Don Julian and Carmen are discussing the ongoing relationship of Alfredo Salazar and Esperanza for four years gradually ready to disappears. Don Julian said "I supposed long-engaged people are like that; warm now, cool tomorrow. I think they are oftener cool than warm. The very fact that an engagement has been allowed to prolong itself argues a certain placidity of temperament--or of affection--on the part of either, or both."
Alfredo is thinking about the mess he made on his love life upon hearing the conversation of Carmen and Don Julian about his relationship with Esperanza. Alfredo is starting to remember how he met Julia Salas.
It all started when he came along with his father to Judge Del Valle, and always greet a woman who he had mistaken for the Judge's sister.
Alfredo always greet her and call her Miss Del Valle, but Don Julian told him that she was Julia Salas sister-in-law of the judge. he apologized and felt greatly embarrassed, but she did not correct him because it reminded her of a similar experienced she had before.
Don Julian and his uncommunicative friend, the Judge, were absorbed in a game of chess. The young man had tired of playing appreciative spectator and desultory conversationalist, so he and Julia Salas had gone off to chat in the vine-covered porch.
While having some small talks he intend to think if Julia could sing because of her speaking voice. And he is mildly surprised that she was unmistakably a sister of the Judge, although Doña Adela was of a different type altogether.