And with the gloves which a Spanish gentleman still carries in his hand whenever he is out of doors, he brushed the dust aside.
“Yes,” said Mon, examining the steps, “yes; you may be right. Come, let us make inquiries. I know most of the people in this house. They are poor people. In my small way I help some of them, when an evil time comes in the winter.”
He was all eagerness now, and full of desire to help. It was he who told the Count’s story, and told it a little wrong as a story is usually related by one who repeats it, while Sarrion stood at the door and looked around him. It was Mon who persisted that every stone should be turned, and every denizen of the great house interrogated. But nothing resulted from these inquiries.
“I did not, of course, mention Francisco’s name,” he said, confidentially, as they emerged into the street again. “Nothing was to be gained by that. And I confess I think you are the victim of your own imagination in this. Francisco is in Santiago de Cuba, and will probably never return. If he were here in Saragossa surely his own son would know it. I saw Leon de Mogente the day before yesterday, by the way, and he said nothing of his father. And it is not long since I spoke with Juanita. We could make inquiry of Leon—but not to-day, by the way. It is a great Retreat, organised by some pilgrims to the Shrine of our Lady of the Pillar, and Leon is sure to be of it. The man is half a monk, you know.”
They were walking down the Calle San Gregorio, and, as if in illustration of the fact that chance will betray those who wait most assiduously upon her, the curtain of the great door of the cathedral was drawn aside, and Leon de Mogente came out blinking into the sunlight. The meeting was inevitable.
“There is Leon—by a lucky chance,” said Mon almost immediately.
Leon de Mogente had seen them and was hurrying to meet them. Seen thus in the street, under the sun, he was a pale and bloodless man—food for the cloister. He bowed with an odd humility to Mon, but spoke directly to the Count de Sarrion. He knew, and showed that he knew, that Mon was not glad to see him.
“I did not know that you were in Saragossa,” he said. “A terrible thing has happened. My father is dead. He died without the benefits of the Church. He returned secretly to Saragossa two days ago and was attacked and robbed in the streets.”
“And died in that house,” added Sarrion, indicating with his stick the building they had just quitted.
“Ye—es,” answered Leon hesitatingly, with a quick and frightened glance at Mon. “It may have been. I do not know. He died without the consolation of the Church. It is that that I think of.”
“Yes,” said Sarrion rather coldly, “you naturally would.”
A pilgrimage Evasio Mon was a great traveler. In Eastern countries a man who makes the pilgrimage to Mecca adds thereafter to his name a title which carries with it not only the distinction conferred upon the dullest by the sight of other men and countries, but the bearer stands high among the elect.