“It is a secret of the confession.”
Marcos exchanged a grave glance with his father, who sat back in his chair as one may see a leader sit back while his junior counsel conducts an able cross-examination.
“Have you advised Juanita of the terms of her father’s will?”
“I understand,” answered Leon, “that it will make but little difference to Juanita. She has her allowance as I have mine. My father, I understand, had but little to bequeath to her.”
Marcos glanced at his father again, and then at the clock. He had, it appeared, finished his cross-examination, and was now characteristically anxious to get to action.
Sarrion now took the lead in conversation, and proffered the usual condolences and desire to help, in the formal Spanish way. He could hardly conceal his contempt for Leon, who, for his part, was not free from embarrassment. They had nothing in common but the subject which had brought the Sarrions hither, and upon this point they could not progress satisfactorily, seeing that Sarrion himself had evidently sustained a greater loss than the dead man’s own son.
They rose and took leave, promising to attend the mass next day. Leon became interested again at once in this side of the question, which was not without a thrill of novelty for him. He had organised and taken part in many interesting and gorgeous ceremonies. But a requiem mass for one’s own father must necessarily be unique in the most varied career of religious emotion. He was a little flurried, as a girl is flurried at her first ball, and felt that the eye of the black-letter saints was upon him.
He shook hands absent-mindedly with his friends, and was already making mental note of their addition to the number secured for to-morrow’s ceremony. He was very earnest about it, and Marcos left him with a sudden softening of the heart towards him, such as the strong must always feel for the weak.
“You see,” said Sarrion, when they were in the street, “what Evasio Mon has made him. I do not know whether you are disposed to hand over Juanita and her three million pesetas to Evasio Mon as well.”
Marcos made no reply, but walked on, wrapt in thought.
“I must see Juanita,” he said, at length, after a long silence, and Sarrion’s wise eyes were softened by a smile which flitted across them like a flash of sunlight across a darkened field.
“Remember,” he said, “that Juanita is a child. She cannot be expected to know her own mind for at least three years.”
Marcos nodded his head, as if he knew what was coming.
“And remember that the danger is imminent—that Evasio Mon is not the man to let the grass grow beneath his feet—that we cannot let Juanita wait... three weeks.”
“I know,” answered Marcos.
The Quarry Sarrion called at the convent school of the Sisters of the True Faith the next morning, and was informed through the grating that the school was in Retreat.