She was very beautiful. Her morning costume was light and graceful, and her whole toilet showed just enough of neglige to add interest to the simplicity of her personal attire. Her dark, jetty hair contrasted strongly with the pure white of her dress, and there was not an ornament upon her person, save those that nature had lavished there in prodigal abundance. She had never looked more lovely than at that hour; the years that had passed since the reader met her in familiar conversation with our hero, had only served still more to perfect and ripen her personal charms. Though there had stolen over her features a subdued air of thoughtfulness, a gentle tinge of melancholy, yet it became her far better than the one of constant levity and jest that had almost universally possessed her heretofore.
Her eyes now rested upon the floor, and the long silken lashes seemed almost artificial in their effect upon the soft olive complexion beneath their shadow. No wonder Ruez loved his sister so dearly; no wonder he felt proud of her while he gazed at her there; nor was it strange that he strove to read her heart as he did, though he kept his own counsel upon the subject.
He was a most observant boy, as we have seen before in these pages, but not one to manifest all of his observations or thoughts. He seemed to, and doubtless did, actually understand Isabella’s heart better than she did herself, and a close observer would have noted well the various emotions that his expressive countenance exhibited, while he gazed thus intently at his dearly loved sister. Ruez was a strange boy; he had few friends; but those few he loved with all his heart. His father, sister, and Lorenzo Bezan, shared his entire affection. His inclinations led him to associate but little with those of his own age; he was thoughtful, and even at that age, a day dreamer. He loved to be alone; oftentimes for hours he was thus-at times gazing off upon the sea, and at others, gazing upon vacancy, while his thoughts would seem to have run away with him, mentally and physically. These peculiarities probably arose from his uncommonly sensitive disposition, and formed a sort of chrysalis state, from which he was yet to emerge into manliness.
Kissing her cheek, and rousing her from the waking dream that possessed her now, Ruez turned away and left her to herself and the thoughts his words had aroused. We, too, will leave Isabella Gonzales, for a brief period, while we turn to another point of our story, whither the patient reader will please to follow.
“She never loved me,” said Lorenzo Bezan, in the privacy of his own room, on the morning subsequent to that of the serenade. “It was only my own insufferable egotism and self-conceit that gave me such confidence. Now I review the past, what single token or evidence has she given to me of particular regard? what has she done that any lady might not do for a gentleman friend? I can recall nothing. True, she has smiled kindly-O how dearly I have cherished these smiles! But what are they? Coquettes smile on every one! Alas, how miserable am I, after all the glory and fame I have won!”