Paulino Vera looked questioningly at Arrellano and Ramos, and questioningly they looked back and to each other.
When Vera joined in and tried to press it upon him, he said:
Vera's watch had disappeared--the old-fashioned gold repeater that had been his father's.
"I wonder if it is the cursed gold of Diaz?" said Vera to the comrades.
"He has been through hell," said Vera. "No man could look like that who has not been through hell--and he is only a boy."
"Yes, I was brought up quite differently," remarked the handsome elder daughter, Countess Vera, with a smile.
But the smile did not enhance Vera's beauty as smiles generally do; on the contrary it gave her an unnatural, and therefore unpleasant, expression.
Our dear countess was too clever with Vera," said the count.
Lebedeff stamped his feet at his daughters and drove them away if they attempted to join the prince on the terrace; not even Vera was excepted.
At that moment Vera, carrying the baby in her arms as usual, came out of the house, on to the terrace.
The words were hardly out of her mouth, when Lebedeff dragged Vera forward, in order to present her.
"He says to tell you he will be in Vera
Cruz the beginning of next month,"-- clatter, clatter!--"and if you still have the intention of joining him"--bang!