Taquisara himself had struck her as something new in the way of a man, of a sort such as she had never seen nor dreamt of, and her mind dwelt long on the recollection of the interview. In some way which she could not explain, she vaguely connected him with the book she was now reading—the Bride of Lammermoor; in other words, he appeared to her in the light of a romantic character, and the first that had ever come within the circle of her experience. His recklessness of formalities, of all the limits supposed to be set upon the conversation of mere acquaintance, of what she might or might not think of him individually, so long as she would listen to what he had to say for his friend, seemed to her to belong to a type of humanity with which she had never come in contact. He, and he only, as yet had stirred some thought of another existence than the one which seemed to lie straight before her,—a broad, plain road, as the wife of Bosio.
Of love, indeed, there was nothing in her heart, for any man. Within her all was yet dim and still as a sweet summer’s night before the dawning. In her firmament still shone the myriad stars that were her maiden thoughts, not yet lost in the high twilight, to be forgotten when love’s sun should rise, in peace, or storm, as rise he must. Under her feet, low, virgin flowers still bloomed in dusk, such as she should find not again in the rose gardens or the thorn-land that lay before her. In maidenhood’s tender eyes the greater tenderness of woman awaited still the coming day.
The weather changed during the night, and when Veronica awoke in the morning the gusty southwest was driving the rain from the roof of the opposite house into a grey whirl of spray that struck across swiftly, to scourge the thick panes with a thousand lashes of watery lace.
As Veronica watched her maid opening the heavy old-fashioned shutters, one by one, the sight of each wet window hurt her a little more, progressively, until, when all were visible, she could have cried out of sheer disappointment. For she had unconsciously been looking forward to another day like yesterday, calm and clear and peaceful with much sunshine. But even in Naples it cannot always be spring in December—though it generally is in January. She had hoped for just such another day as the preceding one. She had remembered how she and Taquisara had stood in the sunlight by the marble steps in Bianca Corleone’s garden, and she had expected to stand there again this morning with Gianluca, to hear what he had to say.