And she looked doubtfully from the door to Sarrion and back again to the door. She was very young and gay and careless. Her cheeks still flushed by the deep sleep of childhood were of the colour of a peach that has ripened quickly in the glow of a southern sun. Her eyes were dark and very bright; the bird-like shallow vivacity of childhood still sparkled in them. It seemed that they were made for laughing, not for tears or thought. She was the incarnation of youth and springtime. To find such ignorance of the world, such innocence of heart, one must go to a nunnery or to Nature.
“I came to see you to-night,” said Sarrion, “as I may be leaving Saragossa again to-morrow morning.”
“And the good Sister allowed me to see you. I wonder why! She has been cross with me lately. I am always breaking things, you know.”
She spread out her hands with a gesture of despair.
“Yesterday it was an altar-vase. I tripped over the foot of that stupid St. Andrew. Have you heard from papa?”
Sarrion hesitated for a moment at the sudden question.
“No,” he answered at length.
“Oh! I wish he would come home from Cuba,” said the girl, with a passing gravity. “I wonder what he will be like. Will his hair be gray? Not that I dislike gray hair you know,” she added hurriedly. “I hope he will be nice. One of the girls told me the other day that she disliked her father, which seems odd, doesn’t it? Milagros de Villanueva—do you know her? She was my friend once. We told each other everything. She has red hair. I thought it was golden when she was my friend. But one can see with half an eye that it is red.”
Sarrion laughed rather shortly.
“Have you heard from your father?” he asked.
“I had a letter on Saint Mark’s Day,” she answered. “I have not heard from him since. He said he hoped to give me a surprise, he trusted a pleasant one, during the summer. What did he mean? Do you know?”
“No,” answered Sarrion, thoughtfully. “I know nothing.”
“And Marcos is not with you?” the girl went on gaily. “He would not dare to come within the walls. He is afraid of all nuns. I know he is, though he denies it. Some day, in the holidays, I shall dress as a nun, and you will see. It will frighten him out of his wits.”
“Yes,” said Sarrion looking at her, “I expect it would. Tell me,” he went on after a pause, “Do you know this stick?”
And he held out, under the rays of the lamp, the sword-stick he had picked up in the Calle San Gregorio.
She looked at it and then at him with startled eyes.
“Of course,” she said. “It is the sword-stick I sent papa for the New Year. You ordered it yourself from Toledo. See, here is the crest. Where did you get it? Do not mystify me. Tell me quickly—is he here? Has he come home?”
In her eagerness she laid her hands on his dusty riding coat and looked up into his face.