She forcibly ejected Perro from the room, and came back breathless and laughing. “She has not a care in the world,” thought Marcos, who knew well enough the danger that he had passed through.
“But Father Muro is such an innocent old love,” she went on, “that he did it badly. He had been told to do it by the Jesuits and he made a bungle of it. He thought that he could make a schoolgirl answer a question if she did not want to. And no one was afraid of him. He is a dear, good, old saint, and will assuredly go to Heaven. He is not a Jesuit, you know, but he is afraid of them, as everybody else is, I think—” She paused and closed the shutters to soften the growing day.
“Except Marcos,” she threw back over her shoulder towards the bed, with some far-off suggestion of anger still in her voice.
“And now he must be allowed to sleep until the doctor comes from Pampeluna,” she concluded.
She left the room as she spoke to warn the servants, who were already astir, to do their work as noiselessly as possible. When she returned Marcos was asleep.
“The doctor cannot be here for another hour, at least,” whispered Sarrion, who was standing by the window watching Marcos. “It is too far for a man of his age to ride, and he has no carriage. There may be some delay in finding one to do so great a distance at this time in the morning. You must take the opportunity to get some sleep.”
But Juanita only shook her head and laughed.
Sarrion did not persuade her, but turned to quit the room. His hand was on the door when some one tapped on the other side of it. It was Marcos’ servant.
“The doctor, Excellency,” he announced briefly.
In the passage stood a man of middle height, hard and wiry, with those lines in his face that time neither obliterates nor deepens; the parallels of hunger. He had been through the first Carlist war nearly thirty years earlier. He had starved in Pampeluna, the hungry, the impregnable.
Sarrion shook hands with him and passed into the room.
“Ah!” he said, in the quiet voice of one who is accustomed to speak in the presence of sleep, when he saw Juanita, “Ah—you!”
“Yes,” said Juanita.
“So you are nursing your husband,” he murmured abstractedly, as he bent over the bed.
And Juanita made no answer.
“How long has he been asleep?” he asked, after a few moments, and in reply received the written paper which he read quickly, with a practised eye, and laid it aside.
“We must wait,” he said, turning to Sarrion, “until he awakes. But it is all right. I can see that while he sleeps. He is a strong man; none stronger in all Navarre.”
As he spoke, he was examining the bottles left by the village apothecary, tasting one, smelling another. He nodded approval. In medicine, as in war, one expert may know unerringly what another will do. Then he looked round the room, which was orderly as a hospital ward.