Juanita slipped in among her schoolmates, and Sor Teresa, looking straight in front of her, saw nothing.
Thisbe It was the custom in the convent school on the Torrero-hill to receive visitors on Thursdays. This festivity farther extended to the evening, when the girls were allowed to walk for an hour in the garden and talk. Talking, it must be remembered, as an indulgence of the flesh, is considered in religious communities to be a treat only permitted at certain periods. It is, indeed, only by tying the tongue that tyranny can hope to live.
“These promenades are not without use,” the Mother Superior once said to Evasio Mon, one of the lay directors of this school. “One discovers what friendships have been formed.”
But the Mother Superior, like many cunning persons, was wrong. For a schoolgirl’s friendship is like the seed of grass, blown hither and thither; while only one or two of a sowing take root in some hidden corner and grow.
Juanita’s bosom friend of the red hair had recovered her lost position. Her hair was, in fact, golden again. They were walking in the garden at sunset, and waiting for the clock of San Fernando to strike seven. Juanita had told her friend of the chocolates—all soft inside—which were to come through the hole in the wall; and the golden haired girl had confided in Juanita that she had never loved her as she did at that moment. Which was, perhaps, not unnatural.
The garden of the convent school is large, and spreads far down the slope of the hill. There are many fruit-trees and a few cypress. Where the stream runs there are bunches of waving bamboos, and at the lower end, where the wall is broken, there is a little grove of nut trees, where the nightingales sing.
“It must be seven; come, let us go slowly towards the trees,” said Juanita. They both looked round eagerly. There were two nuns in the gardens, gravely walking side by side, casting demure and not unkindly glances from time to time towards their gay charges. Juanita and her friend had, as elder girls, certain privileges, and were allowed to walk apart from the rest. They were heiresses, moreover, which makes a difference even in a convent school that shuts the world out with forbidding gates.
Juanita bade her friend keep watch, and ran quickly among the trees. The wall was old and overgrown with wild roses and honeysuckle. She found the hole, and, hastily turning back her sleeve, thrust her arm through. Her hand came out through the flowers with an inconsequent, childish flourish of the fingers close by the grave face of Marcos. He was essentially a man of his word; and she jerked her hand away from his lips with a gay laugh.
“Marcos,” she said, “the packets must be small or they will not come through.”
“I have had them made small on purpose,” he said. But she seemed to have forgotten the chocolates already, for her hand did not come back.