“All that can be seen from here is the suburbs,” said the guide, in an offended tone. “When you enter the Calle Real and the Calle de Condestable, you will see handsome buildings, like the cathedral.”
“I don’t want to speak ill of Orbajosa before seeing it,” said the young man. “And you must not take what I have said as a mark of contempt, for whether humble and mean, or stately and handsome, that city will always be very dear to me, not only is it my mother’s native place, but because there are persons living in it whom I love without seeing them. Let us enter the august city, then.”
They were now ascending a road on the outskirts of the town, and passing close to the walls of the gardens.
“Do you see that great house at the end of this large garden whose wall we are now passing?” said Uncle Licurgo, pointing to a massive, whitewashed wall belonging to the only dwelling in view which had the appearance of a cheerful and comfortable habitation.
“Yes; that is my aunt’s house?”
“Exactly so! What we are looking at is the rear of the house. The front faces the Calle del Condestable, and it has five iron balconies that look like five castles. The fine garden behind the wall belongs to the house, and if you rise up in your stirrups you will be able to see it all from here.”
“Why, we are at the house, then!” cried the young man. “Can we not enter from here?”
“There is a little door, but the senora had it condemned.”
The young man raised himself in his stirrups and, stretching his neck as far as he could, looked over the wall.
“I can see the whole of the garden,” he said. “There, under the trees, there is a woman, a girl, a young lady.”
“That is Senorita Rosario,” answered Licurgo.
And at the same time he also raised himself in his stirrups to look over the wall.
“Eh! Senorita Rosario!” he cried, making energetic signs with his right hand. “Here we are; I have brought your cousin with me.”
“She has seen us,” said the young man, stretching out his neck as far as was possible. “But if I am not mistaken, there is an ecclesiastic with her—a priest.”
“That is the Penitentiary,” answered the countryman, with naturalness.
“My cousin has seen us—she has left the priest, and is running toward the house. She is beautiful.”
“As the sun!”
“She has turned redder than a cherry. Come, come, Senor Licurgo.”
Before proceeding further, it will be well to tell who Pepe Rey was, and what were the affairs which had brought him to Orbajosa.