“Then let her go,” she said slowly and distinctly. And in a silence which followed, the colour slowly mounted to her face. Marcos glanced at her and spoke at once.
“There is no question of doing anything else,” he said, with a laugh that sounded uneasy. “She will have nerves until she sees a lamp-post again. She is going to Madrid.”
“And she wants you to go with her and stay,” said Marcos, bluntly.
“It is very kind of her,” answered Juanita in a cool and even voice. “You know, I am afraid Cousin Peligros and I should not get on very well—not if we sat indoors for long together, and kept our hands white.”
“Then you do not care to go to Madrid with her?” inquired Marcos.
Juanita seemed to weigh the pros and cons of the matter with her head at a measuring angle while she looked into the fire.
“No ... No,” she answered. “I think not, thank you.”
“You know,” Marcos explained with an odd ring of excitement in his voice. “I am afraid we shall have a bad name all over Spain after this. They always did think that we were only brigands. It will be difficult to get anybody to come here.”
Juanita made no answer to this. Sarrion was reading the paper very attentively. But it was he who spoke first.
“I must go to Saragossa,” he said, without looking up from his paper. “Perhaps Juanita will take compassion on my solitude there.”
“I always feel that it is a pity to go away from Torre Garda just as the spring is coming,” said she, conversationally. “Don’t you think so?”
She glanced at Marcos as she spoke, but the remark must have been addressed to Sarrion, whose reply was inaudible. For some reason the two men seemed ill at ease and tongue-tied. There was a dull glow in Marcos’ eyes. Juanita was quite cool and collected and mistress of the situation.
“You know,” said Marcos at length in his direct way, “that it is only of your happiness that I am thinking—you must do what you like best.”
“And you know that I subscribe to Marcos’ polite desire,” said Sarrion with a light laugh.
“I know you are an old dear,” answered Juanita, jumping up and throwing aside her book. “And now I am going to bed.”
She kissed Sarrion and smoothed back his gray hair with a quick and light touch.
“Good-night, Marcos,” she said as she passed the door which he held open. She gave him the friendly little nod of a comrade—but she did not look at him.
The next morning Cousin Peligros took her departure from Torre Garda.
“I wash my hands,” she said, with the usual gesture, “of the whole affair.”
As her maid was seated in the carriage beside her she said no more. It remained uncertain whether she washed her hands of the Carlist war or of Juanita. She gave a sharp sigh and made no answer to Sarrion’s hope that she would have a pleasant journey.