Lorenzo Bezan bowed low, and turned his steps from the palace towards his own lodgings, near the barracks. It was exceedingly puzzling to him, first, that he could not understand what had led the queen to this subject; second, how she could so well discern the truth; and lastly, that such consideration was shown for him. He could not mistake the import of the queen’s words; it was perfectly plain to him what she had said, and what she had meant; and in a strange state of mind, bordering upon extreme of suspicion and strong hope, and yet almost as powerful fears, he mused over the singular condition in which he found himself and his affairs.
It seemed to him that fortune was playing at shuttlecock with him, and that just for the present, at any rate, his star was in the ascendant. “How long shall I go on in my good fortune?” he asked himself; “how long will it be before I shall again meet with a fierce rebuff in some quarter? Had I planned my own future for the period of time since I landed at Cadiz, I could not have bettered it-indeed I could not have dared to be as extravagant as I find the reality. No wonder that I meet those envious glances at court. Who ever shared a larger portion of the honorable favor of the queen than I do? It is strange, all very strange. And this beautiful Countess Moranza-what a good angel she has been to me; indeed, what have I not enjoyed that I could wish, since I arrived in Spain? Yet how void of happiness and of peace of heart am I! Alas, as the humble lieutenant in the Plaza des Armes in Havana, as the lowly soldier whom Isabella Gonzales publicly noticed in the Paseo, as the fortunate deliverer of herself and father, and as resting my wounded body upon her own support, how infinitely happier was I. How bright was hope then in my breast, and brilliant the charms of the fairy future! Could I but recall those happy moments at a cost of all the renown my sword may have won me, how gladly would I do so this moment. This constant suspense is worse than downright defeat or certain misfortune. Is there no power can give us an insight into the hidden destiny of ourselves? is there no means by which we can see the future? Not long could I sustain this ordeal of suspense. Ah, Isabella, what have I not suffered for thy love? what is there I would not endure!”
It had already been announced among the knowing ones at Havana that there was to be a new lieutenant governor general arrive ere long for the island, and those interested in these matters feel of course such an interest as an event of this character would naturally inspire. Those in authority surmised as to what sort of a person they were to be associated with, and the better classes of society in the island wished to know what degree of addition to their society the new comer would be-whether he was married or single, etc.