Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 6: No 2) >> Simms's Scarlett O'Hara: Zulieme de Montana Calvert of Panama in The Cassique of Kiawah >> Page 8

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Secondary Scholarship | 1998
Transcription and so cross, sometimes, that I'm afraid he'll eat me up' (327). Yet she
springs the tigress to Harry's defense when the still Harry-smitten Charlotte
tries to mitigate the harshness of Zulieme's words by saying that perhaps Harry is
"'not so bad after all. '" (He now has a price on his head for piracy, his
privateering against Spain being no longer sanctioned by the British crown.)
Zulieme responds quickly and sharply: "'Bad! Harry bad? No, indeed! He's as
good a man as ever wore a hat. It's only that he's such a monster, that I quarrel
with him. He's such a great English brute, and so grand!' (336) In this
wonderfully ironic, emotional tug of feminine ambivalence, Zulieme is both tough
and soft, outspoken and demure—objecting to Harry and at the same time desiring
him.
It does not take long for Zulieme to weary of Charlotte's "Hourly
iteration" of the pleasure of subtle sexual escapade, her murmuring talk of the
"delights of that easier sort of virtue which suffers to both sexes those freedoms
which the passions naturally desire . . . that love implied perfect liberty . . . an
that society required nothing more from them than a modest reserve, which
avoided all publicity" (332-333).3 It is with an uncomplicated childish
merriment, though, that Zulieme at first enjoys the attentions of Cornwall
Cavendish and his equally vacuous friend, the Honorable Mr. Keppel Craven.
But she bristles when Craven calls her a "witch" (355), and warns him to keep his
distance when his open arms suggest a more amorous intent than allowed by the
child's chasing game they play in Charlotte's parlor (355-358). Zulieme's
impatience continues to grow with her hostess's persistence on the theme of the
joys of quiet sexual promiscuity, a momentary abolition of the double standard
(436). Nevertheless, Zulieme looks forward to the coming masquerade at
Charlotte's cabin, while unknown to Charleston society the Indians in the
surrounding forest are making plans for a bloody uprising.



3 In Charlotte Perkins's suggestion to maritally loyal Zulieme to enjoy some
masculine sexual freedom by defying the double standard's one-sidedness, I
wonder if Simms is poking some critical fun at Margaret Fuller's advocacy of
female sexual freedom in Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). Fuller argues
that women should have the same liberty as men, for the sake of equity, in
choosing employment and in enjoying extramarital sex, if they want to. A note
about Simms and Fuller in a recent Simms Review, Vol. 4. No. 2, points out that in
the 1840s Simms approved of Fuller as "A woman of thought [who] is one of our
most human and genial philosophers." By the 1850s he had changed his mind
about her, however, disgusted by what he now perceived to be the obfuscation of
her zealot feminist arguments (24-25).
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