“There is no to-morrow, my friend. Send for my son at once.”
Mon grudgingly nodded his head.
“It is well, I will do as you wish,” said the notary, only too glad, it would seem, to rise and go into the next room to receive further minute instructions from his chief.
The dying man laid with closed eyes, and did not move until his son spoke to him. Leon de Mogente was a sparely-built man, with a white and oddly-rounded forehead. His eyes were dark, and he betrayed scarcely any emotion at the sight of his father in this lamentable plight.
“Ah!” said the elder man. “It is you. You look like a monk. Are you one?”
“Not yet,” answered the pale youth in a low voice with a sort of suppressed exultation. Evasio Mon, watching him from the doorway, smiled faintly. He seemed to have no misgivings as to what Leon might say.
“But you wish to become one?”
“It is my dearest desire.”
The dying man laughed. “You are like your mother,” he said. “She was a fool. You may go back to bed, my friend.”
“But I would rather stay here and pray by your bedside,” pleaded the son. He was a feeble man—the only weak man, it would appear, in the room.
“Then stay and pray if you want to,” answered Mogente, without even troubling himself to show contempt.
The notary was at his table again, and seemed to seek his cue by an upward glance.
“You will, perhaps, leave your fortune,” he suggested at length, “to—to some good work.”
But Evasio Mon was shaking his head.
“To—to—?” began the notary once more, and then lapsed into a puzzled silence. He was at fault again. Mogente seemed to be failing. He lay quite still, looking straight in front of him.
“The Count Ramon de Sarrion,” he asked suddenly, “is he in Saragossa?”
“No,” answered the notary, after a glance into the darkened door. “No—but your will—your will. Try and remember what you are doing. You wish to leave your money to your son?”
“Then to—your daughter?”
And the question seemed to be directed, not towards the bed, but behind it.
“To your daughter?” he repeated more confidently. “That is right, is it not? To your daughter?”
Mogente nodded his head.
“Write it out shortly,” he said in a low and distinct voice. “For I will sign nothing that I have not read, word for word, and I have but little time.”
The notary took a new sheet of paper and wrote out in bold and, it is to be presumed, unlegal terms that Francisco de Mogente left his earthly possessions to Juanita de Mogente, his only daughter. Being no notary, this elderly priest wrote out a plain-spoken document, about which there could be no doubt whatever in any court of law in the world, which is probably more than a lawyer could have done.
Francisco de Mogente read the paper, and then, propped in the arms of the big friar, he signed his name to it. After this he lay quite still, so still that at last the notary, who stood watching him, slowly knelt down and fell to praying for the soul that was gone.