“And Juanita?” inquired Sarrion at length.
“Is at Pampeluna. They cannot get her away from there without my knowing it. She is well ... and happy.”
“You have not written to her?”
“No,” answered Marcos.
“We must remember,” said Sarrion, with a nod of approval, “that we are dealing with the cleverest men in the world, and the greediest——”
“And the hardest pressed,” added Marcos.
“But you have not written to her?”
“Nor heard from her?”
“I had a note from her at Saragossa, before they moved her to Pampeluna,” answered Marcos with a smile. “It was rather badly spelt.”
“And...?” asked Sarrion.
Marcos did not reply to this comprehensive interrogation.
“You have come to some decision?” Sarrion suggested.
“I have come to the usual decision that you are quite right in your suspicions. They want that money, and they intend to get it by forcing her into religion and inducing her to sign the usual testament made by nuns, conferring all their earthly goods upon the order into which they are admitted.”
Then Sarrion went back to his original question.
“As soon as we see signs of their being likely to succeed I propose to see Juanita again.”
“You can do it despite them?”
“Yes, I can do it.”
“I shall explain the position to her—that her bad fortune has given her choice of two evils.”
“That is one way of putting it.”
“It is the only honest way.”
Sarrion shrugged his shoulders.
“My friend,” he said, “I do not think that love and honesty are much in sympathy.”
In A strong city Amedeo, as the world knows, landed at Carthagena to be met by the news that Prim was dead. The man who had summoned him hither to assume the crown, he who alone in all Spain had the power and the will to maintain order in the riven kingdom, had himself been summoned to appear before a higher throne. “There will be no republic in Spain while I live,” Prim had often said. And Prim was dead.
“Every dog has his day,” a deputy sneeringly observed to the Marshall himself a few hours before he was shot, in response to Prim’s plain-spoken intention of striking with a heavy hand all those who should manifest opposition to the Duke of Aosta.
So Amedeo of Spain rode into his capital one snowy day in January, 1871, carrying high his head and looking down with courageous, intelligent eyes upon the faces of the people who refused to cheer him, as upon a sea of hidden rocks through which he must needs steer his hazardous way without a pilot.
Before receiving the living he visited the dead man who may be assumed to have been honest in his intention, as he undoubtedly proved himself to be brave in action; the best man that Spain produced in her time of trouble.