Have you come to tell me something? 'I have come to give you a letter, senorita, he answered, handing her Larralde's missive. She held out her hand, and never took her eyes from his face. Concha walked to the window the window whence the Alcalde of Ronda had seen Conyngham hand Julia Barenna another letter.
For Larralde loved Julia according to his lights, though he had another mistress, Ambition, who was with him always and filled his thoughts, sleeping or waking. Julia, her face all flushed, her eyes aglow, received his gallant greeting with a sort of breathless eagerness. She knew she had not Larralde's whole heart, and, woman-like, was not content with half.
'I have reason to assume that a certain letter is now in your possession again. I do not know the contents of this letter, and I cannot say that I am at all interested in it. But a friend of mine is particularly anxious to have possession of it for a short space of time. I have, unasked, taken upon myself the office of intermediary. Larralde's eyes flashed through the smoke.
Moreover, the true conspirator never believes in another man's honesty. 'Who would have expected to meet you here? went on Conyngham jovially. 'It is not so surprising as you think. 'Oh! There was no mistaking Larralde's manner, and the Englishman's gay blue eyes hardened suddenly and rather surprisingly. 'No, I have followed you. I want that letter.
He remembered Larralde's words concerning the person to whom the missive was addressed, and the high-flown sentiments of that somewhat theatrical gentleman became in some degree justified. Julia Barenna was a woman who might well awaken a passionate love. Conyngham realised this, as from a distance, while Julia's mother spoke of some trivial matter of the moment to unheeding ears.
'One does one's best, answered Larralde, with his hand at his moustache. 'But yes! said Madame eagerly. She had a shrewd common sense, as many apparently foolish women have, and probably put the right value on Senor Larralde's endeavours. Father Concha and the General were, however, far away, and all women are time-servers.
She thought he was about to ask her why she loved him. In former days he had had a pretty turn for such questions. 'In giving the letter to that scoundrel Conyngham he has betrayed us, and Spain is no longer safe for me. 'Are you sure of this? asked Julia, alert. Had she possessed Larralde's whole heart she would have been happy enough to take part in his pursuits.
'In a week, suggested Sir John again, 'it may be well settled one way or the other. Larralde glanced at him sharply. This Englishman was either well- informed or very cunning. He seemed to have read the thought in Larralde's mind. 'No doubt, went on the Englishman, 'you have divined for whom I want the letter and who will read it. We have both mistaken our man.