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

From that hour a strange feeling seemed to possess the young soldier.  Like him in Shakspeare’s “Seven Ages,” he passed from love to ambition.  A new charm seemed to awake to him in the future, not to the desertion of his love, nor yet exactly to its promotion.  An indefinite idea seemed to move him that he must win fame, glory and renown; and yet he hardly paused to think what the end of these would be; whether they would ultimately bring him nearer to the proud girl of his hopes and his love.  Fame rang in his ears; the word seemed to fire his veins; he was humble-he must be honored; he was poor-he must be rich; he was unknown-he must be renowned!  With such thoughts as these, his pulses beat quicker, his eye flashed, and his check became flushed, and then one tender thought of Isabella would change every current, and almost moisten those bloodshot eyes with tears.  Would to God that Lorenzo Bezan could now but shed a tear-what gentle yet substantial relief it would have afforded him.

Thus was the exiled soldier influenced; while Isabella Gonzales was, as we have seen, still living on under the veil of her pride; unable, apparently, for one single moment to draw the curtain, and look with naked eye upon the real picture of her feelings, actions, and honest affections.  She felt, plain enough, that she was miserable; indeed the flood of tears she daily shed betrayed this to her.  But her proud Castilian blood was the phase through which alone she saw, or could see.  It was impossible for her to banish Lorenzo Bezan from her mind; but yet she stoutly refused to admit, even to herself, that she regarded him with affection-he, a lowly soldier, a child of the camp, a myrmidon of fortune-he a fit object for the love of Isabella Gonzales, the belle of Havana, to whom princes had bowed?  Preposterous!

Her brother, whose society she seemed to crave more than ever, said nothing; he did not even mention the name of the absent one, but he secretly moaned for him, until the pale color that had slightly tinged his check began to fade, and Don Gonzales trembled for the boy’s life.  It was his second bereavement.  His mother’s loss, scarcely yet outgrown, had tried his gentle heart to its utmost tension; this new bereavement to his sensitive mind, seemed really too much for him.  A strange sympathy existed between Isabella and the boy, who, though Lorenzo Bezan’s name was never mentioned, yet seemed to know what each other was thinking of.

But in the meantime, while these feelings were actuating Isabella and her brother at Havana, Lorenzo Bezan had reached Cadiz, and was on his way to the capital of Spain, Madrid.

CHAPTER XI.

The promotion.

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