Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 253

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Page 253

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
But, though anxious, she was not the woman to despair! She re-
volted too greatly at her own condition of restraint, bondage and
denial, to yield even temporarily to despondency. In the moment that
saw her feeble and wretched lover consigned to the lonely islet of the
Caribbees, she made a secret resolve to avenge his fate or to peril her
own person upon her vengeance. She clearly had no absorbing passion
for the victim. It was evident that she could still maintain a prudent
restraint upon her feelings at the moment of their greatest trial;
but the highest and proudest heart needs something for affection
some other one upon which to lean for sympathy and which, at least,
makes a show of responsive interest in its affections. It was thus that
she had turned a willing ear to the professed devotion of Lopez de
Levya—to his tastes and his gentleness, contrasting as they did with
the brutality of all around her, and making her somewhat indifferent
to his feebleness of will and lack of courage.
But she had not fancied his imbecility to be so great as the hour
of trial had shown it. Though scorning his weakness, she sympathized
in his cruel destiny. The respite which had been given him from
death, by the capricious tyranny of Velasquez, suggested to her mind,
a hope of his future extrication. Food had been left with him sufficient
for a month. What might not be done in that space of time, by a
subtle thought, and a determined spirit?
In a moment, Maria de Pacheco had her plans conceived, and her
soul nerved to the prosecution of a single purpose. But she had an
opponent, not less subtle than herself, in the person of Juan de Silva;
and the keen scrutinizing eye which he fixed upon her, as she turned
from the spot upon which Lopez had been left, seemed to denote
an indistinct conception of the purpose which had passed that very
instant through her soul. But she was not discouraged by this fear.
"Well," said he, in a whisper "you see how hopeless is the
struggle! What is left for you, but—" and a smile of mixed fondness
and significance closed the sentence. The ready expression of the
woman's face was made to accord happily with the single word with
which she furnished an equally expressive conclusion:
"No! no ! " said he, "You will not die you shall not! You shall
live to be far more truly the mistress of the Dian de Burgos, than
she finds you now. Why should we be enemies, Maria? "
"Beware! your uncle's eye is upon us ! "