She nursed her and watched her, until one morning, sure of the girl's convalescence, she kissed her, still asleep, on the forehead and left her without betraying whom she was. A second time the Marana came to the church where Juana made her first communion.
The name Marana, inflicted at first as a disgrace upon the singular family with which we are now concerned, had ended by becoming its veritable name and by ennobling its vice by incontestable antiquity.
Juana, all in white, and softly lighted by the wax candles, was standing calmly in the centre of her chamber. "What do you want with me?" she said. The Marana could not repress a passing shudder. "Perez," she asked, "has this room another issue?" Perez made a negative gesture; confiding in that gesture, the mother entered the room.
"I don't know where the Marana now is," said Perez, ending the above history, "but in whatever quarter of the world she may be living, when she hears of the occupation of our province by your armies, and of the siege of Tarragona, she will assuredly set out at once to come here and see to her daughter's safety."
A courtesan even in maternity, the Marana felt in the depths of her soul a jealous sentiment, stronger for the moment than that of love, and she left the church, incapable of resisting any longer the desire to kill Dona Lagounia, as she sat there, with radiant face, too much the mother of her child.
She gave a dreadful sigh, turning her dry eyes on them. She had lost all, but she knew how to suffer, a true courtesan. The door opened. The Marana forgot all else, and Perez, making a sign to his wife, remained at his post. With his old invincible Spanish honor he was determined to share the vengeance of the betrayed mother.
It was, in fact, many months before the shadow of Desiree ceased to hover about the dark old mansion on lower Fifth Avenue, incongruous enough among the ancient halls and portraits of Lamars dead and gone in a day when La Marana herself had darted like a meteor into the hearts of their contemporaries.
"Help! help! they are murdering a Frenchman. Soldiers of the 6th of the line, rush for Captain Diard! Help, help!" Perez had gripped the man and was trying to gag him with his large hand, but the Marana stopped him, saying, "Bind him fast, but let him shout. Open the doors, leave them open, and go, go, as I told you; go, all of you.
I must get to Tarragona before the town is taken!" she cried. "Ten days to reach Tarragona!" Then without caring for crown or court, she arrived in Tarragona, furnished with an almost imperial safe-conduct; furnished too with gold which enabled her to cross France with the velocity of a rocket. "My daughter! my daughter!" cried the Marana.
Those who think these words too strong, may judge for themselves how far they apply to his story of Marana and Cyra. Marana, then, and Cyra were two young ladies of Berhoea, who had given up all the pleasures of life to settle themselves in a roofless cottage outside the town. They had stopped up the door with stones and clay, and allowed it only to be opened at the feast of Pentecost.