Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Maroon: A Romance of the Carib. >> Page 254

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Page 254

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
He turned away, and this single sentence, as it seemed to denote
a disposition to make a secret between them, brought a fresh hope to
the soul of the young man. He smiled, and glided to his uncle.
Maria smiled also, but it was with a sterner feeling not a less hope-
ful one, perhaps, but one in which bitterness was a much more
positive ingredient than delight.
"I must baffle his vigilance;" she muttered to herself. "He only
need be feared, and he must be met and vanquished! Ay ! but how!

How! I must manage this; and I will!"
Her eyes followed his retreating form as she spoke. They noted
quickly the jaunty air of self conceit which marked his movements;
they scorned the showy and quaintly cut garments which he wore, and
the profuse decorations of his neck and breast and the quick instincts
of the woman at once suggested an answer to her doubts.
"How, but through his vanity! He would be loved, as he would
be admired and watched. Well ! he shall be loved, loved as he
desires! The task is a hard one enough truly but it shall be done!
Juan de Silva, you shall be loved! You, at least, shall believe it you
will believe it; and this will suffice!"
In this she expressed a portion of her policy. It will be all that we
need to show at present. How she pursued this policy by what con-
stant, hourly practices by what adroit feminine arts and with what
fixedness of purpose need only be suggested. The details would be
too numerous. But she was encouraged to perseverance by success.
She had reason to believe that she had succeeded in disarming the
jealousies,. and in awakening the hopes, of her enemy. They both
maintained a judicious regard for the exactions of Velasquez; but
there were hours when he slept, or when he suffered, when they
might throw aside their caution, and speak together without fear or
It is by no means strange that the most artful should be imposed
upon by arts such as he himself employs. But what is so blind as
vanity? What creature so easily baited as the self-worshipper, when
the food tendered him is that which increases his love of self. To
make such a one satisfied with himself, is most surely to gain his
confidence in you; to persuade him that he is as much an object of
your idolatry as of his own, is to obtain access to the few open avenues
which conduct to his affections.