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The Heart's Secret; Or, the Fortunes of a Soldier   By: (1820-1895)

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This eBook was edited by Charles Aldarondo (www.aldarondo.net).

THE HEART'S SECRET:

OR, THE FORTUNES OF A SOLDIER.

BY LIEUTENANT MURRAY.

BOSTON:

1852.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE. The following Novellette was originally published in the PICTORIAL DRAWING ROOM COMPANION, and is but a specimen of the many deeply entertaining Tales, and gems of literary merit, which grace the columns of that elegant and highly popular journal. The COMPANION embodies a corps of contributors of rare literary excellence, and is regarded as the ne plus ultra, by its scores of thousands of readers.

PREFACE.

THE locale of the following story is that gem of the American Archipelago; the Island of Cuba, whose lone star, now merged in the sea, is destined yet to sparkle in liberty's hemisphere, and radiate the light of republicanism. Poetry cannot outdo the fairy like loveliness of this tropical clime, and only those who have partaken of the aromatic sweetness of its fields and shores can fully realize the delight that may be shared in these low latitudes. A brief residence upon the island afforded the author the subject matter for the following pages, and he has been assiduous in his efforts to adhere strictly to geographical facts and the truthful belongings of the island. Trusting that this may prove equally popular with the author's other numerous tales and novelettes, he has the pleasure of signing himself,

Very cordially,

THE PUBLIC's HUMBLE SERVANT.

DEDICATED TO THE READERS OF GLEASON'S PICTORIAL DRAWING ROOM COMPANION, FOR WHICH JOURNAL THESE PAGES WERE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN, BY THEIR VERY HUMBLE SERVANT, LIEUTENANT MURRAY.

THE HEART'S SECRET.

CHAPTER I.

THE ACCIDENT.

THE soft twilight of the tropics, that loves to linger over the low latitudes, after the departure of the long summer's day, was breathing in zephyrs of aromatic sweetness over the shores and plains of the beautiful Queen of the Antilles. The noise and bustle of the day had given place to the quiet and gentle influences of the hour; the slave had laid by his implements of labor, and now stood at ease, while the sunburnt overseers had put off the air of vigilance that they had worn all day, and sat or lounged lazily with their cigars.

Here and there strolled a Montaro from the country, who, having disposed of his load of fruit, of produce and fowls, was now preparing to return once more inland, looking, with his long Toledo blade and heavy spurs, more like a bandit than an honest husbandman. The evening gun had long since boomed over the waters of the land locked harbor from the grim, walls of Moro Castle, the guard had been relieved at the governor's palace and the city walls, and now the steady martial tread to the tap of the drum rang along the streets of Havana, as the guard once more sought their barracks in the Plaza des Armes.

The pretty senoritas sat at their grated windows, nearly on a level with the street, and chatted through the bars, not unlike prisoners, to those gallants who paused to address them. And now a steady line of pedestrians turned their way to the garden that fronts the governor's palace, where they might listen to the music of the band, nightly poured forth here to rich and poor.

At this peculiar hour there was a small party walking in the broad and very private walk that skirts the seaward side of the city, nearly opposite the Moro, and known as the Plato. It is the only hour in which a lady can appear outside the walls of her dwelling on foot in this queer and picturesque capital, and then only in the Plaza, opposite to the palace, or in some secluded and private walk like the Plato. Such is Creole and Spanish etiquette.

The party referred to consisted of a fine looking old Spanish don, a lady who seemed to be his daughter, a little boy of some twelve or thirteen years, who might perhaps be the lady's brother, and a couple of gentlemen in undress military attire, yet bearing sufficient tokens of rank to show them to be high in command... Continue reading book >>




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