“Guns again?” he suggested, with a short laugh.
“I certainly heard something,” Mon answered. And rising briskly from his chair, he went to the window. Sarrion followed him, and they stood side by side looking out over the valley. At that moment that which was more of a vibration than a sound came to their ears across the mountains—deep and foreboding.
“I thought I was right,” said Mon, in little more than a whisper. “The Carlists are abroad, my friend, and I, who am a man of peace must get within the city walls.”
With an easy laugh he said good-bye. In a few minutes he was in the saddle riding leisurely down the valley of the Wolf after Juanita—with Marcos de Sarrion in between them on the road.
War’s alarm Juanita’s carriage emerged from the valley of the Wolf into the plain at sunset. She could see that the driver paid but little heed to his horses. His attention wandered constantly to the mountains. For, instead of looking to the road in front, his head was ever to the right, and his eyes searched the plain and the bare brown hills.
At last he pulled up and, turning on his box, held up one finger.
“Listen, Senorita,” he said, and his dark eyes were alight with excitement.
Juanita stood up and listened, looking westward as he did. The sound was like the sound of thunder, but shorter and sharper.
“What is it?”
“The Carlists—the sons of dogs!” he answered, with a laugh, and he shook his whip towards the mountains. “See,” he said, gathering up the reins again, “that dust on the road to the west—that is the troops marching out from Pampeluna. We are in it again—in it again!”
At the gate of the city there was a crowd of people. The carriage had to stand aside against the trees to let pass the guns which clattered down the slope. The men were laughing and shouting to each other. The officers, erect on their horses, seemed to think only of the safety of the guns as a woman entering a ballroom reviews her jewelery with a quick comprehensive glance.
At the guard-house, beneath the second gateway, there occurred another delay. The driver was a Pampeluna man and well-known to the sentries. But they did not recognise his passenger and sent for the officer on duty.
“The Senorita Juanita de Mogente,” he muttered, as he came into the road—a stout and grizzled warrior smoking a cigarette. “Ah, yes!” he said, with a grave bow at the carriage door. “I remember you as a schoolgirl. I remember now. Forgive the delay and pass in—Senora de Sarrion.”
Juanita was ushered into the little bare waiting-room in the convent school of the Sisters of the True Faith in the Calle de la Dormitaleria. It is a small, square apartment at the end of a long and dark passage. The day filters dimly into it through a barred window no larger than a pocket-handkerchief. Juanita stood on tiptoe and looked into a narrow alley. On the sill of this window Marcos had stood to wrench apart the bars of the window immediately overhead, through which he had lifted her one cold night—years and years ago, it seemed.