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 9

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 9

Secondary Scholarship | 1998
Transcription Comically, and even a bit sadly for all the civilized grand pretension of her
soiree, Charlotte's masquerade ends in a nose-tweaking and fist fight between
Cavendish, Craven, and Molyneaux, the latter of whom crashed the party. Then
Zulieme is taken into custody by Charleston's chief of police, to be held hostage
until the arrest of Harry for piracy. She remains true to her indomitable form,
however, showing her feminine metal before her captors: "'I'm Harry's wife.
I'm as much a pirate, I'm sure, as he is! I'll show him! I'm not afraid' (488-
489)! She bravely, intrepidly stands up to the judge of Governor Quarry's court.
"'Harry a pirate! ' she exclaims. "'You are a bad man for saying it!
Harry is a fighting-man, like all you English--.' She was about to add "brutes,"
but thinks better of it (493). Instead, Zulieme offers her life for her husband's:
"'If he's a pirate, then hang me, for I won't deny it. Harry's my own husband.
He's been married to me a year, and you may kill me for him! ' (494) Here is a
notable change in the quality of Zulieme's courage, passing from the private,
domestic courage she displays at the beginning of The Cassique to this bold,
public defiance of a court of law.
Harry's "'plaything' child-bride is a different woman now, grown-up
and standing resiliently before Quarry's court, defiant and brave in front of
powerful strangers, courageous and self-sacrificing in defense of her husband.
Simms's authorial voice explains: "There was a secret power at work in the
bosom of the little woman unfelt before, which sustained her wonderfully" (501).
As Anne Meriwether has observed, without going into the detail of the matter,
Zulieme Calvert has grown from childhood to womanhood as Simms's romance
nears its conclusion. Rescued from the court by Edward Berkeley, Zulieme bids a
tearfully reminiscent Charlotte Anderson Perkins a polite but distant farewell:
"her eye looked as coldly and indifferently into that of Charlotte as if she scarcel
remembered the parties spoken of' (504).
Finding Zulieme with Edward at Kiawah, where the privateer and his crew
have come to help drive off the Indians, Harry as usual is indifferent to his wife.
There seems to be little joy in his greeting of Zulieme, found alive and well in the
middle of an Indian war: "'Why, Zulieme! You here, child?' Md she:
"'Didn't you know it? Haven't you come for me?' And he: "N----o! not
exactly! But it is just as well. I am glad to find you here. It saves me much pain
and peril' (565). So much for Harry's passion and change of heart. They simply
do not occur in the story. He remains blase and callous towards his wife, who,
9