“Oh ...” groaned Cousin Peligros.
“What is it?” inquired Marcos practically. “What is the matter with her?”
“She has just been told that we are married,” explained Juanita, airily. “And I think you shocked her by mentioning my clothes. You shouldn’t do it, Marcos.”
And she went and stood by Cousin Peligros with her hand upon her shoulder as if to protect her. She shook her head gravely at Marcos.
Cousin Peligros rose rigidly and walked towards the door.
“I will go,” she said. “I will see that your room is in order. I have never before been made an object of ridicule in a gentleman’s house.”
“But we may surely laugh and be happy in a gentleman’s house, may we not?” cried Juanita, running after her, and throwing one arm round her rather unbending and capacious waist. “You are an old dear, and you must not be so solemn about it. Marcos and I are only married for fun, you know.”
And the door closed behind them, shutting off Juanita’s voluble explanations.
“You see,” said Sarrion, after a pause. “She is happy enough.”
“Now,” answered Marcos. “But she may find out some day that she is not.”
Juanita came back before long and found Sarrion alone.
“Where is Marcos?” she asked.
“He is taking a siesta,” answered Sarrion.
“Like a poor man.”
“Yes, like a poor man. He was not in bed all last night. You had a narrower escape of being made a nun than you suspect.”
Juanita’s face fell. She went to the window and stood there looking out.
“When are we going to Torre Garda?” she asked, after a long silence. “I hate towns ... and people. I want to smell the pines ... and the bracken.”
AT TORRE GARDA
The river known as the Wolf finds its source in the eternal snows of the Pyrenees. Amid the solitary grandeur of the least known mountains in Europe it rolls and tumbles—tossed hither and thither in its rocky bed, fed by this and that streamlet from stony gorges—down to the green valley of Torre Garda.
Here there is a village crouched on either side of the river-bed, and above it on a plateau surrounded by chestnut trees and pines, stands the house of the Sarrions. In winter the wholesome smell of wood smoke rising from the chimneys pervades the air. In summer the warm breath of the pines creeps down the mountains to mingle with the cooler air that stirs the bracken.
Below all, summer and winter, at evening and at dawn, night and day, growls the Wolf—so named from the continuous low-pitched murmur of its waters through the defile a mile below the village. The men of the valley of the Wolf have a hundred tales of their river in its different moods, and firmly believe that the voice which is ever in their ears speaks to such as have understanding, of every change