Sor Teresa looked on the bunch hanging at her girdle.
“No,” she admitted rather reluctantly, “I will send for it.”
And she called by gesture one of the nuns who seemed to be looking the other way and yet perceived the movement of Sor Teresa’s hand.
While the key was being brought, Mon stood looking with his gentle smile over the lower wall of the garden, where the pathway cuts across the bare fields down towards the river.
“Would it not be wiser to carry that key with you always in case it should be wanted, as in the present instance?” he said, smoothly.
“I shall do so in future,” replied Sor Teresa, humbly; for the first duty of a nun is obedience, and there is no nunnery that is not under the immediate and unquestioned control of some man, be he a priest or in some privileged cases, the Pontiff himself.
At last a second bunch of keys was placed in Sor Teresa’s hands, and she examined them carefully.
“I am not quite sure,” she said, “which is the right one. It is so seldom used.”
And she fingered them, one by one.
Mon glanced at her sharply, though his lips still smiled.
“Allow me,” he said. “Those keys among which you are looking are the keys of cupboards and not of doors. There are only two door keys among them all.”
He took the keys and led the way towards the door hidden behind the grove of nut-trees. The nightingales were singing as he passed beneath the boughs, followed by Sor Teresa. Juanita hurrying up towards the house by another path, turned and glanced anxiously over her shoulder.
“This, I think, will be the key,” said Mon, affably, as he stooped to examine the lock. And he was right.
He opened the door, passed out and turned to salute Sor Teresa before he closed it gently, in her face.
“Go with God, my sister,” he said, bowing with a raised hat and ceremonious smile.
He waited until he heard Sor Teresa lock the door from within. Then he turned to examine the ground in the little lane that skirts the convent wall. But on the sun-baked ground, the neat, light feet of the Moor had made no mark. He looked at the wall, but failed to perceive the hole in it, for the woodbine and the wild rose tree covered it like a curtain.
Marcos had made a round by the summit of the hill and turning to the right rejoined the high road from the Casa Blanca, crossing the canal again by that bridge and returning to Saragossa by the broad avenue known as the Monte Torrero.
He reined in his horse beneath the lamp that hangs from the trees opposite to the gate of the town called the Puerta de Santa Engracia, and unfolded the note that
Juanita had written to him. It was scribbled in pencil on a half sheet torn from an exercise book.
“Dear Marcos,” it said. “Thank you most preposterously for the chocolates. The next time please put in some almonds. Milagros so loves almonds; and I am very fond of Milagros—Your grateful Juanita.”