“He is not coming into this room,” said Juanita, coolly. “I will go down and see him.”
Evasio Mon greeted her with a gay smile.
“I am so glad,” he said, “to hear that all goes well with Marcos. We heard of his accident at Pampeluna. I had a day of leisure so I rode out to pay my respects.”
He glanced at her, but did not specify whether he had come to pay his respects to her as a bride or to Marcos as an invalid.
“It is a long way to come for a mere politeness,” replied Juanita, who could meet smile with smile if need be. But the eyes before which Evasio Mon turned aside were grave enough.
“It is not a mere politeness,” he answered. “I have known Marcos since he was a child; and have watched his progress in the world—not always with a light heart.”
“That is kind of you,” replied Juanita. “But why watch him if it gives you pain?”
Mon laughed. He was quick to see a joke and Juanita, he knew, was a gay soul.
“One cannot help taking an interest in one’s friends and is naturally sorry to see them drifting...”
“Into what...?” asked Juanita turning to the table where a servant had placed coffee for the visitor.
“Are politics a crime?”
“They lead to many—but do not let us talk of them—” he broke off with a light gesture dismissing as it were an unpleasant topic. “Since you are happy,” he concluded, looking at her with benevolent eyes.
He was a man of quick gesture and slow precise speech. He always seemed to mean much more than was conveyed by the mere words he enunciated. Juanita looked quickly at him. What did he know of her happiness? Was she happy—when she came to think of it? She remembered her gloomy thoughts of a few minutes earlier on the balcony. When we are young we confound thoughts with facts. When the heart is young it makes for itself a new heaven and a new earth from a word, a glance, a silence. It is a different earth from this one, but who can tell that it is not the same heaven as that for which men look?
Marcos was talking politics in the room overhead, forgetting her perhaps by now. Evasio Mon’s suggestion had come at an opportune moment.
“Leon is much exercised on your account,” said Mon, quietly, as if he had divined her thoughts. It was unlike Leon, perhaps, to be exercised about anything but his own soul; for he was a very devout man. But Juanita was not likely to pause and reflect on that point.
“Why?” she asked.
“He naturally dislikes the idea of your being dragged into politics,” answered Mon, gently.
“I? Why should I be dragged into politics?”
Mon made a deprecatory gesture. It seemed that he found himself drawn again to speak of a subject that was distasteful to him. Then he shrugged his shoulders.
“Well,” he said, half to himself, “we live in a practical age. Let us be practical. But he would have preferred that you should marry for love. Come, let us change the subject, my child. How is Sarrion? In good health, I hope.”