“There,” said Sarrion, “it is over. Marcos said they were to be taught a lesson. They have learnt it.”
He quitted the room taking his hat which he had thrown aside.
Juanita went to the terrace. She could see nothing. The whole valley was hidden in smoke which rolled upward in yellow clouds. The air choked her. She came back to the library, coughing, and went towards the door.
“Juanita,” said Cousin Peligros, “I forbid you to leave the room. I absolutely refuse to be left alone.”
“Then call your maid,” said Juanita, patiently.
“Where are you going?”
“I am going to follow Uncle Ramon down to the valley. There must be hundreds of wounded. I can do something——”
“Then I forbid you to go. It is permissible for Marcos to identify himself with such proceedings—in protection of those whom Providence has placed under his care. Indeed I should expect it of him. It is his duty to defend Torre Garda.”
Juanita looked at the supine form in the easy chair.
“Yes,” she answered. “And I am mistress of Torre Garda.”
Which, perhaps, had a double meaning, for when she closed the door—not without emphasis—Cousin Peligros sat upright with a start.
Juanita hurried out of the house and ran down the road winding on the slope to the village. The smoke choked her; the air was impregnated with sulphur. It seemed impossible that anybody could have lived through these hellish minutes that were passed. In front of her she saw Sarrion hurrying in the same direction. A moment later she gave a little cry of joy. Marcos was riding up the slope at a gallop. He pulled up when he saw his father and by the time he had quitted the saddle, Juanita was with him.
Marcos’ face was gray beneath the sunburn. His eyes were bloodshot and his lips were pressed upward in a line of deadly resolution. It was the face of a man who had seen something that he would never forget. He looked at his father.
“Evasio Mon,” he said.
Marcos nodded his head.
“You did not do it?” said Sarrion sharply.
“No. They found him among the Carlists, There were five or six priests. It was Zeneta—wounded himself—who recognised him and told me. He was not dead when Zeneta found him—and he spoke. ‘Always the losing game,’ he said. Then he smiled—and died.”
Sarrion turned and led the way slowly back again towards the house. Juanita seemed to have forgotten her intention of going to the valley to offer help to the nursing-sisters who lived in the village.
Marcos’ horse, the Moor, was shaking and dragged on the bridle which he had slipped over his arm. He jerked angrily at the reins, looking back with a little exclamation of impatience. Juanita took the bridle from his arm and led the horse which followed her quietly enough. She said nothing and asked no questions. But she was watching Marcos’ face—wondering, perhaps, if it would ever soften again.