“It is a bet.”
“Juana, shut the blinds, wait until he passes, and when he is turning the corner, I will call out, ‘Cirio, Cirio Pascual!’”
Don Juan Tafetan ran out to the balcony.
“Come here, Don Jose, so that you may know this type,” he called.
Pepe Rey, availing himself of the moment in which the three girls and Don Juan were making merry in the balcony, calling Nicolasito Hernandez the nickname which so greatly enraged him, stepped cautiously to one of the sewing baskets in the room and placed in it a half ounce which he had left after his losses at play.
Then he hurried out to the balcony just as the two youngest cried in the midst of wild bursts of laughter, “Cirio, Cirio Pascual!”
A CASUS BELLI
After this prank the Troyas commenced a conversation with their visitors about the people and the affairs of the town. The engineer, fearing that his exploit might be discovered while he was present, wished to go, which displeased the Troyas greatly. One of them who had left the room now returned, saying:
“Suspiritos is now in the yard; she is hanging out the clothes.”
“Don Jose will wish to see her,” said another of the girls.
“She is a fine-looking woman. And now she arranges her hair in the Madrid fashion. Come, all of you.”
They took their visitors to the dining-room—an apartment very little used—which opened on a terrace, where there were a few flowers in pots and many broken and disused articles of furniture. The terrace overlooked the yard of an adjoining house, with a piazza full of green vines and plants in pots carefully cultivated. Every thing about it showed it to be the abode of neat and industrious people of modest means.
The Troyas, approaching the edge of the roof, looked attentively at the neighboring house, and then, imposing silence by a gesture on their cavaliers, retreated to a part of the terrace from which they could not see into the yard, and where there was no danger of their being seen from it.
“She is coming out of the kitchen now with a pan of peas,” said Maria Juana, stretching out her neck to look.
“There goes!” cried another, throwing a pebble into the yard.
The noise of the projectile striking against the glass of the piazza was heard, and then an angry voice crying:
“Now they have broken another pane of glass!”
The girls, hidden, close beside the two men, in a corner of the terrace, were suffocating with laughter.
“Senora Suspiritos is very angry,” said Rey. “Why do they call her by that name?”
“Because, when she is talking, she sighs after every word, and although she has every thing she wants, she is always complaining.”
There was a moment’s silence in the house below. Pepita Troya looked cautiously down.