The station lies in the plain across which the railway meanders like a stream. Both bridges across the Arga are commanded, as is the railway station, by the guns of the city. Every approach is covered by artillery.
The sun was rising as the Sarrions’ carriage slowly climbed the incline and clanked across the double drawbridges into the city. In the Plaza de la Constitucion, the centre of the town, troops of hopeful dogs followed each other from dust heap to dust heap, but seemed to find little of succulence, whilst what they did find appeared to bring on a sudden and violent indisposition. Perro gazed at them sadly from the carriage window remembering perhaps his own dust heap days.
The Sarrions had no house in Pampeluna. Unlike the majority of the Navarrese nobles they lived in their country house which was only twenty miles away. They made use of the hotel in the corner of the Plaza de la Constitucion when business or war happened to call them to Pampeluna.
They went there now and took their morning coffee.
“Two months,” said Sarrion, warming himself at the stove in their simply furnished sitting-room. “Two months, they have given that scoundrel Pacheco to make his preparations.”
“So that Juanita must make her choice at once.”
“They go to vespers in the Cathedral,” said Marcos. “It is dusk by that time. They cross the Calle de la Dormitaleria and go through the two patios into the cloisters and enter the Cathedral by the cloister door. If Juanita could forget something and go back for it, I could see her for a few minutes in the cloisters which are always deserted in winter.”
“Yes,” said Sarrion, “but how?”
“Sor Teresa must do it,” said Marcos. “You must see her. They cannot prevent you from seeing your own sister.”
“But will she do it?”
“Yes,” answered Marcos without any hesitation at all.
“I shall try to see Juanita also,” said Sarrion, throwing his cloak round his shoulders twice so that its bright lining was seen at the back, hanging from the left shoulder. “You stay here.”
He went out into the cold air. Pampeluna lies fourteen hundred feet above the sea-level, and is subject to great falls of snow in its brief winter season.
Sarrion walked to the Calle de la Dormitaleria, a little street running parallel with the city walls, eastward from the Cathedral gates. There he learnt that Sor Teresa was out. The lay-sister feared that he could not see Juanita de Mogente. She was in class: it was against the rules. Sarrion insisted. The lay-sister went to make inquiries. It was not in her province. But she knew the rules. She did not return and in her place came Father Muro, the spiritual adviser of the school; Juanita’s own confessor. He was a stout man whose face would have been pleasant had it followed the lines that Nature had laid down. But there was something amiss with Father Muro—the usual lack of naturalness in those who lead a life that is against Nature.