“So intimate that they are together all day long; they were school-fellows. Batalla loves him like a brother, and would do anything to please him. In your place, senora, I would be uneasy.”
“Oh, my God! I fear there will be an attack on the house!”
“Senora,” declared the canon, with energy, “before I would consent that there should be an attack on this honorable house—before I would consent that the slightest harm should be done to this noble family—I, my nephew, all the people of Orbajosa——”
Don Inocencio did not finish. His anger was so great that the words refused to come. He took a few steps forward with a martial air, then returned to his seat.
“I think that your fears are not idle,” said Pinzon. “If it should be necessary, I——”
“And I——” said Jacinto.
Dona Perfecta had fixed her eyes on the glass door of the dining-room, through which could be seen a graceful figure. As she looked at it, it seemed as if the cloud of apprehension which rested on her countenance grew darker.
“Rosario! come in here, Rosario!” she said, going to meet the young girl. “I fancy you look better to-day, and that you are more cheerful. Don’t you think that Rosario looks better? She seems a different being.”
They all agreed that the liveliest happiness was depicted on her countenance.
About this time the following items of news appeared in the Madrid newspapers:
“There is no truth whatever in the report that there has been an insurrection in the neighborhood of Orbajosa. Our correspondent in that place informs us that the country is so little disposed for adventures that the further presence of the Batalla brigade in that locality is considered unnecessary.”
“It is said that the Batalla brigade will leave Orbajosa, as troops are not required there, to go to Villajuan de Nahara, where guerillas have made their appearance.”
“The news has been confirmed that the Aceros, with a number of mounted followers, are ranging the district of Villajuan, adjacent to the judicial district of Orbajosa. The governor of the province of X. has telegraphed to the Government that Francisco Acero entered Las Roquetas, where he demanded provisions and money. Domingo Acero (Faltriquera), was ranging the Jubileo mountains, actively pursued by the Civil Guards, who killed one of his men and captured another. Bartolome Acero is the man who burned the registry office of Lugarnoble and carried away with him as hostages the alcalde and two of the principal landowners.”
“Complete tranquillity reigns in Orbajosa, according to a letter which we have before us, and no one there thinks of anything but cultivating the garlic fields, which promise to yield a magnificent crop. The neighboring districts, however, are infested with guerillas, but the Batalla brigade will make short work of these.”