Isaura, awakening from her unpleasant and bitter thoughts, took her little sewing basket and started to leave the parlor, resolved to disappear into the most hidden nook of the house, or find a secluded niche in the orchard. She hoped to avoid the repetition of the embarrassing and indecent scenes that had experienced. She barely took the first step before being detained by a wandering grotesque figure, that entering the parlor came to place himself in front of her.
It was a misshapen figure resembling human form; a small man oddly shaped, with a huge head, diminutive chest, short legs bent outward, hairy as a bear, and ugly as a monkey. He was like a deformed clown, that embodied the indispensable part of the retinue of any great king of the Middle Ages, to entertain him and his courtiers. Nature forgot to give him a neck, and the large head sprouted from the center of a formidable hump. However, the face was neither deformed, nor repugnant, and expressed cordiality, servility, and benevolence.
Isaura would have screamed in fear, had she not been familiar with that strange figure, because it was no other than Mr. Belchior, faithful and exemplary islander, that had for many years exercised in that estate with dignity and conscientiousness, regardless of his deformity and simplicity, the position of gardener. It seems that flowers, the natural symbol of everything beautiful, pure, and delicate, should have a less deformed and hideous caretaker. However, luck or the whim of the homeowner chose such a contradiction, perhaps to contrast the beauty of one at the expense of the ugliness of the other.
Belchior had in one of his hands a large straw hat, that he dragged on the ground, and with the other hand grasped, not a bouquet, but a huge bundle of flowers of all kinds, to which he hoped to eclipse his ungraceful and ludicrous appearance. He resembled one of those china vases of grotesque and fantastic shape, that are filled with flowers to decorate buffets and sideboards.
"Oh, my God!" Isaura thought as her eyes met the gardener's. "Just my luck! Now this! ... At least he is the most bearable of them; the others trouble and torment me; this one at times makes me laugh."
"Nice to see you, Mr. Belchior! What do you want?"
"Senhora, I ... I ... came ..." the gardener stammered embarrassed.
"Senhora! ... I! ... Are you also going to mock me, Mr. Belchior?"
"I mock you! ... I couldn't ... May my tongue rot, if I fail to treat you with the respect you deserve.... I came to bring you these flow-ers, as you are like a flow-er ..."
"Urg, Mr. Belchior! ... You always call me senhora! ... If you continue addressing me so, I'll be angry with you, and I won't accept your flow-ers ... I am Isaura, the slave of Dona Malvina; did you hear me, Mr. Belchior?"
"While this true, you are the queen of this heart, and I'm happy to kiss your feet. Look, Isaura ..."