The Heart's Secret; Or, the Fortunes of a Soldier: a Story of Love and the Low Latitudes. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about The Heart's Secret; Or, the Fortunes of a Soldier.

CHAPTER VI.

The challenge.

The Tacon Theatre is one of the largest in the world, and is situated in the Paseo, just outside the city walls.  You enter the parquet and first row of boxes from the level of the street, and above this are four ranges of boxes, besides seats in the parquet for six hundred persons.  The gildings are elaborate and beautiful, and the frescoes are done by the first Italian artists; the whole being brilliantly lighted by an immense chandelier in the centre, and lesser ones pendant from the half moon of boxes, and supplied with gas.  It is a superb establishment, and when it is filled with the beauty and fashion of the city, it is a brilliant sight indeed.

It is nearly a month subsequent to the scene that closed the last chapter of our story, that we would carry the reader with us within the brilliantly lighted walls of the Tacon Theatre.  How lively and gay is the prospect that presents itself to the eye-the glittering jewelry and diamonds of the fair senor’s and senoritas, casting back the brilliant light, and rivalled in lustre by the sparkle of a thousand eyes of jet.  The gilded and jewelled fans rustle audibly (what would a Spanish or Creole lady do without a fan?)-the orchestra dashes off in a gay and thrilling overture, intermingled by the voices, here and there, of merry groups of the audience, while the stately figures of the soldiers on duty are seen, with their many-colored dresses and caps, amid the throng and at the rear of the boxes.

In a centre box of the first tier sits Senorita Isabella Gonzales, with her father, brother, General Harero, and a party of friends.  All eyes are turned towards the peerless beauty-those of the ladies with envy at her extraordinary charms of person, and those of the young cavaliers and gentlemen with undisguised admiration at the picture of loveliness which met their eyes.  Isabella herself sat with an easy and graceful air of unconsciousness, bowing low to the meaningless compliments and remarks of General Harero, and now smiling at some pleasantry of Ruez who was close to her side, and now again regarding for a moment the tall, manly figure of an officer near the proscenium box, who was on duty there, and evidently the officer of the evening.  This may sound odd to a republican, but no assembly, no matter how unimportant, is permitted, except under the immediate eye and supervision of the military.

“There is Captain Bezan,” said Ruez, with undisguised pleasure, pointing towards the proscenium box where the young officer stood.

“Yes, I see him, Ruez,” replied Isabella, “and it is the first time he has been out on duty, I think, since his dangerous and protracted illness.”

“I know it is the first time,” said the boy, “and I don’t think he’s hardly able to be out now.  How very pale he is looking, Isabella.”

“Do you think he’s very pale, Ruez?” she asked, turning towards the soldier, whose arm and sword were now outstretched, indicating some movement to a file of soldiers on the other side.

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The Heart's Secret; Or, the Fortunes of a Soldier: a Story of Love and the Low Latitudes. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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