THE DISCORD CONTINUES TO INCREASE
A fresh attempt to see his cousin that evening failed, and Pepe Rey shut himself up in his room to write several letters, his mind preoccupied with one thought.
“To-night or to-morrow,” he said to himself, “this will end one way or another.”
When he was called to supper Dona Perfecta, who was already in the dining-room, went up to him and said, without preface:
“Dear Pepe, don’t distress yourself, I will pacify Senor Don Inocencio. I know every thing already. Maria Remedios, who has just left the house, has told me all about it.”
Dona Perfecta’s countenance radiated such satisfaction as an artist, proud of his work, might feel.
“Set your mind at rest. I will make an excuse for you. You took a few glasses too much in the Casino, that was it, was it not? There you have the result of bad company. Don Juan Tafetan, the Troyas! This is horrible, frightful. Did you consider well?”
“I considered every thing,” responded Pepe, resolved not to enter into discussions with his aunt.
“I shall take good care not to write to your father what you have done.”
“You may write whatever you please to him.”
“You will exculpate yourself by denying the truth of this story, then?”
“I deny nothing.”
“You confess then that you were in the house of those——”
“And that you gave them a half ounce; for, according to what Maria Remedios has told me, Florentina went down to the shop of the Extramaduran this afternoon to get a half ounce changed. They could not have earned it with their sewing. You were in their house to-day; consequently—”
“Consequently I gave it to her. You are perfectly right.”
“You do not deny it?”
“Why should I deny it? I suppose I can do whatever I please with my money?”
“But you will surely deny that you threw stones at the Penitentiary.”
“I do not throw stones.”
“I mean that those girls, in your presence—”
“That is another matter.”
“And they insulted poor Maria Remedios, too.”
“I do not deny that, either.”
“And how do you excuse your conduct! Pepe in Heaven’s name, have you nothing to say? That you are sorry, that you deny—”
“Nothing, absolutely nothing, senora!”
“You don’t even give me any satisfaction.”
“I have done nothing to offend you.”
“Come, the only thing there is left for you to do now is—there, take that stick and beat me!”
“I don’t beat people.”
“What a want of respect! What, don’t you intend to eat any supper?”
“I intend to take supper.”
For more than a quarter of an hour no one spoke.
Don Cayetano, Dona
Perfecta, and Pepe Rey ate in silence. This was interrupted when Don
Inocencio entered the dining-room.