“It was most considerate of Marcos,” she said to Juanita in his hearing, “to provide this escort. He no doubt divined that, accustomed as I am to living in Madrid, I might have been nervous in these remote places.”
Juanita was tired. They were near their journey’s end. She did not take the trouble to explain the situation to Cousin Peligros. There are some fools whom the world allows to continue in their folly because it is less trouble. Marcos and Sarrion were riding together now in silence. From time to time a peasant waiting at the roadside came forward to exchange a few words with one or the other. The road ascended sharply now, and the pace was slow. The regular tramp of the horses, the quiet evening hour, the fatigue of the journey were conducive to contemplation and silence.
When Marcos helped Cousin Peligros and Juanita to descend from the high-swung traveling carriage, Juanita was too tired to notice one or two innovations. When, as a schoolgirl, she had spent her holidays at Torre Garde no change had been made in the simple household. But now Marcos had sent from Saragossa such modern furniture as women need to-day. There were new chairs on the terrace. Her own bedroom at the western corner of the house, next door to the huge room occupied by Sarrion, had been entirely refurnished and newly decorated.
“Oh, how pretty!” she exclaimed, and Marcos lingering in the long passage perhaps heard the remark.
Later, when they were all in the drawing-room awaiting dinner, Juanita clasped Sarrion’s arm with her wonted little gesture of affection.
“You are an old dear,” she said to him, “to have my room done up so beautifully, so clean, and white, and simple—just as you know I should like it. Oh, you need not smile so grimly. You know it was just what I should like—did he not, Marcos?”
“Yes,” answered Marcos.
“And it is the only room in the house that has been done. I looked into the others to see—into your great barrack, and into Marcos’ room at the end of the balcony. I have guessed why Marcos has that room ...”
“Why?” he asked.
“So that you can see down the valley—so that Perro who sleeps on the balcony outside the open window has merely to lift his head to look right down to where the other watch-dogs are, ten miles away.”
After dinner, Juanita discovered that there was a new piano in the drawing-room, in addition to a number of those easier chairs which our grandmothers never knew. Cousin Peligros protested that they were unnecessary and even conducive to sloth and indolence. Still protesting, she took the most comfortable and sat with folded hands listening to Juanita finding out the latest waltz, with variations of her own, on the new piano.