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Maximina   By: (1853-1938)

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First Page:

MAXIMINA

BY

DON ARMANDO PALACIO VALDÉS

AUTHOR OF

"THE MARQUIS OF PEÑALTA"

( Marta y María ).

TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH BY

NATHAN HASKELL DOLE.

NEW YORK THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

COPYRIGHT, 1888,

BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

I.

Miguel reached Pasajes late Friday afternoon. On alighting from the train he found Ursula's boat moored to the shore.

"Good afternoon, Don Miguel," said the boat woman, showing genuine joy in her face, where the fires of alcohol were flaming more than ever brilliantly; "I was beginning to think that I should not see you again."

"Indeed!"

"How should I know?... Men are so queer about getting married!.... But, señorito, you can't imagine how glad everybody in the village was to hear about it!.... Only a few jealous women would not believe it.... How I will make 'em fume to night! I'm going all around telling everybody that I myself brought you over to Don Valentín's."

"Don't think of making any one fume," replied the young man, laughing; "but bend to your oars a little more."

"Are you in a hurry to see Maximina?"

"Of course I am."

It was the twilight hour: the shadows clustering in the recesses of the bay had already crept far up on the mountains. On the few vessels at anchor the hands were busy loading and unloading their cargoes, and their shouts and the creaking of windlasses were the only sounds that disturbed the peacefulness of the place.

Directly in front a few lights began to appear in the houses. Miguel did not take his eyes from one that gleamed faintly in the dwelling of the ex captain of the Rápido . He felt a pleasant and delicious desire which from time to time made his lips tremble and his heart beat more rapidly. But no one as yet was in sight on the wooden balcony where so many times he had reclined, watching the arrival and departure of the ships. His eager face betrayed the thoughts that possessed him. Ursula smiled as her sharp eyes watched him covertly.

He leaped on shore, dismissed the boat woman, mounted the uneven stone stairway, and made his way through the single, crooked street of the village. As he reached the little square, he saw on the balcony of his sweetheart's house a figure which quickly disappeared. The young man smiled with joy, and with a rapid step made his way through the doorway. Without looking in at the tobacconist's shop he rapped on the door with his knuckles.

"Who is it?" cried a sweet, mellow voice within, which echoed in his heart like heavenly music.

"It is Miguel."

The latch was raised; he pushed the door open and saw Maximina herself, with a candle in her hand, on the first landing of the stairway.

She wore a dress of black and white plaid, and her hair was in a braid as usual. She was a little paler than ordinary, and around her soft blue eyes delicate circles were traced, showing the effect of her recent anxieties. She smiled and blushed at sight of Miguel, who in two bounds cleared the distance between them, and clasping her in his arms, imprinted a reasonable score of kisses on her face in spite of the girl's protestations and endeavors to tear herself away.

"I am looking at you!" said a voice from overhead.

It was Doña Rosalía. In spite of the jocose tone in which she spoke, Maximina was so startled that she let the candle fall, and they were left in perfect darkness, until Doña Rosalía, choking with laughter, came with a lamp; but her niece had disappeared.

"Did you ever see a girl like her? She is going to be married to morrow, and yet she is as bashful as though she had known you only since yesterday.... Most likely she has locked herself up in her room.... It will make you some trouble to get her out now!"

Miguel went up to her room and called gently at the door.

There was no answer.

"Maximina," he said, with difficulty restraining his laughter.

"I don't want to! I don't want to!" replied the girl, with amusing desperation... Continue reading book >>




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