlling will.
Loathing the sway of her tyrant, revolting at his person, she was as
little disposed to regard with favor the affections which had been
proffered her, of his more subtle and malignant nephew.
The person of Juan de Silva, graceful and showy as it was, could
not blind her to his heartless vanities, and that dangerous cunning of
character, which so admirably cooperated with the mocking and fiend-
ish coldness of his soul. If she loathed Velasquez, she feared, as well as
loathed, De Silva; and feared him the more, as, in possession of the
secret of his infidelity to his uncle, she was yet made fully conscious
of the truth of his boast, that any revelation of it, which she might
make to the latter, would avail but little against him.