How it was accomplished, of course he knew not; nor could he hardly surmise in his own mind, so very strictly is the care of such matters attended to under all like circumstances; but one thing he felt perfectly sure of, and indeed he was right in his conjecture—Ruez had drawn the bullets from the guns!
Lorenzo Bezan had hardly reached his place of confinement, once more, before he was waited upon by the secretary of the governor-general, who explained to him the terms on which his reprieve was granted, viz., that he should leave the territory and soil of Cuba by the next homeward bound packet to Spain, to remain there, unless otherwise ordered by special direction of the government. His rank as captain of infantry was secured to him, and the usual exhortation in such cases was detailed, as to the hope that the present example might not be lost upon him, as to the matter of a more strict adherence to the subject of military discipline.
Repugnant as was the proposition to leave the island while life was his, Lorenzo Bezan had no alternative but to do so; and, moreover, when he considered the attraction that held him on the spot, how the Senorita Isabella Gonzales had treated him, when she had every reason to believe that it was his last meeting with her, and nearly the last hour of his life, he saw that if she would treat him thus at such a moment, then, when he had not the excuse of remarkable exigency and the prospect of certain death before him, she would be no kinder. It was while exercised by such thoughts as these that he answered the secretary:
“Bear my thanks, with much respect, to the governor-general, and tell him that I accept from him his noble clemency and justice, the boon of my life, on his own terms.”
The secretary bowed low and departed.
We might tell the reader how Lorenzo Bezan threw himself upon his bed of straw, and wept like a child-how he shed there the first tears he had shed since his arrest, freely and without a check. His heart seemed to bleed more at the idea of leaving the spot where Isabella lived, and yet to live on himself, elsewhere, than his spirit had faltered at the idea of certain death. Her last cruel words, and the proud spirit she exhibited towards him, were constantly before his eyes.
“O,” said he, half aloud, “how I have worshipped, how adored that fairest of God’s creatures!”
At moments he had thought that he saw through Isabella’s character-at moments had truly believed that he might by assiduity, perhaps, if favored by fortune, win her love, and, may be, her hand in marriage. At any rate, with his light and buoyant heart, there was sunshine and hope enough in the future to irradiate his soul with joy, until the last scene in his drama of life, added to that of her last cold farewell!