“And why have you done this?” asked Juanita, looking at him with bright eyes beneath her mantilla flying in the wind.
“Because I want to speak to you. We can walk home to the school together. It is all arranged. My father is with Sor Teresa.”
“What, all the way?” she asked in a delighted voice.
“And can we go through the streets and see the shops?”
“Yes, if you like; if you keep your mantilla close.”
“Marcos, you are a dear! But I have no money; you must lend me some.”
“Yes, if you like. What do you want to buy?”
“Oh, chocolates,” she answered. “Those brown ones, all soft inside. How much money have you?”
And she held out her hand in the dim light of the street lamps.
“I will give you the chocolates,” he answered. “As many as you like.”
“How kind of you. You are a dear. I am so glad to see your solemn old face again. I am very hard up. I don’t really know where all my pocket-money has gone to this term.”
She laughed gaily, and turned to look up at him. And in a moment her manner changed.
“Oh, Marcos,” she said, “I am so miserable. And I have no one to talk to. You know—papa is dead.”
“Yes,” he answered, “know.”
“For three days,” she went on, “I thought I should die. And then, but I am afraid it wasn’t prayer, Marcos, I began to feel—better, you know. Was it very wicked? Of course I had never seen him. It would have been quite different if it had been my dear, darling old Uncle Ramon—or even you, Marcos.”
“Thank you,” said Marcos.
“But I had only his letters, you know, and they were so political! Then I felt most extremely angry with Leon for being such a muff. He did nothing to try and find out who had killed papa, and go and kill him in return. I felt so disgusted that I was not a man. I feel so still, Marcos. This is the shop, and those are the chocolates stuck on that sheet of white paper. Let us buy the whole sheet. I will pay you back next term.”
They entered the shop and there Marcos bought her as many chocolates as she could hope to conceal beneath the long ends of her mantilla.
“I will bring you more,” he said, “if you will tell me how to get them to you.”
She assured him that there was nothing simpler; and made him a participant in a dead secret only known to a few, of the hole in the convent wall, large enough to pass the hand through, down by the frog-pond at the bottom of the garden and near the old door which was never opened.
“If you wait there on Thursday evening between seven and eight I will come, if I can, and will poke my hand through the hole in the wall. But how shall I know that it is you?”
“I will kiss your hand when it comes through,” answered Marcos.
“Yes,” she said, rather slowly. “What a joke.”
But now they were at the gate of the convent school, having come a short way, and they stood beneath the thick trees until the school came, with its usual accompaniment of eager talk like the running of water beneath a low bridge and its babble round the stones.