“But I wish to see her.”
“But you cannot see her. How little you know the girl!”
“I thought I knew her well. I will stay here, then. But this solitude is horrible.”
“There comes the notary.”
“Maledictions upon him!”
“And I think the attorney-general has just come in too—he is an excellent person.”
“He be hanged with his goodness!”
“But business affairs, when they are one’s own, serve as a distraction. Some one is coming. I think it is the agricultural expert. You will have something to occupy you now for an hour or two.”
“An hour or two of hell!”
“Ah, ha! if I am not mistaken Uncle Licurgo and Uncle Paso Largo have just entered. Perhaps they have come to propose a compromise to you.”
“I would throw myself into the pond first!”
“How unnatural you are! For they are all very fond of you. Well, so that nothing may be wanting, there comes the constable too. He is coming to serve a summons on you.”
“To crucify me.”
All the individuals named were now entering the parlor one by one.
“Good-by, Pepe; amuse yourself,” said Dona Perfecta.
“Earth, open and swallow me!” exclaimed the young man desperately.
“Senor Don Jose.”
“My dear Don Jose.”
“Esteemed Don Jose.”
“My dearest Don Jose.”
“My respected friend, Don Jose.”
Hearing these honeyed and insinuating preliminaries, Pepe Rey exhaled a deep sigh and gave himself up. He gave himself up, soul and body, to the executioners, who brandished horrible leaves of stamped paper while the victim, raising his eyes to heaven with a look of Christian meekness, murmured:
“Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”
HERE WAS TROY
Love, friendship, a wholesome moral atmosphere, spiritual light, sympathy, an easy interchange of ideas and feelings, these were what Pepe Rey’s nature imperatively demanded. Deprived of them, the darkness that shrouded his soul grew deeper, and his inward gloom imparted a tinge of bitterness and discontent to his manner. On the day following the scenes described in the last chapter, what vexed him more than any thing was the already prolonged and mysterious seclusion of his cousin, accounted for at first by a trifling indisposition and then by caprices and nervous feelings difficult of explanation.
Rey was surprised by conduct so contrary to the idea which he had formed of Rosarito. Four days had passed during which he had not seen her; and certainly it was not because he did not desire to be at her side; and his situation threatened soon to become humiliating and ridiculous, if, by boldly taking the initiative, he did not at once put an end to it.
“Shall I not see my cousin to-day, either?” he said to his aunt, with manifest ill-humor, when they had finished dining.