Among the first to bow before the King were the two Sarrions, and as they returned into an anteroom they came face to face with Evasio Mon, waiting his turn there.
“Ah!” said Sarrion, who did not seem to see the hand that Mon had half extended, “I did not know that you were a courtier.”
“I am not,” replied Mon; “but I am here to see whether I am too old to learn.”
He turned towards Marcos with his pleasant smile, but did not attempt the extended hand here.
“I shall take a lesson from Marcos,” he said.
Marcos made no reply, but passed on. And Mon, turning on his heel, looked after him with a sudden misgiving, like one who hears the sound of a distant drum.
“Judging from the persons in his immediate vicinity, our friend has money in his pocket,” said Sarrion, as they descended those palace stairs which had streamed with blood a few years earlier.
“Or promises in his mouth. Was that General Pacheco who turned away as we came?”
“Yes,” answered Sarrion. “Why do you ask?”
“I have heard that he is to receive a command in the army of the North.”
Sarrion made a grimace, uncomplimentary to that very smart soldier General Pacheco, and at the foot of the stairs he stopped to speak to a friend. He spoke in French and named the man by his baptismal name; for this was a Frenchman, named Deulin, a person of mystery, supposed to be in the diplomatic service in some indefinite position. With him was an Englishman, who greeted Marcos as a friend.
“What do you make of all this?” asked Sarrion, addressing himself to the Englishman, who, however, rather cleverly passed the question on to the older man with a slow, British gesture.
“I make of it—that they only want a little money to make Don Carlos king,” said Deulin.
“What is Evasio Mon doing in Madrid?” asked Sarrion.
“Raising the money, or spending it,” replied the Frenchman, with a shrug of the shoulders, as if it were no business of his.
They passed up-stairs together, but had not gone far when Marcos said the Englishman’s name without raising his voice.
He turned, and Marcos ran up three steps to meet him.
“Who is the prelate with the face of a fox-terrier?” he asked.
“He represents the Vatican. Is he with Mon?”
Marcos nodded an affirmative, and, turning, descended the stairs.
“I had better get back to Pampeluna,” he said to his father.
The train for the Northern frontier leaves Madrid in the evening, and at this time no man knew who might be the next to take a ticket for France. The Sarrions made their preparations to depart the same evening, and, arriving early, secured a compartment to themselves. Marcos, however, did not take his seat, but stood on the platform looking towards the gate through which the passengers must come.