by Helen Hunt Jackson


IT was sheep-shearing time in Southern California, but
sheep-shearing was late at the Senora Moreno's. The Fates had
seemed to combine to put it off. In the first place, Felipe Moreno
had been ill. He was the Senora's eldest son, and since his father's
death had been at the head of his mother's house. Without him,
nothing could be done on the ranch, the Senora thought. It had
been always, "Ask Senor Felipe," "Go to Senor Felipe," "Senor
Felipe will attend to it," ever since Felipe had had the dawning of a
beard on his handsome face.

In truth, it was not Felipe, but the Senora, who really decided all
questions from greatest to least, and managed everything on the
place, from the sheep-pastures to the artichoke-patch; but nobody
except the Senora herself knew this. An exceedingly clever woman
for her day and generation was Senora Gonzaga Moreno,-- as for
that matter, exceedingly clever for any day and generation; but
exceptionally clever for the day and generation to which she
belonged. Her life, the mere surface of it, if it had been written,
would have made a romance, to grow hot and cold over: sixty
years of the best of old Spain, and the wildest of New Spain, Bay
of Biscay, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean,-- the waves of them all
had tossed destinies for the Senora. The Holy Catholic Church had
had its arms round her from first to last; and that was what had
brought her safe through, she would have said, if she had ever said
anything about herself, which she never did,-- one of her many
wisdoms. So quiet, so reserved, so gentle an exterior never was
known to veil such an imperious and passionate nature, brimful of
storm, always passing through stress; never thwarted, except at
peril of those who did it; adored and hated by turns, and each at
the hottest. A tremendous force, wherever she appeared, was
Senora Moreno; but no stranger would suspect it, to see her gliding
about, in her scanty black gown, with her rosary hanging at her
side, her soft dark eyes cast down, and an expression of mingled
melancholy and devotion on her face. She looked simply like a
sad, spiritual-minded old lady, amiable and indolent, like her race,
but sweeter and more thoughtful than their wont. Her voice
heightened this mistaken impression. She was never heard to speak
either loud or fast. There was at times even a curious hesitancy in
her speech, which came near being a stammer, or suggested the
measured care with which people speak who have been cured of
stammering. It made her often appear as if she did not known her
own mind; at which people sometimes took heart; when, if they
had only known the truth, they would have known that the speech
hesitated solely because the Senora knew her mind so exactly that
she was finding it hard to make the words convey it as she desired,
or in a way to best attain her ends.

About this very sheep-shearing there had been, between her and
the head shepherd, Juan Canito, called Juan Can for short, and to
distinguish him from Juan Jose, the upper herdsman of the cattle,
some discussions which would have been hot and angry ones in
any other hands than the Senora's.

Juan Canito wanted the shearing to begin, even though Senor
Felipe were ill in bed, and though that lazy shepherd Luigo had not
yet got back with the flock that had been driven up the coast for
pasture. "There were plenty of sheep on the place to begin with,"
he said one morning,-- "at least a thousand;" and by the time they
were done, Luigo would surely be back with the rest; and as for
Senor Felipe's being in bed, had not he, Juan Canito, stood at the
packing-bag, and handled the wool, when Senor Felipe was a boy?
Why could he not do it again? The Senora did not realize how time
was going; there would be no shearers to be hired presently, since
the Senora was determined to have none but Indians. Of course, if
she would employ Mexicans, as all the other ranches in the valley
did, it would be different; but she was resolved upon having
Indians,-- "God knows why," he interpolated surlily, under his

"I do not quite understand you, Juan," interrupted Senora Moreno
at the precise instant the last syllable of this disrespectful
ejaculation had escaped Juan's lips; "speak a little louder. I fear I
am growing deaf in my old age."

What gentle, suave, courteous tones! and the calm dark eyes rested
on Juan Canito with a look to the fathoming of which he was as
unequal as one of his own sheep would have been. He could not
have told why he instantly and involuntarily said, "Beg your
pardon, Senora."

"Oh, you need not ask my pardon, Juan," the Senora replied with
exquisite gentleness; "it is not you who are to blame, if I am deaf. I
have fancied for a year I did not hear quite as well as I once did.
But about the Indians, Juan; did not Senor Felipe tell you that he
had positively engaged the same band of shearers we had last
autumn, Alessandro's band from Temecula? They will wait until
we are ready for them. Senor Felipe will send a messenger for
them. He thinks them the best shearers in the country. He will be
well enough in a week or two, he thinks, and the poor sheep must
bear their loads a few days longer. Are they looking well, do you
think, Juan? Will the crop be a good one? General Moreno used to
say that you could reckon up the wool-crop to a pound, while it
was on the sheep's backs."

"Yes, Senora," answered the mollified Juan; "the poor beasts look
wonderfully well considering the scant feed they have had all
winter. We'll not come many pounds short of our last year's crop, if
any. Though, to be sure, there is no telling in what case that --
Luigo will bring his flock back."

The Senora smiled, in spite of herself, at the pause and gulp with
which Juan had filled in the hiatus where he had longed to set a
contemptuous epithet before Luigo's name.

This was another of the instances where the Senora's will and Juan
Canito's had clashed and he did not dream of it, having set it all
down as usual to the score of young Senor Felipe.

Encouraged by the Senora's smile, Juan proceeded: "Senor Felipe
can see no fault in Luigo, because they were boys together; but I
can tell him, he will rue it, one of these mornings, when he finds a
flock of sheep worse than dead on his hands, and no thanks to
anybody but Luigo. While I can have him under my eye, here in
the valley, it is all very well; but he is no more fit to take
responsibility of a flock, than one of the very lambs themselves.
He'll drive them off their feet one day, and starve them the next;
and I've known him to forget to give them water. When he's in his
dreams, the Virgin only knows what he won't do."

During this brief and almost unprecedented outburst of Juan's the
Senora's countenance had been slowly growing stern. Juan had not
seen it. His eyes had been turned away from her, looking down
into the upturned eager face of his favorite collie, who was leaping
and gambolling and barking at his feet.

"Down, Capitan, down!" he said in a fond tone, gently repulsing
him; "thou makest such a noise the Senora can hear nothing but
thy voice."

"I heard only too distinctly, Juan Canito," said the Senora in a
sweet but icy tone. "It is not well for one servant to backbite
another. It gives me great grief to hear such words; and I hope
when Father Salvierderra comes, next month, you will not forget to
confess this sin of which you have been guilty in thus seeking to
injure a fellow-being. If Senor Felipe listens to you, the poor boy
Luigo will be cast out homeless on the world some day; and what
sort of a deed would that be, Juan Canito, for one Christian to do
to another? I fear the Father will give you penance, when he hears
what you have said."

"Senora, it is not to harm the lad," Juan began, every fibre of his
faithful frame thrilling with a sense of the injustice of her

But the Senora had turned her back. Evidently she would hear no
more from him then. He stood watching her as she walked away, at
her usual slow pace, her head slightly bent forward, her rosary
lifted in her left hand, and the fingers of the right hand
mechanically slipping the beads.

"Prayers, always prayers!" thought Juan to himself, as his eyes
followed her. "If they'll take one to heaven, the Senora'll go by the
straight road, that's sure! I'm sorry I vexed her. But what's a man to
do, if he's the interest of the place at heart, I'd like to know. Is he to
stand by, and see a lot of idle mooning louts run away with
everything? Ah, but it was an ill day for the estate when the
General died,-- an ill day! an ill day! And they may scold me as
much as they please, and set me to confessing my sins to the
Father; it's very well for them, they've got me to look after matters.
Senor Felipe will do well enough when he's a man, maybe; but a
boy like him! Bah!" And the old man stamped his foot with a not
wholly unreasonable irritation, at the false position in which he
felt himself put.

"Confess to Father Salvierderra, indeed!" he muttered aloud. "Ay,
that will I. He's a man of sense, if he is a priest," -- at which slip of
the tongue the pious Juan hastily crossed himself,-- "and I'll ask
him to give me some good advice as to how I'm to manage
between this young boy at the head of everything, and a doting
mother who thinks he has the wisdom of a dozen grown men. The
Father knew the place in the olden time. He knows it's no child's
play to look after the estate even now, much smaller as it is! An ill
day when the old General died, an ill day indeed, the saints rest his
soul!" Saying this, Juan shrugged his shoulders, and whistling to
Capitan, walked towards the sunny veranda of the south side of the
kitchen wing of the house, where it had been for twenty odd years
his habit to sit on the long bench and smoke his pipe of a morning.
Before he had got half-way across the court-yard, however, a
thought struck him. He halted so suddenly that Capitan, with the
quick sensitiveness of his breed, thought so sudden a change of
purpose could only come from something in connection with
sheep; and, true to his instinct of duty, pricked up his ears, poised
himself for a full run, and looked up in his master's face waiting
for explanation and signal. But Juan did not observe him.

"Ha!" he said, "Father Salvierderra comes next month, does he?
Let's see. To-day is the 25th. That's it. The sheep-shearing is not to
come off till the Father gets here. Then each morning it will be
mass in the chapel, and each night vespers; and the crowd will be
here at least two days longer to feed, for the time they will lose by
that and by the confessions. That's what Senor Felipe is up to. He's
a pious lad. I recollect now, it was the same way two years ago.
Well, well, it is a good thing for those poor Indian devils to get a
bit of religion now and then; and it's like old times to see the
chapel full of them kneeling, and more than can get in at the door;
I doubt not it warms the Senora's heart to see them all there, as if
they belonged to the house, as they used to: and now I know when
it's to be, I have only to make my arrangements accordingly. It is
always in the first week of the month the Father gets here. Yes; she
said, 'Senor Felipe will be well enough in a week or two, he
thinks.' Ha! ha! It will be nearer two; ten days or thereabouts. I'll
begin the booths next week. A plague on that Luigo for not being
back here. He's the best hand I have to cut the willow boughs for
the roofs. He knows the difference between one year's growth and
another's; I'll say that much for him, spite of the silly dreaming
head he's got on his shoulders."

Juan was so pleased with his clearing up in his mind as to Senor
Felipe's purpose about the time of the sheep-shearing, that it put
him in good humor for the day,-- good humor with everybody, and
himself most of all. As he sat on the low bench, his head leaning
back against the whitewashed wall, his long legs stretched out
nearly across the whole width of the veranda, his pipe firm wedged
in the extreme left corner of his mouth, his hands in his pockets,
he was the picture of placid content. The troop of youngsters
which still swarmed around the kitchen quarters of Senora
Moreno's house, almost as numerous and inexplicable as in the
grand old days of the General's time, ran back and forth across
Juan's legs, fell down between them, and picked themselves up by
help of clutches at his leather trousers, all unreproved by Juan,
though loudly scolded and warned by their respective mothers
from the kitchen.

"What's come to Juan Can to be so good-natured to-day?" saucily
asked Margarita, the youngest and prettiest of the maids, popping
her head out of a window, and twitching Juan's hair. He was so
gray and wrinkled that the maids all felt at ease with him. He
seemed to them as old as Methuselah; but he was not really so old
as they thought, nor they so safe in their tricks. The old man had
hot blood in his veins yet, as the under-shepherds could testify.

"The sight of your pretty face, Senorita Margarita," answered Juan
quickly, cocking his eye at her, rising to his feet, and making a
mock bow towards the window.

"He! he! Senorita, indeed!" chuckled Margarita's mother, old
Marda the cook. "Senor Juan Canito is pleased to be merry at the
doors of his betters;" and she flung a copper saucepan full of not
over-clean water so deftly past Juan's head, that not a drop touched
him, and yet he had the appearance of having been ducked. At
which bit of sleight-of-hand the whole court-yard, young and old,
babies, cocks, hens, and turkeys, all set up a shout and a cackle,
and dispersed to the four corners of the yard as if scattered by a
volley of bird-shot. Hearing the racket, the rest of the maids came
running,-- Anita and Maria, the twins, women forty years old, born
on the place the year after General Moreno brought home his
handsome young bride; their two daughters, Rosa and Anita the
Little, as she was still called, though she outweighed her mother;
old Juanita, the oldest woman in the household, of whom even the
Senora was said not to know the exact age or history; and she, poor
thing, could tell nothing, having been silly for ten years or more,
good for nothing except to shell beans: that she did as fast and well
as ever, and was never happy except she was at it. Luckily for her,
beans are the one crop never omitted or stinted on a Mexican
estate; and for sake of old Juanita they stored every year in the
Moreno house, rooms full of beans in the pod (tons of them, one
would think), enough to feed an army. But then, it was like a little
army even now, the Senora's household; nobody ever knew exactly
how many women were in the kitchen, or how many men in the
fields. There were always women cousins, or brother's wives or
widows or daughters, who had come to stay, or men cousins, or
sister's husbands or sons, who were stopping on their way up or
down the valley. When it came to the pay-roll, Senor Felipe knew
to whom he paid wages; but who were fed and lodged under his
roof, that was quite another thing. It could not enter into the head
of a Mexican gentleman to make either count or account of that. It
would be a disgraceful niggardly thought.

To the Senora it seemed as if there were no longer any people
about the place. A beggarly handful, she would have said, hardly
enough to do the work of the house, or of the estate, sadly as the
latter had dwindled. In the General's day, it had been a free-handed
boast of his that never less than fifty persons, men, women and
children, were fed within his gates each day; how many more, he
did not care, nor know. But that time had indeed gone, gone
forever; and though a stranger, seeing the sudden rush and muster
at door and window, which followed on old Marda's letting fly the
water at Juan's head, would have thought, "Good heavens, do all
those women, children, and babies belong in that one house!" the
Senora's sole thought, as she at that moment went past the gate,
was, "Poor things! how few there are left of them! I am afraid old
Marda has to work too hard. I must spare Margarita more from the
house to help her." And she sighed deeply, and unconsciously held
her rosary nearer to her heart, as she went into the house and
entered her son's bedroom. The picture she saw there was one to
thrill any mother's heart; and as it met her eye, she paused on the
threshold for a second,-- only a second, however; and nothing
could have astonished Felipe Moreno so much as to have been told
that at the very moment when his mother's calm voice was saying
to him, "Good morning, my son, I hope you have slept well, and
are better," there was welling up in her heart a passionate
ejaculation, "O my glorious son! The saints have sent me in him
the face of his father! He is fit for a kingdom!"

The truth is, Felipe Moreno was not fit for a kingdom at all. If he
had been, he would not have been so ruled by his mother without
ever finding it out. But so far as mere physical beauty goes, there
never was a king born, whose face, stature, and bearing would set
off a crown or a throne, or any of the things of which the outside of
royalty is made up, better than would Felipe Moreno's. And it was
true, as the Senora said, whether the saints had anything to do with
it or not, that he had the face of his father. So strong a likeness is
seldom seen. When Felipe once, on the occasion of a grand
celebration and procession, put on the gold-wrought velvet mantle,
gayly embroidered short breeches fastened at the knee with red
ribbons, and gold-and-silver-trimmed sombrero, which his father
had worn twenty-five years before, the Senora fainted at her first
look at him,-- fainted and fell; and when she opened her eyes, and
saw the same splendid, gayly arrayed, dark-bearded man, bending
over her in distress, with words of endearment and alarm, she
fainted again.

"Mother, mother mia," cried Felipe, "I will not wear them if it
makes you feel like this! Let me take them off. I will not go to
their cursed parade;" and he sprang to his feet, and began with
trembling fingers to unbuckle the sword-belt.

"No, no, Felipe," faintly cried the Senora, from the ground. "It is
my wish that you wear them;" and staggering to her feet, with a
burst of tears, she rebuckled the old sword-belt, which her fingers
had so many times -- never unkissed -- buckled, in the days when
her husband had bade her farewell and gone forth to the uncertain
fates of war. "Wear them!" she cried, with gathering fire in her
tones, and her eyes dry of tears,-- "wear them, and let the
American hounds see what a Mexican officer and gentleman
looked like before they had set their base, usurping feet on our
necks!" And she followed him to the gate, and stood erect, bravely
waving her handkerchief as he galloped off, till he was out of
sight. Then with a changed face and a bent head she crept slowly
to her room, locked herself in, fell on her knees before the
Madonna at the head of her bed, and spent the greater part of the
day praying that she might be forgiven, and that all heretics might
be discomfited. From which part of these supplications she derived
most comfort is easy to imagine.

Juan Canito had been right in his sudden surmise that it was for
Father Salvierderra's coming that the sheep-shearing was being
delayed, and not in consequence of Senor Felipe's illness, or by the
non-appearance of Luigo and his flock of sheep. Juan would have
chuckled to himself still more at his perspicacity, had he overheard
the conversation going on between the Senora and her son, at the
very time when he, half asleep on the veranda, was, as he would
have called it, putting two and two together and convincing
himself that old Juan was as smart as they were, and not to be kept
in the dark by all their reticence and equivocation.

"Juan Can is growing very impatient about the sheep-shearing,"
said the Senora. "I suppose you are still of the same mind about it,
Felipe,-- that it is better to wait till Father Salvierderra comes? As
the only chance those Indians have of seeing him is here, it would
seem a Christian duty to so arrange it, if it be possible; but Juan is
very restive. He is getting old, and chafes a little, I fancy, under
your control. He cannot forget that you were a boy on his knee.
Now I, for my part, am like to forget that you were ever anything
but a man for me to lean on."

Felipe turned his handsome face toward his mother with a beaming
smile of filial affection and gratified manly vanity. "Indeed, my
mother, if I can be sufficient for you to lean on, I will ask nothing
more of the saints;" and he took his mother's thin and wasted little
hands, both at once, in his own strong right hand, and carried them
to his lips as a lover might have done. "You will spoil me,
mother," he said, "you make me so proud."

"No, Felipe, it is I who am proud," promptly replied the mother;
"and I do not call it being proud, only grateful to God for having
given me a son wise enough to take his father's place, and guide
and protect me through the few remaining years I have to live. I
shall die content, seeing you at the head of the estate, and living as
a Mexican gentleman should; that is, so far as now remains
possible in this unfortunate country. But about the sheep-shearing,
Felipe. Do you wish to have it begun before the Father is here? Of
course, Alessandro is all ready with his band. It is but two days'
journey for a messenger to bring him. Father Salvierderra cannot
be here before the 10th of the month. He leaves Santa Barbara on
the 1st, and he will walk all the way,-- a good six days' journey, for
he is old now and feeble; then he must stop in Ventura for a
Sunday, and a day at the Ortega's ranch, and at the Lopez's,-- there,
there is a christening. Yes, the 10th is the very earliest that he can
be here,-- near two weeks from now. So far as your getting up is
concerned, it might perhaps be next week. You will be nearly well
by that time."

"Yes, indeed," laughed Felipe, stretching himself out in the bed
and giving a kick to the bedclothes that made the high bedposts
and the fringed canopy roof shake and creak; "I am well now, if it
were not for this cursed weakness when I stand on my feet. I
believe it would do me good to get out of doors."

In truth, Felipe had been hankering for the sheep-shearing himself.
It was a brisk, busy, holiday sort of time to him, hard as he worked
in it; and two weeks looked long to wait.

"It is always thus after a fever," said his mother. "The weakness
lasts many weeks. I am not sure that you will be strong enough
even in two weeks to do the packing; but, as Juan Can said this
morning, he stood at the packing-bag when you were a boy, and
there was no need of waiting for you for that!"

"He said that, did he!" exclaimed Felipe, wrathfully. "The old man
is getting insolent. I'll tell him that nobody will pack the sacks but
myself, while I am master here; and I will have the sheep-shearing
when I please, and not before."

"I suppose it would not be wise to say that it is not to take place till
the Father comes, would it?" asked the Senora, hesitatingly, as if
the thing were evenly balanced in her mind. "The Father has not
that hold on the younger men he used to have, and I have thought
that even in Juan himself I have detected a remissness. The spirit
of unbelief is spreading in the country since the Americans are
running up and down everywhere seeking money, like dogs with
their noses to the ground! It might vex Juan if he knew that you
were waiting only for the Father. What do you think?"

"I think it is enough for him to know that the sheep-shearing waits
for my pleasure," answered Felipe, still wrathful, "and that is the
end of it." And so it was; and, moreover, precisely the end which
Senora Moreno had had in her own mind from the beginning; but
not even Juan Canito himself suspected its being solely her
purpose, and not her son's. As for Felipe, if any person had
suggested to him that it was his mother, and not he, who had
decided that the sheep-shearing would be better deferred until the
arrival of Father Salvierderra from Santa Barbara, and that nothing
should be said on the ranch about this being the real reason of the
postponing, Felipe would have stared in astonishment, and have
thought that person either crazy or a fool.

To attain one's ends in this way is the consummate triumph of art.
Never to appear as a factor in the situation; to be able to wield
other men, as instruments, with the same direct and implicit
response to will that one gets from a hand or a foot,-- this is to
triumph, indeed: to be as nearly controller and conqueror of Fates
as fate permits. There have been men prominent in the world's
affairs at one time and another, who have sought and studied such
a power and have acquired it to a great degree. By it they have
manipulated legislators, ambassadors, sovereigns; and have
grasped, held, and played with the destinies of empires. But it is to
be questioned whether even in these notable instances there has
ever been such marvellous completeness of success as is
sometimes seen in the case of a woman in whom the power is an
instinct and not an attainment; a passion rather than a purpose.
Between the two results, between the two processes, there is just
that difference which is always to be seen between the stroke of
talent and the stroke of genius.

Senora Moreno's was the stroke of genius.


THE Senora Moreno's house was one of the best specimens to be
found in California of the representative house of the half barbaric,
half elegant, wholly generous and free-handed life led there by
Mexican men and women of degree in the early part of this
century, under the rule of the Spanish and Mexican viceroys, when
the laws of the Indies were still the law of the land, and its old
name, "New Spain," was an ever-present link and stimulus to the
warmest memories and deepest patriotisms of its people.

It was a picturesque life, with more of sentiment and gayety in it,
more also that was truly dramatic, more romance, than will ever be
seen again on those sunny shores. The aroma of it all lingers there
still; industries and inventions have not yet slain it; it will last out
its century,-- in fact, it can never be quite lost, so long as there is
left standing one such house as the Senora Moreno's.

When the house was built, General Moreno owned all the land
within a radius of forty miles,-- forty miles westward, down the
valley to the sea; forty miles eastward, into the San Fernando
Mountains; and good forty miles more or less along the coast. The
boundaries were not very strictly defined; there was no occasion,
in those happy days, to reckon land by inches. It might be asked,
perhaps, just how General Moreno owned all this land, and the
question might not be easy to answer. It was not and could not be
answered to the satisfaction of the United States Land
Commission, which, after the surrender of California, undertook to
sift and adjust Mexican land titles; and that was the way it had
come about that the Senora Moreno now called herself a poor
woman. Tract after tract, her lands had been taken away from her;
it looked for a time as if nothing would be left. Every one of the
claims based on deeds of gift from Governor Pio Fico, her
husband's most intimate friend, was disallowed. They all went by
the board in one batch, and took away from the Senora in a day the
greater part of her best pasture-lands. They were lands which had
belonged to the Bonaventura Mission, and lay along the coast at
the mouth of the valley down which the little stream which ran
past her house went to the sea; and it had been a great pride and
delight to the Senora, when she was young, to ride that forty miles
by her husband's side, all the way on their own lands, straight from
their house to their own strip of shore. No wonder she believed the
Americans thieves, and spoke of them always as hounds. The
people of the United States have never in the least realized that the
taking possession of California was not only a conquering of
Mexico, but a conquering of California as well; that the real
bitterness of the surrender was not so much to the empire which
gave up the country, as to the country itself which was given up.
Provinces passed back and forth in that way, helpless in the hands
of great powers, have all the ignominy and humiliation of defeat,
with none of the dignities or compensations of the transaction.

Mexico saved much by her treaty, spite of having to acknowledge
herself beaten; but California lost all. Words cannot tell the sting
of such a transfer. It is a marvel that a Mexican remained in the
country; probably none did, except those who were absolutely
forced to it.

Luckily for the Senora Moreno, her title to the lands midway in the
valley was better than to those lying to the east and the west, which
had once belonged to the missions of San Fernando and
Bonaventura; and after all the claims, counter-claims, petitions,
appeals, and adjudications were ended, she still was left in
undisputed possession of what would have been thought by any
new-comer into the country to be a handsome estate, but which
seemed to the despoiled and indignant Senora a pitiful fragment of
one. Moreover, she declared that she should never feel secure of a
foot of even this. Any day, she said, the United States Government
might send out a new Land Commission to examine the decrees of
the first, and revoke such as they saw fit. Once a thief, always a
thief. Nobody need feel himself safe under American rule. There
was no knowing what might happen any day; and year by year the
lines of sadness, resentment, anxiety, and antagonism deepened on
the Senora's fast aging face.

It gave her unspeakable satisfaction, when the Commissioners,
laying out a road down the valley, ran it at the back of her house
instead of past the front. "It is well," she said. "Let their travel be
where it belongs, behind our kitchens; and no one have sight of the
front doors of our houses, except friends who have come to visit
us." Her enjoyment of this never flagged. Whenever she saw,
passing the place, wagons or carriages belonging to the hated
Americans, it gave her a distinct thrill of pleasure to think that the
house turned its back on them. She would like always to be able to
do the same herself; but whatever she, by policy or in business,
might be forced to do, the old house, at any rate, would always
keep the attitude of contempt,-- its face turned away.

One other pleasure she provided herself with, soon after this road
was opened,-- a pleasure in which religious devotion and race
antagonism were so closely blended that it would have puzzled the
subtlest of priests to decide whether her act were a sin or a virtue.
She caused to be set up, upon every one of the soft rounded hills
which made the beautiful rolling sides of that part of the valley, a
large wooden cross; not a hill in sight of her house left without the
sacred emblem of her faith. "That the heretics may know, when
they go by, that they are on the estate of a good Catholic," she said,
"and that the faithful may be reminded to pray. There have been
miracles of conversion wrought on the most hardened by a sudden
sight of the Blessed Cross."

There they stood, summer and winter, rain and shine, the silent,
solemn, outstretched arms, and became landmarks to many a
guideless traveller who had been told that his way would be by the
first turn to the left or the right, after passing the last one of the
Senora Moreno's crosses, which he couldn't miss seeing. And who
shall say that it did not often happen that the crosses bore a sudden
message to some idle heart journeying by, and thus justified the
pious half of the Senora's impulse? Certain it is, that many a good
Catholic halted and crossed himself when he first beheld them, in
the lonely places, standing out in sudden relief against the blue
sky; and if he said a swift short prayer at the sight, was he not so
much the better? 

The house, was of adobe, low, with a wide veranda on the three
sides of the inner court, and a still broader one across the entire
front, which looked to the south. These verandas, especially those
on the inner court, were supplementary rooms to the house. The
greater part of the family life went on in them. Nobody stayed
inside the walls, except when it was necessary. All the kitchen
work, except the actual cooking, was done here, in front of the
kitchen doors and windows. Babies slept, were washed, sat in the
dirt, and played, on the veranda. The women said their prayers,
took their naps, and wove their lace there. Old Juanita shelled her
beans there, and threw the pods down on the tile floor, till towards
night they were sometimes piled up high around her, like
corn-husks at a husking. The herdsmen and shepherds smoked
there, lounged there, trained their dogs there; there the young made
love, and the old dozed; the benches, which ran the entire length of
the walls, were worn into hollows, and shone like satin; the tiled
floors also were broken and sunk in places, making little wells,
which filled up in times of hard rains, and were then an invaluable
addition to the children's resources for amusement, and also to the
comfort of the dogs, cats, and fowls, who picked about among
them, taking sips from each.

The arched veranda along the front was a delightsome place. It
must have been eighty feet long, at least, for the doors of five large
rooms opened on it. The two westernmost rooms had been added
on, and made four steps higher than the others; which gave to that
end of the veranda the look of a balcony, or loggia. Here the
Senora kept her flowers; great red water-jars, hand-made by the
Indians of San Luis Obispo Mission, stood in close rows against
the walls, and in them were always growing fine geraniums,
carnations, and yellow-flowered musk. The Senora's passion for
musk she had inherited from her mother. It was so strong that she
sometimes wondered at it; and one day, as she sat with Father
Salvierderra in the veranda, she picked a handful of the blossoms,
and giving them to him, said, "I do not know why it is, but it seems
to me if I were dead I could be brought to life by the smell of

"It is in your blood, Senora," the old monk replied. "When I was
last in your father's house in Seville, your mother sent for me to
her room, and under her window was a stone balcony full of
growing musk, which so filled the room with its odor that I was
like to faint. But she said it cured her of diseases, and without it
she fell ill. You were a baby then."

"Yes," cried the Senora, "but I recollect that balcony. I recollect
being lifted up to a window, and looking down into a bed of
blooming yellow flowers; but I did not know what they were. How

"No. Not strange, daughter," replied Father Salvierderra. "It would
have been stranger if you had not acquired the taste, thus drawing
it in with the mother's milk. It would behoove mothers to
remember this far more than they do."

Besides the geraniums and carnations and musk in the red jars,
there were many sorts of climbing vines,-- some coming from the
ground, and twining around the pillars of the veranda; some
growing in great bowls, swung by cords from the roof of the
veranda, or set on shelves against the walls. These bowls were of
gray stone, hollowed and polished, shining smooth inside and out.
They also had been made by the Indians, nobody knew how many
ages ago, scooped and polished by the patient creatures, with only
stones for tools.

Among these vines, singing from morning till night, hung the
Senora's canaries and finches, half a dozen of each, all of different
generations, raised by the Senora. She was never without a young
bird-family on hand; and all the way from Bonaventura to
Monterey, it was thought a piece of good luck to come into
possession of a canary or finch of Senora Moreno's 'raising.

Between the veranda and the river meadows, out on which it
looked, all was garden, orange grove, and almond orchard; the
orange grove always green, never without snowy bloom or golden
fruit; the garden never without flowers, summer or winter; and the
almond orchard, in early spring, a fluttering canopy of pink and
white petals, which, seen from the hills on the opposite side of the
river, looked as if rosy sunrise clouds had fallen, and become
tangled in the tree-tops. On either hand stretched away other
orchards,-- peach, apricot, pear, apple pomegranate; and beyond
these, vineyards. Nothing was to be seen but verdure or bloom or
fruit, at whatever time of year you sat on the Senora's south

A wide straight walk shaded by a trellis so knotted and twisted
with grapevines that little was to be seen of the trellis wood-work,
led straight down from the veranda steps, through the middle of
the garden, to a little brook at the foot of it. Across this brook, in
the shade of a dozen gnarled old willow-trees, were set the broad
flat stone washboards on which was done all the family washing.
No long dawdling, and no running away from work on the part of
the maids, thus close to the eye of the Senora at the upper end of
the garden; and if they had known how picturesque they looked
there, kneeling on the grass, lifting the dripping linen out of the
water, rubbing it back and forth on the stones, sousing it, wringing
it, splashing the clear water in each other's faces, they would have
been content to stay at the washing day in and day out, for there
was always somebody to look on from above. Hardly a day passed
that the Senora had not visitors. She was still a person of note; her
house the natural resting-place for all who journeyed through the
valley; and whoever came, spent all of his time, when not eating,
sleeping, or walking over the place, sitting with the Senora on the
sunny veranda. Few days in winter were cold enough, and in
summer the day must be hot indeed to drive the Senora and her
friends indoors. There stood on the veranda three carved oaken
chairs, and a carved bench, also of oak, which had been brought to
the Senora for safe keeping by the faithful old sacristan of San
Luis Rey, at the time of the occupation of that Mission by the
United States troops, soon after the conquest of California. Aghast
at the sacrilegious acts of the soldiers, who were quartered in the
very church itself, and amused themselves by making targets of the
eyes and noses of the saints' statues, the sacristan, stealthily, day by
day and night after night, bore out of the church all that he dared to
remove, burying some articles in cottonwood copses, hiding others
in his own poor little hovel, until he had wagon-loads of sacred
treasures. Then, still more stealthily, he carried them, a few at a
time, concealed in the bottom of a cart, under a load of hay or of
brush, to the house of the Senora, who felt herself deeply honored
by his confidence, and received everything as a sacred trust, to be
given back into the hands of the Church again, whenever the
Missions should be restored, of which at that time all Catholics
had good hope. And so it had come about that no bedroom in the
Senora's house was without a picture or a statue of a saint or of the
Madonna; and some had two; and in the little chapel in the garden
the altar was surrounded by a really imposing row of holy and
apostolic figures, which had looked down on the splendid
ceremonies of the San Luis Rey Mission, in Father Peyri's time, no
more benignly than they now did on the humbler worship of the
Senora's family in its diminished estate. That one had lost an eye,
another an arm, that the once brilliant colors of the drapery were
now faded and shabby, only enhanced the tender reverence with
which the Senora knelt before them, her eyes filling with indignant
tears at thought of the heretic hands which had wrought such
defilement. Even the crumbling wreaths which had been placed on
some of the statues' heads at the time of the last ceremonial at
which they had figured in the Mission, had been brought away
with them by the devout sacristan, and the Senora had replaced
each one, holding it only a degree less sacred than the statue itself.

This chapel was dearer to the Senora than her house. It had been
built by the General in the second year of their married life. In it
her four children had been christened, and from it all but one, her
handsome Felipe, had been buried while they were yet infants. In
the General's time, while the estate was at its best, and hundreds of
Indians living within its borders, there was many a Sunday when
the scene to be witnessed there was like the scenes at the
Missions,-- the chapel full of kneeling men and women; those who
could not find room inside kneeling on the garden walks outside;
Father Salvierderra, in gorgeous vestments, coming, at close of the
services, slowly down the aisle, the close-packed rows of
worshippers parting to right and left to let him through, all looking
up eagerly for his blessing, women giving him offerings of fruit or
flowers, and holding up their babies that he might lay his hands on
their heads. No one but Father Salvierderra had ever officiated in
the Moreno chapel, or heard the confession of a Moreno. He was a
Franciscan, one of the few now left in the country; so revered and
beloved by all who had come under his influence, that they would
wait long months without the offices of the Church, rather than
confess their sins or confide their perplexities to any one else.
From this deep-seated attachment on the part of the Indians and
the older Mexican families in the country to the Franciscan Order,
there had grown up, not unnaturally, some jealousy of them in the
minds of the later-come secular priests, and the position of the few
monks left was not wholly a pleasant one. It had even been
rumored that they were to be forbidden to continue longer their
practice of going up and down the country, ministering
everywhere; were to be compelled to restrict their labors to their
own colleges at Santa Barbara and Santa Inez. When something to
this effect was one day said in the Senora Moreno's presence, two
scarlet spots sprang on her cheeks, and before she bethought
herself, she exclaimed, "That day, I burn down my chapel!"

Luckily, nobody but Felipe heard the rash threat, and his
exclamation of unbounded astonishment recalled the Senora to

"I spoke rashly, my son," she said. "The Church is to be obeyed
always; but the Franciscan Fathers are responsible to no one but
the Superior of their own order; and there is no one in this land
who has the authority to forbid their journeying and ministering to
whoever desires their offices. As for these Catalan priests who are
coming in here, I cannot abide them. No Catalan but has bad blood
in his veins!"

There was every reason in the world why the Senora should be
thus warmly attached to the Franciscan Order. From her earliest
recollections the gray gown and cowl had been familiar to her
eyes, and had represented the things which she was taught to hold
most sacred and dear. Father Salvierderra himself had come from
Mexico to Monterey in the same ship which had brought her father
to be the commandante of the Santa Barbara Presidio; and her
best-beloved uncle, her father's eldest brother, was at that time the
Superior of the Santa Barbara Mission. The sentiment and
romance of her youth were almost equally divided between the
gayeties, excitements, adornments of the life at the Presidio, and
the ceremonies and devotions of the life at the Mission. She was
famed as the most beautiful girl in the country. Men of the army,
men of the navy, and men of the Church, alike adored her. Her
name was a toast from Monterey to San Diego. When at last she
was wooed and won by Felipe Moreno, one of the most
distinguished of the Mexican Generals, her wedding ceremonies
were the most splendid ever seen in the country. The right tower of
the Mission church at Santa Barbara had been just completed, and
it was arranged that the consecration of this tower should take
place at the time of her wedding, and that her wedding feast should
be spread in the long outside corridor of the Mission building. The
whole country, far and near, was bid. The feast lasted three days;
open tables to everybody; singing, dancing, eating, drinking, and
making merry. At that time there were long streets of Indian
houses stretching eastward from the Mission; before each of these
houses was built a booth of green boughs. The Indians, as well as
the Fathers from all the other Missions, were invited to come. The
Indians came in bands, singing songs and bringing gifts. As they
appeared, the Santa Barbara Indians went out to meet them, also
singing, bearing gifts, and strewing seeds on the ground, in token
of welcome. The young Senora and her bridegroom, splendidly
clothed, were seen of all, and greeted, whenever they appeared, by
showers of seeds and grains and blossoms. On the third day, still in
their wedding attire, and bearing lighted candles in their hands,
they walked with the monks in a procession, round and round the
new tower, the monks chanting, and sprinkling incense and holy
water on its walls, the ceremony seeming to all devout beholders
to give a blessed consecration to the union of the young pair as
well as to the newly completed tower. After this they journeyed in
state, accompanied by several of the General's aids and officers,
and by two Franciscan Fathers, up to Monterey, stopping on their
way at all the Missions, and being warmly welcomed and
entertained at each.

General Moreno was much beloved by both army and Church. In
many of the frequent clashings between the military and the
ecclesiastical powers he, being as devout and enthusiastic a
Catholic as he was zealous and enthusiastic a soldier, had had the
good fortune to be of material assistance to each party. The Indians
also knew his name well, having heard it many times mentioned
with public thanksgivings in the Mission churches, after some
signal service he had rendered to the Fathers either in Mexico or
Monterey. And now, by taking as his bride the daughter of a
distinguished officer, and the niece of the Santa Barbara Superior,
he had linked himself anew to the two dominant powers and
interests of the country.

When they reached San Luis Obispo, the whole Indian population
turned out to meet them, the Padre walking at the head. As they
approached the Mission doors the Indians swarmed closer and
closer and still closer, took the General's horse by the head, and
finally almost by actual force compelled him to allow himself to
be lifted into a blanket, held high up by twenty strong men; and
thus he was borne up the steps, across the corridor, and into the
Padre's room. It was a position ludicrously undignified in itself, but
the General submitted to it good-naturedly.

"Oh, let them do it, if they like," he cried, laughingly, to Padre
Martinez, who was endeavoring to quiet the Indians and hold them
back. "Let them do it. It pleases the poor creatures."

On the morning of their departure, the good Padre, having
exhausted all his resources for entertaining his distinguished
guests, caused to be driven past the corridors, for their inspection,
all the poultry belonging to the Mission. The procession took an
hour to pass. For music, there was the squeaking, cackling, hissing,
gobbling, crowing, quacking of the fowls, combined with the
screaming, scolding, and whip-cracking of the excited Indian
marshals of the lines. First came the turkeys, then the roosters,
then the white hens, then the black, and then the yellow, next the
ducks, and at the tail of the spectacle long files of geese, some
strutting, some half flying and hissing in resentment and terror at
the unwonted coercions to which they were subjected. The Indians
had been hard at work all night capturing, sorting, assorting, and
guarding the rank and file of their novel pageant. It would be safe
to say that a droller sight never was seen, and never will be, on the
Pacific coast or any other. Before it was done with, the General
and his bride had nearly died with laughter; and the General could
never allude to it without laughing almost as heartily again.

At Monterey they were more magnificently feted; at the Presidio,
at the Mission, on board Spanish, Mexican, and Russian ships
lying in harbor, balls, dances, bull-fights, dinners, all that the
country knew of festivity, was lavished on the beautiful and
winning young bride. The belles of the coast, from San Diego up,
had all gathered at Monterey for these gayeties, but not one of
them could be for a moment compared to her. This was the
beginning of the Senora's life as a married woman. She was then
just twenty. A close observer would have seen even then,
underneath the joyous smile, the laughing eye, the merry voice, a
look thoughtful, tender, earnest, at times enthusiastic. This look
was the reflection of those qualities in her, then hardly aroused,
which made her, as years developed her character and stormy fates
thickened around her life, the unflinching comrade of her soldier
husband, the passionate adherent of the Church. Through wars,
insurrections, revolutions, downfalls, Spanish, Mexican, civil,
ecclesiastical, her standpoint, her poise, remained the same. She
simply grew more and more proudly, passionately, a Spaniard and
a Moreno; more and more stanchly and fierily a Catholic, and a
lover of the Franciscans.

During the height of the despoiling and plundering of the
Missions, under the Secularization Act, she was for a few years
almost beside herself. More than once she journeyed alone, when
the journey was by no means without danger, to Monterey, to stir
up the Prefect of the Missions to more energetic action, to implore
the governmental authorities to interfere, and protect the Church's
property. It was largely in consequence of her eloquent entreaties
that Governor Micheltorena issued his bootless order, restoring to
the Church all the Missions south of San Luis Obispo. But this
order cost Micheltorena his political head, and General Moreno
was severely wounded in one of the skirmishes of the insurrection
which drove Micheltorena out of the country.

In silence and bitter humiliation the Senora nursed her husband
back to health again, and resolved to meddle no more in the affairs
of her unhappy country and still more unhappy Church. As year by
year she saw the ruin of the Missions steadily going on, their vast
properties melting away, like dew before the sun, in the hands of
dishonest administrators and politicians, the Church powerless to
contend with the unprincipled greed in high places, her beloved
Franciscan Fathers driven from the country or dying of starvation
at their posts, she submitted herself to what, she was forced to
admit, seemed to be the inscrutable will of God for the discipline
and humiliation of the Church. In a sort of bewildered resignation
she waited to see what further sufferings were to come, to fill up
the measure of the punishment which, for some mysterious
purpose, the faithful must endure. But when close upon all this
discomfiture and humiliation of her Church followed the
discomfiture and humiliation of her country in war, and the near
and evident danger of an English-speaking people's possessing the
land, all the smothered fire of the Senora's nature broke out afresh.
With unfaltering hands she buckled on her husband's sword, and
with dry eyes saw him go forth to fight. She had but one regret,
that she was not the mother of sons to fight also.

"Would thou wert a man, Felipe," she exclaimed again and again
in tones the child never forgot. "Would thou wert a man, that thou
might go also to fight these foreigners!"

Any race under the sun would have been to the Senora less hateful
than the American. She had scorned them in her girlhood, when
they came trading to post after post. She scorned them still. The
idea of being forced to wage a war with pedlers was to her too
monstrous to be believed. In the outset she had no doubt that the
Mexicans would win in the contest.

"What!" she cried, "shall we who won independence from Spain,
be beaten by these traders? It is impossible!"

When her husband was brought home to her dead, killed in the last
fight the Mexican forces made, she said icily, "He would have
chosen to die rather than to have been forced to see his country in
the hands of the enemy." And she was almost frightened at herself
to see how this thought, as it dwelt in her mind, slew the grief in
her heart. She had believed she could not live if her husband were
to be taken away from her; but she found herself often glad that he
was dead,-- glad that he was spared the sight and the knowledge of
the things which happened; and even the yearning tenderness with
which her imagination pictured him among the saints, was often
turned into a fierce wondering whether indignation did not fill his
soul, even in heaven, at the way things were going in the land for
whose sake he had died.

Out of such throes as these had been born the second nature which
made Senora Moreno the silent, reserved, stern, implacable
woman they knew, who knew her first when she was sixty. Of the
gay, tender, sentimental girl, who danced and laughed with the
officers, and prayed and confessed with the Fathers, forty years
before, there was small trace left now, in the low-voiced,
white-haired, aged woman, silent, unsmiling, placid-faced, who
manoeuvred with her son and her head shepherd alike, to bring it
about that a handful of Indians might once more confess their sins
to a Franciscan monk in the Moreno chapel.


JUAN CANITO and Senor Felipe were not the only members of
the Senora's family who were impatient for the sheep-shearing.
There was also Ramona. Ramona was, to the world at large, a far
more important person than the Senora herself. The Senora was of
the past; Ramona was of the present. For one eye that could see the
significant, at times solemn, beauty of the Senora's pale and
shadowed countenance, there were a hundred that flashed with
eager pleasure at the barest glimpse of Ramona's face; the
shepherds, the herdsmen, the maids, the babies, the dogs, the
poultry, all loved the sight of Ramona; all loved her, except the
Senora. The Senora loved her not; never had loved her, never
could love her; and yet she had stood in the place of mother to the
girl ever since her childhood, and never once during the whole
sixteen years of her life had shown her any unkindness in act. She
had promised to be a mother to her; and with all the inalienable
stanchness of her nature she fulfilled the letter of her promise.
More than the bond lay in the bond; but that was not the Senora's

The story of Ramona the Senora never told. To most of the
Senora's acquaintances now, Ramona was a mystery. They did not
know -- and no one ever asked a prying question of the Senora
Moreno -- who Ramona's parents were, whether they were living
or dead, or why Ramona, her name not being Moreno, lived always
in the Senora's house as a daughter, tended and attended equally
with the adored Felipe. A few gray-haired men and women here
and there in the country could have told the strange story of
Ramona; but its beginning was more than a half-century back, and
much had happened since then. They seldom thought of the child.
They knew she was in the Senora Moreno's keeping, and that was
enough. The affairs of the generation just going out were not the
business of the young people coming in. They would have
tragedies enough of their own presently; what was the use of
passing down the old ones? Yet the story was not one to be
forgotten; and now and then it was told in the twilight of a summer
evening, or in the shadows of vines on a lingering afternoon, and
all young men and maidens thrilled who heard it.

It was an elder sister of the Senora's,-- a sister old enough to be
wooed and won while the Senora was yet at play,-- who had been
promised in marriage to a young Scotchman named Angus Phail.
She was a beautiful woman; and Angus Phail, from the day that he
first saw her standing in the Presidio gate, became so madly her
lover, that he was like a man bereft of his senses. This was the
only excuse ever to be made for Ramona Gonzaga's deed. It could
never be denied, by her bitterest accusers, that, at the first, and
indeed for many months, she told Angus she did not love him, and
could not marry him; and that it was only after his stormy and
ceaseless entreaties, that she did finally promise to become his
wife. Then, almost immediately, she went away to Monterey, and
Angus set sail for San Blas. He was the owner of the richest line of
ships which traded along the coast at that time; the richest stuffs,
carvings, woods, pearls, and jewels, which came into the country,
came in his ships. The arrival of one of them was always an event;
and Angus himself, having been well-born in Scotland, and being
wonderfully well-mannered for a seafaring man, was made
welcome in all the best houses, wherever his ships went into
harbor, from Monterey to San Diego.

The Senorita Ramona Gonzaga sailed for Monterey the same day
and hour her lover sailed for San Blas. They stood on the decks
waving signals to each other as one sailed away to the south, the
other to the north. It was remembered afterward by those who
were in the ship with the Senorita, that she ceased to wave her
signals, and had turned her face away, long before her lover's ship
was out of sight. But the men of the "San Jose" said that Angus
Phail stood immovable, gazing northward, till nightfall shut from
his sight even the horizon line at which the Monterey ship had long
before disappeared from view.

This was to be his last voyage. He went on this only because his
honor was pledged to do so. Also, he comforted himself by
thinking that he would bring back for his bride, and for the home
he meant to give her, treasures of all sorts, which none could select
so well as he. Through the long weeks of the voyage he sat on
deck, gazing dreamily at the waves, and letting his imagination
feed on pictures of jewels, satins, velvets, laces, which would best
deck his wife's form and face. When he could not longer bear the
vivid fancies' heat in his blood, he would pace the deck, swifter
and swifter, till his steps were like those of one flying in fear; at
such times the men heard him muttering and whispering to
himself, "Ramona! Ramona!" Mad with love from the first to the
last was Angus Phail; and there were many who believed that if he
had ever seen the hour when he called Ramona Gonzaga his own,
his reason would have fled forever at that moment, and he would
have killed either her or himself, as men thus mad have been
known to do. But that hour never came. When, eight months later,
the "San Jose" sailed into the Santa Barbara harbor, and Angus
Phail leaped breathless on shore, the second man he met, no friend
of his, looking him maliciously in the face, said. "So, ho! You're
just too late for the wedding! Your sweetheart, the handsome
Gonzaga girl, was married here, yesterday, to a fine young officer
of the Monterey Presidio!"

Angus reeled, struck the man a blow full in the face, and fell on
the ground, foaming at the mouth. He was lifted and carried into a
house, and, speedily recovering, burst with the strength of a giant
from the hands of those who were holding him, sprang out of the
door, and ran bareheaded up the road toward the Presidio. At the
gate he was stopped by the guard, who knew him.

"Is it true?" gasped Angus.

"Yes, Senor," replied the man, who said afterward that his knees
shook under him with terror at the look on the Scotchman's face.
He feared he would strike him dead for his reply. But, instead,
Angus burst into a maudlin laugh, and, turning away, went
staggering down the street, singing and laughing.

The next that was known of him was in a low drinking-place,
where he was seen lying on the floor, dead drunk; and from that
day he sank lower and lower, till one of the commonest sights to
be seen in Santa Barbara was Angus Phail reeling about, tipsy,
coarse, loud, profane, dangerous.

"See what the Senorita escaped!" said the thoughtless. "She was
quite right not to have married such. a drunken wretch."

In the rare intervals when he was partially sober, he sold all he
possessed,-- ship after ship sold for a song, and the proceeds
squandered in drinking or worse. He never had a sight of his lost
bride. He did not seek it; and she, terrified, took every precaution
to avoid it, and soon returned with her husband to Monterey,

Finally Angus disappeared, and after a time the news came up
from Los Angeles that he was there, had gone out to the San
Gabriel Mission, and was living with the Indians. Some years later
came the still more surprising news that he had married a squaw,--
a squaw with several Indian children, -- had been legally married
by the priest in the San Gabriel Mission Church. And that was the
last that the faithless Ramona Gonzaga ever heard of her lover,
until twenty-five years after her marriage, when one day he
suddenly appeared in her presence. How he had gained admittance
to the house was never known; but there he stood before her,
bearing in his arms a beautiful babe, asleep. Drawing himself up to
the utmost of his six feet of height, and looking at her sternly, with
eyes blue like steel, he said: "Senora Ortegna, you once did me a
great wrong. You sinned, and the Lord has punished you. He has
denied you children. I also have done a wrong; I have sinned, and
the Lord has punished me. He has given me a child. I ask once
more at your hands a boon. Will you take this child of mine, and
bring it up as a child of yours, or of mine, ought to be brought up?"

The tears were rolling down the Senora Ortegna's cheeks. The
Lord had indeed punished her in more ways than Angus Phail
knew. Her childlessness, bitter as that had been, was the least of
them. Speechless, she rose, and stretched out her arms for the
child. He placed it in them. Still the child slept on, undisturbed.

"I do not know if I will be permitted," she said falteringly; "my
husband --"

"Father Salvierderra will command it. I have seen him," replied

The Senora's face brightened. "If that be so, I hope it can be as you
wish," she said. Then a strange embarrassment came upon her, and
looking down upon the infant, she said inquiringly, "But the child's

Angus's face turned swarthy red. Perhaps, face to face with this
gentle and still lovely woman he had once so loved, he first
realized to the full how wickedly he had thrown away his life.
With a quick wave of his hand, which spoke volumes, he said:
"That is nothing. She has other children, of her own blood. This is
mine, my only one, my daughter. I wish her to be yours; otherwise,
she will be taken by the Church."

With each second that she felt the little warm body's tender weight
in her arms, Ramona Ortegna's heart had more and more yearned
towards the infant. At these words she bent her face down and
kissed its cheek. "Oh, no! not to the Church! I will love it as my
own," she said.

Angus Phail's face quivered. Feelings long dead within him stirred
in their graves. He gazed at the sad and altered face, once so
beautiful, so dear. "I should hardly have known you, Senora!" burst
from him involuntarily.

She smiled piteously, with no resentment. "That is not strange. I
hardly know myself," she whispered. "Life has dealt very hardly
with me. I should not have known you either -- Angus." She
pronounced his name hesitatingly, half appealingly. At the sound
of the familiar syllables, so long unheard, the man's heart broke
down. He buried his face in his hands, and sobbed out: "O
Ramona, forgive me! I brought the child here, not wholly in love;
partly in vengeance. But I am melted now. Are you sure you wish
to keep her? I will take her away if you are not."

"Never, so long as I live, Angus," replied Senora Ortegna. "Already
I feel that she is a mercy from the Lord. If my husband sees no
offence in her presence, she will be a joy in my life. Has she been

Angus cast his eyes down. A sudden fear smote him. "Before I had
thought of bringing her to you," he stammered, "at first I had only
the thought of giving her to the Church. I had had her christened
by" -- the words refused to leave his lips -- "the name -- Can you
not guess, Senora, what name she bears?"

The Senora knew. "My own?" she said.

Angus bowed his head. "The only woman's name that my lips ever
spoke with love," he said, reassured, "was the name my daughter
should bear."

"It is well," replied the Senora. Then a great silence fell between
them. Each studied the other's face, tenderly, bewilderedly. Then
by a simultaneous impulse they drew nearer. Angus stretched out
both his arms with a gesture of infinite love and despair, bent
down and kissed the hands which lovingly held his sleeping child.

"God bless you, Ramona! Farewell! You will never see me more,"
he cried, and was gone.

In a moment more he reappeared on the threshold of the door, but
only to say in a low tone, "There is no need to be alarmed if the
child does not wake for some hours yet. She has had a safe
sleeping-potion given her. It will not harm her."

One more long lingering look into each other's faces, and the two
lovers, so strangely parted, still more strangely met, had parted
again, forever. The quarter of a century which had lain between
them had been bridged in both their hearts as if it were but a day.
In the heart of the man it was the old passionate adoring love
reawakening; a resurrection of the buried dead, to full life, with
lineaments unchanged. In the woman it was not that; there was no
buried love to come to such resurrection in her heart, for she had
never loved Angus Phail. But, long unloved, ill-treated,
heartbroken, she woke at that moment to the realization of what
manner of love it had been which she had thrown away in her
youth; her whole being yearned for it now, and Angus was

When Francis Ortegna, late that night, reeled, half-tipsy, into his
wife's room, he was suddenly sobered by the sight which met his
eyes,-- his wife kneeling by the side of the cradle, in which lay,
smiling in its sleep, a beautiful infant.

"What in the devil's name," he began; then recollecting, he
muttered: "Oh, the Indian brat! I see! I wish you joy, Senora
Ortegna, of your first child!" and with a mock bow, and cruel
sneer, he staggered by, giving the cradle an angry thrust with his
foot as he passed.

The brutal taunt did not much wound the Senora. The time had
long since passed when unkind words from her husband could give
her keen pain. But it was a warning not lost upon her new-born
mother instinct, and from that day the little Ramona was carefully
kept and tended in apartments where there was no danger of her
being seen by the man to whom the sight of her baby face was only
a signal for anger and indecency.

Hitherto Ramona Ortegna had, so far as was possible, carefully
concealed from her family the unhappiness of her married life.
Ortegna's character was indeed well known; his neglect of his
wife, his shameful dissipations of all sorts, were notorious in every
port in the country. But from the wife herself no one had even
heard so much as a syllable of complaint. She was a Gonzaga, and
she knew how to suffer in silence, But now she saw a reason for
taking her sister into her confidence. It was plain to her that she
had not many years to live; and what then would become of the
child? Left to the tender mercies of Ortegna, it was only too certain
what would become of her. Long sad hours of perplexity the lonely
woman passed, with the little laughing babe in her arms, vainly
endeavoring to forecast her future. The near chance of her own
death had not occurred to her mind when she accepted the trust.

Before the little Ramona was a year old, Angus Phail died. An
Indian messenger from San Gabriel brought the news to Senora
Ortegna. He brought her also a box and a letter, given to him by
Angus the day before his death. The box contained jewels of value,
of fashions a quarter of a century old. They were the jewels which
Angus had bought for his bride. These alone remained of all his
fortune. Even in the lowest depths of his degradation, a certain
sentiment had restrained him from parting with them. The letter
contained only these words: "I send you all I have to leave my
daughter. I meant to bring them myself this year. I wished to kiss
your hands and hers once more. But I am dying. Farewell."

After these jewels were in her possession, Senora Ortegna rested
not till she had persuaded Senora Moreno to journey to Monterey,
and had put the box into her keeping as a sacred trust. She also
won from her a solemn promise that at her own death she would
adopt the little Ramona. This promise came hard from Senora
Moreno. Except for Father Salvierderra's influence, she had not
given it. She did not wish any dealings with such alien and
mongrel blood, "If the child were pure Indian, I would like it
better," she said. "I like not these crosses. It is the worst, and not
the best of each, that remains."

But the promise once given, Senora Ortegna was content. Well she
knew that her sister would not lie, nor evade a trust. The little
Ramona's future was assured. During the last years of the unhappy
woman's life the child was her only comfort. Ortegna's conduct
had become so openly and defiantly infamous, that he even
flaunted his illegitimate relations in his wife's presence; subjecting
her to gross insults, spite of her helpless invalidism. This last
outrage was too much for the Gonzaga blood to endure; the Senora
never afterward left her apartment, or spoke to her husband. Once
more she sent for her sister to come; this time, to see her die.
Every valuable she possessed, jewels, laces, brocades, and
damasks, she gave into her sister's charge, to save them from
falling into the hands of the base creature that she knew only too
well would stand in her place as soon as the funeral services had
been said over her dead body.

Stealthily, as if she had been a thief, the sorrowing Senora Moreno
conveyed her sister's wardrobe, article by article, out of the house,
to be sent to her own home. It was the wardrobe of a princess. The
Ortegnas lavished money always on the women whose hearts they
broke; and never ceased to demand of them that they should sit
superbly arrayed in their lonely wretchedness.

One hour after the funeral, with a scant and icy ceremony of
farewell to her dead sister's husband, Senora Moreno, leading the
little four-year-old Ramona by the hand, left the house, and early
the next morning set sail for home.

When Ortegna discovered that his wife's jewels and valuables of
all kinds were gone, he fell into a great rage, and sent a messenger
off, post-haste, with an insulting letter to the Senora Moreno,
demanding their return. For answer, he got a copy of his wife's
memoranda of instructions to her sister, giving all the said
valuables to her in trust for Ramona; also a letter from Father
Salvierderra, upon reading which he sank into a fit of despondency
that lasted a day or two, and gave his infamous associates
considerable alarm, lest they had lost their comrade. But he soon
shook off the influence, whatever it was, and settled back into his
old gait on the same old high-road to the devil. Father Salvierderra
could alarm him, but not save him.

And this was the mystery of Ramona. No wonder the Senora
Moreno never told the story. No wonder, perhaps, that she never
loved the child. It was a sad legacy, indissolubly linked with
memories which had in them nothing but bitterness, shame, and
sorrow from first to last.

How much of all this the young Ramona knew or suspected, was
locked in her own breast. Her Indian blood had as much proud
reserve in it as was ever infused into the haughtiest Gonzaga's
veins. While she was yet a little child, she had one day said to the
Senora Moreno, "Senora, why did my mother give me to the
Senora Ortegna?"

Taken unawares, the Senora replied hastily: "Your mother had
nothing whatever to do with it. It was your father."

"Was my mother dead?" continued the child.

Too late the Senora saw her mistake. "I do not know," she replied;
which was literally true, but had the spirit of a lie in it. "I never
saw your mother."

"Did the Senora Ortegna ever see her?" persisted Ramona.

"No, never," answered the Senora, coldly, the old wounds burning
at the innocent child's unconscious touch.

Ramona felt the chill, and was silent for a time, her face sad, and
her eyes tearful. At last she said, "I wish I knew if my mother was

"Why?" asked the Senora.

"Because if she is not dead I would ask her why she did not want
me to stay with her."

The gentle piteousness of this reply smote the Senora's conscience.
Taking the child in her arms, she said, "Who has been talking to
you of these things, Ramona?"

"Juan Can," she replied.

"What did he say?" asked the Senora, with a look in her eye which
boded no good to Juan Canito.

"It was not to me he said it, it was to Luigo; but I heard him,"
answered Ramona, speaking slowly, as if collecting her various
reminiscences on the subject. "Twice I heard him. He said that my
mother was no good, and that my father was bad too." And the
tears rolled down the child's cheeks.

The Senora's sense of justice stood her well in place of tenderness,
now. Caressing the little orphan as she had never before done, she
said, with an earnestness which sank deep into the child's mind,
"Ramona must not believe any such thing as that. Juan Can is a
bad man to say it. He never saw either your father or your mother,
and so he could know nothing about them. I knew your father very
well. He was not a bad man. He was my friend, and the friend of
the Senora Ortegna; and that was the reason he gave you to the
Senora Ortegna, because she had no child of her own. And I think
your mother had a good many."

"Oh!" said Ramona, relieved, for the moment, at this new view of
the situation,-- that the gift had been not as a charity to her, but to
the Senora Ortegna. "Did the Senora Ortegna want a little daughter
very much?"

"Yes, very much indeed," said the Senora, heartily and with fervor.
"She had grieved many years because she had no child."

Silence again for a brief space, during which the little lonely heart,
grappling with its vague instinct of loss and wrong, made wide
thrusts into the perplexities hedging it about, and presently
electrified the Senora by saying in a half-whisper, "Why did not
my father bring me to you first? Did he know you did not want any

The Senora was dumb for a second; then recovering herself, she
said: "Your father was the Senora Ortegna's friend more than he
was mine. I was only a child, then."

"Of course you did not need any daughter when you had Felipe,"
continued Ramona, pursuing her original line of inquiry and
reflection without noticing the Senora's reply. "A son is more than
a daughter; but most people have both," eying the Senora keenly,
to see what response this would bring.

But the Senora was weary and uncomfortable with the talk. At the
very mention of Felipe, a swift flash of consciousness of her
inability to love Ramona had swept through her mind. "Ramona,"
she said firmly, "while you are a little girl, you cannot understand
any of these things. When you are a woman, I will tell you all that
I know myself about your father and your mother. It is very little.
Your father died when you were only two years old. All that you
have to do is to be a good child, and say your prayers, and when
Father Salvierderra comes he will be pleased with you. And he will
not be pleased if you ask troublesome questions. Don't ever speak
to me again about this. When the proper time comes I will tell you

This was when Ramona was ten. She was now nineteen. She had
never again asked the Senora a question bearing on the forbidden
subject. She had been a good child and said her prayers, and Father
Salvierderra had been always pleased with her, growing more and
more deeply attached to her year by year. But the proper time had
not yet come for the Senora to tell her anything more about her
father and mother. There were few mornings on which the girl did
not think, "Perhaps it may be to-day that she will tell me." But she
would not ask. Every word of that conversation was as vivid in her
mind as it had been the day it occurred; and it would hardly be an
exaggeration to say that during every day of the whole nine years
had deepened in her heart the conviction which had prompted the
child's question, "Did he know that you did not want any

A nature less gentle than Ramona's would have been embittered, or
at least hardened, by this consciousness. But Ramona's was not.
She never put it in words to herself. She accepted it, as those born
deformed seem sometimes to accept the pain and isolation caused
by their deformity, with an unquestioning acceptance, which is as
far above resignation, as resignation is above rebellious repining.

No one would have known, from Ramona's face, manner, or
habitual conduct, that she had ever experienced a sorrow or had a
care. Her face was sunny, she had a joyous voice, and never was
seen to pass a human being without a cheerful greeting, to highest
and lowest the same. Her industry was tireless. She had had two
years at school, in the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Los Angeles,
where the Senora had placed her at much personal sacrifice, during
one of the hardest times the Moreno estate had ever seen. Here she
had won the affection of all the Sisters, who spoke of her
habitually as the "blessed child." They had taught her all the dainty
arts of lace-weaving, embroidery, and simple fashions of painting
and drawing, which they knew; not overmuch learning out of
books, but enough to make her a passionate lover of verse and
romance. For serious study or for deep thought she had no
vocation. She was a simple, joyous, gentle, clinging, faithful
nature, like a clear brook rippling along in the sun,-- a nature as
unlike as possible to the Senora's, with its mysterious depths and
stormy, hidden currents.

Of these Ramona was dimly conscious, and at times had a tender,
sorrowful pity for the Senora, which she dared not show, and could
only express by renewed industry, and tireless endeavor to fulfil
every duty possible in the house. This gentle faithfulness was not
wholly lost on Senora Moreno, though its source she never
suspected; and it won no new recognition from her for Ramona, no
increase of love.

But there was one on whom not an act, not a look, not a smile of
all this graciousness was thrown away. That one was Felipe. Daily
more and more he wondered at his mother's lack of affection for
Ramona. Nobody knew so well as he how far short she stopped of
loving her. Felipe knew what it meant, how it felt, to be loved by
the Senora Moreno. But Felipe had learned while he was a boy that
one sure way to displease his mother was to appear to be aware
that she did not treat Ramona as she treated him. And long before
he had become a man he had acquired the habit of keeping to
himself most of the things he thought and felt about his little
playmate sister,-- a dangerous habit, out of which were slowly
ripening bitter fruits for the Senora's gathering in later years.


IT was longer even than the Senora had thought it would be,
before Father Salvierderra arrived. The old man had grown feeble
during the year that she had not seen him, and it was a very short
day's journey that he could make now without too great fatigue. It
was not only his body that had failed. He had lost heart; and the
miles which would have been nothing to him, had he walked in the
companionship of hopeful and happy thoughts, stretched out
wearily as he brooded over sad memories and still sadder
anticipations,-- the downfall of the Missions, the loss of their vast
estates, and the growing power of the ungodly in the land. The
final decision of the United States Government in regard to the
Mission-lands had been a terrible blow to him. He had devoutly
believed that ultimate restoration of these great estates to the
Church was inevitable. In the long vigils which he always kept
when at home at the Franciscan Monastery in Santa Barbara,
kneeling on the stone pavement in the church, and praying
ceaselessly from midnight till dawn, he had often had visions
vouchsafed him of a new dispensation, in which the Mission
establishments should be reinstated in all their old splendor and
prosperity, and their Indian converts again numbered by tens of

Long after every one knew that this was impossible, he would
narrate these visions with the faith of an old Bible seer, and
declare that they must come true, and that it was a sin to despond.
But as year after year he journeyed up and down the country,
seeing, at Mission after Mission, the buildings crumbling into ruin,
the lands all taken, sold, resold, and settled by greedy speculators;
the Indian converts disappearing, driven back to their original
wildernesses, the last traces of the noble work of his order being
rapidly swept away, his courage faltered, his faith died out.
Changes in the manners and customs of his order itself, also, were
giving him deep pain. He was a Franciscan of the same type as
Francis of Assisi. To wear a shoe in place of a sandal, to take
money in a purse for a journey, above all to lay aside the gray
gown and cowl for any sort of secular garment, seemed to him
wicked. To own comfortable clothes while there were others
suffering for want of them -- and there were always such -- seemed
to him a sin for which one might not undeservedly be smitten with
sudden and terrible punishment. In vain the Brothers again and
again supplied him with a warm cloak; he gave it away to the first
beggar he met: and as for food, the refectory would have been left
bare, and the whole brotherhood starving, if the supplies had not
been carefully hidden and locked, so that Father Salvierderra could
not give them all away. He was fast becoming that most tragic yet
often sublime sight, a man who has survived, not only his own
time, but the ideas and ideals of it. Earth holds no sharper
loneliness: the bitterness of exile, the anguish of friendlessness at
their utmost, are in it; and yet it is so much greater than they, that
even they seem small part of it.

It was with thoughts such as these that Father Salvierderra drew
near the home of the Senora Moreno late in the afternoon of one of
those midsummer days of which Southern California has so many
in spring. The almonds had bloomed and the blossoms fallen; the
apricots also, and the peaches and pears; on all the orchards of
these fruits had come a filmy tint of green, so light it was hardly
more than a shadow on the gray. The willows were vivid light
green, and the orange groves dark and glossy like laurel. The
billowy hills on either side the valley were covered with verdure
and bloom,-- myriads of low blossoming plants, so close to the
earth that their tints lapped and overlapped on each other, and on
the green of the grass, as feathers in fine plumage overlap each
other and blend into a changeful color.

The countless curves, hollows, and crests of the coast-hills in
Southern California heighten these chameleon effects of the spring
verdure; they are like nothing in nature except the glitter of a
brilliant lizard in the sun or the iridescent sheen of a peacock's

Father Salvierderra paused many times to gaze at the beautiful
picture. Flowers were always dear to the Franciscans. Saint Francis
himself permitted all decorations which could be made of flowers.
He classed them with his brothers and sisters, the sun, moon, and
stars,-- all members of the sacred choir praising God.

It was melancholy to see how, after each one of these pauses, each
fresh drinking in of the beauty of the landscape and the balmy air,
the old man resumed his slow pace, with a long sigh and his eyes
cast down. The fairer this beautiful land, the sadder to know it lost
to the Church, -- alien hands reaping its fulness, establishing new
customs, new laws. All the way down the coast from Santa
Barbara he had seen, at every stopping-place, new tokens of the
settling up of the country,-- farms opening, towns growing; the
Americans pouring in, at all points, to reap the advantages of their
new possessions. It was this which had made his journey
heavy-hearted, and made him feel, in approaching the Senora
Moreno's, as if he were coming to one of the last sure strongholds
of the Catholic faith left in the country.

When he was within two miles of the house, he struck off from the
highway into a narrow path that he recollected led by a short-cut
through the hills, and saved nearly a third of the distance. It was
more than a year since he had trod this path, and as he found it
growing fainter and fainter, and more and more overgrown with
the wild mustard, he said to himself, "I think no one can have
passed through here this year."

As he proceeded he found the mustard thicker and thicker. The
wild mustard in Southern California is like that spoken of in the
New Testament, in the branches of which the birds of the air may
rest. Coming up out of the earth, so slender a stem that dozens can
find starting-point in an inch, it darts up, a slender straight shoot,
five, ten, twenty feet, with hundreds of fine feathery branches
locking and interlocking with all the other hundreds around it, till
it is an inextricable network like lace. Then it bursts into yellow
bloom still finer, more feathery and lacelike. The stems are so
infinitesimally small, and of so dark a green, that at a short
distance they do not show, and the cloud of blossom seems
floating in the air; at times it looks like golden dust. With a clear
blue sky behind it, as it is often seen, it looks like a golden
snow-storm. The plant is a tyrant and a nuisance,-- the terror of the
farmer; it takes riotous possession of a whole field in a season;
once in, never out; for one plant this year, a million the next; but it
is impossible to wish that the land were freed from it. Its gold is as
distinct a value to the eye as the nugget gold is in the pocket.

Father Salvierderra soon found himself in a veritable thicket of
these delicate branches, high above his head, and so interlaced that
he could make headway only by slowly and patiently disentangling
them, as one would disentangle a skein of silk. It was a fantastic
sort of dilemma, and not unpleasing. Except that the Father was in
haste to reach his journey's end, he would have enjoyed threading
his way through the golden meshes. Suddenly he heard faint notes
of singing. He paused,-- listened. It was the voice of a woman. It
was slowly drawing nearer, apparently from the direction in which
he was going. At intervals it ceased abruptly, then began again; as
if by a sudden but brief interruption, like that made by question
and answer. Then, peering ahead through the mustard blossoms, he
saw them waving and bending, and heard sounds as if they were
being broken. Evidently some one entering on the path from the
opposite end had been caught in the fragrant thicket as he was. The
notes grew clearer, though still low and sweet as the twilight notes
of the thrush; the mustard branches waved more and more
violently; light steps were now to be heard. Father Salvierderra
stood still as one in a dream, his eyes straining forward into the
golden mist of blossoms. In a moment more came, distinct and
clear to his ear, the beautiful words of the second stanza of Saint
Francis's inimitable lyric, "The Canticle of the Sun:"

"Praise be to thee, O Lord, for all thy creatures, and especially for
our brother the Sun,-- who illuminates the day, and by his beauty
and splendor shadows forth unto us thine."

"Ramona!" exclaimed the Father, his thin cheeks flushing with
pleasure. "The blessed child!" And as he spoke, her face came into
sight, set in a swaying frame of the blossoms, as she parted them
lightly to right and left with her hands, and half crept, half danced
through the loop-hole openings thus made. Father Salvierderra was
past eighty, but his blood was not too old to move quicker at the
sight of this picture. A man must be dead not to thrill at it.
Ramona's beauty was of the sort to be best enhanced by the waving
gold which now framed her face. She had just enough of olive tint
in her complexion to underlie and enrich her skin without making
it swarthy. Her hair was like her Indian mother's, heavy and black,
but her eyes were like her father's, steel-blue. Only those who
came very near to Ramona knew, however, that her eyes were
blue, for the heavy black eyebrows and long black lashes so
shaded and shadowed them that they looked black as night. At the
same instant that Father Salvierderra first caught sight of her face,
Ramona also saw him, and crying out joyfully, "Ah, Father, I knew
you would come by this path, and something told me you were
near!" she sprang forward, and sank on her knees before him,
bowing her head for his blessing. In silence he laid his hands on
her brow. It would not have been easy for him to speak to her at
that first moment. She had looked to the devout old monk, as she
sprang through the cloud of golden flowers, the sun falling on her
bared head, her cheeks flushed, her eyes shining, more like an
apparition of an angel or saint, than like the flesh-and-blood
maiden whom he had carried in his arms when she was a babe.

"We have been waiting, waiting, oh, so long for you, Father!" she
said, rising. "We began to fear that you might be ill. The shearers
have been sent for, and will be here tonight, and that was the
reason I felt so sure you would come. I knew the Virgin would
bring you in time for mass in the chapel on the first morning."

The monk smiled half sadly. "Would there were more with such
faith as yours, daughter," he said. "Are all well on the place?"

"Yes, Father, all well," she answered. "Felipe has been ill with a
fever; but he is out now, these ten days, and fretting for -- for your

Ramona had like to have said the literal truth,-- "fretting for the
sheep-shearing," but recollected herself in time.

"And the Senora?" said the Father.

"She is well," answered Ramona, gently, but with a slight change
of tone,-- so slight as to be almost imperceptible; but an acute
observer would have always detected it in the girl's tone whenever
she spoke of the Senora Moreno. "And you,-- are you well
yourself, Father?" she asked affectionately, noting with her quick,
loving eye how feebly the old man walked, and that he carried
what she had never before seen in his hand,-- a stout staff to steady
his steps. "You must be very tired with the long journey on foot."

"Ay, Ramona, I am tired," he replied. "Old age is conquering me. It
will not be many times more that I shall see this place."

"Oh, do not say that, Father," cried Ramona; "you can ride, when it
tires you too much to walk. The Senora said, only the other day,
that she wished you would let her give you a horse; that it was not
right for you to take these long journeys on foot. You know we
have hundreds of horses. It is nothing, one horse," she added,
seeing the Father slowly shake his head.

"No;" he said, "it is not that. I could not refuse anything at the
hands of the Senora. But it was the rule of our order to go on foot.
We must deny the flesh. Look at our beloved master in this land,
Father Junipero, when he was past eighty, walking from San Diego
to Monterey, and all the while a running ulcer in one of his legs,
for which most men would have taken to a bed, to be healed. It is a
sinful fashion that is coming in, for monks to take their ease doing
God's work. I can no longer walk swiftly, but I must walk all the
more diligently."

While they were talking, they had been slowly moving forward,
Ramona slightly in advance, gracefully bending the mustard
branches, and holding them down till the Father had followed in
her steps. As they came out from the thicket, she exclaimed,
laughing, "There is Felipe, in the willows. I told him I was coming
to meet you, and he laughed at me. Now he will see I was right."

Astonished enough, Felipe, hearing voices, looked up, and saw
Ramona and the Father approaching. Throwing down the knife
with which he had been cutting the willows, he hastened to meet
them, and dropped on his knees, as Ramona had done, for the
monk's blessing. As he knelt there, the wind blowing his hair
loosely off his brow, his large brown eyes lifted in gentle
reverence to the Father's face, and his face full of affectionate
welcome, Ramona thought to herself, as she had thought hundreds
of times since she became a woman, "How beautiful Felipe is! No
wonder the Senora loves him so much! If I had been beautiful like
that she would have liked me better." Never was a little child more
unconscious of her own beauty than Ramona still was. All the
admiration which was expressed to her in word and look she took
for simple kindness and good-will. Her face, as she herself saw it
in her glass, did not please her. She compared her straight, massive
black eyebrows with Felipe's, arched and delicately pencilled, and
found her own ugly. The expression of gentle repose which her
countenance wore, seemed to her an expression of stupidity.
"Felipe looks so bright!" she thought, as she noted his mobile
changing face, never for two successive seconds the same. "There
is nobody like Felipe." And when his brown eyes were fixed on
her, as they so often were, in a long lingering gaze, she looked
steadily back into their velvet depths with an abstracted sort of
intensity which profoundly puzzled Felipe. It was this look, more
than any other one thing, which had for two years held Felipe's
tongue in leash, as it were, and made it impossible for him to say
to Ramona any of the loving things of which his heart had been
full ever since he could remember. The boy had spoken them
unhesitatingly, unconsciously; but the man found himself suddenly
afraid. "What is it she thinks when she looks into my eyes so?" he
wondered. If he had known that the thing she was usually thinking
was simply, "How much handsomer brown eyes are than blue! I
wish my eyes were the color of Felipe's!" he would have perceived,
perhaps, what would have saved him sorrow, if he had known it,
that a girl who looked at a man thus, would be hard to win to look
at him as a lover. But being a lover, he could not see this. He saw
only enough to perplex and deter him.

As they drew near the house, Ramona saw Margarita standing at
the gate of the garden. She was holding something white in her
hands, looking down at it, and crying piteously. As she perceived
Ramona, she made an eager leap forward, and then shrank back
again, making dumb signals of distress to her. Her whole attitude
was one of misery and entreaty. Margarita was, of all the maids,
most beloved by Ramona. Though they were nearly of the same
age, it had been Margarita who first had charge of Ramona; the
nurse and her charge had played together, grown up together,
become women together, and were now, although Margarita never
presumed on the relation, or forgot to address Ramona as Senorita,
more like friends than like mistress and maid.

"Pardon me, Father," said Ramona. "I see that Margarita there is in
trouble. I will leave Felipe to go with you to the house. I will be
with you again in a few moments." And kissing his hand, she flew
rather than ran across the field to the foot of the garden.

Before she reached the spot, Margarita had dropped on the ground
and buried her face in her hands. A mass of crumpled and stained
linen lay at her feet.

"What is it? What has happened, Margarita mia?" cried Ramona,
in the affectionate Spanish phrase. For answer, Margarita removed
one wet hand from her eyes, and pointed with a gesture of despair
to the crumpled linen. Sobs choked her voice, and she buried her
face again in her hands.

Ramona stooped, and lifted one corner of the linen. An involuntary
cry of dismay broke from her, at which Margarita's sobs redoubled,
and she gasped out, "Yes, Senorita, it is totally ruined! It can never
be mended, and it will be needed for the mass to-morrow morning.
When I saw the Father coming by your side, I prayed to the Virgin
to let me die. The Senora will never forgive me."

It was indeed a sorry sight. The white linen altar-cloth, the cloth
which the Senora Moreno had with her own hands made into one
solid front of beautiful lace of the Mexican fashion, by drawing
out part of the threads and sewing the remainder into intricate
patterns, the cloth which had always been on the altar, when mass
was said, since Margarita's and Ramona's earliest recollections,--
there it lay, torn, stained, as if it had been dragged through muddy
brambles. In silence, aghast, Ramona opened it out and held it up.
"How did it happen, Margarita?" she whispered, glancing in terror
up towards the house.

"Oh, that is the worst of it, Senorita!" sobbed the girl. "That is the
worst of it! If it were not for that, I would not be so afraid. If it had
happened any other way, the Senora might have forgiven me; but
she never will. I would rather die than tell her;" and she shook
from head to foot.

"Stop crying, Margarita!" said Ramona, firmly, "and tell me all
about it. It isn't so bad as it looks. I think I can mend it."

"Oh, the saints bless you!" cried Margarita, looking up for the first
time. "Do you really think you can mend it, Senorita? If you will
mend that lace, I'll go on my knees for you all the rest of my life!"

Ramona laughed in spite of herself. "You'll serve me better by
keeping on your feet," she said merrily; at which Margarita
laughed too, through her tears. They were both young.

"Oh, but Senorita," Margarita began again in a tone of anguish, her
tears flowing afresh, "there is not time! It must be washed and
ironed to-night, for the mass to-morrow morning, and I have to
help at the supper. Anita and Rosa are both ill in bed, you know,
and Maria has gone away for a week. The Senora said if the Father
came to-night I must help mother, and must wait on table. It
cannot be done. I was just going to iron it now, and I found it -- so
-- It was in the artichoke-patch, and Capitan, the beast, had been
tossing it among the sharp pricks of the old last year's seeds."

"In the artichoke-patch!" ejaculated Ramona. "How under heavens
did it get there?"

"Oh, that was what I meant, Senorita, when I said she never would
forgive me. She has forbidden me many times to hang anything to
dry on the fence there; and if I had only washed it when she first
told me, two days ago, all would have been well. But I forgot it till
this afternoon, and there was no sun in the court to dry it, and you
know how the sun lies on the artichoke-patch, and I put a strong
cloth over the fence, so that the wood should not pierce the lace,
and I did not leave it more than half an hour, just while I said a
few words to Luigo, and there was no wind; and I believe the
saints must have fetched it down to the ground to punish me for
my disobedience."

Ramona had been all this time carefully smoothing out the torn
places, "It is not so bad as it looks," she said; "if it were not for the
hurry, there would be no trouble in mending it. But I will do it the
best I can, so that it will not show, for to-morrow, and then, after
the Father is gone, I can repair it at leisure, and make it just as
good as new. I think I can mend it and wash it before dark," and
she glanced at the sun. "Oh, yes, there are good three hours of
daylight yet. I can do it. You put the irons on the fire, to have them
hot, to iron it as soon as it is partly dried. You will see it will not
show that anything has happened to it."

"Will the Senora know?" asked poor Margarita, calmed and
reassured, but still in mortal terror.

Ramona turned her steady glance full on Margarita's face. "You
would not be any happier if she were deceived, do you think?" she
said gravely.

"O Senorita, after it is mended? If it really does not show?"
pleaded the girl.

"I will tell her myself, and not till after it is mended," said
Ramona; but she did not smile.

"Ah, Senorita," said Margarita, deprecatingly, "you do not know
what it is to have the Senora displeased with one."

"Nothing can be so bad as to be displeased with one's self,"
retorted Ramona, as she walked swiftly away to her room with the
linen rolled up under her arm. Luckily for Margarita's cause, she
met no one on the way. The Senora had welcomed Father
Salvierderra at the foot of the veranda steps, and had immediately
closeted herself with him. She had much to say to him,-- much
about which she wished his help and counsel, and much which she
wished to learn from him as to affairs in the Church and in the
country generally.

Felipe had gone off at once to find Juan Canito, to see if
everything were ready for the sheep-shearing to begin on the next
day, if the shearers arrived in time; and there was very good
chance of their coming in by sundown this day, Felipe thought, for
he had privately instructed his messenger to make all possible
haste, and to impress on the Indians the urgent need of their losing
no time on the road.

It had been a great concession on the Senora's part to allow the
messenger to be sent off before she had positive intelligence as to
the Father's movements. But as day after day passed and no news
came, even she perceived that it would not do to put off the
sheep-shearing much longer, or, as Juan Canito said, "forever."
The Father might have fallen ill; and if that were so, it might very
easily be weeks before they heard of it, so scanty were the means
of communication between the remote places on his route of
visitation. The messenger had therefore been sent to summon the
Temecula shearers, and Senora had resigned herself to the
inevitable; piously praying, however, morning and night, and at
odd moments in the day, that the Father might arrive before the
Indians did. When she saw him coming up the garden-walk,
leaning on the arm of her Felipe, on the afternoon of the very day
which was the earliest possible day for the Indians to arrive, it was
not strange that she felt, mingled with the joy of her greeting to her
long-loved friend and confessor, a triumphant exultation that the
saints had heard her prayers.

In the kitchen all was bustle and stir. The coming of any guest into
the house was a signal for unwonted activities there,-- even the
coming of Father Salvierderra, who never knew whether the soup
had force-meat balls in it or not, old Marda said; and that was to
her the last extreme of indifference to good things of the flesh.
"But if he will not eat, he can see," she said; and her pride for
herself and for the house was enlisted in setting forth as goodly an
array of viands as her larder afforded, She grew suddenly
fastidious over the size and color of the cabbages to go into the
beef-pot, and threw away one whole saucepan full of rice, because
Margarita had put only one onion in instead of two.

"Have I not told you again and again that for the Father it is always
two onions?" she exclaimed. "It is the dish he most favors of all;
and it is a pity too, old as he is. It makes him no blood. It is good
beef he should take now."

The dining-room was on the opposite side of the courtyard from
the kitchen, and there was a perpetual procession of small
messengers going back and forth between the rooms. It was the
highest ambition of each child to be allowed to fetch and carry
dishes in the preparation of the meals at all times; but when by so
doing they could perchance get a glimpse through the dining-room
door, open on the veranda, of strangers and guests, their restless
rivalry became unmanageable. Poor Margarita, between her own
private anxieties and her multiplied duties of helping in the
kitchen, and setting the table, restraining and overseeing her army
of infant volunteers, was nearly distraught; not so distraught,
however, but that she remembered and found time to seize a
lighted candle in the kitchen, run and set it before the statue of
Saint Francis of Paula in her bedroom, hurriedly whispering a
prayer that the lace might be made whole like new. Several times
before the afternoon had waned she snatched a moment to fling
herself down at the statue's feet and pray her foolish little prayer
over again. We think we are quite sure that it is a foolish little
prayer, when people pray to have torn lace made whole. But it
would be hard to show the odds between asking that, and asking
that it may rain, or that the sick may get well. As the grand old
Russian says, what men usually ask for, when they pray to God, is,
that two and two may not make four. All the same he is to be
pitied who prays not. It was only the thought of that candle at Saint
Francis's feet, which enabled Margarita to struggle through this
anxious and unhappy afternoon and evening.

At last supper was ready,-- a great dish of spiced beef and cabbage
in the centre of the table; a tureen of thick soup, with force-meat
balls and red peppers in it; two red earthen platters heaped, one
with the boiled rice and onions, the other with the delicious
frijoles (beans) so dear to all Mexican hearts; cut-glass dishes
filled with hot stewed pears, or preserved quinces, or grape jelly;
plates of frosted cakes of various sorts; and a steaming silver
teakettle, from which went up an aroma of tea such as had never
been bought or sold in all California, the Senora's one
extravagance and passion.

"Where is Ramona?" asked the Senora, surprised and displeased,
as she entered the dining-room, "Margarita, go tell the Senorita
that we are waiting for her."

Margarita started tremblingly, with flushed face, towards the door.
What would happen now! "O Saint Francis," she inwardly prayed,
"help us this once!"

"Stay," said Felipe. "Do not call Senorita Ramona." Then, turning
to his mother, "Ramona cannot come. She is not in the house. She
has a duty to perform for to-morrow," he said; and he looked
meaningly at his mother, adding, "we will not wait for her."

Much bewildered, the Senora took her seat at the head of the table
in a mechanical way, and began, "But --" Felipe, seeing that
questions were to follow, interrupted her: "I have just spoken with
her. It is impossible for her to come;" and turning to Father
Salvierderra, he at once engaged him in conversation, and left the
baffled Senora to bear her unsatisfied curiosity as best she could.

Margarita looked at Felipe with an expression of profound
gratitude, which he did not observe, and would not in the least
have understood; for Ramona had not confided to him any details
of the disaster. Seeing him under her window, she had called
cautiously to him, and said: "Dear Felipe, do you think you can
save me from having to come to supper? A dreadful accident has
happened to the altar-cloth, and I must mend it and wash it, and
there is barely time before dark. Don't let them call me; I shall be
down at the brook, and they will not find me, and your mother will
be displeased."

This wise precaution of Ramona's was the salvation of everything,
so far as the altar-cloth was concerned. The rents had proved far
less serious than she had feared; the daylight held out till the last
of them was skilfully mended; and just as the red beams of the
sinking sun came streaming through the willow-trees at the foot of
the garden, Ramona, darting down the garden, had reached the
brook, and kneeling on the grass, had dipped the linen into the

Her hurried working over the lace, and her anxiety, had made her
cheeks scarlet. As she ran down the garden, her comb had
loosened and her hair fallen to her waist. Stopping only to pick up
the comb and thrust it in her pocket, she had sped on, as it would
soon be too dark for her to see the stains on the linen, and it was
going to be no small trouble to get them out without fraying the

Her hair in disorder, her sleeves pinned loosely on her shoulders,
her whole face aglow with the earnestness of her task, she bent
low over the stones, rinsing the altar-cloth up and down in the
water, anxiously scanning it, then plunging it in again.

The sunset beams played around her hair like a halo; the whole
place was aglow with red light, and her face was kindled into
transcendent beauty. A sound arrested her attention. She looked
up. Forms, dusky black against the fiery western sky, were coming
down the valley. It was the band of Indian shearers. They turned to
the left, and went towards the sheep sheds and booths. But there
was one of them that Ramona did not see. He had been standing
for some minutes concealed behind a large willow-tree a few rods
from the place where Ramona was kneeling. It was Alessandro,
son of Pablo Assis, captain of the shearing band. Walking slowly
along in advance of his men, he had felt a light, as from a mirror
held in the sun, smite his eyes. It was the red sunbeam on the
glittering water where Ramona knelt. In the same second he saw

He halted, as wild creatures of the forest halt at a sound; gazed;
walked abruptly away from his men, who kept on, not noticing his
disappearance. Cautiously he moved a few steps nearer, into the
shelter of a gnarled old willow, from behind which he could gaze
unperceived on the beautiful vision,-- for so it seemed to him.

As he gazed, his senses seemed leaving him, and unconsciously he
spoke aloud; "Christ! What shall I do!"


THE room in which Father Salvierderra always slept when at the
Senora Moreno's house was the southeast corner room. It had a
window to the south and one to the east. When the first glow of
dawn came in the sky, this eastern window was lit up as by a fire.
The Father was always on watch for it, having usually been at
prayer for hours. As the first ray reached the window, he would
throw the casement wide open, and standing there with bared
head, strike up the melody of the sunrise hymn sung in all devout
Mexican families. It was a beautiful custom, not yet wholly
abandoned. At the first dawn of light, the oldest member of the
family arose, and began singing some hymn familiar to the
household. It was the duty of each person hearing it to immediately
rise, or at least sit up in bed, and join in the singing. In a few
moments the whole family would be singing, and the joyous
sounds pouring out from the house like the music of the birds in
the fields at dawn. The hymns were usually invocations to the
Virgin, or to the saint of the day, and the melodies were sweet and

On this morning there was another watcher for the dawn besides
Father Salvierderra. It was Alessandro, who had been restlessly
wandering about since midnight, and had finally seated himself
under the willow-trees by the brook, at the spot where he had seen
Ramona the evening before. He recollected this custom of the
sunrise hymn when he and his band were at the Senora's the last
year, and he had chanced then to learn that the Father slept in the
southeast room. From the spot where he sat, he could see the south
window of this room. He could also see the low eastern horizon, at
which a faint luminous line already showed. The sky was like
amber; a few stars still shone faintly in the zenith. There was not a
sound. It was one of those rare moments in which one can without
difficulty realize the noiseless spinning of the earth through space.
Alessandro knew nothing of this; he could not have been made to
believe that the earth was moving. He thought the sun was coming
up apace, and the earth was standing still,-- a belief just as grand,
just as thrilling, so far as all that goes, as the other: men
worshipped the sun long before they found out that it stood still.
Not the most reverent astronomer, with the mathematics of the
heavens at his tongue's end, could have had more delight in the
wondrous phenomenon of the dawn, than did this simple-minded,
unlearned man.

His eyes wandered from the horizon line of slowly increasing light,
to the windows of the house, yet dark and still. "Which window is
hers? Will she open it when the song begins?" he thought. "Is it on
this side of the house? Who can she be? She was not here last year.
Saw the saints ever so beautiful a creature!"

At last came the full red ray across the meadow. Alessandro sprang
to his feet. In the next second Father Salvierderra flung up his
south window, and leaning out, his cowl thrown off, his thin gray
locks streaming back, began in a feeble but not unmelodious voice
to sing,--

"O beautiful Queen,
Princess of Heaven."

Before he had finished the second line, a half-dozen voices had
joined in,-- the Senora, from her room at the west end of the
veranda, beyond the flowers; Felipe, from the adjoining room;
Ramona, from hers, the next; and Margarita and other of the maids
already astir in the wings of the house. As the volume of melody
swelled, the canaries waked, and the finches and the linnets in the
veranda roof. The tiles of this roof were laid on bundles of tule
reeds, in which the linnets delighted to build their nests. The roof
was alive with them,-- scores and scores, nay hundreds, tame as
chickens; their tiny shrill twitter was like the tuning of myriads of

"Singers at dawn
From the heavens above
People all regions;
Gladly we too sing,"

continued the hymn, the birds corroborating the stanza. Then men's
voices joined in,-- Juan and Luigo, and a dozen more, walking
slowly up from the sheepfolds. The hymn was a favorite one,
known to all.

"Come, O sinners,
Come, and we will sing
Tender hymns
To our refuge,"

was the chorus, repeated after each of the five verses of the hymn.

Alessandro also knew the hymn well. His father, Chief Pablo, had
been the leader of the choir at the San Luis Rey Mission in the last
years of its splendor, and had brought away with him much of the
old choir music. Some of the books had been written by his own
hand, on parchment. He not only sang well, but was a good player
on the violin. There was not at any of the Missions so fine a band
of performers on stringed instruments as at San Luis Rey. Father
Peyri was passionately fond of music, and spared no pains in
training all the neophytes under his charge who showed any
special talent in that direction. Chief Pablo, after the breaking up
of the Mission, had settled at Temecula, with a small band of his
Indians, and endeavored, so far as was in his power, to keep up the
old religious services. The music in the little chapel of the
Temecula Indians was a surprise to all who heard it.

Alessandro had inherited his father's love and talent for music, and
knew all the old Mission music by heart. This hymn to the

"Beautiful Queen,
Princess of Heaven,"

was one of his special favorites; and as he heard verse after verse
rising, he could not forbear striking in.

At the first notes of this rich new voice, Ramona's voice ceased in
surprise; and, throwing up her window, she leaned out, eagerly
looking in all directions to see who it could be. Alessandro saw
her, and sang no more.

"What could it have been? Did I dream it?" thought Ramona, drew
in her head, and began to sing again.

With the next stanza of the chorus, the same rich barytone notes.
They seemed to float in under all the rest, and bear them along, as
a great wave bears a boat. Ramona had never heard such a voice.
Felipe had a good tenor, and she liked to sing with him, or to hear
him; but this -- this was from another world, this sound. Ramona
felt every note of it penetrating her consciousness with a subtle
thrill almost like pain. When the hymn ended, she listened eagerly,
hoping Father Salvierderra would strike up a second hymn, as he
often did; but he did not this morning; there was too much to be
done; everybody was in a hurry to be at work: windows shut, doors
opened; the sounds of voices from all directions, ordering,
questioning, answering, began to be heard. The sun rose and let a
flood of work-a-day light on the whole place.

Margarita ran and unlocked the chapel door, putting up a heartfelt
thanksgiving to Saint Francis and the Senorita, as she saw the
snowy altar-cloth in its place, looking, from that distance at least,
as good as new.

The Indians and the shepherds, and laborers of all sorts, were
coming towards the chapel. The Senora, with her best black silk
handkerchief bound tight around her forehead, the ends hanging
down each side of her face, making her look like an Assyrian
priestess, was descending the veranda steps, Felipe at her side; and
Father Salvierderra had already entered the chapel before Ramona
appeared, or Alessandro stirred from his vantage-post of
observation at the willows.

When Ramona came out from the door she bore in her hands a
high silver urn filled with ferns. She had been for many days
gathering and hoarding these. They were hard to find, growing
only in one place in a rocky canon, several miles away.

As she stepped from the veranda to the ground, Alessandro walked
slowly up the garden-walk, facing her. She met his eyes, and,
without knowing why, thought, "That must be the Indian who
sang." As she turned to the right and entered the chapel,
Alessandro followed her hurriedly, and knelt on the stones close to
the chapel door. He would be near when she came out. As he
looked in at the door, he saw her glide up the aisle, place the ferns
on the reading-desk, and then kneel down by Felipe in front of the
altar. Felipe turned towards her, smiling slightly, with a look as of
secret intelligence.

"Ah, Senor Felipe has married. She is his wife," thought
Alessandro, and a strange pain seized him. He did not analyze it;
hardly knew what it meant. He was only twenty-one. He had not
thought much about women. He was a distant, cold boy, his own
people of the Temecula village said. It had come, they believed, of
learning to read, which was always bad. Chief Pablo had not done
his son any good by trying to make him like white men. If the
Fathers could have stayed, and the life at the Mission have gone
on, why, Alessandro could have had work to do for the Fathers, as
his father had before him. Pablo had been Father Peyri's right-hand
man at the Mission; had kept all the accounts about the cattle; paid
the wages; handled thousands of dollars of gold every month. But
that was "in the time of the king;" it was very different now. The
Americans would not let an Indian do anything but plough and sow
and herd cattle. A man need not read and write, to do that.

Even Pablo sometimes doubted whether he had done wisely in
teaching Alessandro all he knew himself. Pablo was, for one of his
race, wise and far-seeing. He perceived the danger threatening his
people on all sides. Father Peyri, before he left the country, had
said to him: "Pablo, your people will be driven like sheep to the
slaughter, unless you keep them together. Knit firm bonds between
them; band them into pueblos; make them work; and above all,
keep peace with the whites. It is your only chance."

Most strenuously Pablo had striven to obey Father Peyri's
directions. He had set his people the example of constant industry,
working steadily in his fields and caring well for his herds. He had
built a chapel in his little village, and kept up forms of religious
service there. Whenever there were troubles with the whites, or
rumors of them, he went from house to house, urging, persuading,
commanding his people to keep the peace. At one time when there
was an insurrection of some of the Indian tribes farther south, and
for a few days it looked as if there would be a general Indian war,
he removed the greater part of his band, men, women, and children
driving their flocks and herds with them, to Los Angeles, and
camped there for several days, that they might be identified with
the whites in case hostilities became serious.

But his labors did not receive the reward that they deserved. With
every day that the intercourse between his people and the whites
increased, he saw the whites gaining, his people surely losing
ground, and his anxieties deepened. The Mexican owner of the.
Temecula valley, a friend of Father Peyri's, and a good friend also
of Pablo's, had returned to Mexico in disgust with the state of
affairs in California, and was reported to be lying at the point of
death. This man's promise to Pablo, that he and his people should
always live in the valley undisturbed, was all the title Pablo had to
the village lands. In the days when the promise was given, it was
all that was necessary. The lines marking off the Indians' lands
were surveyed, and put on the map of the estate. No Mexican
proprietor ever broke faith with an Indian family or village. thus
placed on his lands.

But Pablo had heard rumors, which greatly disquieted him, that
such pledges and surveyed lines as these were corning to be held
as of no value, not binding on purchasers of grants. He was
intelligent enough to see that if this were so, he and his people
were ruined. All these perplexities and fears he confided to
Alessandro; long anxious hours the father and son spent together,
walking back and forth in the village, or sitting in front of their
little adobe house, discussing what could be done. There was
always the same ending to the discussion,-- a long sigh, and, "We
must wait, we can do nothing."

No wonder Alessandro seemed, to the more ignorant and
thoughtless young men and women of his village, a cold and
distant lad. He was made old before his time. He was carrying in
his heart burdens of which they knew nothing. So long as the
wheat fields came up well, and there was no drought, and the
horses and sheep had good pasture, in plenty, on the hills, the
Temecula people could be merry, go day by day to their easy work,
play games at sunset, and sleep sound all night. But Alessandro
and his father looked beyond. And this was the one great reason
why Alessandro had not yet thought about women, in way of love;
this, and .also the fact that even the little education he had
received was sufficient to raise a slight barrier, of which he was
unconsciously aware, between him and the maidens of the village.
If a quick, warm fancy for any one of them ever stirred in his
veins, he found himself soon, he knew not how, cured of it. For a
dance, or a game, or a friendly chat, for the trips into the
mountains after acorns, or to the marshes for grasses and reeds, he
was their good comrade, and they were his; but never had the
desire to take one of them for his wife, entered into Alessandro's
mind. The vista of the future, for him, was filled full by thoughts
which left no room for love's dreaming; one purpose and one fear
filled it,-- the purpose to be his father's worthy successor, for Pablo
was old now, and very feeble; the fear, that exile and ruin were in
store for them all.

It was of these things he had been thinking as be walked alone, in
advance of his men, on the previous night, when he first saw
Ramona kneeling at the brook. Between that moment and the
present, it seemed to Alessandro that some strange miracle must
have happened to him. The purposes and the fears had alike gone.
A face replaced them; a vague wonder, pain, joy, he knew not
what, filled him so to overflowing that he was bewildered. If he
had been what the world calls a civilized man, he would have
known instantly and would have been capable of weighing,
analyzing, and reflecting on his sensations at leisure. But he was
not a civilized man; he had to bring to bear on his present situation
only simple, primitive, uneducated instincts and impulses. If
Ramona had been a maiden of his own people or race, he would
have drawn near to her as quickly as iron to the magnet. But now,
if he had gone so far as to even think of her in such a way, she
would have been, to his view, as far removed from him as was the
morning star beneath whose radiance he had that morning
watched, hoping for sight of her at her window. He did not,
however, go so far as to thus think of her. Even that would have
been impossible. He only knelt on the stones outside the chapel
door, mechanically repeating the prayers with the rest, waiting for
her to reappear. He had no doubt, now, that she was Senor Felipe's
wife; all the same he wished to kneel there till she came out, that
he might see her face again. His vista of purpose, fear, hope, had
narrowed now down to that,-- just one more sight of her. Ever so
civilized, he could hardly have worshipped a woman better. The
mass seemed to him endlessly long. Until near the last, he forgot to
sing; then, in the closing of the final hymn, he suddenly
remembered, and the clear deep-toned voice pealed out, as before,
like the undertone of a great sea-wave, sweeping along.

Ramona heard the first note, and felt again the same thrill. She was
as much a musician born as Alessandro himself. As she rose from
her knees, she whispered to Felipe: "Felipe, do find out which one
of the Indians it is has that superb voice. I never heard anything
like it."

"Oh, that is Alessandro," replied Felipe, "old Pablo's son. He is a
splendid fellow. Don't you recollect his singing two years ago?"

"I was not here," replied Ramona; "you forget."

"Ah, yes, so you were away; I had forgotten," said Felipe. "Well,
he was here. They made him captain of the shearing-band, though
he was only twenty, and he managed the men splendidly. They
saved nearly all their money to carry home, and I never knew them
do such a thing before. Father Salvierderra was here, which might
have had something to do with it; but I think it was quite as much
Alessandro. He plays the violin beautifully. I hope he has brought
it along. He plays the old San Luis Rey music. His father was
band-master there."

Ramona's eyes kindled with pleasure. "Does your mother like it, to
have him play?" she asked.

Felipe nodded. "We'll have him up on the veranda tonight," he

While this whispered colloquy was going on, the chapel had
emptied, the Indians and Mexicans all hurrying out to set about the
day's work. Alessandro lingered at the doorway as long as he
dared, till he was sharply called by Juan Canito, looking back:
"What are you gaping at there, you Alessandro! Hurry, now, and
get your men to work. After waiting till near midsummer for this
shearing, we'll make as quick work of it as we can. Have you got
your best shearers here?"

"Ay, that I have," answered Alessandro; "not a man of them but
can shear his hundred in a day, There is not such a band as ours in
all San Diego County; and we don't turn out the sheep all bleeding,
either; you'll see scarce a scratch on their sides."

"Humph." retorted Juan Can. "'Tis a poor shearer, indeed, that
draws blood to speak of. I've sheared many a thousand sheep in my
day, and never a red stain on the shears. But the Mexicans have
always been famed for good shearers."

Juan's invidious emphasis on the word "Mexicans" did not escape
Alessandro. "And we Indians also," he answered, good-naturedly,
betraying no annoyance; "but as for these Americans, I saw one at
work the other day, that man Lomax, who settled near Temecula,
and upon my faith, Juan Can, I thought it was a slaughter-pen, and
not a shearing. The poor beasts limped off with the blood running."

Juan did not see his way clear at the moment to any fitting
rejoinder to this easy assumption, on Alessandro's part, of the
equal superiority of Indians and Mexicans in the sheep-shearing
art; so, much vexed, with another "Humph!" he walked away;
walked away so fast, that he lost the sight of a smile on
Alessandro's face, which would have vexed him still further.

At the sheep-shearing sheds and pens all was stir and bustle. The
shearing shed was a huge caricature of a summerhouse,-- a long,
narrow structure, sixty feet long by twenty or thirty wide, all roof
and pillars; no walls; the supports, slender rough posts, as far apart
as was safe, for the upholding of the roof, which was of rough
planks loosely laid from beam to beam. On three sides of this were
the sheep-pens filled with sheep and lambs.

A few rods away stood the booths in which the shearers' food was
to be cooked and the shearers fed. These were mere temporary
affairs, roofed only by willow boughs with the leaves left on. Near
these, the Indians had already arranged their camp; a hut or two of
green boughs had been built, but for the most part they would
sleep rolled up in their blankets, on the ground. There was a brisk
wind, and the gay colored wings of the windmill blew furiously
round and round, pumping out into the tank below a stream of
water so swift and strong, that as the men crowded around, wetting
and sharpening their knives, they got well spattered, and had much
merriment, pushing and elbowing each other into the spray.

A high four-posted frame stood close to the shed; in this, swung
from the four corners, hung one of the great sacking bags in which
the fleeces were to be packed. A big pile of bags lay on the ground
at the foot of the posts. Juan Can eyed them with a chuckle. "We'll
fill more than those before night, Senor Felipe," he said. He was in
his element, Juan Can, at shearing times. Then came his reward for
the somewhat monotonous and stupid year's work. The world held
no better feast for his eyes than the sight of a long row of big bales
of fleece, tied, stamped with the Moreno brand, ready to be drawn
away to the mills. "Now, there is something substantial," he
thought; "no chance of wool going amiss in market!"

If a year's crop were good, Juan's happiness was assured for the
next six months. If it proved poor, he turned devout immediately,
and spent the next six months calling on the saints for better luck,
and redoubling his exertions with the sheep.

On one of the posts of the shed short projecting slats were nailed,
like half-rounds of a ladder. Lightly as a rope-walker Felipe ran up
these, to the roof, and took his stand there, ready to take the
fleeces and pack them in the bag as fast as they should be tossed
up from below. Luigo, with a big leathern wallet fastened in front
of him, filled with five-cent pieces, took his stand in the centre of
the shed. The thirty shearers, running into the nearest pen, dragged
each his sheep into the shed, in a twinkling of an eye had the
creature between his knees, helpless, immovable, and the sharp
sound of the shears set in. The sheep-shearing had begun. No rest
now. Not a second's silence from the bleating, baa-ing, opening
and shutting, clicking, sharpening of shears, flying of fleeces
through the air to the roof, pressing and stamping them down in
the bales; not a second's intermission, except the hour of rest at
noon, from sunrise till sunset, till the whole eight thousand of the
Senora Moreno's sheep were shorn. It was a dramatic spectacle. As
soon as a sheep was shorn, the shearer ran with the fleece in his
hand to Luigo, threw it down on a table, received his five-cent
piece, dropped it in his pocket, ran to the pen, dragged out another
sheep, and in less than five minutes was back again with a second
fleece. The shorn sheep, released, bounded off into another pen,
where, light in the head no doubt from being three to five pounds
lighter on their legs, they trotted round bewilderedly for a moment,
then flung up their heels and capered for joy.

It was warm work. The dust from the fleeces and the trampling
feet filled the air. As the sun rose higher in the sky the sweat
poured off the men's faces; and Felipe, standing without shelter on
the roof, found out very soon that he had by no means yet got back
his full strength since the fever. Long before noon, except for sheer
pride, and for the recollection of Juan Canito's speech, he would
have come down and yielded his place to the old man. But he was
resolved not to give up, and he worked on, though his face was
purple and his head throbbing. After the bag of fleeces is half full,
the packer stands in it, jumping with his full weight on the wool,
as he throws in the fleeces, to compress them as much as possible.
When Felipe began to do this, he found that he had indeed
overrated his strength. As the first cloud of the sickening dust
came up, enveloping his head, choking his breath, he turned
suddenly dizzy, and calling faintly, "Juan, I am ill," sank helpless
down in the wool. He had fainted. At Juan Canito's scream of
dismay, a great hubbub and outcry arose; all saw instantly what
had happened. Felipe's head was hanging limp over the edge of the
bag, Juan in vain endeavoring to get sufficient foothold by his side
to lift him. One after another the men rushed up the ladder, until
they were all standing, a helpless, excited crowd, on the roof, one
proposing one thing, one another. Only Luigo had had the presence
of mind to run to the house for help. The Senora was away from
home. She had gone with Father Salvierderra to a friend's house, a
half-day's journey off. But Ramona was there. Snatching all she
could think of in way of restoratives, she came flying back with
Luigo, followed by every servant of the establishment, all talking,
groaning, gesticulating, suggesting, wringing their hands,-- as
disheartening a Babel as ever made bad matters worse.

Reaching the shed, Ramona looked up to the roof bewildered.
"Where is he?" she cried. The next instant she saw his head, held
in Juan Canito's arms, just above the edge of the wool-bag. She
groaned, "Oh, how will he ever be lifted out!"

"I will lift him, Senora," cried Alessandro, coming to the front, "I
am very strong. Do not be afraid; I will bring him safe down." And
swinging himself down the ladder, he ran swiftly to the camp, and
returned, bringing in his hands blankets. Springing quickly to the
roof again, he knotted the blankets firmly together, and tying them
at the middle around his waist, threw the ends to his men, telling
them to hold him firm. He spoke in the Indian tongue as he was
hurriedly doing this, and Ramona did not at first understand his
plan. But when she saw the Indians move a little back from the
edge of the roof, holding the blankets firm grasped, while
Alessandro stepped out on one of the narrow cross-beams from
which the bag swung, she saw what he meant to do. She held her
breath. Felipe was a slender man; Alessandro was much heavier,
and many inches taller. Still, could any man carry such a burden
safely on that narrow beam! Ramona looked away, and shut her
eyes, through the silence which followed. It was only a few
moments; but it seemed an eternity before a glad murmur of voices
told her that it was done, and looking up, she saw Felipe lying on
the roof, unconscious, his face white, his eyes shut. At this sight,
all the servants broke out afresh, weeping and wailing, "He is
dead! He is dead!"

Ramona stood motionless, her eyes fixed on Felipe's face. She, too,
believed him dead; but her thought was of the Senora.

"He is not dead," cried Juan Canito, who had thrust his hand under
Felipe's shirt. "He is not dead. It is only a faint,"

At this the first tears rolled down Ramona's face. She looked
piteously at the ladder up and down which she had seen
Alessandro run as if it were an easy indoor staircase. "If I could
only get up there!" she said, looking from one to another. "I think I
can;" and she put one foot on the lower round.

"Holy Virgin!" cried Juan Can, seeing her movement. "Senorita!
Senorita! do not attempt it. It is not too easy for a man. You will
break your neck. He is fast coming to his senses."

Alessandro caught the words. Spite of all the confusion and terror
of the scene, his heart heard the word, "Senorita." Ramona was not
the wife of Felipe, or of any man. Yet Alessandro recollected that
he had addressed her as Senora, and she did not seem surprised.
Coming to the front of the group he said, bending forward,
"Senorita!" There must have been something in the tone which
made Ramona start. The simple word could not have done it.
"Senorita," said Alessandro, "it will be nothing to bring Senor
Felipe down the ladder. He is, in my arms, no more than one of the
lambs yonder. I will bring him down as soon as he is recovered. He
is better here till then. He will very soon be himself again. It was
only the heat." Seeing that the expression of anxious distress did
not grow less on Ramona's face, he continued, in a tone still more
earnest, "Will not the Senorita trust me to bring him safe down?"

Ramona smiled faintly through her tears. "Yes," she said, "I will
trust you. You are Alessandro, are you not?"

"Yes, Senorita," he answered, greatly surprised, "I am Alessandro."


A BAD beginning did not make a good ending of the Senora
Moreno's sheep-shearing this year. One as superstitiously
prejudiced against Roman Catholic rule as she was in favor of it,
would have found, in the way things fell out, ample reason for a
belief that the Senora was being punished for having let all the
affairs of her place come to a standstill, to await the coming of an
old monk. But the pious Senora, looking at the other side of the
shield, was filled with gratitude that, since all this ill luck was to
befall her, she had the good Father Salvierderra at her side to give
her comfort and counsel.

It was not yet quite noon of the first day, when Felipe fainted and
fell in the wool; and it was only a little past noon of the third,
when Juan Canito, who, not without some secret exultation, had
taken Senor Felipe's place at the packing, fell from the cross-beam
to the ground, and broke his right leg,-- a bad break near the knee;
and Juan Canito's bones were much too old for fresh knitting. He
would never again be able to do more than hobble about on
crutches, dragging along the useless leg. It was a cruel blow to the
old man. He could not be resigned to it. He lost faith in his saints,
and privately indulged in blasphemous beratings and reproaches of
them, which would have filled the Senora with terror, had she
known that such blasphemies were being committed under her

"As many times as I have crossed that plank, in my day!" cried
Juan; "only the fiends themselves could have made me trip; and
there was that whole box of candles I paid for with my own money
last month, and burned to Saint Francis in the chapel for this very
sheep-shearing! He may sit in the dark, for all me, to the end of
time! He is no saint at all! What are they for, if not to keep us from
harm when we pray to them? I'll pray no more. I believe the
Americans are right, who laugh at us." From morning till night,
and nearly from night till morning, for the leg ached so he slept
little, poor Juan groaned and grumbled and swore, and swore and
grumbled and groaned. Taking care of him was enough, Margarita
said, to wear out the patience of the Madonna herself. There was
no pleasing him, whatever you did, and his tongue was never still a
minute. For her part, she believed that it must be as he said, that
the fiends had pushed him off the plank, and that the saints had
had their reasons for leaving him to his fate. A coldness and
suspicion gradually grew up in the minds of all the servants
towards him. His own reckless language, combined with
Margarita's reports, gave the superstitious fair ground for believing
that something had gone mysteriously wrong, and that the Devil
was in a fair way to get his soul, which was very hard for the old
man, in addition to all the rest he had to bear. The only alleviation
he had for his torments, was in having his fellow-servants, men
and women, drop in, sit by his pallet, and chat with him, telling
him all that was going on; and when by degrees they dropped off,
coming more and more seldom, and one by one leaving off coming
altogether, it was the one drop that overflowed his cup of misery;
and he turned his face to the wall, left off grumbling, and spoke
only when he must.

This phase frightened Margarita even more than the first. Now, she
thought, surely the dumb terror and remorse of one who belongs to
the Devil had seized him, and her hands trembled as she went
through the needful ministrations for him each day. Three months,
at least, the doctor, who had come from Ventura to set the leg, had
said he must lie still in bed and be thus tended. "Three months!"
sighed Margarita. "If I be not dead or gone crazy myself before the
end of that be come!"

The Senora was too busy with Felipe to pay attention or to give
thought to Juan. Felipe's fainting had been the symptom and
beginning of a fierce relapse of the fever, and he was lying in his
bed, tossing and raving in delirium, always about the wool.

"Throw them faster, faster! That's a good fleece; five pounds more;
a round ton in those bales. Juan! Alessandro! Captain! -- Jesus,
how this sun burns my head!"

Several times he had called "Alessandro" so earnestly, that Father
Salvierderra advised bringing Alessandro into the room, to see if
by any chance there might have been something in his mind that he
wished to say to him. But when Alessandro stood by the bedside,
Felipe gazed at him vacantly, as he did at all the others, still
repeating, however, "Alessandro! Alessandro!"

"I think perhaps he wants Alessandro to play on his violin," sobbed
out Ramona. "He was telling me how beautifully Alessandro
played, and said he would have him up on the veranda in the
evening to play to us."

"We might try it," said Father Salvierderra. "Have you your violin
here, Alessandro?"

"Alas, no, Father," replied Alessandro, "I did not bring it."

"Perhaps it would do him good it you were to sing, then," said
Ramona. "He was speaking of your voice also."

"Oh, try, try." said the Senorita, turning to Alessandro. "Sing
something low and soft."

Alessandro walked from the bed to the open window, and after
thinking for a moment, began a slow strain from one of the

At the first note, Felipe became suddenly quiet, evidently listening.
An expression of pleasure spread over his feverish face. He turned
his head to one side, put his hand under his cheek and closed his
eyes. The three watching him looked at each other in

"It is a miracle," said Father Salvierderra. "He will sleep."

"It was what he wanted!" whispered Ramona.

The Senora spoke not, but buried her face in the bedclothes for a
second; then lifting it, she gazed at Alessandro as if she were
praying to a saint. He, too, saw the change in Felipe, and sang
lower and lower, till the notes sounded as if they came from afar;
lower and lower, slower; finally they ceased, as if they died away
lost in distance. As they ceased, Felipe opened his eyes.

"Oh, go on, go on!" the Senora implored in a whisper shrill with
anxiety. "Do not stop!"

Alessandro repeated the strain, slow, solemn; his voice trembled;
the air in the room seemed stifling, spite of the open window; he
felt something like terror, as he saw Felipe evidently sinking to
sleep by reason of the notes of his voice. There had been nothing
in Alessandro's healthy outdoor experience to enable him to
understand such a phenomenon. Felipe breathed more and more
slowly, softly, regularly; soon he was in a deep sleep. The singing
stopped; Felipe did not stir.

"Can I go?" whispered Alessandro.

"No, no." replied the Senora, impatiently. "He may wake any

Alessandro looked troubled, but bowed his head submissively, and
remained standing by the window. Father Salvierderra was
kneeling on one side of the bed, the Senora at the other, Ramona at
the foot,-- all praying; the silence was so great that the slight
sounds of the rosary beads slipping against each other seemed
loud. In a niche in the wall, at the head of the bed, stood a statue of
the Madonna, on the other side a picture of Santa Barbara. Candles
were burning before each. The long wicks smouldered and died
down, sputtering, then flared up again as the ends fell into the
melted wax. The Senora's eyes were fixed on the Madonna. The
Father's were closed. Ramona gazed at Felipe with tears streaming
down her face as she mechanically told her beads.

"She is his betrothed, no doubt," thought Alessandro. "The saints
will not let him die;" and Alessandro also prayed. But the
oppression of the scene was too much for him. Laying his hand on
the low window-sill, he vaulted over it, saying to Ramona, who
turned her head at the sound, "I will not go away, Senorita, I will
be close under the window, if he awakes."

Once in the open air, he drew a long breath, and gazed
bewilderedly about him, like one just recovering consciousness
after a faint. Then he threw himself on the ground under the
window, and lay looking up into the sky. Capitan came up, and
with a low whine stretched himself out at full length by his side.
The dog knew as well as any other one of the house that danger
and anguish were there.

One hour passed, two, three; still no sound from Felipe's room.
Alessandro rose, and looked in at the window. The Father and the
Senora had not changed their attitudes; their lips were yet moving
in prayer. But Ramona had yielded to her fatigue; slipped from her
knees into a sitting posture, with her head leaning against the post
of the bedstead, and fallen asleep. Her face was swollen and
discolored by weeping, and heavy circles under her eyes told how
tired she was. For three days and nights she had scarcely rested, so
constant were the demands on her. Between Felipe's illness and
Juan Can's, there was not a moment without something to be done,
or some perplexing question to be settled, and above all, and
through all, the terrible sorrow. Ramona was broken down with
grief at the thought of Felipe's death. She had never known till she
saw him lying there delirious, and as she in her inexperience
thought, dying, how her whole life was entwined with his. But
now, at the very thought of what it would be to live without him,
her heart sickened. "When he is buried, I will ask Father
Salvierderra to take me away. I never can live here alone," she said
to herself, never for a moment perceiving that the word "alone"
was a strange one to have come into her mind in the connection.
The thought of the Senora did not enter into her imaginations of
the future which so smote her with terror. In the Senora's presence,
Ramona always felt herself alone.

Alessandro stood at the window, his arms folded, leaning on the
sill, his eyes fixed on Ramona's face and form. To any other than a
lover's eyes she had not looked beautiful now; but to Alessandro
she looked more beautiful than the picture of Santa Barbara on the
wall beyond. With a lover's instinct he knew the thoughts which
had written such lines on her face in the last three days. "It will kill
her if he dies," he thought, "if these three days have made her look
like that." And Alessandro threw himself on the ground again, his
face down. He did not know whether it were an hour or a day that
he had lain there, when he heard Father Salvierderra's voice
speaking his name. He sprang up, to see the old monk standing in
the window, tears running down his cheeks. "God be praised," he
said, "the Senor Felipe will get well. A sweat has broken out on his
skin; he still sleeps, but when he wakes he will be in his right
mind. The strength of the fever is broken. But, Alessandro, we
know not how to spare you. Can you not let the men go without
you, and remain here? The Senora would like to have you remain
in Juan Can's place till he is about. She will give you the same
wages he had. Would it not be a good thing for you, Alessandro?
You cannot be sure of earning so much as that for the next three
months, can you?"

While the Father was speaking, a tumult had been going on in
Alessandro's breast. He did not know by name any of the impulses
which were warring there, tearing him in twain, as it were, by their
pulling in opposite directions; one saying "Stay!" and the other
saying "Go!" He would not have known what any one meant, who
had said to him, "It is danger to stay; it is safety to fly." All the
same, he felt as if he could do neither.

"There is another shearing yet, Father," he began, "at the Ortega's
ranch. I had promised to go to them as soon as I had finished here,
and they have been wroth enough with us for the delay already. It
will not do to break the promise, Father."

Father Salvierderra's face fell. "No, my son, certainly not," he said;
"but could no one else take your place with the band?"

Hearing these words, Ramona came to the window, and leaning
out, whispered, "Are you talking about Alessandro's staying? Let
me come and talk to him. He must not go." And running swiftly
through the hall, across the veranda, and down the steps, she stood
by Alessandro's side in a moment. Looking up in his face
pleadingly, she said: "We can't let you go, Alessandro. The Senor
will pay wages to some other to go in your place with the shearers.
We want you to stay here in Juan Can's place till he is well. Don't
say you can't stay! Felipe may need you to sing again, and what
would we do then? Can't you stay?"

"Yes, I can stay, Senorita," answered Alessandro, gravely. "I will
stay so long as you need me."

"Oh, thank you, Alessandro!" Ramona cried. "You are good, to
stay. The Senora will see that it is no loss to you;" and she flew
back to the house.

"It is not for the wages, Senorita," Alessandro began; but Ramona
was gone. She did not hear him, and he turned away with a sense
of humiliation. "I don't want the Senorita to think that it was the
money kept me," he said, turning to Father Salvierderra. "I would
not leave the band for money; it is to help, because they are in
trouble, Father."

"Yes, yes, son. I understand that," replied the monk, who had
known Alessandro since he was a little fellow playing in the
corridors of San Luis Rey, the pet of all the Brothers there. "That is
quite right of you, and the Senora will not be insensible of it. It is
not for such things that money can pay. They are indeed in great
trouble now, and only the two women in the house; and I must
soon be going on my way North again."

"Is it sure that Senor Felipe will get well?" asked Alessandro.

"I think so," replied Father Salvierderra. "These relapses are
always worse than the first attack; but I have never known one to
die, after he had the natural sweat to break from the skin, and got
good sleep. I doubt not he will be in his bed, though, for many
days, and there will be much to be seen to. It was an ill luck to
have Juan Can laid up, too, just at this time. I must go and see him;
I hear he is in most rebellious frame of mind, and blasphemes

"That does he!" said Alessandro. "He swears the saints gave him
over to the fiends to push him off the plank, and he'll have none of
them from this out! I told him to beware, or they might bring him
to worse things yet if he did not mend his speech of them."

Sighing deeply as they walked along, the monk said: "It is but a
sign of the times. Blasphemers are on the highway. The people are
being corrupted. Keeps your father the worship in the chapel still,
and does a priest come often to the village?"

"Only twice a year," replied Alessandro; "and sometimes for a
funeral, if there is money enough to pay for the mass. But my
father has the chapel open, and each Sunday we sing what we
know of the mass; and the people are often there praying."

"Ay, ay! Ever for money!" groaned Father Salvierderra, not
heeding the latter part of the sentence. "Ever for money! It is a
shame. But that it were sure to be held as a trespass, I would go
myself to Temecula once in three months; but I may not. The
priests do not love our order."

"Oh, if you could, Father," exclaimed Alessandro, "it would make
my father very glad! He speaks often to me of the difference he
sees between the words of the Church now and in the days of the
Mission. He is very sad, Father, and in great fear about our village.
They say the Americans, when they buy the Mexicans' lands, drive
the Indians away as if they were dogs; they say we have no right to
our lands. Do you think that can be so, Father, when we have
always lived on them, and the owners promised them to us

Father Salvierderra was silent a long time before replying, and
Alessandro watched his face anxiously. He seemed to be hesitating
for words to convey his meaning. At last he said: "Got your father
any notice, at any time since the Americans took the country,--
notice to appear before a court, or anything about a title to the

"No, Father," replied Alessandro.

"There has to be some such paper, as I understand their laws,"
continued the monk; "some notice, before any steps can be taken
to remove Indians from an estate. It must be done according to the
law, in the courts. If you have had no such notice, you are not in

"But, Father," persisted Alessandro, "how could there be a law to
take away from us the land which the Senor Valdez gave us

"Gave he to you any paper, any writing to show it?"

"No, no paper; but it is marked in red lines on the map. It was
marked off by Jose Ramirez, of Los Angeles, when they marked all
the boundaries of Senor Valdez's estate. They had many
instruments of brass and wood to measure with, and a long chain,
very heavy, which I helped them carry. I myself saw it marked on
the map. They all slept in my father's house,-- Senor Valdez, and
Ramirez, and the man who made the measures. He hired one of
our men to carry his instruments, and I went to help, for I wished
to see how it was done; but I could understand nothing, and Jose
told me a man must study many years to learn the way of it. It
seemed to me our way, by the stones, was much better. But I know
it is all marked on the map, for it was with a red line; and my
father understood it, and Jose Ramirez and Senor Valdez both
pointed to it with their finger, and they said, 'All this here is your
land, Pablo, always.' I do not think my father need fear, do you?"

"I hope not," replied Father Salvierderra, cautiously; "but since the
way that all the lands of the Missions have been taken away, I have
small faith in the honesty of the Americans. I think they will take
all that they can. The Church has suffered terrible loss at their

"That is what my father says," replied Alessandro. "He says, 'Look
at San Luis Rey! Nothing but the garden and orchard left, of all
their vast lands where they used to pasture thirty thousand sheep. If
the Church and the Fathers could not keep their lands, what can we
Indians do?' That is what my father says."

"True, true!" said the monk, as he turned into the door of the room
where Juan Can lay on his narrow bed, longing yet fearing to see
Father Salvierderra's face coming in. "We are all alike helpless in
their hands, Alessandro. They possess the country, and can make
what laws they please. We can only say, 'God's will be done,'" and
he crossed himself devoutly, repeating the words twice.

Alessandro did the same, and with a truly devout spirit, for he was
full of veneration for the Fathers and their teachings; but as he
walked on towards the shearing-shed he thought: "Then, again,
how can it be God's will that wrong be done? It cannot be God's
will that one man should steal from another all he has. That would
make God no better than a thief, it looks to me. But how can it
happen, if it is not God's will?"

It does not need that one be educated, to see the logic in this
formula. Generations of the oppressed and despoiled, before
Alessandro, had grappled with the problem in one shape or

At the shearing-shed, Alessandro found his men in confusion and
ill-humor. The shearing had been over and done by ten in the
morning, and why were they not on their way to the Ortega's?
Waiting all day,-- it was now near sunset,-- with nothing to do, and
still worse with not much of anything to eat, had made them all
cross; and no wonder. The economical Juan Can, finding that the
work would be done by ten, and supposing they would be off
before noon, had ordered only two sheep killed for them the day
before, and the mutton was all gone, and old Marda, getting her
cue from Juan, had cooked no more frijoles than the family needed
themselves; so the poor shearers had indeed had a sorry day of it,
in no wise alleviated either by the reports brought from time to
time that their captain was lying on the ground, face down, under
Senor Felipe's window, and must not be spoken to.

It was not a propitious moment for Alessandro to make the
announcement of his purpose to leave the band; but he made a
clean breast of it in few words, and diplomatically diverted all
resentment from himself by setting them immediately to voting for
a new captain to take his place for the remainder of the season.

"Very well!" they said hotly; "captain for this year, captain for
next, too!" It wasn't so easy to step out and in again of the
captaincy of the shearers!

"All right," said Alessandro; "please yourselves! It is all the same
to me. But here I am going to stay for the present. Father
Salvierderra wishes it."

"Oh, if the Father wishes it, that is different." "Ah, that alters the
case!" "Alessandro is right!" came up in confused murmur from
the appeased crowd. They were all good Catholics, every one of
the Temecula men, and would never think of going against the
Father's orders. But when they understood that Alessandro's
intention was to remain until Juan Canito's leg should be well
enough for him to go about again, fresh grumblings began. That
would not do. It would be all summer. Alessandro must be at home
for the Saint Juan's Day fete, in midsummer,-- no doing anything
without Alessandro then. What was he thinking of? Not of the
midsummer fete, that was certain, when he promised to stay as
long as the Senorita Ramona should need him. Alessandro had
remembered nothing except the Senorita's voice, while she was
speaking to him. If he had had a hundred engagements for the
summer, he would have forgotten them all. Now that he was
reminded of the midsummer fete, it must be confessed he was for
a moment dismayed at the recollection; for that was a time, when,
as he well knew. his father could not do without his help. There
were sometimes a thousand Indians at this fete, and disorderly
whites took advantage of the occasion to sell whisky and
encourage all sorts of license and disturbance. Yes, Alessandro's
clear path of duty lay at Temecula when that fete came off. That
was certain.

"I will manage to be at home then," he said. "If I am not through
here by that time, I will at least come for the fete. That you may
depend on."

The voting for the new captain did not take long. There was, in
fact, but one man in the band fit for the office. That was Fernando,
the only old man in the band; all the rest were young men under
thirty, or boys. Fernando had been captain for several years, but
had himself begged, two years ago, that the band would elect
Alessandro in his place. He was getting old, and he did not like to
have to sit up and walk about the first half of every night, to see
that the shearers were not gambling away all their money at cards;
he preferred to roll himself up in his blanket at sunset and sleep till
dawn the next morning. But just for these few remaining weeks he
had no objection to taking the office again. And Alessandro was
right, entirely right, in remaining; they ought all to see that,
Fernando said; and his word had great weight with the men.

The Senora Moreno, he reminded them, had always been a good
friend of theirs, and had said that so long as she had sheep to shear,
the Temecula shearers should do it; and it would be very
ungrateful now if they did not do all they could to help her in her

The blankets were rolled up, the saddles collected, the ponies
caught and driven up to the shed, when Ramona and Margarita
were seen coming at full speed from the house.

"Alessandro! Alessandro!" cried Ramona, out of breath, "I have
only just now heard that the men have had no dinner to-day. I am
ashamed; but you know it would not have happened except for the
sickness in the house. Everybody thought they were going away
this morning. Now they must have a good supper before they go. It
is already cooking. Tell them to wait."

Those of the men who understood the Spanish language, in which
Ramona spoke, translated it to those who did not, and there was a
cordial outburst of thanks to the Senorita from all lips. All were
only too ready to wait for the supper. Their haste to begin on the
Ortega sheep-shearing had suddenly faded from their minds. Only
Alessandro hesitated.

"It is a good six hours' ride to Ortega's," he said to the men. "You'll
be late in, if you do not start now."

"Supper will be ready in an hour," said Ramona. "Please let them
stay; one hour can't make any difference."

Alessandro smiled. "It will take nearer two, Senorita, before they
are off," he said; "but it shall be as you wish, and many thanks to
you, Senorita, for thinking of it."

"Oh, I did not think of it myself," said Ramona. "It was Margarita,
here, who came and told me. She knew we would be ashamed to
have the shearers go away hungry. I am afraid they are very hungry
indeed," she added ruefully. "It must be dreadful to go a whole day
without anything to eat; they had their breakfast soon after sunrise,
did they not?"

"Yes, Senorita," answered Alessandro, "but that is not long; one
can do without food very well for one day. I often do."

"Often." exclaimed Ramona; "but why should you do that?" Then
suddenly bethinking herself, she said in her heart, "Oh, what a
thoughtless question! Can it be they are so poor as that?" And to
save Alessandro from replying, she set off on a run for the house,
saying, "Come, come, Margarita, we must go and help at the

"Will the Senorita let me help, too," asked Alessandro, wondering
at his own boldness,-- "if there is anything I can do?"

"Oh, no," she cried, "there is not. Yes, there is, too. You can help
carry the things down to the booth; for we are short of hands now,
with Juan Can in bed, and Luigo gone to Ventura for the doctor.
You and some of your men might carry all the supper over. I'll call
you when we are ready."

The men sat down in a group and waited contentedly, smoking,
chatting, and laughing. Alessandro walked up and down between
the kitchen and the shed. He could hear the sounds of rattling
dishes, jingling spoons, frying, pouring water. Savory smells began
to be wafted out. Evidently old Marda meant to atone for the
shortcoming of the noon. Juan Can, in his bed, also heard and
smelled what was going on. "May the fiends get me," he growled,
"if that wasteful old hussy isn't getting up a feast for those beasts
of Indians! There's mutton and onions, and peppers stewing, and
potatoes, I'll be bound, and God knows what else, for beggars that
are only too thankful to get a handful of roasted wheat or a bowl of
acorn porridge at home. Well, they'll have to say they were well
feasted at the Moreno's, -- that's one comfort. I wonder if
Margarita'll think I am worthy of tasting that stew! San Jose! but it
smells well! Margarita! Margarita!" he called at top of his lungs;
but Margarita did not hear. She was absorbed in her duties in the
kitchen; and having already taken Juan at sundown a bowl of the
good broth which the doctor had said was the only sort of food he
must eat for two weeks, she had dismissed him from her mind for
the night. Moreover, Margarita was absent-minded to-night. She
was more than half in love with the handsome Alessandro, who,
when he had been on the ranch the year before, had danced with
her, and said many a light pleasant word to her, evenings, as a
young man may; and what ailed him now, that he seemed, when he
saw her, as if she were no more than a transparent shade, through
which he stared at the sky behind her, she did not know. Senor
Felipe's illness, she thought, and the general misery and confusion,
had perhaps put everything else out of his head; but now he was
going to stay, and it would be good fun having him there, if only
Senor Felipe got well, which he seemed likely to do. And as
Margarita flew about, here, there, and everywhere, she cast
frequent glances at the tall straight figure pacing up and down in
the dusk outside.

Alessandro did not see her. He did not see anything. He was
looking off at the sunset, and listening. Ramona had said, "I will
call you when we are ready." But she did not do as she said. She
told Margarita to call.

"Run, Margarita," she said. "All is ready now; see if Alessandro is
in sight. Call him to come and take the things."

So it was Margarita's voice, and not Ramona's, that called
"Alessandro! Alessandro! the supper is ready."

But it was Ramona who, when Alessandro reached the doorway,
stood there holding in her arms a huge smoking platter of the stew
which had so roused poor Juan Can's longings; and it was Ramona
who said, as she gave it into Alessandro's hands, "Take care,
Alessandro, it is very full. The gravy will run over if you are not
careful. You are not used to waiting on table;" and as she said it,
she smiled full into Alessandro's eyes,-- a little flitting, gentle,
friendly smile, which went near to making him drop the platter,
mutton, gravy, and all, then and there, at her feet.

The men ate fast and greedily, and it was not, after all, much more
than an hour, when, full fed and happy, they were mounting their
horses to set off. At the last moment Alessandro drew one of them
aside. "Jose," he said, "whose horse is the faster, yours or

"Mine," promptly replied Jose. "Mine, by a great deal. I will run
Antonio any day he likes."

Alessandro knew this as well before asking as after. But
Alessandro was learning a great many things in these days, among
other things a little diplomacy. He wanted a man to ride at the
swiftest to Temecula and back. He knew that Jose's pony could go
like the wind. He also knew that there was a perpetual feud of
rivalry between him and Antonio, in matter of the fleetness of their
respective ponies. So, having chosen Jose for his messenger, he
went thus to work to make sure that he would urge his horse to its
utmost speed.

Whispering in Jose's ear a few words, he said, "Will you go? I will
pay you for the time, all you could earn at the shearing."

"I will go," said Jose, elated. "You will see me back tomorrow by

"Not earlier?" asked Alessandro. "I thought by noon."

"Well, by noon be it, then," said Jose. "The horse can do it."

"Have great care!" said Alessandro.

"That will I," replied Jose; and giving his horse's sides a sharp
punch with his knees, set off at full gallop westward.

"I have sent Jose with a message to Temecula," said Alessandro,
walking up to Fernando. "He will be back here tomorrow noon,
and join you at the Ortega's the next morning."

"Back here by noon to-morrow!" exclaimed Fernando. "Not unless
he kills his horse!"

"That was what he said," replied Alessandro, nonchalantly.

"Easy enough, too!" cried Antonio, riding up on his little dun mare.
"I'd go in less time than that, on this mare. Jose's is no match for
her, and never was. Why did you not send me, Alessandro?"

"Is your horse really faster than Jose's?" said Alessandro. "Then I
wish I had sent you. I'll send you next time."


IT was strange to see how quickly and naturally Alessandro fitted
into his place in the household. How tangles straightened out, and
rough places became smooth, as he quietly took matters in hand.
Luckily, old Juan Can had always liked him, and felt a great sense
of relief at the news of his staying on. Not a wholly unselfish
relief, perhaps, for since his accident Juan had not been without
fears that he might lose his place altogether; there was a Mexican
he knew, who had long been scheming to get the situation, and had
once openly boasted at a fandango, where he was dancing with
Anita, that as soon as that superannuated old fool, Juan Canito,
was out of the way, he meant to be the Senora Moreno's head
shepherd himself. To have seen this man in authority on the place,
would have driven Juan out of his mind.

But the gentle Alessandro, only an Indian,-- and of course the
Senora would never think of putting an Indian permanently in so
responsible a position on the estate,-- it was exactly as Juan would
have wished; and he fraternized with Alessandro heartily from the
outset; kept him in his room by the hour, giving him hundreds of
long-winded directions and explanations about things which, if
only he had known it, Alessandro understood far better than he

Alessandro's father had managed the Mission flocks and herds at
San Luis Rey for twenty years; few were as skilful as he; he
himself owned nearly as many sheep as the Senora Moreno; but
this Juan did not know. Neither did he realize that Alessandro, as
Chief Pablo's son, had a position of his own not without dignity
and authority. To Juan, an Indian was an Indian, and that was the
end of it. The gentle courteousness of Alessandro's manner, his
quiet behavior, were all set down in Juan's mind to the score of the
boy's native amiability and sweetness. If Juan had been told that
the Senor Felipe himself had not been more carefully trained in all
precepts of kindliness, honorable dealing, and polite usage, by the
Senora, his mother, than had Alessandro by his father, he would
have opened his eyes wide. The standards of the two parents were
different, to be sure; but the advantage could not be shown to be
entirely on the Senora's side. There were many things that Felipe
knew, of which Alessandro was profoundly ignorant; but there
were others in which Alessandro could have taught Felipe; and
when it came to the things of the soul, and of honor, Alessandro's
plane was the higher of the two. Felipe was a fair-minded,
honorable man, as men go; but circumstances and opportunity
would have a hold on him they could never get on Alessandro.
Alessandro would not lie; Felipe might. Alessandro was by nature
full of veneration and the religious instinct; Felipe had been
trained into being a good Catholic. But they were both singularly
pure-minded, open-hearted, generous-souled young men, and
destined, by the strange chance which had thus brought them into
familiar relations, to become strongly attached to each other. After
the day on which the madness of Felipe's fever had been so
miraculously soothed and controlled by Alessandro's singing, he
was never again wildly delirious. When he waked in the night from
that first long sleep, he was, as Father Salvierderra had predicted,
in his right mind; knew every one, and asked rational questions.
But the over-heated and excited brain did not for some time wholly
resume normal action. At intervals he wandered, especially when
just arousing from sleep; and, strangely enough, it was always for
Alessandro that he called at these times, and it seemed always to
be music that he craved. He recollected Alessandro's having sung
to him that first night. "I was not so crazy as you all thought," he
said. "I knew a great many of the things I said, but I couldn't help
saying them; and I heard Ramona ask Alessandro to sing; and
when he began, I remember I thought the Virgin had reached down
and put her hand on my head and cooled it."

On the second evening, the first after the shearers had left,
Alessandro, seeing Ramona in the veranda, went to the foot of the
steps, and said, "Senorita, would Senor Felipe like to have me play
on the violin to him tonight?"

"Why, whose violin have you got?" exclaimed Ramona,

"My own, Senorita."

"Your own! I thought you said you did not bring it."

"Yes, Senorita, that is true; but I sent for it last night, and it is

"Sent to Temecula and back already!" cried Ramona.

"Yes, Senorita. Our ponies are swift and strong. They can go a
hundred miles in a day, and not suffer. It was Jose brought it, and
he is at the Ortega's by this time."

Ramona's eyes glistened. "I wish I could have thanked him," she
said. "You should have let me know. He ought to have been paid
for going."

"I paid him, Senorita; he went for me," said Alessandro, with a
shade of wounded pride in the tone, which Ramona should have
perceived, but did not, and went on hurting the lover's heart still

"But it was for us that you sent for it, Alessandro; the Senora
would rather pay the messenger herself."

"It is paid, Senorita. It is nothing. If the Senor Felipe wishes to
hear the violin, I will play;" and Alessandro walked slowly away.

Ramona gazed after him. For the first time, she looked at him with
no thought of his being an Indian,-- a thought there had surely been
no need of her having, since his skin was not a shade darker than
Felipe's; but so strong was the race feeling, that never till that
moment had she forgotten it.

"What a superb head, and what a walk!" she thought. Then,
looking more observantly, she said: "He walks as if he were
offended. He did not like my offering to pay for the messenger. He
wanted to do it for dear Felipe. I will tell Felipe, and we will give
him some present when he goes away."

"Isn't he splendid, Senorita?" came in a light laughing tone from
Margarita's lips close to her ear, in the fond freedom of their
relation. "Isn't he splendid? And oh, Senorita, you can't think how
he dances! Last year I danced with him every night; he has wings
on his feet, for all he is so tall and big."

There was a coquettish consciousness in the girl's tone, that was
suddenly, for some unexplained reason, exceedingly displeasing to
Ramona. Drawing herself away, she spoke to Margarita in a tone
she had never before in her life used. "It is not fitting to speak like
that about young men. The Senora would be displeased if she
heard you," she said, and walked swiftly away leaving poor
Margarita as astounded as if she had got a box on the ear.

She looked after Ramona's retreating figure, then after
Alessandro's. She had heard them talking together just before she
came up. Thoroughly bewildered and puzzled, she stood
motionless for several seconds, reflecting; then, shaking her head,
she ran away, trying to dismiss the harsh speech from her mind.
"Alessandro must have vexed the Senorita," she thought, "to make
her speak like that to me." But the incident was not so easily
dismissed from Margarita's thoughts. Many times in the day it
recurred to her, still a bewilderment and a puzzle, as far from
solution as ever. It was a tiny seed, whose name she did not dream
of; but it was dropped in soil where it would grow some day, --
forcing-house soil, and a bitter seed; and when it blossomed,
Ramona would have an enemy.

All unconscious, equally of Margarita's heart and her own,
Ramona proceeded to Felipe's room. Felipe was sleeping, the
Senora sitting by his side, as she had sat for days and nights,-- her
dark face looking thinner and more drawn each day; her hair
looking even whiter, if that could be; and her voice growing
hollow from faintness and sorrow.

"Dear Senora," whispered Ramona, "do go out for a few moments
while he sleeps, and let me watch,-- just on the walk in front of the
veranda. The sun is still lying there, bright and warm. You will be
ill if you do not have air."

The Senora shook her head. "My place is here," she answered,
speaking in a dry, hard tone. Sympathy was hateful to the Senora
Moreno; she wished neither to give it nor take it. "I shall not leave
him. I do not need the air."

Ramona had a cloth-of-gold rose in her hand. The veranda eaves
were now shaded with them, hanging down like a thick fringe of
golden tassels. It was the rose Felipe loved best. Stooping, she laid
it on the bed, near Felipe's head. "He will like to see it when he
wakes," she said.

The Senora seized it, and flung it far out in the room. "Take it
away! Flowers are poison when one is ill," she said coldly. "Have I
never told you that?"

"No, Senora," replied Ramona, meekly; and she glanced
involuntarily at the saucer of musk which the Senora kept on the
table close to Felipe's pillow.

"The musk is different," said the Senora, seeing the glance. "Musk
is a medicine; it revives."

Ramona knew, but she would have never dared to say, that Felipe
hated musk. Many times he had said to her how he hated the odor;
but his mother was so fond of it, that it must always be that the
veranda and the house would be full of it. Ramona hated it too. At
times it made her faint, with a deadly faintness. But neither she nor
Felipe would have confessed as much to the Senora; and if they
had, she would have thought it all a fancy.

"Shall I stay?" asked Ramona, gently.

"As you please," replied the Senora. The simple presence of
Ramona irked her now with a feeling she did not pretend to
analyze, and would have been terrified at if she had. She would not
have dared to say to herself, in plain words: "Why is that girl well
and strong, and my Felipe lying here like to die! If Felipe dies, I
cannot bear the sight of her. What is she, to be preserved of the

But that, or something like it, was what she felt whenever Ramona
entered the room; still more, whenever she assisted in ministering
to Felipe. If it had been possible, the Senora would have had no
hands but her own do aught for her boy. Even tears from Ramona
sometimes irritated her. "What does she know about loving Felipe!
He is nothing to her!" thought the Senora, strangely mistaken,
strangely blind, strangely forgetting how feeble is the tie of blood
in the veins by the side of love in the heart.

If into this fiery soul of the Senora's could have been dropped one
second's knowledge of the relative positions she and Ramona
already occupied in Felipe's heart, she would, on the spot, have
either died herself or have slain Ramona, one or the other. But no
such knowledge was possible; no such idea could have found
entrance into the Senora's mind. A revelation from Heaven of it
could hardly have reached even her ears. So impenetrable are the
veils which, fortunately for us all, are forever held by viewless
hands between us and the nearest and closest of our daily

At twilight of this day Felipe was restless and feverish again. He
had dozed at intervals all day long, but had had no refreshing

"Send for Alessandro," he said. "Let him come and sing to me."

"He has his violin now; he can play, if you would like that better,"
said Ramona; and she related what Alessandro had told her of the
messenger's having ridden to Temecula and back in a night and
half a day, to bring it.

"I wanted to pay the man," she said; "I knew of course your mother
would wish to reward him. But I fancy Alessandro was offended.
He answered me shortly that it was paid, and it was nothing."

"You couldn't have offended him more," said Felipe. "What a pity!
He is as proud as Lucifer himself, that Alessandro. You know his
father has always been the head of their band; in fact, he has
authority over several bands; General, they call it now, since they
got the title from the Americans; they used to call it Chief., and
until Father Peyri left San Luis Rey, Pablo was in charge of all the
sheep, and general steward and paymaster. Father Peyri trusted
him with everything; I've heard he would leave boxes full of
uncounted gold in Pablo's charge to pay off the Indians. Pablo
reads and writes, and is very well off; he has as many sheep as we
have, I fancy!"

"What!" exclaimed Ramona, astonished. "They all look as if they
were poor."

"Oh, well, so they are," replied Felipe, "compared with us; but one
reason is, they share everything with each other. Old Pablo feeds
and supports half his village, they say. So long as he has anything,
he will never see one of his Indians hungry."

"How generous!" warmly exclaimed Ramona; "I think they are
better than we are, Felipe!"

"I think so, too," said Felipe. "That's what I have always said. The
Indians are the most generous people in the world. Of course they
have learned it partly from us; but they were very much so when
the Fathers first came here. You ask Father Salvierderra some day.
He has read all Father Junipero's and Father Crespi's diaries, and
he says it is wonderful how the wild savages gave food to every
one who came."

"Felipe. you are talking too much," said the Senora's voice, in the
doorway; and as she spoke she looked reproachfully at Ramona. If
she had said in words, "See how unfit you are to be trusted with
Felipe. No wonder I do not leave the room except when I must!"
her meaning could not have been plainer. Ramona felt it keenly,
and not without some misgiving that it was deserved.

"Oh, dear Felipe, has it hurt you?" she said timidly; and to the
Senora, "Indeed, Senora, he has been speaking but a very few
moments, very low."

"Go call Alessandro, Ramona, will you?" said Felipe. "Tell him to
bring his violin. I think I will go to sleep if he plays."

A long search Ramona had for Alessandro. Everybody had seen
him a few minutes ago, but nobody knew where he was now.
Kitchens, sheepfolds, vineyards, orchards, Juan Can's
bedchamber,-- Ramona searched them all in vain. At last, standing
at the foot of the veranda steps, and looking down the garden, she
thought she saw figures moving under the willows by the

"Can he be there?" she said. "What can he be doing there? Who is
it with him?" And she walked down the path, calling, "Alessandro!

At the first sound, Alessandro sprang from the side of his
companion, and almost before the second syllables had been said,
was standing face to face with Ramona.

"Here I am, Senorita. Does Senor Felipe want me? I have my
violin here. I thought perhaps he would like to have me play to him
in the twilight."

"Yes," replied Ramona, "he wishes to hear you. I have been
looking everywhere for you." As she spoke, she was half
unconsciously peering beyond into the dusk, to see whose figure it
was, slowly moving by the brook.

Nothing escaped Alessandro's notice where Ramona was
concerned. "It is Margarita," he said instantly. "Does the Senorita
want her? Shall I run and call her?"

"No," said Ramona, again displeased, she knew not why, nor in
fact knew she was displeased; "no, I was not looking for her. What
is she doing there?"

"She is washing," replied Alessandro, innocently.

"Washing at this time of day!" thought Ramona, severely. "A mere
pretext. I shall watch Margarita. The Senora would never allow
this sort of thing." And as she walked back to the house by
Alessandro's side, she meditated whether or no she would herself
speak to Margarita on the subject in the morning.

Margarita, in the mean time, was also having her season of
reflections not the pleasantest. As she soused her aprons up and
down in the water, she said to herself, "I may as well finish them
now I am here. How provoking! I've no more than got a word with
him, than she must come, calling him away. And he flies as if he
was shot on an arrow, at the first word. I'd like to know what's
come over the man, to be so different. If I could ever get a good
half-hour with him alone, I'd soon find out. Oh, but his eyes go
through me, through and through me! I know he's an Indian, but
what do I care for that. He's a million times handsomer than Senor
Felipe. And Juan Jose said the other day he'd make enough better
head shepherd than old Juan Can, if Senor Felipe'd only see it; and
why shouldn't he get to see it, if Alessandro's here all summer?"
And before the aprons were done, Margarita had a fine air-castle
up: herself and Alessandro married, a nice little house, children
playing in the sunshine below the artichoke-patch, she herself still
working for the Senora. "And the Senorita will perhaps marry
Senor Felipe," she added, her thoughts moving more hesitatingly.
"He worships the ground she walks on. Anybody with quarter of a
blind eye can see that; but maybe the Senora would not let him.
Anyhow, Senor Felipe is sure to have a wife, and so and so." It was
an innocent, girlish castle, built of sweet and natural longings, for
which no maiden, high or low, need blush; but its foundations
were laid in sand, on which would presently beat such winds and
floods as poor little Margarita never dreamed of.

The next day Margarita and Ramona both went about their day's
business with a secret purpose in their hearts. Margarita had made
up her mind that before night she would, by fair means or foul,
have a good long talk with Alessandro. "He was fond enough of
me last year, I know," she said to herself, recalling some of the
dances and the good-night leave-takings at that time. "It's because
he is so put upon by everybody now. What with Juan Can in one
bed sending for him to prate to him about the sheep, and Senor
Felipe in another sending for him to fiddle him to sleep, and all the
care of the sheep, it's a wonder he's not out of his mind altogether.
But I'll find a chance, or make one, before this day's sun sets. If I
can once get a half-hour with him, I'm not afraid after that; I know
the way it is with men!" said the confident Margarita, who, truth
being told, it must be admitted, did indeed know a great deal about
the way it is with men, and could be safely backed, in a fair field,
with a fair start, against any girl of her age and station in the
country. So much for Margarita's purpose, at the outset of a day
destined to be an eventful one in her life.

Ramona's purpose was no less clear. She had decided, after some
reflection, that she would not speak to the Senora about
Margarita's having been under the willows with Alessandro in the
previous evening, but would watch her carefully and see whether
there were any farther signs of her attempting to have clandestine
interviews with him.

This course she adopted, she thought, chiefly because of her
affection for Margarita, and her unwillingness to expose her to the
Senora's displeasure, which would be great, and terrible to bear.
She was also aware of an unwillingness to bring anything to light
which would reflect ever so lightly upon Alessandro in the
Senora's estimation. "And he is not really to blame," thought
Ramona, "if a girl follows him about and makes free with him. She
must have seen him at the willows, and gone down there on
purpose to meet him, making a pretext of the washing. For she
never in this world would have gone to wash in the dark, as he
must have known, if he were not a fool. He is not the sort of
person, it seems to me, to be fooling with maids. He seems as full
of grave thought as Father Salvierderra. If I see anything amiss in
Margarita to-day, I shall speak to her myself, kindly but firmly,
and tell her to conduct herself more discreetly."

Then, as the other maiden's had done, Ramona's thoughts, being
concentrated on Alessandro, altered a little from their first key,
and grew softer and more imaginative; strangely enough, taking
some of the phrases, as it were, out of the other maiden's mouth.

"I never saw such eyes as Alessandro has," she said. "I wonder any
girl should make free with him. Even I myself, when he fixes his
eyes on me, feel a constraint. There is something in them like the
eyes of a saint, so solemn, yet so mild. I am sure he is very good.

And so the day opened; and if there were abroad in the valley that
day a demon of mischief, let loose to tangle the skeins of human
affairs, things could not have fallen out better for his purpose than
they did; for it was not yet ten o'clock of the morning, when
Ramona, sitting at her embroidery in the veranda, half hid behind
the vines, saw Alessandro going with his pruning-knife in his hand
towards the artichoke-patch at the east of the garden, and joining
the almond orchard. "I wonder what he is going to do there," she
thought. "He can't be going to cut willows;" and her eyes followed
him till he disappeared among the trees.

Ramona was not the only one who saw this. Margarita, looking
from the east window of Father Salvierderra's room, saw the same
thing. "Now's my chance!" she said; and throwing a white reboso
coquettishly over her head, she slipped around the corner of the
house. She ran swiftly in the direction in which Alessandro had
gone. The sound of her steps reached Ramona, who, lifting her
eyes, took in the whole situation at a glance. There was no possible
duty, no possible message, which would take Margarita there.
Ramona's cheeks blazed with a disproportionate indignation. But
she bethought herself, "Ah, the Senora may have sent her to call
Alessandro!" She rose, went to the door of Felipe's room, and
looked in. The Senora was sitting in the chair by Felipe's bed, with
her eyes closed. Felipe was dozing. The Senora opened her eyes,
and looked inquiringly at Ramona.

"Do you know where Margarita is?" said Ramona.

"In Father Salvierderra's room, or else in the kitchen helping
Marda," replied the Senora, in a whisper. "I told her to help Marda
with the peppers this morning."

Ramona nodded, returned to the veranda, and sat down to decide
on her course of action. Then she rose again, and going to Father
Salvierderra's room, looked in. The room was still in disorder.
Margarita had left her work there unfinished. The color deepened
on Ramona's cheeks. It was strange how accurately she divined
each process of the incident. "She saw him from this window,"
said Ramona, "and has run after him. It is shameful. I will go and
call her back, and let her see that I saw it all. It is high time that
this was stopped."

But once back in the veranda, Ramona halted, and seated herself in
her chair again. The idea of seeming to spy was revolting to her.

"I will wait here till she comes back," she said, and took up her
embroidery. But she could not work. As the minutes went slowly
by, she sat with her eyes fixed on the almond orchard, where first
Alessandro and then Margarita had disappeared. At last she could
bear it no longer. It seemed to her already a very long time. It was
not in reality very long,-- a half hour or so, perhaps; but it was long
enough for Margarita to have made great headway, as she thought,
in her talk with Alessandro, and for things to have reached just the
worst possible crisis at which they could have been surprised,
when Ramona suddenly appeared at the orchard gate, saying in a
stern tone, "Margarita, you are wanted in the house!" At a bad
crisis, indeed, for everybody concerned. The picture which
Ramona had seen, as she reached the gate, was this: Alessandro,
standing with his back against the fence, his right hand hanging
listlessly down, with the pruning-knife in it, his left hand in the
hand of Margarita, who stood close to him, looking up in his face,
with a half-saucy, half-loving expression. What made bad matters
worse, was, that at the first sight of Ramona, Alessandro snatched
his hand from Margarita's, and tried to draw farther off from her,
looking at her with an expression which, even in her anger,
Ramona could not help seeing was one of disgust and repulsion.
And if Ramona saw it, how much more did Margarita! Saw it, as
only a woman repulsed in presence of another woman can see and
feel. The whole thing was over in the twinkling of an eye; the
telling it takes double, treble the time of the happening. Before
Alessandro was fairly aware what had befallen, Ramona and
Margarita were disappearing from view under the garden trellis,--
Ramona walking in advance, stately, silent, and Margarita
following, sulky, abject in her gait, but with a raging whirlwind in
her heart.

It had taken only the twinkling of an eye, but it had told Margarita
the truth. Alessandro too.

"My God." he said, "the Senorita thought me making love to that
girl. May the fiends get her!The Senorita looked at me as if I were
a dog. How could she think a man would look at a woman after he
had once seen her! And I can never, never speak to her to tell her!
Oh, this cannot be borne!" And in his rage Alessandro threw his
pruning-knife whirling through the air so fiercely, it sank to the
hilt in one of the old olive-trees. He wished he were dead. He was
minded to flee the place. How could he ever look the Senorita in
the face again!

"Perdition take that girl!" he said over and over in his helpless
despair. An ill outlook for Margarita after this; and the girl had not
deserved it.

In Margarita's heart the pain was more clearly defined. She had
seen Ramona a half-second before Alessandro had; and dreaming
no special harm, except a little confusion at being seen thus
standing with him,-- for she would tell the Senorita all about it
when matters had gone a little farther, -- had not let go of
Alessandro's hand. But the next second she had seen in his face a
look; oh, she would never forget it, never! That she should live to
have had any man look at her like that! At the first glimpse of the
Senorita, all the blood in his body seemed rushing into his face,
and he had snatched his hand away,-- for it was Margarita herself
that had taken his hand, not he hers,-- had snatched his hand away,
and pushed her from him, till she had nearly fallen. All this might
have been borne, if it had been only a fear of the Senorita's seeing
them, which had made him do it. But Margarita knew a great deal
better than that. That one swift, anguished, shame-smitten,
appealing, worshipping look on Alessandro's face, as his eyes
rested on Ramona, was like a flash of light into Margarita's
consciousness. Far better than Alessandro himself, she now knew
his secret. In her first rage she did not realize either the gulf
between herself and Ramona, or that between Ramona and
Alessandro. Her jealous rage was as entire as if they had all been
equals together. She lost her head altogether, and there was
embodied insolence in the tone in which she said presently, "Did
the Senorita want me?"

Turning swiftly on her, and looking her full in the eye, Ramona
said: "I saw you go to the orchard, Margarita, and I knew what you
went for. I knew that you were at the brook last night with
Alessandro. All I wanted of you was, to tell you that if I see
anything more of this sort, I shall speak to the Senora."

"There is no harm," muttered Margarita, sullenly. "I don't know
what the Senorita means."

"You know very well, Margarita," retorted Ramona. "You know
that the Senora permits nothing of the kind. Be careful, now, what
you do." And with that the two separated, Ramona returning to the
veranda and her embroidery, and Margarita to her neglected duty
of making the good Father's bed. But each girl's heart was hot and
unhappy; and Margarita's would have been still hotter and
unhappier, had she heard the words which were being spoken on
the veranda a little later.

After a few minutes of his blind rage at Margarita, himself, and
fate generally, Alessandro, recovering his senses, had ingeniously
persuaded himself that, as the Senora's; and also the Senorita's
servant, for the time being, he owed it to them to explain the
situation in which he had just been found. Just what he was to say
he did not know; but no sooner had the thought struck him, than he
set off at full speed for the house, hoping to find Ramona on the
veranda, where he knew she spent all her time when not with
Senor Felipe.

When Ramona saw him coming, she lowered her eyes, and was
absorbed in her embroidery. She did not wish to look at him.

The footsteps stopped. She knew he was standing at the steps. She
would not look up. She thought if she did not, he would go away.
She did not know either the Indian or the lover nature. After a
time, finding the consciousness of the soundless presence
intolerable, she looked up, and surprised on Alessandro's face a
gaze which had, in its long interval of freedom from observation,
been slowly gathering up into it all the passion of the man's soul,
as a burning-glass draws the fire of the sun's rays. Involuntarily a
low cry burst from Ramona's lips, and she sprang to her feet.

"Ah! did I frighten the Senorita? Forgive. I have been waiting here
a long time to speak to her. I wished to say --"

Suddenly Alessandro discovered that he did not know what he
wished to say.

As suddenly, Ramona discovered that she knew all he wished to
say. But she spoke not, only looked at him searchingly.

"Senorita," he began again, "I would never be unfaithful to my
duty to the Senora, and to you."

"I believe you, Alessandro," said Ramona. "It is not necessary to
say more."

At these words a radiant joy spread over Alessandro's face. He had
not hoped for this. He felt, rather than heard, that Ramona
understood him. He felt, for the first time, a personal relation
between himself and her.

"It is well," he said, in the brief phrase so frequent with his people.
"It is well." And with a reverent inclination of his head, he walked
away. Margarita, still dawdling surlily over her work in Father
Salvierderra's room, heard Alessandro's voice, and running to
discover to whom he was speaking, caught these last, words.
Peering from behind a curtain, she saw the look with which he said
them; saw also the expression on Ramona's face as she listened.

Margarita clenched her hands. The seed had blossomed. Ramona
had an enemy.

"Oh, but I am glad Father Salvierderra has gone!" said the girl,
bitterly. "He'd have had this out of me, spite of everything. I
haven't got to confess for a year, maybe; and much can happen in
that time."

Much, indeed!


FELIPE gained but slowly. The relapse was indeed, as Father
Salvierderra had said, worse than the original attack. Day after day
he lay with little apparent change; no pain, but a weakness so great
that it was almost harder to bear than sharp suffering would have
been. Nearly every day Alessandro was sent for to play or sing to
him. It seemed to be the only thing that roused him from his half
lethargic state. Sometimes he would talk with Alessandro on
matters relative to the estate, and show for a few moments
something like his old animation; but he was soon tired, and would
close his eyes, saying: "I will speak with you again about this,
Alessandro; I am going to sleep now. Sing."

The Senora, seeing Felipe's enjoyment of Alessandro's presence,
soon came to have a warm feeling towards him herself; moreover,
she greatly liked his quiet reticence. There was hardly a surer road
to the Senora's favor, for man or woman, than to be chary of
speech and reserved in demeanor. She had an instinct of kinship to
all that was silent, self-contained, mysterious, in human nature.
The more she observed Alessandro, the more she trusted and
approved him. Luckily for Juan Can, he did not know how matters
were working in his mistress's mind. If he had, he would have been
in a fever of apprehension, and would have got at swords' points
with Alessandro immediately. On the contrary, all unaware of the
real situation of affairs, and never quite sure that the Mexican he
dreaded might not any day hear of his misfortune, and appear,
asking for the place, he took every opportunity to praise
Alessandro to the Senora. She never visited his bedside that he had
not something to say in favor of the lad, as he called him.

"Truly, Senora," he said again and again, "I do marvel where the
lad got so much knowledge, at his age. He is like an old hand at
the sheep business. He knows more than any shepherd I have,-- a
deal more; and it is not only of sheep. He has had experience, too,
in the handling of cattle. Juan Jose has been beholden to him more
than once, already, for a remedy of which he knew not. And such
modesty, withal. I knew not that there were such Indians; surely
there cannot be many such."

"No, I fancy not," the Senora would reply, absently. "His father is a
man of intelligence, and has trained his son well."

"There is nothing he is not ready to do," continued Alessandro's
eulogist. "He is as handy with tools as if he had been 'prenticed to
a carpenter. He has made me a new splint for my leg, which was a
relief like salve to a wound, so much easier was it than before. He
is a good lad,-- a good lad."

None of these sayings of Juan's were thrown away on the Senora.
More and more closely she watched Alessandro; and the very thing
which Juan had feared, and which he had thought to avert by
having Alessandro his temporary substitute, was slowly coming to
pass. The idea was working in the Senora's mind, that she might do
a worse thing than engage this young, strong, active, willing man
to remain permanently in her employ. The possibility of an Indian's
being so born and placed that he would hesitate about becoming
permanently a servant even to the Senora Moreno, did not occur to
her. However, she would do nothing hastily. There would be plenty
of time before Juan Can's leg was well. She would study the young
man more. In the mean time, she would cause Felipe to think of
the idea, and propose it.

So one day she said to Felipe: "What a voice that Alessandro has,
Felipe. We shall miss his music sorely when he goes, shall we

"He's not going!" exclaimed Felipe, startled.

"Oh, no, no; not at present. He agreed to stay till Juan Can was
about again; but that will be not more than six weeks now, or
eight, I suppose. You forget how time has flown while you have
been lying here ill, my son."

"True, true!" said Felipe. "Is it really a month already?" and he

"Juan Can tells me that the lad has a marvellous knowledge for
one of his years," continued the Senora. "He says he is as skilled
with cattle as with sheep; knows more than any shepherd we have
on the place. He seems wonderfully quiet and well-mannered. I
never saw an Indian who had such behavior."

"Old Pablo is just like him," said Felipe. "It was natural enough,
living so long with Father Peyri. And I've seen other Indians, too,
with a good deal the same manner as Alessandro. It's born in

"I can't bear the idea of Alessandro's going away. But by that time
you will be well and strong," said the Senora; "you would not miss
him then, would you?"

"Yes, I would, too!" said Felipe, pettishly. He was still weak
enough to be childish. "I like him about me. He's worth a dozen
times as much as any man we've got. But I don't suppose money
could hire him to stay on any ranch."

"Were you thinking of hiring him permanently?" asked the Senora,
in a surprised tone. "I don't doubt you could do so if you wished.
They are all poor, I suppose; he would not work with the shearers
if he were not poor."

"Oh, it isn't that," said Felipe, impatiently. "You can't understand,
because you've never been among them. But they are just as proud
as we are. Some of them, I mean; such men as old Pablo. They
shear sheep for money just as I sell wool for money. There isn't so
much difference. Alessandro's men in the band obey him, and all
the men in the village obey Pablo, just as implicitly as my men
here obey me. Faith, much more so!" added Felipe, laughing. "You
can't understand it, mother, but it's so. I am not at all sure I could
offer Alessandro Assis money enough to tempt him to stay here as
my servant."

The Senora's nostrils dilated in scorn. "No, I do not understand it,"
she said. "Most certainly I do not understand it. Of what is it that
these noble lords of villages are so proud? their ancestors,-- naked
savages less than a hundred years ago? Naked savages they
themselves too, to-day, if we had not come here to teach and
civilize them. The race was never meant for anything but servants.
That was all the Fathers ever expected to make of them,-- good,
faithful Catholics, and contented laborers in the fields. Of course
there are always exceptional instances, and I think, myself,
Alessandro is one. I don't believe, however, he is so exceptional,
but that if you were to offer him, for instance, the same wages you
pay Juan Can, he would jump at the chance of staying on the

"Well, I shall think about it," said Felipe. "I'd like nothing better
than to have him here always. He's a fellow I heartily like. I'll think
about it."

Which was all the Senora wanted done at present.

Ramona had chanced to come in as this conversation was going
on. Hearing Alessandro's name she seated herself at the window,
looking out, but listening intently. The month had done much for
Alessandro with Ramona, though neither Alessandro nor Ramona
knew it. It had done this much,-- that Ramona knew always when
Alessandro was near, that she trusted him, and that she had ceased
to think of him as an Indian any more than when she thought of
Felipe, she thought of him as a Mexican. Moreover, seeing the two
men frequently together, she had admitted to herself, as Margarita
had done before her, that Alessandro was far the handsomer man
of the two. This Ramona did not like to admit, but she could not
help it.

"I wish Felipe were as tall and strong as Alessandro," she said to
herself many a time. "I do not see why he could not have been. I
wonder if the Senora sees how much handsomer Alessandro is."

When Felipe said that he did not believe he could offer Alessandro
Assis money enough to tempt him to stay on the place, Ramona
opened her lips suddenly, as if to speak, then changed her mind,
and remained silent. She had sometimes displeased the Senora by
taking part in conversations between her and her son.

Felipe saw the motion, but he also thought it wiser to wait till after
his mother had left the room, before he asked Ramona what she
was on the point of saying. As soon as the Senora went out, he
said, "What was it, Ramona, you were going to say just now?"

Ramona colored. She had decided not to say it,

"Tell me, Ramona," persisted Felipe. "You were going to say
something about Alessandro's staying; I know you were."

Ramona did not answer. For the first time in her life she found
herself embarrassed before Felipe.

"Don't you like Alessandro?" said Felipe.

"Oh, yes!" replied Ramona, with instant eagerness. "It was not that
at all. I like him very much;" But then she stopped.

"Well, what is it, then? Have you heard anything on the place
about his staying?"

"Oh, no, no; not a word!" said Ramona. "Everybody understands
that he is here only till Juan Can gets well. But you said you did
not believe you could offer him money enough to tempt him to

"Well," said Felipe, inquiringly, "I do not. Do you?"

"I think he would like to stay," said Ramona, hesitatingly. "That
was what I was going to say."

"What makes you think so?" asked Felipe.

"I don't know," Ramona said, still more hesitatingly. Now that she
had said it, she was sorry. Felipe looked curiously at her. Hesitancy
like this, doubts, uncertainty as to her impressions, were not
characteristic of Ramona. A flitting something which was far from
being suspicion or jealousy, and yet was of kin to them both, went
through Felipe's mind,-- went through so swiftly that he was scarce
conscious of it; if he had been, he would have scorned himself.
Jealous of an Indian sheep-shearers Impossible! Nevertheless, the
flitting something left a trace, and prevented Felipe from forgetting
the trivial incident; and after this, it was certain that Felipe would
observe Ramona more closely than he had done; would weigh her
words and actions; and if she should seem by a shade altered in
either, would watch still more closely. Meshes were closing
around Ramona. Three watchers of her every look and act,--
Alessandro in pure love, Margarita in jealous hate, Felipe in love
and perplexity. Only the Senora observed her not. If she had,
matters might have turned out very differently, for the Senora was
clear-sighted, rarely mistaken in her reading of people's motives,
never long deceived; but her observing and discriminating powers
were not in focus, so far as Ramona was concerned. The girl was
curiously outside of the Senora's real life. Shelter, food, clothes, all
external needs, in so far as her means allowed, the Senora would,
without fail, provide for the child her sister had left in her hands as
a trust; but a personal relation with her, a mother's affection, or
even interest and acquaintance, no. The Senora had not that to
give. And if she had it not, was she to blame? What could she do?
Years ago Father Salvierderra had left off remonstrating with her
on this point. "Is there more I should do for the child? Do you see
aught lacking, aught amiss?" the Senora would ask,
conscientiously, but with pride. And the Father, thus inquired of,
could not point out a duty which had been neglected.

"You do not love her, my daughter," he said.

"No." Senora Moreno's truthfulness was of the adamantine order.
"No, I do not. I cannot. One cannot love by act of will."

"That is true," the Father would say sadly; "but affection may be

"Yes, if it exists," was the Senora's constant answer. "But in this
case it does not exist. I shall never love Ramona. Only at your
command, and to save my sister a sorrow, I took her. I will never
fail in my duty to her."

It was of no use. As well say to the mountain, "Be cast into the
sea," as try to turn the Senora's heart in any direction whither it did
not of itself tend. All that Father Salvierderra could do, was to love
Ramona the more himself, which he did heartily, and more and
more each year, and small marvel at it; for a gentler, sweeter
maiden never drew breath than this same Ramona, who had been
all these years, save for Felipe, lonely in the Senora Moreno's

Three watchers of Ramona now. If there had been a fourth, and
that fourth herself, matters might have turned out differently. But
how should Ramona watch? How should Ramona know? Except
for her two years at school with the nuns, she had never been away
from the Senora's house. Felipe was the only young man she had
known,-- Felipe, her brother since she was five years old.

There were no gayeties in the Senora Moreno's home. Felipe, when
he needed them, went one day's journey, or two, or three, to get
them; went as often as he liked. Ramona never went. How many
times she had longed to go to Santa Barbara, or to Monterey, or
Los Angeles; but to have asked the Senora's permission to
accompany her on some of her now infrequent journeys to these
places would have required more courage than Ramona possessed.
It was now three years since she left the convent school, but she
was still as fresh from the hands of the nuns as on the day when,
with loving tears, they had kissed her in farewell. The few
romances and tales and bits of verse she had read were of the most
innocent and old-fashioned kind, and left her hardly less childlike
than before. This childlikeness, combined with her happy
temperament, had kept her singularly contented in her monotonous
life. She had fed the birds, taken care of the flowers, kept the
chapel in order, helped in light household work, embroidered,
sung, and, as the Senora eight years before had bade her do, said
her prayers and pleased Father Salvierderra.

By processes strangely unlike, she and Alessandro had both been
kept strangely free from thoughts of love and of marriage,-- he by
living in the shadow, and she by living in the sun; his heart and
thoughts filled with perplexities and fears, hers filled by a placid
routine of light and easy tasks, and the outdoor pleasures of a

As the days went on, and Felipe still remained feeble, Alessandro
meditated a bold stroke. Each time that he went to Felipe's room to
sing or to play, he felt himself oppressed by the air. An hour of it
made him uncomfortable. The room was large, and had two
windows, and the door was never shut; yet the air seemed to
Alessandro stifling.

"I should be as ill as the Senor Felipe, if I had to stay in that room,
and a bed is a weakening thing, enough to pull the strongest man
down," said Alessandro to Juan Can one day. "Do you think I
should anger them if I asked them to let me bring Senor Felipe out
to the veranda and put him on a bed of my making? I'd wager my
head I'd put him on his feet in a week."

"And if you did that, you might ask the Senora for the half of the
estate, and get it, lad," replied Juan, Seeing the hot blood
darkening in Alessandro's face at his words, he hastened to add,
"Do not be so hot-blooded. I meant not that you would ask any
reward for doing it; I was only thinking what joy it would be to the
Senora to see Senor Felipe on his feet again. It has often crossed
my thoughts that if he did not get up from this sickness the Senora
would not be long behind him. It is but for him that she lives. And
who would have the estate in that case, I have never been able to
find out."

"Would it not be the Senorita?" asked Alessandro.

Juan Can laughed an ugly laugh. "Ha, ha! Let the Senora hear you
say that!" he said. "Faith, it will be little the Senorita gets more
than enough for her bread, may be, out of the Moreno estate. Hark
ye, Alessandro; if you will not tell, I will tell you the story of the
Senorita. You know she is not of the Moreno blood; is no relation
of theirs."

"Yes," said Alessandro; "Margarita has said to me that the Senorita
Ramona was only the foster-child of the Senora Moreno."

"Foster-child!" repeated Juan Can, contemptuously, "there is
something to the tale I know not, nor ever could find out; for when
I was in Monterey the Ortegna house was shut, and I could not get
speech of any of their people. But this much I know, that it was the
Senora Ortegna that had the girl first in keeping; and there was a
scandalous tale about her birth."

If Juan Can's eyes had not been purblind with old age, he would
have seen that in Alessandro's face which would have made him
choose his words more carefully. But he went on: "It was after the
Senora Ortegna was buried, that our Senora returned, bringing this
child with her; and I do assure you, lad, I have seen the Senora
look at her many a time as if she wished her dead. And it is a
shame, for she was always as fair and good a child as the saints
ever saw. But a stain on the blood, a stain on the blood, lad, is a
bitter thing in a house. This much I know, her mother was an
Indian. Once when I was in the chapel, behind the big Saint Joseph
there, I overheard the Senora say as much. She was talking to
Father Salvierderra, and she said, 'If the child had only the one
blood in her veins, it would be different. I like not these crosses
with Indians.'"

If Alessandro had been civilized, he would at this word "Indian"
have bounded to his feet. Being Alessandro, he stood if possible
stiller than before, and said in a low voice, "How know you it was
the mother that was the Indian?"

Juan laughed again, maliciously: "Ha, it is the Ortegna face she
has; and that Ortegna, why, he was the scandal byword of the
whole coast. There was not a decent woman would have spoken to
him, except for his wife's sake."

"But did you not say that it was in the Senora Ortegna's keeping
that the child was?" asked Alessandro, breathing harder and faster
each moment now; stupid old Juan Can so absorbed in relish of his
gossip, that he noticed nothing.

"Ay, ay. So I said," he went on; "and so it was. There be such
saints, you know; though the Lord knows if she had been minded
to give shelter to all her husband's bastards, she might have taken
lease of a church to hold them. But there was a story about a man's
coming with this infant and leaving it in the Senora's room; and
she, poor lady, never having had a child of her own, did warm to it
at first sight, and kept it with her to the last; and I wager me, a
hard time she had to get our Senora to take the child when she
died; except that it was to spite Ortegna, I think our Senora would
as soon the child had been dead."

"Has she not treated her kindly?" asked Alessandro, in a husky

Juan Can's pride resented this question. "Do you suppose the
Senora Moreno would do an unkindness to one under her roof?" he
asked loftily. "The Senorita has been always, in all things, like
Senor Felipe himself. It was so that she promised the Senora
Ortegna, I have heard."

"Does the Senorita know all this?" asked Alessandro.

Juan Can crossed himself. "Saints save us, no!" he exclaimed. "I'll
not forget, to my longest day, what it cost me, once I spoke in her
hearing, when she was yet small. I did not know she heard; but she
went to the Senora, asking who was her mother. And she said I had
said her mother was no good, which in faith I did, and no wonder.
And the Senora came to me, and said she, 'Juan Canito, you have
been a long time in our house; but if ever I hear of your
mentioning aught concerning the Senorita Ramona, on this estate
or anywhere else in the country, that day you leave my service!' --
And you'd not do me the ill-turn to speak of it, Alessandro, now?"
said the old man, anxiously. "My tongue runs away with me, lying
here on this cursed bed, with nothing to do,-- an active man like

"No, I'll not speak of it, you may be assured," said Alessandro,
walking away slowly.

"Here! Here!" called Juan. "What about that plan you had for
making a bed for Senor Felipe on the verandah Was it of raw-hide
you meant?"

"Ah, I had forgotten," said Alessandro, returning. "Yes, that was it.
There is great virtue in a raw-hide, tight stretched; my father says
that it is the only bed the Fathers would ever sleep on, in the
Mission days. I myself like the ground even better; but my father
sleeps always on the rawhide. He says it keeps him well. Do you
think I might speak of it to the Senora?"

"Speak of it to Senor Felipe himself," said Juan. "It will be as he
says. He rules this place now, from beginning to end; and it is but
yesterday I held him on my knee. It is soon that the old are pushed
to the wall, Alessandro."

"Nay, Juan Canito," replied Alessandro, kindly. "It is not so. My
father is many years older than you are, and he rules our people
to-day as firmly as ever. I myself obey him, as if I were a lad still."

"What else, then, but a lad do you call yourself, I wonder?" thought
Juan; but he answered, "It is not so with us. The old are not held in
such reverence."

"That is not well," replied Alessandro. "We have been taught
differently. There is an old man in our village who is many, many
years older than my father. He helped to carry the mortar at the
building of the San Diego Mission, I do not know how many years
ago. He is long past a hundred years of age. He is blind and
childish, and cannot walk; but he is cared for by every one. And
we bring him in our arms to every council, and set him by my
father's side. He talks very foolishly sometimes, but my father will
not let him be interrupted. He says it brings bad luck to affront the
aged. We will presently be aged ourselves."

"Ay, ay!" said Juan, sadly. "We must all come to it. It is beginning
to look not so far off to me!"

Alessandro stared, no less astonished at Juan Can's unconscious
revelation of his standard of measurement of years than Juan had
been at his. "Faith, old man, what name dost give to yourself
to-day!" he thought; but went on with the topic of the raw-hide
bed. "I may not so soon get speech with Senor Felipe," he said. "It
is usually when he is sleepy that I go to play for him or to sing. But
it makes my heart heavy to see him thus languishing day by day,
and all for lack of the air and the sun, I do believe, indeed, Juan."

"Ask the Senorita, then," said Juan. "She has his ear at all times."

Alessandro made no answer. Why was it that it did not please
him,-- this suggestion of speaking to Ramona of his plan for
Felipe's welfare? He could not have told; but he did not wish to
speak of it to her.

"I will speak to the Senora," he said; and as luck would have it, at
that moment the Senora stood in the doorway, come to ask after
Juan Can's health.

The suggestion of the raw-hide bed struck her favorably. She
herself had, in her youth, heard much of their virtues, and slept on
them. "Yes," she said, "they are good. We will try it. It was only
yesterday that Senor Felipe was complaining of the bed he lies on;
and when he was well, he thought nothing could be so good; he
brought it here, at a great price, for me, but I could not lie on it. It
seemed as if it would throw me off as soon as I lay down; it is a
cheating device, like all these innovations the Americans have
brought into the country. But Senor Felipe till now thought it a
luxury; now he tosses on it, and says it is throwing him all the

Alessandro smiled, in spite of his reverence for the Senora. "I once
lay down on one myself, Senora," he said, "and that was what I
said to my father. It was like a wild horse under me, making
himself ready to buck. I thought perhaps the invention was of the
saints, that men should not sleep too long."

"There is a pile of raw-hides," said Juan, "well cured, but not too
stiff; Juan Jose was to have sent them off to-day to be sold; one of
those will be just right. It must not be too dry."

"The fresher the better," said Alessandro, "so it have no dampness.
Shall I make the bed, Senora?" he asked, "and will the Senora
permit that I make it on the veranda? I was just asking Juan Can if
he thought I might be so bold as to ask you to let me bring Senor
Felipe into the outer air. With us, it is thought death to be shut up
in walls, as he has been so long. Not till we are sure to die, do we
go into the dark like that."

The Senora hesitated. She did not share Alessandro's prejudice in
favor of fresh air.

"Night and day both?" she said. "Surely it is not well to sleep out in
the night?"

"That is the best of all, Senora," replied Alessandro, earnestly. "I
beg the Senora to try it. If Senor Felipe have not mended greatly
after the first night he had so slept, then Alessandro will be a liar."

"No, only mistaken," said the Senora, gently. She felt herself
greatly drawn to this young man by his devotion, as she thought, of
Felipe. "When I die and leave Felipe here," she had more than once
said to herself, "it would be a great good to him to have such a
servant as this on the place."

"Very well, Alessandro," she replied; "make the bed, and we will
try it at once."

This was early in the forenoon. The sun was still high in the west,
when Ramona, sitting as usual in the veranda, at her embroidery,
saw Alessandro coming, followed by two men, bearing the
raw-hide bed.

"What can that be?" she said. "Some new invention of
Alessandro's, but for what?"

"A bed for the Senor Felipe, Senorita," said Alessandro, running
lightly up the steps. "The Senora has given permission to place it
here on the veranda, and Senor Felipe is to lie here day and night;
and it will be a marvel in your eyes how he will gain strength. It is
the close room which is keeping him weak now; he has no illness."

"I believe that is the truth, Alessandro," exclaimed Ramona; "I
have been thinking the same thing. My head aches after I am in
that room but an hour, and when I come here I am well. But the
nights too, Alessandro? Is it not harmful to sleep out in the night

"Why, Senorita?" asked Alessandro, simply.

And Ramona had no answer, except, "I do not know; I have always
heard so."

"My people do not think so," replied Alessandro; "unless it is cold,
we like it better. It is good, Senorita, to look up at the sky in the

"I should think it would be," cried Ramona. "I never thought of it. I
should like to do it."

Alessandro was busy, with his face bent down, arranging the
bedstead in a sheltered corner of the veranda. If his face had been
lifted, Ramona would have seen a look on it that would have
startled her more than the one she had surprised a few days
previous, after the incident with Margarita. All day there had been
coming and going in Alessandro's brain a confused procession of
thoughts., vague yet intense. Put in words, they would have been
found to be little more than ringing changes on this idea: "The
Senorita Ramona has Indian blood in her veins. The Senorita
Ramona is alone. The Senora loves her not. Indian blood! Indian
blood!" These, or something like them, would have been the
words; but Alessandro did not put them in words. He only worked
away on the rough posts for Senor Felipe's bedstead, hammered,
fitted, stretched the raw-hide and made it tight and firm, driving
every nail, striking every blow, with a bounding sense of exultant
strength, as if there were suddenly all around him a new heaven
and a new earth.

Now, when he heard Ramona say suddenly in her girlish, eager
tone, "It must be; I never thought of it; I should like to try it," these
vague confused thoughts of the day, and the day's bounding sense
of exultant strength, combined in a quick vision before
Alessandro's eyes,-- a vision of starry skies overhead, Ramona and
himself together, looking up to them. But when he raised his head,
all he. said was, "There, Senorita! That is all firm, now. If Senor
Felipe will let me lay him an this bed, he will sleep as he has not
slept since he fell ill."

Ramona ran eagerly into Felipe's room, "The bed is all ready on
the veranda," she exclaimed. "Shall Alessandro come in and carry
you out?"

Felipe looked up, startled. The Senora turned on Ramona that
expression of gentle, resigned displeasure, which always hurt the
girl's sensitive nature far worse than anger. "I had not spoken to
Felipe yet of the change, Ramona," she said. "I supposed that
Alessandro would have informed me when the bed was ready; I am
sorry you came in so suddenly. Felipe is still very weak, you see."

"What is it? What is it?" exclaimed Felipe, impatiently.

As soon as it was explained to him, he was like a child in his haste
to be moved.

"That's just what I needed!" he exclaimed. "This cursed bed racks
every bone in my body, and I have longed for the sun more than
ever a thirsty man longed for water. Bless you, Alessandro," he
went on, seeing Alessandro in the doorway. "Come here, and take
me up in those long arms of yours, and carry me quick. Already I
feel myself better."

Alessandro lifted him as if he were a baby; indeed, it was but a
light burden now, Felipe's wasted body, for a man much less strong
than Alessandro to lift.

Ramona, chilled and hurt, ran in advance, carrying pillows and
blankets. As she began to arrange them on the couch, the Senora
took them from her hands, saying, "I will arrange them myself;"
and waved Ramona away.

It was a little thing. Ramona was well used to such. Ordinarily it
would have given her no pain she could not conceal. But the girl's
nerves were not now in equilibrium. She had had hard work to
keep back her tears at the first rebuff. This second was too much.
She turned, and walked swiftly away, the tears rolling down her

Alessandro saw it; Felipe saw it.

To Felipe the sight was, though painful, not a surprise. He knew
but too well how often his mother hurt Ramona. All he thought
now, in his weakness, was, "Alas! what a pity my mother does not
love Ramona!"

To Alessandro the sight was the one drop too much in the cup. As
he stooped to lay Felipe on the bed, he trembled so that Felipe
looked up, half afraid.

"Am I still so heavy, Alessandro?" he said smiling.

"It is not your weight, Senor Felipe," answered Alessandro, off
guard, still trembling, his eyes following Ramona.

Felipe saw. In the next second, the eyes of the two young men met.
Alessandro's fell before Felipe's. Felipe gazed on, steadily, at

"Ah!" he said; and as he said it, he closed his eyes, and let his head
sink back into the pillow.

"Is that comfortable? Is that right?" asked the Senora, who had
seen nothing.

"The first comfortable moment I have had, mother," said Felipe.
"Stay, Alessandro, I want to speak to you as soon as I am rested.
This move has shaken me up a good deal. Wait."

"Yes, Senor," replied Alessandro, and seated himself on the
veranda steps.

"If you are to stay, Alessandro," said the Senora, "I will go and
look after some matters that need my attention. I feel always at
ease about Senor Felipe when you are with him. You will stay till I
come back?"

"Yes, Senora," said Alessandro, in a tone cold as the Senora's own
had been to Ramona. He was no longer in heart the Senora
Moreno's servant. In fact, he was at that very moment revolving
confusedly in his mind whether there could be any possibility of
his getting away before the expiration of the time for which he had
agreed to stay.

It was a long time before Felipe opened his eyes. Alessandro
thought he was asleep.

At last Felipe spoke. He had been watching Alessandro's face for
some minutes. "Alessandro," he said.

Alessandro sprang to his feet, and walked swiftly to the bedside.
He did not know what the next word might be. He felt that the
Senor Felipe had seen straight into his heart in that one moment's
look, and Alessandro was preparing for anything.

"Alessandro," said Felipe, "my mother has been speaking to me
about your remaining with us permanently. Juan Can is now very
old, and after this accident will go on crutches the rest of his days,
poor soul! We are in great need of some man who understands
sheep, and the care of the place generally."

As he spoke, he watched Alessandro's face closely. Swift changing
expressions passed over it. Surprise predominated. Felipe
misunderstood the surprise. "I knew you would be surprised," he
said. "I told my mother that you would not think of it; that you had
stayed now only because we were in trouble."

Alessandro bowed his head gratefully. This recognition from
Felipe gave him pleasure.

"Yes, Senor," he said, "that was it. I told Father Salvierderra it was
not for the wages. But my father and I have need of all the money
we can earn. Our people are very poor, Senor. I do not know
whether my father would think I ought to take the place you offer
me, or not, Senor. It would be as he said. I will ask him."

"Then you would be willing to take it?" asked Felipe.

"Yes, Senor, if my father wished me to take it," replied
Alessandro, looking steadily and gravely at Felipe; adding, after a
second's pause, "if you are sure that you desire it, Senor Felipe, it
would be a pleasure to me to be of help to you."

And yet it was only a few moments ago that Alessandro had been
turning over in his mind the possibility of leaving the Senora
Moreno's service immediately. This change had not been a caprice,
not been an impulse of passionate desire to remain near Ramona;
it had come from a sudden consciousness that the Senor Felipe
would be his friend. And Alessandro was not mistaken.


WHEN the Senora came back to the veranda, she found Felipe
asleep, Alessandro standing at the foot of the bed, with his arms
crossed on his breast, watching him. As the Senora drew near,
Alessandro felt again the same sense of dawning hatred which had
seized him at her harsh speech to Ramona. He lowered his eyes,
and waited to be dismissed.

"You can go now, Alessandro," said the Senora. "I will sit here.
You are quite sure that it will be safe for Senor Felipe to sleep here
all night?"

"It will cure him before many nights," replied Alessandro, still
without raising his eyes, and turning to go.

"Stay," said the Senora. Alessandro paused. "It will not do for him
to be alone here in the night, Alessandro.'

Alessandro had thought of this, and had remembered that if he lay
on the veranda floor by Senor Felipe's side, he would also lie under
the Senorita's window.

"No, Senora," he replied. "I will lie here by his side. That was what
I had thought, if the Senora is willing."

"Thank you, Alessandro," said the Senora, in a tone which would
have surprised poor Ramona, still sitting alone in her room, with
sad eyes. She did not know the Senora could speak thus sweetly to
any one but Felipe. "Thank you! You are kind. I will have a bed
made for you."

"Oh, no." cried Alessandro; "if the Senora will excuse me, I could
not lie on a bed. A raw-hide like Senor Felipe's, and my blanket,
are all I want. I could not lie on any bed."

"To be sure," thought the Senora; "what was I thinking of! How the
boy makes one forget he is an Indian! But the floor is harder than
the ground, Alessandro," she said kindly.

"No, Senora," he said, "it is all one; and to-night I will not sleep. I
will watch Senor Felipe, in case there should be a wind, or he
should wake and need something."

"I will watch him myself till midnight," said the Senora. "I should
feel easier to see how he sleeps at first."

It was the balmiest of summer nights, and as still as if no living
thing were on the earth. There was a full moon, which shone on
the garden, and on the white front of the little chapel among the
trees. Ramona, from her window, saw Alessandro pacing up and
down the walk. She had seen him spread down the raw-hide by
Felipe's bed, and had seen the Senora take her place in one of the
big carved chairs. She wondered if they were both going to watch;
she wondered why the Senora would never let her sit up and watch
with Felipe.

"I am not of any use to anybody," she thought sadly. She dared not
go out and ask any questions about the arrangements for the night.
At supper the Senora had spoken to her only in the same cold and
distant manner which always made her dumb and afraid. She had
not once seen Felipe alone during the day. Margarita, who, in the
former times, -- ah, how far away those former times looked now!
-- had been a greater comfort to Ramona than she realized,--
Margarita now was sulky and silent, never came into Ramona's
presence if she could help it, and looked at her sometimes with an
expression which made Ramona tremble, and say to herself, "She
hates me; She has always hated me since that morning."

It had been a long, sad day to Ramona; and as she sat in her
window leaning her head against the sash, and looked at
Alessandro pacing up and down, she felt for the first time, and did
not shrink from it nor in any wise disavow or disguise it to herself,
that she was glad he loved her. More than this she did not think;
beyond this she did not go. Her mind was not like Margarita's, full
of fancies bred of freedom in intercourse with men. But distinctly,
tenderly glad that Alessandro loved her, and distinctly, tenderly
aware how well he loved her, she was, as she sat at her window
this night, looking out into the moonlit garden; after she had gone
to bed, she could still hear his slow, regular steps on the
garden-walk, and the last thought she had, as she fell asleep, was
that she was glad Alessandro loved her.

The moon had been long set, and the garden, chapel-front, trees,
vines, were all wrapped in impenetrable darkness, when Ramona
awoke, sat up in her bed, and listened. All was so still that the
sound of Felipe's low, regular breathing came in through her open
window. After hearkening to it for a few moments, she rose
noiselessly from her bed, and creeping to the window parted the
curtains and looked out; noiselessly, she thought; but it was not
noiselessly enough to escape Alessandro's quick ear; without a
sound, he sprang to his feet, and stood looking at Ramona's

"I am here, Senorita," he whispered. "Do you want anything?"

"Has he slept all night like this?" she whispered back.

"Yes, Senorita. He has not once moved."

"How good!" said Ramona. "How good!"

Then she stood still; she wanted to speak again to Alessandro, to
hear him speak again, but she could think of no more to say.
Because she could not, she gave a little sigh.

Alessandro took one swift step towards the window. "May the
saints bless you, Senorita," he whispered fervently.

"Thank you, Alessandro," murmured Ramona, and glided back to
her bed, but not to sleep. It lacked not much of dawn; as the first
faint light filtered through the darkness, Ramona heard the
Senora's window open.

"Surely she will not strike up the hymn and wake Felipe," thought
Ramona; and she sprang again to the window to listen. A few low
words between the Senora and Alessandro, and then the Senora's
window closed again, and all was still.

"I thought she would not have the heart to wake him," said
Ramona to herself. "The Virgin would have had no pleasure in our
song, I am sure; but I will say a prayer to her instead;" and she
sank on her knees at the head of her bed, and began saying a
whispered prayer. The footfall of a spider in Ramona's room had
not been light enough to escape the ear of that watching lover
outside. Again Alessandro's tall figure arose from the floor, turning
towards Ramona's window; and now the darkness was so far
softened to dusk, that the outline of his form could be seen.
Ramona felt it rather than saw it, and stopped praying. Alessandro
was sure he had heard her voice.

"Did the Senorita speak?" he whispered, his face close at the
curtain. Ramona, startled, dropped her rosary, which rattled as it
fell on the wooden floor.

"No, no, Alessandro," she said, "I did not speak." And she
trembled, she knew not why. The sound of the beads on the floor
explained to Alessandro what had been the whispered words he

"She was at her prayers," he thought, ashamed and sorry. "Forgive
me," he whispered, "I thought you called;" and he stepped back to
the outer edge of the veranda, and seated himself on the railing. He
would lie down no more. Ramona remained on her knees, gazing
at the window. Through the transparent muslin curtain the
dawning light came slowly, steadily, till at last she could see
Alessandro distinctly. Forgetful of all else, she knelt gazing at him.
The rosary lay on the floor, forgotten. Ramona would not finish
that prayer, that day. But her heart was full of thanksgiving and
gratitude, and the Madonna had a better prayer than any in the

The sun was up, and the canaries, finches, and linnets had made
the veranda ring with joyous racket, before Felipe opened his eyes.
The Senora had come and gone and come again, looking at him
anxiously, but he stirred not. Ramona had stolen timidly out,
glancing at Alessandro only long enough to give him one quick
smile, and bent over Felipe's bed, holding her breath, he lay so

"Ought he to sleep so long?" she whispered.

"Till the noon, it may be," answered Alessandro; "and when he
wakes, you will see by his eye that he is another man."

It was indeed so. When Felipe first looked about him, he laughed
outright with pure pleasure. Then catching sight of Alessandro at
the steps, he called, in a stronger voice than had yet been heard
from him, "Alessandro, you are a famous physician. Why couldn't
that fool from Ventura have known as much? With all his learning,
he had had me in the next world before many days, except for you.
Now, Alessandro, breakfast! I'm hungry. I had forgotten what the
thought of food was like to a hungry stomach. And plenty! plenty!"
he called, as Alessandro ran toward the kitchen. "Bring all they

When the Senora saw Felipe bolstered up in the bed, his eye
bright, his color good, his voice clear, eating heartily like his old
self, she stood like a statue in the middle of the veranda for a
moment; then turning to Alessandro, she said chokingly, "May
Heaven reward you!" and disappeared abruptly in her own room.
When she came out, her eyes were red. All day she moved and
spoke with a softness unwonted, indeed inconceivable. She even
spoke kindly and without constraint to Ramona. She felt like one
brought back from the dead.

After this, a new sort of life began for them all. Felipe's bed on the
veranda was the rallying point for everything and everybody.. The
servants came to look up at him, and wish him well, from the
garden-walk below. Juan Can, when he first hobbled out on the
stout crutches Alessandro had made him of manzanita wood,
dragged himself all the way round the house, to have a look at
Senor Felipe and a word with him. The Senora sat there, in the big
carved chair, looking like a sibyl with her black silk banded
head-dress severely straight across her brow, and her large dark
eyes gazing out, past Felipe, into the far south sky. Ramona lived
there too, with her embroidery or her book, sitting on cushions on
the floor in a corner, or at the foot of Felipe's bed, always so
placed, however,-- if anybody had noticed, but nobody did, -- so
placed that she could look at Felipe without looking full at the
Senora's chair, even if the Senora were not in it.

Here also came Alessandro many times a day,-- sometimes sent
for, sometimes of his own accord. He was freely welcome. When
he played or sang he sat on the upper step of the stairs leading
down to the garden. He also had a secret, which he thought all his
own, in regard to the positions he chose. He sat always, when
Ramona was there, in the spot which best commanded a view of
her face. The secret was not all his own. Felipe knew it. Nothing
was escaping Felipe in these days. A bomb-shell exploding at their
feet would not have more astonished the different members of this
circle, the Senora, Ramona, Alessandro, than it would to have been
made suddenly aware of the thoughts which were going on in
Felipe's mind now, from day to day, as he lay there placidly
looking at them all.

It is probable that if Felipe had been in full health and strength
when the revelation suddenly came to him that Alessandro loved
Ramona, and that Ramona might love Alessandro, he would have
been instantly filled with jealous antagonism. But at the time when
this revelation came, he was prostrate, feeble, thinking many times
a day that he must soon die; it did not seem to Felipe that a man
could be so weak as he was, and ever again be strong and well.
Side by side with these forebodings of his own death, always came
the thought of Ramona. What would become of her, if he were
gone? Only too well he knew that the girl's heart would be broken;
that she could not live on alone with his mother. Felipe adored his
mother; but he understood her feeling about Ramona.

With his feebleness had also come to Felipe, as is often the case in
long illnesses, a greater clearness of perception. Ramona had
ceased to puzzle him. He no longer asked himself what her long,
steady look into his eyes meant. He knew. He saw it mean that as a
sister she loved him, had always loved him, and could love him in
no other way. He wondered a little at himself that this gave him no
more pain; only a sort of sweet, mournful tenderness towards her.
It must be because he was so soon going out of the world, he
thought. Presently he began to be aware that a new quality was
coming into his love for her. He himself was returning to the
brother love which he had had for her when they were children
together, and in which he had felt no change until he became a
man and Ramona a woman. It was strange what a peace fell upon
Felipe when this was finally clear and settled in his mind. No
doubt he had had more misgiving and fear about his mother in the
matter than he had ever admitted to himself; perhaps also the
consciousness of Ramona's unfortunate birth had rankled at times;
but all this was past now. Ramona was his sister. He was her
brother. What course should he pursue in the crisis which he saw
drawing near? How could he best help Ramona? What would be
best for both her and Alessandro? Long before the thought of any
possible union between himself and Ramona had entered into
Alessandro's mind, still longer before it had entered into Ramona's
to think of Alessandro as a husband, Felipe had spent hours in
forecasting, plotting, and planning for them. For the first time in
his life he felt himself in the dark as to his mother's probable
action. That any concern as to Ramona's personal happiness or
welfare would influence her, he knew better than to think for a
moment. So far as that was concerned, Ramona might wander out
the next hour, wife of a homeless beggar, and his mother would
feel no regret. But Ramona had been the adopted daughter of the
Senora Ortegna, bore the Ortegna name, and had lived as
foster-child in the house of the Morenos. Would the Senora permit
such a one to marry an Indian?

Felipe doubted. The longer he thought, the more he doubted. The
more he watched, the more he saw that the question might soon
have to be decided. Any hour might precipitate it. He made plan
after plan for forestalling trouble, for preparing his mother; but
Felipe was by nature indolent, and now he was, in addition, feeble.
Day after day slipped by. It was exceedingly pleasant on the
veranda. Ramona was usually with him; his mother was gentler,
less sad, than he had ever seen her. Alessandro was always at hand,
ready for any service,-- in the field, in the house,-- his music a
delight, his strength and fidelity a repose, his personal presence
always agreeable. "If only my mother could think it," reflected
Felipe, "it would be the best thing, all round, to have Alessandro
stay here as overseer of the place, and then they might be married.
Perhaps before the summer is over she will come to see it so."

And the delicious, languid, semi-tropic summer came hovering
over the valley. The apricots turned golden, the peaches glowed,
the grapes filled and hardened, like opaque emeralds hung thick
under the canopied vines. The garden was a shade brown, and the
roses had all fallen; but there were lilies, and orange-blossoms,
and poppies, and carnations, and geraniums in the pots, and
musk,-- oh, yes, ever and always musk. It was like an enchanter's
spell, the knack the Senora had of forever keeping relays of musk
to bloom all the year; and it was still more like an enchanter's
spell, that Felipe would never confess that he hated it.' But the bees
liked it, and the humming-birds,-- the butterflies also; and the air
was full of them. The veranda was a quieter place now as the
season's noon grew near. The linnets were all nesting, and the
finches and the canaries too; and the Senora spent hours, every
day, tirelessly feeding the mothers. The vines had all grown and
spread out to their thickest; no need any longer of the gay blanket
Alessandro had pinned up that first morning to keep the sun off
Felipe's head.

What was the odds between a to-day and a to-morrow in such a
spot as this? "To-morrow," said Felipe, "I will speak to my
mother," and "to-morrow," and "to-morrow;" but he did not.

There was one close observer of these pleasant veranda days that
Felipe knew nothing about. That was Margarita. As the girl came
and went about her household tasks, she was always on the watch
for Alessandro, on the watch for Ramona. She was biding her
time. Just what shape her revenge was going to take, she did not
know. It was no use plotting. It must be as it fell out; but that the
hour and the way for her revenge would come she never doubted.

When she saw the group on the veranda, as she often did, all
listening to Alessandro's violin, or to his singing, Alessandro
himself now at his ease and free in the circle, as if he had been
there always, her anger was almost beyond bounds.

"Oh, ho! like a member of the family; quite so!" she sneered. "It is
new times when a head shepherd spends his time with the ladies of
the house, and sits in their presence like a guest who is invited! We
shall see; we shall see what comes of all this!" And she knew not
which she hated the more of the two, Alessandro or Ramona.

Since the day of the scene at the artichoke-field she had never
spoken to Alessandro, and had avoided, so far as was possible,
seeing him. At first Alessandro was sorry for this, and tried to be
friendly with her. As soon as he felt assured that the incident had
not hurt him at all in the esteem of Ramona, he began to be sorry
for Margarita. "A man should not be rude to any maiden," he
thought; and he hated to remember how he had pushed Margarita
from him, and snatched his hand away, when he had in the outset
made no objection to her taking it. But Margarita's resentment was
not to be appeased. She understood only too clearly how little
Alessandro's gentle advances meant, and she would none of them.
"Let him go to his Senorita," she said bitterly, mocking the
reverential tone in which she had overheard him pronounce the
word. "She is fond enough of him, if only the fool had eyes to see
it. She'll be ready to throw herself at his head before long, if this
kind of thing keeps up. 'It is not well to speak thus freely of young
men, Margarita!' Ha, ha! Little I thought that day which way the
wind set in my mistress's temper! I'll wager she reproves me no
more, under this roof or any other! Curse her! What did she want
of Alessandro, except to turn his head, and then bid him go his

To do Margarita justice, she never once dreamed of the possibility
of Ramona's wedding Alessandro. A clandestine affair, an intrigue
of more or less intensity, such as she herself might have carried on
with any one of the shepherds,-- this was the utmost stretch of
Margarita's angry imaginations in regard to her young mistress's
liking for Alessandro. There was not, in her way of looking at
things, any impossibility of such a thing as that. But marriage! It
might be questioned whether that idea would have been any more
startling to the Senora herself than to Margarita.

Little had passed between Alessandro and Ramona which
Margarita did not know. The girl was always like a sprite,-- here,
there, everywhere, in an hour, and with eyes which, as her mother
often told her, saw on all sides of her head. Now, fired by her new
purpose, new passion, she moved swifter than ever, and saw and
heard even more, There were few hours of any day when she did
not know to a certainty where both Alessandro and Ramona were;
and there had been few meetings between them which she had not
either seen or surmised.

In the simple life of such a household as the Senora's, it was not
strange that this was possible; nevertheless, it argued and involved
untiring vigilance on Margarita's part. Even Felipe, who thought
himself, from his vantage-post of observation on the veranda, and
from his familiar relation with Ramona, well informed of most
that happened, would have been astonished to hear all that
Margarita could have told him. In the first days Ramona herself
had guilelessly told him much,-- had told him how Alessandro,
seeing her trying to sprinkle and bathe and keep alive the green
ferns with which she had decorated the chapel for Father
Salvierderra's coming, had said: "Oh, Senorita, they are dead! Do
not take trouble with them! I will bring you fresh ones;" and the
next morning she had found, lying at the chapel door, a pile of
such ferns as she had never before seen; tall ones, like
ostrich-plumes, six and eight feet high; the feathery maidenhair,
and the gold fern, and the silver, twice as large as she ever had
found them. The chapel was beautiful, like a conservatory, after
she had arranged them in vases and around the high candlesticks.

It was Alessandro, too, who had picked up in the artichoke-patch
all of the last year's seed-vessels which had not been trampled
down by the cattle, and bringing one to her, had asked shyly if she
did not think it prettier than flowers made out of paper. His people,
he said, made wreaths of them. And so they were, more beautiful
than any paper flowers which ever were made,-- great soft round
disks of fine straight threads like silk, with a kind of saint's halo
around them of sharp, stiff points, glossy as satin, and of a lovely
creamy color. It was the strangest thing in the world nobody had
ever noticed them as they lay there on the ground. She had put a
great wreath of them around Saint Joseph's head, and a bunch in
the Madonna's hand; and when the Senora saw them, she
exclaimed in admiration, and thought they must have been made
of silk and satin.

And Alessandro had brought her beautiful baskets, made by the
Indian women at Pala, and one which had come from the North,
from the Tulare country; it had gay feathers woven in with the
reeds,-- red and yellow, in alternate rows, round and round. It was
like a basket made out of a bright-colored bird.

And a beautiful stone bowl Alessandro had brought her, glossy
black, that came all the way from Catalina Island; a friend of
Alessandro's got it. For the first few weeks it had seemed as if
hardly a day passed that there was not some new token to be
chronicled of Alessandro's thoughtfulness and good-will. Often,
too, Ramona had much to tell that Alessandro had said,-- tales of
the old Mission days that he had heard from his father; stories of
saints, and of the early Fathers, who were more like saints than
like men, Alessandro said,-- Father Junipero, who founded the first
Missions, and Father Crespi, his friend. Alessandro's grandfather
had journeyed with Father Crespi as his servant, and many a
miracle he had with his own eyes seen Father Crespi perform.
There was a cup out of which the Father always took his chocolate
for breakfast,-- a beautiful cup, which was carried in a box, the
only luxury the Father had; and one morning it was broken, and
everybody was in terror and despair. "Never mind, never mind,"
said the Father; "I will make it whole;" and taking the two pieces
in his hands, he held them tight together, and prayed over them,
and they became one solid piece again, and it was used all through
the journey, just as before.

But now, Ramona never spoke voluntarily of Alessandro. To
Felipe's sometimes artfully put questions or allusions to him, she
made brief replies, and never continued the topic; and Felipe had
observed another thing: she now rarely looked at Alessandro.
When he was speaking to others she kept her eyes on the ground. If
he addressed her, she looked quickly up at him, but lowered her
eyes after the first glance. Alessandro also observed this, and was
glad of it. He understood it. He knew how differently she could
look in his face in the rare moments when they were alone
together. He fondly thought he alone knew this; but he was
mistaken. Margarita knew. She had more than once seen it.

It had happened more than once that he had found Ramona at the
willows by the brook, and had talked with her there. The first time
it happened, it was a chance; after that never a chance again, for
Alessandro went often seeking the spot, hoping to find her. In
Ramona's mind too, not avowed, but half consciously, there was, if
not the hope of seeing him there, at least the memory that it was
there they had met. It was a pleasant spot,-- cool and shady even at
noon, and the running water always full of music. Ramona often
knelt there of a morning, washing out a bit of lace or a
handkerchief; and when Alessandro saw her, it went hard with him
to stay away. At such moments the vision returned to him vividly
of that first night when, for the first second, seeing her face in the
sunset glow, he had thought her scarce mortal. It was not that he
even now thought her less a saint; but ah, how well he knew her to
be human! He had gone alone in the dark to this spot many a time,
and, lying on the grass, put his hands into the running water, and
played with it dreamily, thinking, in his poetic Indian fashion,
thoughts like these: "Whither have gone the drops that passed
beneath her hands, just here? These drops will never find those in
the sea; but I love this water!"

Margarita had seen him thus lying, and without dreaming of the
refined sentiment which prompted his action, had yet groped
blindly towards it, thinking to herself: "He hopes his Senorita will
come down to him there. A nice place it is for a lady to meet her
lover, at the washing-stones! It will take swifter water than any in
that brook, Senorita Ramona, to wash you white in the Senora's
eyes, if ever she come upon you there with the head shepherd,
making free with him, may be! Oh, but if that could only happen,
I'd die content!" And the more Margarita watched, the more she
thought it not unlikely that it might turn out so. It was oftener at
the willows than anywhere else that Ramona and Alessandro met;
and, as Margarita noticed with malicious satisfaction, they talked
each time longer, each time parted more lingeringly. Several times
it had happened to be near supper-time; and Margarita, with one
eye on the garden-walk, had hovered restlessly near the Senora,
hoping to be ordered to call the Senorita to supper.

"If but I could come on them of a sudden, and say to her as she did
to me, 'You are wanted in the house'! Oh, but it would do my soul
good! I'd say it so it would sting like a lash laid on both their faces!
It will come! It will come! It will be there that she'll be caught one
of these fine times she's having! I'll wait! It will come!"


IT came. And when it came, it fell out worse for Ramona than
Margarita's most malicious hopes had pictured; but Margarita had
no hand in it. It was the Senora herself.

Since Felipe had so far gained as to be able to be dressed, sit in his
chair on the veranda, and walk about the house and garden a little,
the Senora, at ease in her mind about him, had resumed her old
habit of long, lonely walks on the place. It had been well said by
her servants, that there was not a blade of grass on the estate that
the Senora had not seen. She knew every inch of her land. She had
a special purpose in walking over it now. She was carefully
examining to see whether she could afford to sell to the Ortegas a
piece of pasture-land which they greatly desired to buy, as it joined
a pasturage tract of theirs. This bit of land lay farther from the
house than the Senora realized, and it had taken more time than
she thought it would, to go over it; and it was already sunset on
this eventful day, when, hurrying home, she turned off from the
highway into the same shortcut path in which Father Salvierderra
had met Ramona in the spring. There was no difficulty now in
getting through the mustard tangle. It was parched and dry, and
had been trampled by cattle. The Senora walked rapidly, but it was
dusky twilight when she reached the willows; so dusky that she
saw nothing -- and she stepped so lightly on the smooth brown
path that she made no sound -- until suddenly, face to face with a
man and a woman standing locked in each other's arms, she halted,
stepped back a pace, gave a cry of surprise, and, in the same
second, recognized the faces of the two, who, stricken dumb, stood
apart, each gazing into her face with terror.

Strangely enough, it was Ramona who spoke first. Terror for
herself had stricken her dumb; terror for Alessandro gave her a

"Senora," she began,

"Silence! Shameful creature!" cried the Senora. "Do not dare to
speak! Go to your room!"

Ramona did not move.

"As for you," the Senora continued, turning to Alessandro, "you,"
-- she was about to say, "You are discharged from my service from
this hour," but recollecting herself in time, said,-- "you will answer
to Senor Felipe. Out of my sight!" And the Senora Moreno
actually, for once in her life beside herself with rage, stamped her
foot on the ground. "Out of my sight!" she repeated.

Alessandro did not stir, except to turn towards Ramona with an
inquiring look. He would run no risk of doing what she did not
wish. He had no idea what she would think it best to do in this
terrible dilemma.

"Go, Alessandro," said Ramona, calmly, still looking the Senora
full in the eye. Alessandro obeyed; before the words had left her
lips, he had walked away.

Ramona's composure, and Alessandro's waiting for further orders
than her own before stirring from the spot, were too much for
Senora Moreno. A wrath, such as she had not felt since she was
young, took possession of her. As Ramona opened her lips again,
saying, "Senora," the Senora did a shameful deed; she struck the
girl on the mouth, a cruel blow.

"Speak not to me!" she cried again; and seizing her by the arm, she
pushed rather than dragged her up the garden-walk.

"Senora, you hurt my arm," said Ramona, still in the same calm
voice. "You need not hold me. I will go with you. I am not afraid."

Was this Ramona? The Senora, already ashamed, let go the arm,
and stared in the girl's face. Even in the twilight she could see
upon it an expression of transcendent peace, and a resolve of
which no one would have thought it capable. "What does this
mean?" thought the Senora, still weak, and trembling all over,
from rage. "The hussy, the hypocrite!" and she seized the arm

This time Ramona did not remonstrate, but submitted to being led
like a prisoner, pushed into her own room, the door slammed
violently and locked on the outside.

All of which Margarita saw. She had known for an hour that
Ramona and Alessandro were at the willows, and she had been
consumed with impatience at the Senora's prolonged absence.
More than once she had gone to Felipe, and asked with assumed
interest if he were not hungry, and if he and the Senorita would not
have their supper.

"No, no, not till the Senora returns," Felipe had answered. He, too,
happened this time to know where Ramona and Alessandro were.
He knew also where the Senora had gone, and that she would be
late home; but he did not know that there would be any chance of
her returning by way of the willows at the brook; if he had known
it, he would have contrived to summon Ramona.

When Margarita saw Ramona shoved into her room by the pale
and trembling Senora, saw the key turned, taken out, and dropped
into the Senora's pocket, she threw her apron over her head, and
ran into the back porch. Almost a remorse seized her. She
remembered in a flash how often Ramona had helped her in times
gone by,-- sheltered her from the Senora's displeasure. She
recollected the torn altar-cloth. "Holy Virgin! what will be done to
her now?" she exclaimed, under her breath. Margarita had never
conceived of such an extremity as this. Disgrace, and a sharp
reprimand, and a sundering of all relations with Alessandro, -- this
was all Margarita had meant to draw down on Ramona's head. But
the Senora looked as if she might kill her.

"She always did hate her, in her heart," reflected Margarita; "she
shan't starve her to death, anyhow. I'll never stand by and see that.
But it must have been something shameful the Senora saw, to have
brought her to such a pass as this;" and Margarita's jealousy again
got the better of her sympathy. "Good enough for her. No more
than she deserved. An honest fellow like Alessandro, that would
make a good husband for any girl!" Margarita's short-lived remorse
was over. She was an enemy again.

It was an odd thing, how identical were Margarita's and the
Senora's view and interpretation of the situation. The Senora
looking at it from above, and Margarita looking at it from below,
each was sure, and they were both equally sure, that it could be
nothing more nor less than a disgraceful intrigue. Mistress and
maid were alike incapable either of conjecturing or of believing
the truth.

As ill luck would have it,-- or was it good luck? -- Felipe also had
witnessed the scene in the garden-walk. Hearing voices, he had
looked out of his window, and, almost doubting the evidence of his
senses, had seen his mother violently dragging Ramona by the
arm,-- Ramona pale, but strangely placid; his mother with rage and
fury in her white face. The sight told its own tale to Felipe.
Smiting his forehead with his hand, he groaned out: "Fool that I
was, to let her be surprised; she has come on them unawares; now
she will never, never forgive it!" And Felipe threw himself on his
bed, to think what should be done. Presently he heard his mother's
voice, still agitated, calling his name. He remained silent, sure she
would soon seek him in his room. When she entered, and, seeing
him on the bed, came swiftly towards him, saying, "Felipe, dear,
are you ill?" he replied in a feeble voice, "No, mother, only tired a
little to-night;" and as she bent over him, anxious, alarmed, he
threw his arms around her neck and kissed her warmly. "Mother
mia!" he said passionately, "what should I do without you?" The
caress, the loving words, acted like oil on the troubled waters.
They restored the Senora as nothing else could. What mattered
anything, so long as she had her adoring and adorable son! And she
would not speak to him, now that he was so tired, of this
disgraceful and vexing matter of Alessandro. It could wait till
morning. She would send him his supper in his room, and he
would not miss Ramona, perhaps.

"I will send your supper here, Felipe," she said;. "you must not
overdo; you have been walking too much. Lie still." And kissing
him affectionately, she went to the dining-room, where Margarita,
vainly trying to look as if nothing had happened, was standing,
ready to serve supper. When the Senora entered, with her
countenance composed, and in her ordinary tones said, "Margarita,
you can take Senor Felipe's supper into his room; he is lying down,
and will not get up; he is tired," Margarita was ready to doubt if
she had not been in a nightmare dream. Had she, or had she not,
within the last half-hour, seen the Senora, shaking and speechless
with rage, push the Senorita Ramona into her room, and lock her
up there? She was so bewildered that she stood still and gazed at
the Senora, with her mouth wide open.

"What are you staring at, girl?" asked the Senora, so sharply that
Margarita jumped.

"Oh, nothing, nothing, Senora! And the Senorita, will she come to
supper? Shall I call her?" she said.

The Senora eyed her. Had she seen? Could she have seen? The
Senora Moreno was herself again. So long as Ramona was under
her roof, no matter what she herself might do or say to the girl, no
servant should treat her with disrespect, or know that aught was

"The Senorita is not well," she said coldly. "She is in her room. I
myself will take her some supper later, if she wishes it. Do not
disturb her." And the Senora returned to Felipe.

Margarita chuckled inwardly, and proceeded to clear the table she
had spread with such malicious punctuality two short hours before.
In those two short hours how much had happened!

"Small appetite for supper will our Senorita have, I reckon," said
the bitter Margarita, "and the Senor Alessandro also! I'm curious to
see how he will carry himself."

But her curiosity was not gratified. Alessandro came not to the
kitchen. The last of the herdsmen had eaten and gone; it was past
nine o'clock, and no Alessandro. Slyly Margarita ran out and
searched in some of the places where she knew he was in the habit
of going; but Alessandro was not to be found. Once she brushed so
near his hiding-place that he thought he was discovered, and was
on the point of speaking, but luckily held his peace, and she passed
on. Alessandro was hid behind the geranium clump at the chapel
door; sitting on the ground, with his knees drawn up to his chin,
watching Ramona's window. He intended to stay there all night.
He felt that he might be needed: if Ramona wanted him, she would
either open her window and call, or would come out and go down
through the garden-walk to the willows. In either case, he would
see her from the hiding-place he had chosen. He was racked by his
emotions; mad with joy one minute, sick at heart with misgiving
the next. Ramona loved him. She had told him so. She had said she
would go away with him and be his wife. The words had but just
passed her lips, at that dreadful moment when the Senora appeared
in their presence. As he lived the scene over again, he
re-experienced the joy and the terror equally.

What was not that terrible Senora capable of doing? Why did she
look at him and at Ramona with such loathing scorn? Since she
knew that the Senorita was half Indian, why should she think it so
dreadful a thing for her to marry an Indian man? It did not once
enter into Alessandro's mind, that the Senora could have had any
other thought, seeing them as she did, in each other's arms. And
again what had he to give to Ramona? Could she live in a house
such as he must live in,-- live as the Temecula women lived? No!
for her sake he must leave his people; must go to some town, must
do -- he knew not what -- something to earn more money. Anguish
seized him as he pictured to himself Ramona suffering
deprivations. The more he thought of the future in this light, the
more his joy faded and his fear grew. He had never had sufficient
hope that she could be his, to look forward thus to the practical
details of life; he had only gone on loving, and in a vague way
dreaming and hoping; and now,-- now, in a moment, all had been
changed; in a moment he had spoken, and she had spoken, and
such words once spoken, there was no going back; and he had put
his arms around her, and felt her head on his shoulder, and kissed
her! Yes, he, Alessandro, had kissed the Senorita Ramona, and she
had been glad of it, and had kissed him on the lips, as no maiden
kisses a man unless she will wed with him,-- him, Alessandro! Oh,
no wonder the man's brain whirled, as he sat there in the silent
darkness, wondering, afraid, helpless; his love wrenched from him,
in the very instant of their first kiss,-- wrenched from him, and he
himself ordered, by one who had the right to order him, to begone!
What could an Indian do against a Moreno!

Would Felipe help him? Ay, there was Felipe! That Felipe was his
friend, Alessandro knew with a knowledge as sure as the wild
partridge's instinct for the shelter of her brood; but could Felipe
move the Senora? Oh, that terrible Senora! What would become of

As in the instant of drowning, men are said to review in a second
the whole course of their lives, so in this supreme moment of
Alessandro's love there flashed through his mind vivid pictures of
every word and act of Ramona's since he first knew her. He
recollected the tone in which she had said, and the surprise with
which he heard her say it, at the time of Felipe's fall, "You are
Alessandro, are you not?" He heard again her soft-whispered
prayers the first night Felipe slept on the veranda. He recalled her
tender distress because the shearers had had no dinner; the evident
terribleness to her of a person going one whole day without food.
"O God! will she always have food each day if she comes with
me?" he said. And at the bare thought he was ready to flee away
from her forever. Then he recalled her look and her words only a
few hours ago, when he first told her he loved her; and his heart
took courage. She had said, "I know you love me, Alessandro, and
I am glad of it," and had lifted her eyes to his, with all the love that
a woman's eyes can carry; and when he threw his arms around her,
she had of her own accord come closer, and laid one hand on his
shoulder, and turned her face to his. Ah, what else mattered! There
was the whole world; if she loved him like this, nothing could
make them wretched; his love would be enough for her,-- and for
him hers was an empire.

It was indeed true, though neither the Senora nor Margarita would
have believed it, that this had been the first word of love ever
spoken between Alessandro and Ramona, the first caress ever
given, the first moment of unreserve. It had come about, as lovers'
first words, first caresses, are so apt to do, unexpectedly, with no
more premonition, at the instant, than there is of the instant of the
opening of a flower. Alessandro had been speaking to Ramona of
the conversation Felipe had held with him in regard to remaining
on the place, and asked her if she knew of the plan.

"Yes," she said; "I heard the Senora talking about it with Felipe,
some days ago."

"Was she against my staying?" asked Alessandro, quickly.

"I think not," said Ramona, "but I am not sure. It is not easy to be
sure what the Senora wishes, till afterward. It was Felipe that
proposed it."

This somewhat enigmatical statement as to the difficulty of
knowing the Senora's wishes was like Greek to Alessandro's mind.

"I do not understand, Senorita," he said. "What do you mean by

"I mean," replied Ramona, "that the Senora never says she wishes
anything; she says she leaves everything to Felipe to decide, or to
Father Salvierderra. But I think it is always decided as she wishes
to have it, after all. The Senora is wonderful, Alessandro; don't you
think so?"

"She loves Senor Felipe very much," was Alessandro's evasive

"Oh, yes," exclaimed Ramona. "You do not begin to know how
much. She does not love any other human being. He takes it all.
She hasn't any left. If he had died, she would have died too. That is
the reason she likes you so much; she thinks you saved Felipe's
life. I mean, that is one reason," added Ramona, smiling, and
looking up confidingly at Alessandro, who smiled back, not in
vanity, but honest gratitude that the Senorita was pleased to
intimate that he was not unworthy of the Senora's regard.

"I do not think she likes me," he said. "I cannot tell why; but I do
not think she likes any one in the world. She is not like any one I
ever saw, Senorita."

"No," replied Ramona, thoughtfully. "She is not. I am, oh, so afraid
of her, Alessandro! I have always been, ever since I was a little
girl. I used to think she hated me; but now I think she does not care
one way or the other, if I keep out of her way."

While Ramona spoke these words, her eyes were fixed on the
running water at her feet. If she had looked up, and seen the
expression in Alessandro's eyes as he listened, the thing which was
drawing near would have drawn near faster, would have arrived at
that moment; but she did not look up. She went on, little dreaming
how hard she was making it for Alessandro.

"Many's the time I've come down here, at night, to this brook, and
looked at it, and wished it was a big river, so I could throw myself
in, and be carried away out to the sea, dead. But it is a fearful sin,
Father Salvierderra says, to take one's own life; and always the
next morning, when the sun came out, and the birds sang, I've been
glad enough I had not done it. Were you ever so unhappy as that,

"No, Senorita, never," replied Alessandro; "and it is thought a great
disgrace, among us, to kill one's self. I think I could never do it.
But, oh, Senorita, it is a grief to think of your being unhappy. Will
you always be so? Must you always stay here?"

"Oh, but I am not always unhappy!" said Ramona, with her sunny
little laugh. "Indeed, I am generally very happy. Father
Salvierderra says that if one does no sin, one will be always happy,
and that it is a sin not to rejoice every hour of the day in the sun
and the sky and the work there is to do; and there is always plenty
of that." Then, her face clouding, she continued: "I suppose I shall
always stay here. I have no other home; you know I was the
Senora's sister's adopted child. She died when I was little, and the
Senora kindly took me. Father Salvierderra says I must never
forget to be grateful to her for all she has done for me, and I try not

Alessandro eyed her closely. The whole story, as Juan Can had
told it to him, of the girl's birth, was burning in his thoughts. How
he longed to cry out, "O my loved one, they have made you
homeless in your home. They despise you. The blood of my race is
in your veins; come to me; come to me! be surrounded with love!"
But he dared not. How could he dare?

Some strange spell seemed to have unloosed Ramona's tongue
to-night. She had never before spoken to Alessandro of her own
personal history or burdens; but she went on: "The worst thing is,
Alessandro, that she will not tell me who my mother was; and I do
not know if she is alive or not, or anything about her. Once I asked
the Senora, but she forbade me ever to ask her again. She said she
herself would tell me when it was proper for me to know. But she
never has."

How the secret trembled on Alessandro's lips now. Ramona had
never seemed so near, so intimate, so trusting. What would happen
if he were to tell her the truth? Would the sudden knowledge draw
her closer to him, or repel her?

"Have you never asked her again?" he said.

Ramona looked up astonished. "No one ever disobeyed the
Senora," she said quickly.

"I would!" exclaimed Alessandro.

"You may think so," said Ramona, "but you couldn't. When you
tried, you would find you couldn't. I did ask Father Salvierderra

"What did he say?" asked Alessandro, breathless.

"The same thing. He said I must not ask; I was not old enough.
When the time came, I would be told," answered Ramona, sadly. "I
don't see what they can mean by the time's coming. What do you
suppose they meant?"

"I do not know the ways of any people but my own, Senorita,"
replied Alessandro. "Many things that your people do, and still
more that these Americans do, are to me so strange, I know
nothing what they mean. Perhaps they do not know who was your

"I am sure they do," answered Ramona, in a low tone, as if the
words were wrung from her. "But let us talk about something else,
Alessandro; not about sad things, about pleasant things. Let us talk
about your staying here."

"Would it be truly a pleasure to the Senorita Ramona, if I stayed?"
said Alessandro.

"You know it would," answered Ramona, frankly, yet with a
tremor in her voice, which Alessandro felt. "I do not see what we
could any of us do without you. Felipe says he shall not let you

Alessandro's face glowed. "It must be as my father says, Senorita,"
he said. "A messenger came from him yesterday, and I sent him
back with a letter telling him what the Senor Felipe had proposed
to me, and asking him what I should do. My father is very old,
Senorita, and I do not see how he can well spare me. I am his only
child, and my mother died years ago. We live alone together in our
house, and when I am away he is very lonely. But he would like to
have me earn the wages, I know, and I hope he will think it best
for me to stay. There are many things we want to do for the
village; most of our people are poor, and can do little more than
get what they need to eat day by day, and my father wishes to see
them better off before he dies. Now that the Americans are coming
in all around us, he is afraid and anxious all the time. He wants to
get a big fence built around our land, so as to show where it is; but
the people cannot take much time to work on the fence; they need
all their time to work for themselves and their families. Indians
have a hard time to live now, Senorita. Were you ever in

"No," said Ramona. "Is it a large town?"

Alessandro sighed. "Dear Senorita, it is not a town; it is only a
little village not more than twenty houses in all, and some of those
are built only of tule. There is a chapel, and a graveyard. We built
an adobe wall around the graveyard last year. That my father said
we would do, before we built the fence round the village."

"How many people are there in the village?" asked Ramona.

"Nearly two hundred, when they are all there; but many of them
are away most of the time. They must go where they can get work;
they are hired by the farmers, or to do work on the great ditches, or
to go as shepherds; and some of them take their wives and children
with them. I do not believe the Senorita has ever seen any very
poor people."

"Oh, yes, I have, Alessandro, at Santa Barbara. There were many
poor people there, and the Sisters used to give them food every

"Indians?" said Alessandro.

Ramona colored. "Yes," she said, "some of them were, but not like
your men, Alessandro. They were very different; miserable
looking; they could not read nor write, and they seemed to have no

"That is the trouble," said Alessandro, "with so many of them; it is
with my father's people, too. They say, 'What is the use?' My father
gets in despair with them, because they will not learn better. He
gives them a great deal, but they do not seem to be any better off
for it. There is only one other man in our village who can read and
write, besides my father and me, Senorita; and yet my father is all
the time begging them to come to his house and learn of him. But
they say they have no time; and indeed there is much truth in that,
Senorita. You see everybody has troubles, Senorita."

Ramona had been listening with sorrowful face. All this was new
to her. Until to-night, neither she nor Alessandro had spoken of
private and personal matters.

"Ah, but these are real troubles," she said. "I do not think mine
were real troubles at all. I wish I could do something for your
people, Alessandro. If the village were only near by, I could teach
them, could I not? I could teach them to read. The Sisters always
said, that to teach the ignorant and the poor was the noblest work
one could do. I wish I could teach your people. Have you any
relatives there besides your father? Is there any one in the village
that you -- love, Alessandro?"

Alessandro was too much absorbed in thoughts of his people, to
observe the hesitating emphasis with which Ramona asked this

"Yes, Senorita, I love them all. They are like my brothers and
sisters, all of my father's people," he said; "and I am unhappy about
them all the time."

During the whole of this conversation Ramona had had an
undercurrent of thought going on, which was making her uneasy.
The more Alessandro said about his father and his people, the
more she realized that he was held to Temecula by bonds that
would be hard to break, the more she feared his father would not
let him remain away from home for any length of time. At the
thought of his going away, her very heart sickened. Taking a
sudden step towards him, she said abruptly, "Alessandro, I am
afraid your father will not give his consent to your staying here."

"So am I, Senorita," he replied sadly.

"And you would not stay if he did not approve of it, of course," she

"How could I, Senorita?"

"No," she said, "it would not be right;" but as she said these words,
the tears filled her eyes.

Alessandro saw them. The world changed in that second.
"Senorita! Senorita Ramona!" he cried, "tears have come in your
eyes! O Senorita, then you will not be angry if I say that I love
you!" and Alessandro trembled with the terror and delight of
having said the words.

Hardly did he trust his palpitating senses to be telling him true the
words that followed, quick, firm, though only in a whisper,-- "I
know that you love me, Alessandro, and I am glad of it!" Yes, this
was what the Senorita Ramona was saying! And when he
stammered, "But you, Senorita, you do not -- you could not --"
"Yes, Alessandro, I do -- I love you!" in the same clear, firm
whisper; and the next minute Alessandro's arms were around
Ramona, and he had kissed her, sobbing rather than saying, "O
Senorita, do you mean that you will go with me? that you are
mine? Oh, no, beloved Senorita, you cannot mean that!" But he
was kissing her. He knew she did mean it; and Ramona,
whispering, "Yes, Alessandro, I do mean it; I will go with you,"
clung to him with her hands, and kissed him, and repeated it, "I
will go with you, I love you." And then, just then, came the
Senora's step, and her sharp cry of amazement, and there she stood,
no more than an arm's-length away, looking at them with her
indignant, terrible eyes.

What an hour this for Alessandro to be living over and over, as he
crouched in the darkness, watching! But the bewilderment of his
emotions did not dull his senses. As if stalking deer in a forest, he
listened for sounds from the house. It seemed strangely still. As the
darkness deepened, it seemed still stranger that no lamps were lit.
Darkness in the Senora's room, in the Senorita's; a faint light in the
dining-room, soon put out,-- evidently no supper going on there.
Only from under Felipe's door streamed a faint radiance; and
creeping close to the veranda, Alessandro heard voices fitfully
talking,-- the Senora's and Felipe's; no word from Ramona.
Piteously he fixed his eyes on her window; it was open, but the
curtains tight drawn; no stir, no sound. Where was she? What had
been done to his love? Only the tireless caution and infinite
patience of his Indian blood kept Alessandro from going to her
window. But he would imperil nothing by acting on his own
responsibility. He would wait, if it were till daylight, till his love
made a sign. Certainly before long Senor Felipe would come to his
veranda bed, and then he could venture to speak to him. But it was
near midnight when the door of Felipe's room opened, and he and
his mother came out, still speaking in low tones. Felipe lay down
on his couch; his mother, bending over, kissed him, bade him
good-night, and went into her own room.

It had been some time now since Alessandro had left off sleeping
on the veranda floor by Felipe's side. Felipe was so well it was not
needful. But Felipe felt sure he would come to-night, and was not
surprised when, a few minutes after the Senora's door closed, he
heard a low voice through the vines, "Senor Felipe?"

"Hush, Alessandro," whispered Felipe. "Do not make a sound.
To-morrow morning early I will see you, behind the little
sheepfold. It is not safe to talk here."

"Where is the Senorita?" Alessandro breathed rather than said.

"In her room," answered Felipe.

"Well?" said Alessandro.

"Yes," said Felipe, hoping he was not lying; and this was all
Alessandro had to comfort himself with, through his long night of
watching. No, not all; one other thing comforted him,-- the notes
of two wood-doves, that at intervals he heard, cooing to each
other; just the two notes, the call and the answer, "Love?" "Here."
"Love?" "Here," -- and long intervals of silence between. Plain as if
written on a page was the thing they told.

"That is what my Ramona is like," thought he, "the gentle
wood-dove. If she is my wife my people will call her Majel, the


WHEN the Senora bade Felipe good-night, she did not go to bed.
After closing her door, she sat down to think what should be done
about Ramona. It had been a hard task she had set herself, talking
all the evening with Felipe without alluding to the topic uppermost
in her mind. But Felipe was still nervous and irritable. She would
not spoil his night's rest, she thought, by talking of disagreeable
things. Moreover, she was not clear in her own mind what she
wished to have done about Alessandro. If Ramona were to be sent
away to the nuns, which was the only thing the Senora could think
of as yet, there would be no reason for discharging Alessandro.
And with him the Senora was by no means ready to part, though in
her first anger she had been ready to dismiss him on the spot. As
she pursued her reflections, the whole situation cleared itself in her
mind; so easily do affairs fall into line, in the plottings and
plannings of an arbitrary person, who makes in his formula no
allowance for a human element which he cannot control.

Ramona should be sent in disgrace to the Sisters' School, to be a
servant there for the rest of her life. The Senora would wash her
hands of her forever. Even Father Salvierderra himself could not
expect her any longer to keep such a shameless creature under her
roof. Her sister's written instructions had provided for the
possibility of just such a contingency. Going to a secret closet in
the wall, behind a life-size statue of Saint Catharine, the Senora
took out an iron box, battered and rusty with age, and set it on the
bed. The key turned with difficulty in the lock. It was many years
since the Senora had opened this box. No one but herself knew of
its existence. There had been many times in the history of the
Moreno house when the price of the contents of that box would
have averted loss and misfortune; but the Senora no more thought
of touching the treasure than if it had been guarded by angels with
fiery swords. There they lay, brilliant and shining even in the dim
light of the one candle,-- rubies, emeralds, pearls, and yellow
diamonds. The Senora's lip curled as she looked at them. "Fine
dowry, truly, for a creature like this!" she said. "Well I knew in the
beginning no good would come of it; base begotten, base born, she
has but carried out the instincts of her nature. I suppose I may be
grateful that my own son was too pure to be her prey!" "To be
given to my adopted daughter, Ramona Ortegna, on her wedding
day," -- so the instructions ran,-- "if she weds worthily and with
your approval. Should such a misfortune occur, which I do not
anticipate, as that she should prove unworthy, then these jewels,
and all I have left to her of value, shall be the property of the

"No mention as to what I am to do with the girl herself if she
proves unworthy," thought the Senora, bitterly; "but the Church is
the place for her; no other keeping will save her from the lowest
depths of disgrace. I recollect my sister said that Angus had at first
intended to give the infant to the Church. Would to God he had
done so, or left it with its Indian mother!" and the Senora rose, and
paced the floor. The paper of her dead sister's handwriting fell at
her feet. As she walked, her long skirt swept it rustling to and fro.
She stooped, picked it up, read it again, with increasing bitterness.
No softness at the memory of her sister's love for the little child;
no relenting. "Unworthy!" Yes, that was a mild word to apply to
Ramona, now. It was all settled; and when the girl was once out of
the house, the Senora would breathe easier. She and Felipe would
lead their lives together, and Felipe would wed some day. Was
there a woman fair enough, good enough, for Felipe to wed? But
he must wed; and the place would be gay with children's voices,
and Ramona would be forgotten.

The Senora did not know how late it was. "I will tell her to-night,"
she said. "I will lose no time; and now she shall hear who her
mother was!"

It was a strange freak of just impulse in the Senora's angry soul,
which made her suddenly remember that Ramona had had no
supper, and led her to go to the kitchen, get a jug of milk and some
bread, and take them to the room. Turning the key cautiously, that
Felipe might not hear, she opened the door and glided in. No voice
greeted her; she held her candle high up; no Ramona in sight; the
bed was empty. She glanced at the window. It was open. A terror
seized the Senora; fresh anger also. "She has run off with
Alessandro," she thought, "What horrible disgrace." Standing
motionless, she heard a faint, regular breathing from the other side
of the bed. Hastily crossing the room, she saw a sight which had
melted a heart that was only ice; but the Senora's was stone toward
Ramona. There lay Ramona on the floor, her head on a pillow at
the feet of the big Madonna which stood in the corner. Her left
hand was under her cheek, her right arm flung tight around the
base of the statue. She was sound asleep. Her face was wet with
tears. Her whole attitude was full of significance. Even helpless in
sleep, she was one who had taken refuge in sanctuary. This
thought had been distinct in the girl's mind when she found herself,
spite of all her woe and terror, growing sleepy. "She won't dare to
hurt me at the Virgin's feet," she had said; "and the window is
open. Felipe would hear if I called; and Alessandro will watch."
And with a prayer on her lips she fell asleep.

It was Felipe's nearness more than the Madonna's, which saved her
from being roused to hear her doom. The Senora stood for some
moments looking at her, and at the open window. With a hot rush
of disgraceful suspicions, she noted what she had never before
thought of, that Alessandro, through all his watching with Felipe,
had had close access to Ramona's window. "Shameful creature!"
she repeated to herself. "And she can sleep! It is well she prayed, if
the Virgin will hear such!" and she turned away, first setting down
the jug of milk and the bread on a table. Then, with a sudden and
still more curious mingling of justness in her wrath, she returned,
and lifting the coverlet from the bed, spread it over Ramona,
covering her carefully from head to foot. Then she went out and
again locked the door.

Felipe, from his bed, heard and divined all, but made no sound.
"Thank God, the poor child is asleep!" he said; "and my poor dear
mother feared to awake me by speaking to her! What will become
of us all to-morrow!" And Felipe tossed and turned, and had barely
fallen into an uneasy sleep, when his mother's window opened, and
she sang the first line of the sunrise hymn. Instantly Ramona
joined, evidently awake and ready; and no sooner did the watching
Alessandro hear the first note of her voice, than he struck in; and
Margarita, who had been up for an hour, prowling, listening,
peering, wondering, her soul racked between her jealousy and her
fears,-- even Margarita delayed not to unite; and Felipe, too, sang
feebly; and the volume of the song went up as rounded and
melodious as if all hearts were at peace and in harmony, instead of
being all full of sorrow, confusion, or hatred. But there was no one
of them all who was not the better for the singing; Ramona and
Alessandro most of all.

"The saints be praised," said Alessandro. "There is my wood-dove's
voice. She can sing!" And, "Alessandro was near. He watched all
night. I am glad he loves me," said Ramona.

"To hear those two voices." said the Senora; "would one suppose
they could sing like that? Perhaps it is not so bad as I think."

As soon as the song was done, Alessandro ran to the sheepfold,
where Felipe had said he would see him. The minutes would be
like years to Alessandro till he had seen Felipe.

Ramona, when she waked and found herself carefully covered, and
bread and milk standing on the table, felt much reassured. Only the
Senora's own hand had done this, she felt sure, for she had heard
her the previous evening turn the key in the lock, then violently
take it out; and Ramona knew well that the fact of her being thus a
prisoner would be known to none but the Senora herself. The
Senora would not set servants to gossiping. She ate her bread and
milk thankfully, for she was very hungry. Then she set her room in
order, said her prayers, and sat down to wait. For what? She could
not imagine; in truth, she did not much try. Ramona had passed
now into a country where the Senora did not rule. She felt little
fear. Felipe would not see her harmed, and she was going away
presently with Alessandro. It was wonderful what peace and
freedom lay in the very thought. The radiance on her face of these
two new-born emotions was the first thing the Senora observed as
she opened the door, and slowly, very slowly, eyeing Ramona with
a steady look, entered the room. This joyous composure on
Ramona's face angered the Senora, as it had done before, when she
was dragging her up the garden-walk. It seemed to her like nothing
less than brazen effrontery, and it changed the whole tone and
manner of her address.

Seating herself opposite Ramona, but at the farthest side of the
room, she said, in a tone scornful and insulting, "What have you to
say for yourself?"

Returning the Senora's gaze with one no less steady, Ramona
spoke in the same calm tone in which she had twice the evening
before attempted to stay the Senora's wrath. This time, she was not

"Senora," she said slowly, "I tried to tell you last night, but you
would not hear me. If you had listened, you would not have been
so angry. Neither Alessandro nor I have done anything wrong, and
we were not ashamed. We love each other, and we are going to be
married, and go away. I thank you, Senora, for all you have done
for me; I am sure you will be a great deal happier when I am
away;" and Ramona looked wistfully, with no shade of resentment,
into the Senora's dark, shrunken face. "You have been very good to
do so much for a girl you did not love. Thank you for the bread
and milk last night. Perhaps I can go away with Alessandro to-day.
I do not know what he will wish. We had only just that minute
spoken of being married, when you found us last night."

The Senora's face was a study during the few moments that it took
to say these words. She was dumb with amazement.
Instantaneously, on the first sense of relief that the disgrace had
not been what she supposed, followed a new wrath, if possible
hotter than the first; not so much scorn, but a bitterer anger.
"Marry! Marry that Indian!" she cried, as soon as she found voice.
"You marry an Indian? Never! Are you mad? I will never permit

Ramona looked anxiously at her. "I have never disobeyed you,
Senora," she said, "but this is different from all other things; you
are not my mother. I have promised to marry Alessandro."

The girl's gentleness deceived the Senora.

"No," she said icily, "I am not your mother; but I stand in a
mother's place to you. You were my sister's adopted child, and she
gave you to me. You cannot marry without my permission, and I
forbid you ever to speak again of marrying this Indian."

The moment had come for the Senora Moreno to find out, to her
surprise and cost, of what stuff this girl was made, -- this girl, who
had for fourteen years lived by her side, docile, gentle, sunny, and
uncomplaining in her loneliness. Springing to her feet, and
walking swiftly till she stood close face to face with the Senora,
who, herself startled by the girl's swift motion, had also risen to
her feet, Ramona said, in a louder, firmer voice: "Senora Moreno,
you may forbid me as much as you please. The whole world
cannot keep me from marrying Alessandro. I love him. I have
promised, and I shall keep my word." And with her young lithe
arms straight down at her sides, her head thrown back, Ramona
flashed full in the Senora's face a look of proud defiance. It was
the first free moment her soul had ever known. She felt herself
buoyed up as by wings in air. Her old terror of the Senora fell from
her like a garment thrown off.

"Pshaw!" said the Senora, contemptuously, half amused, in spite of
her wrath, by the girl's, as she thought, bootless vehemence, "you
talk like a fool. Do you not know that I can shut you up in the
nunnery to-morrow, if I choose?"

"No, you cannot!" replied Ramona,

"Who, then, is to hinder me." said the Senora, insolently.

"Alessandro!" answered Ramona, proudly.

"Alessandro!" the Senora sneered. "Alessandro! Ha! a beggarly
Indian, on whom my servants will set the dogs, if I bid them! Ha,

The Senora's sneering tone but roused Ramona more. "You would
never dare!" she cried; "Felipe would not permit it!" A most
unwise retort for Ramona.

"Felipe!" cried the Senora, in a shrill voice. "How dare you
pronounce his name! He will none of you, from this hour! I forbid
him to speak to you. Indeed, he will never desire to set eyes on you
when he hears the truth."

"You are mistaken, Senora," answered Ramona, more gently.
"Felipe is Alessandro's friend, and -- mine," she added, after a
second's pause.

"So, ho! the Senorita thinks she is all-powerful in the house of
Moreno!" cried the Senora. "We will see! we will see! Follow me,
Senorita Ramona!" And throwing open the door, the Senora strode
out, looking back over her shoulder.

"Follow me!" she cried again sharply, seeing that Ramona
hesitated; and Ramona went; across the passage-way leading to the
dining-room, out into the veranda, down the entire length of it, to
the Senora's room,-- the Senora walking with a quick, agitated
step, strangely unlike her usual gait; Ramona walking far slower
than was her habit, and with her eyes bent on the ground. As they
passed the dining-room door, Margarita, standing just inside, shot
at Ramona a vengeful, malignant glance.

"She would help the Senora against me in anything," thought
Ramona; and she felt a thrill of fear, such as the Senora with all
her threats had not stirred.

The Senora's windows were open. She closed them both, and drew
the curtains tight. Then she locked the door, Ramona watching her
every movement.

"Sit down in that chair," said the Senora, pointing to one near the
fireplace. A sudden nervous terror seized Ramona.

"I would rather stand, Senora," she said.

"Do as I bid you." said the Senora, in a husky tone; and Ramona
obeyed. It was a low, broad armchair, and as she sank back into it,
her senses seemed leaving her. She leaned her head against the
back and closed her eyes. The room swam. She was roused by the
Senora's strong smelling-salts held for her to breathe, and a
mocking taunt from the Senora's iciest voice: "The Senorita does
not seem so over-strong as she did a few moments back!"

Ramona tried to reason with herself; surely no ill could happen to
her, in this room, within call of the whole house. But an
inexplicable terror had got possession of her; and when the Senora,
with a sneer on her face, took hold of the Saint Catharine statue,
and wheeling it half around, brought into view a door in the wall,
with a big iron key in the keyhole, which she proceeded to turn,
Ramona shook with fright. She had read of persons who had been
shut up alive in cells in the wall, and starved to death. With
dilating eyes she watched the Senora, who, all unaware of her
terror, was prolonging it and intensifying it by her every act. First
she took out the small iron box, and set it on a table. Then,
kneeling, she drew out from an inner recess in the closet a large
leather-covered box, and pulled it, grating and scraping along the
floor, till it stood in front of Ramona. All this time she spoke no
word, and the cruel expression of her countenance deepened each
moment. The fiends had. possession of the Senora Moreno this
morning, and no mistake. A braver heart than Ramona's might
have indeed been fearful, at being locked up alone with a woman
who looked. like that.

Finally, she locked the door and wheeled the statue back into its
place. Ramona breathed freer. She was not, after all, to be thrust
into the wall closet and left to starve. She gazed with wonder at the
old battered boxes. What could it all mean?

"Senorita Ramona Ortegna," began the Senora, drawing up a chair,
and seating herself by the table on which stood the iron box, "I will
now explain to you why you will not marry the Indian Alessandro."

At these words, this name, Ramona was herself again,-- not her old
self, her new self, Alessandro's promised wife. The very sound of
his name, even on an enemy's tongue, gave her strength. The
terrors fled away. She looked up, first at the Senora, then at the
nearest window. She was young and strong; at one bound, if worst
came to worst, she could leap through the window, and fly for her
life, calling on Alessandro.

"I shall marry the Indian Alessandro, Senora Moreno," she said, in
a tone as defiant, and now almost as insolent, as the Senora's own.

The Senora paid no heed to the words, except to say, "Do not
interrupt me again. I have much to tell you;" and opening the box,
she lifted out and placed on the table tray after tray of jewels. The
sheet of written paper lay at the bottom of the box.

"Do you see this paper, Senorita Ramona?" she asked, holding it
up. Ramona bowed her head. "This was written by my sister, the
Senora Ortegna, who adopted you and gave you her name. These
were her final instructions to me, in regard to the disposition to be
made of the property she left to you."

Ramona's lips parted. She leaned forward, breathless, listening,
while the Senora read sentence after sentence. All the pent-up
pain, wonder, fear of her childhood and her girlhood, as to the
mystery of her birth, swept over her anew, now. Like one
hearkening for life or death, she listened. She forgot Alessandro.
She did not look at the jewels. Her eyes never left the Senora's
face. At the close of the reading, the Senora said sternly, "You see,
now, that my sister left to me the entire disposition of everything
belonging to you,"

"But it hasn't said who was my mother," cried Ramona. "Is that all
there is in the paper?"

The Senora looked stupefied. Was the girl feigning? Did she care
nothing that all these jewels, almost a little fortune, were to be lost
to her forever?

"Who was your mother?" she exclaimed, scornfully, "There was no
need to write that down. Your mother was an Indian. Everybody
knew that!"

At the word "Indian," Ramona gave a low cry.

The Senora misunderstood it. "Ay," she said, "a low, common
Indian. I told my sister, when she took you, the Indian blood in
your veins would show some day; and now it has come true."

Ramona's cheeks were scarlet. Her eyes flashed. "Yes, Senora
Moreno," she said, springing to her feet; "the Indian blood in my
veins shows to-day. I understand many things I never understood
before. Was it because I was an Indian that you have always hated

"You are not an Indian, and I have never hated you," interrupted
the Senora.

Ramona heeded her not, but went on, more and more.
impetuously. "And if I am an Indian, why do you object to my
marrying Alessandro? Oh, I am glad I am an Indian! I am of his
people. He will be glad!" The words poured like a torrent out of
her lips. In her excitement she came closer and closer to the
Senora. "You are a cruel woman," she said. "I did not know it
before; but now I do. If you knew I was an Indian, you had no
reason to treat me so shamefully as you did last night, when you
saw me with Alessandro. You have always hated me. Is my mother
alive'? Where does she live? Tell me; and I will go to her to-day.
Tell me! She will be glad that Alessandro loves me!"

It was a cruel look, indeed, and a crueller tone, with which the
Senora answered: "I have not the least idea who your mother was,
or if she is still alive, Nobody ever knew anything about her,--
some low, vicious creature, that your father married when he was
out of his senses, as you are now, when you talk of marrying

"He married her, then?" asked Ramona, with emphasis. "How
know you that, Senora Moreno?"

"He told my sister so," replied the Senora, reluctantly. She grudged
the girl even this much of consolation.

"What was his name?" asked Ramona.

"Phail; Angus Phail," the Senora replied almost mechanically. She
found herself strangely constrained by Ramona's imperious
earnestness, and she chafed under it. The tables were being turned
on her, she hardly knew how. Ramona seemed to tower in stature,
and to have the bearing of the one in authority, as she stood before
her pouring out passionate question after question. The Senora
turned to the larger box, and opened it. With unsteady hands she
lifted out the garments which for so many years had rarely seen the
light. Shawls and ribosos of damask, laces, gowns of satin, of
velvet. As the Senora flung one after another on the chairs, it was a
glittering pile of shining, costly stuffs. Ramona's eyes rested on
them dreamily.

"Did my adopted mother wear all these?" she asked, lifting in her
hand a fold of lace, and holding it up to the light, in evident

Again the Senora misconceived her. The girl seemed not
insensible to the value and beauty of this costly raiment. Perhaps
she would be lured by it.

"All these are yours, Ramona, you understand, on your wedding
day, if you marry worthily, with my permission," said the Senora,
in a voice a shade less cold than had hitherto come from her lips.
"Did you understand what I read you?"

The girl did not answer. She had taken up in her hand a ragged,
crimson silk handkerchief, which, tied in many knots, lay in one
corner of the jewel-box.

"There are pearls in that," said the Senora; "that came with the
things your father sent to my sister when he died."

Ramona's eyes gleamed. She began untying the knots. The
handkerchief was old, the knots tied tight, and undisturbed for
years. As she reached the last knot, and felt the hard stones, she
paused. "This was my father's, then." she said.

"Yes," said the Senora, scornfully. She thought she had detected a
new baseness in the girl. She was going to set up a claim to all
which had been her father's property. "They were your father's, and
all these rubies, and these yellow diamonds;" and she pushed the
tray towards her.

Ramona had untied the last knot. Holding the handkerchief
carefully above the tray, she shook the pearls out. A strange, spicy
fragrance came from the silk. The pearls fell in among the rubies,
rolling right and left, making the rubies look still redder by
contrast with their snowy whiteness.

"I will keep this handkerchief," she said, thrusting it as she spoke,
by a swift resolute movement into her bosom. "I am very glad to
have one thing that belonged to my father. The jewels, Senora, you
can give to the Church, if Father Salvierderra thinks that is right. I
shall marry Alessandro;" and still keeping one hand in her bosom
where she had thrust the handkerchief, she walked away and
seated herself again in her chair.

Father Salvierderra! The name smote the Senora like a
spear-thrust, There could be no stronger evidence of the abnormal
excitement under which she had been laboring for the last
twenty-four hours, than the fact that she had not once, during all
this time, thought to ask herself what Father Salvierderra would
say, or might command, in this crisis. Her religion and the long
habit of its outward bonds had alike gone from her in her sudden
wrath against Ramona. It was with a real terror that she became
conscious of this.

"Father Salvierderra?" she stammered; "he has nothing to do with

But Ramona saw the change in the Senora's face, at the word, and
followed up her advantage. "Father Salvierderra has to do with
everything," she said boldly. "He knows Alessandro, He will not
forbid me to marry him, and if he did --" Ramona stopped. She
also was smitten with a sudden terror at the vista opening before
her,-- of a disobedience to Father Salvierderra.

"And if he did," repeated the Senora, eyeing Ramona keenly,
"would you disobey him?"

"Yes," said Ramona.

"I will tell Father Salvierderra what you say," retorted the Senora,
sarcastically, "that he may spare himself the humiliation of laying
any commands on you, to be thus disobeyed."

Ramona's lip quivered, and her eyes filled with the tears which no
other of the Senora's taunts had been strong enough to bring.
Dearly she loved the old monk; had loved him since her earliest
recollection. His displeasure would be far more dreadful to her
than the Senora's. His would give her grief; the Senora's, at utmost,
only terror.

Clasping her hands, she said, "Oh, Senora, have mercy! Do not say
that to the Father!"

"It is my duty to tell the Father everything that happens in my
family," answered the Senora, chillingly. "He will agree with me,
that if you persist in this disobedience you will deserve the
severest punishment. I shall tell him all;" and she began putting the
trays back in the box.

"You will not tell him as it really is, Senora," persisted Ramona. "I
will tell him myself."

"You shall not see him! I will take care of that!" cried the Senora,
so vindictively that Ramona shuddered.

"I will give you one more chance," said the Senora, pausing in the
act of folding up one of the damask gowns. "Will you obey me?
Will you promise to have nothing more to do with this Indian?"

"Never, Senora," replied Ramona; "never!"

"Then the consequences be on your own head," cried the Senora.
"Go to your room! And, hark! I forbid you to speak of all this to
Senor Felipe. Do you hear?"

Ramona bowed her head. "I hear," she said; and gliding out of the
room, closed the door behind her, and instead of going to her
room, sped like a hunted creature down the veranda steps, across
the garden, calling in a low tone, "Felipe! Felipe! Where are you,


THE little sheepfold, or corral, was beyond the artichoke-patch, on
that southern slope whose sunshine had proved so disastrous a
temptation to Margarita in the matter of drying the altar-cloth. It
was almost like a terrace, this long slope; and the sheepfold, being
near the bottom, was wholly out of sight of the house. This was the
reason Felipe had selected it as the safest spot for his talk with

When Ramona reached the end of the trellised walk in the garden,
she halted and looked to the right and left. No one was in sight. As
she entered the Senora's room an hour before, she had caught a
glimpse of some one, she felt almost positive it was Felipe, turning
off in the path to the left, leading down to the sheepfold. She stood
irresolute for a moment, gazing earnestly down this path. "If the
saints would only tell me where he is!" she said aloud. She
trembled as she stood there, fearing each second to hear the
Senora's voice calling her. But fortune was favoring Ramona, for
once; even as the words passed her lips, she saw Felipe coming
slowly up the bank. She flew to meet him. "Oh, Felipe, Felipe!"
she began.

"Yes, dear, I know it all," interrupted Felipe; "Alessandro has told

"She forbade me to speak to you, Felipe," said Ramona, "but I
could not bear it. What are we to do? Where is Alessandro?"

"My mother forbade you to speak to me!" cried Felipe, in a tone of
terror. "Oh, Ramona, why did you disobey her? If she sees us
talking, she will be even more displeased. Fly back to your room.
Leave it all to me. I will do all that I can."

"But, Felipe," began Ramona, wringing her hands in distress.

"I know! I know!" said Felipe; "but you must not make my mother
any more angry. I don't know what she will do till I talk with her.
Do go back to your room! Did she not tell you to stay there?"

"Yes," sobbed Ramona, "but I cannot. Oh, Felipe, I am so afraid!
Do help us! Do you think you can? You won't let her shut me up in
the convent, will you, Felipe? Where is Alessandro? Why can't I go
away with him this minute? Where is he? Dear Felipe, let me go

Felipe's face was horror-stricken. "Shut you in the convent!" he
gasped. "Did she say that? Ramona, dear, fly back to your room.
Let me talk to her. Fly, I implore you. I can't do anything for you if
she sees me talking with you now;" and he turned away, and
walked swiftly down the terrace.

Ramona felt as if she were indeed alone in the world. How could
she go back into that house! Slowly she walked up the garden-path
again, meditating a hundred wild plans of escape. Where, where
was Alessandro? Why did he not appear for her rescue? Her heart
failed her; and when she entered her room, she sank on the floor in
a paroxysm of hopeless weeping. If she had known that Alessandro
was already a good half-hour's journey on his way to Temecula,
galloping farther and farther away from her each moment, she
would have despaired indeed.

This was what Felipe, after hearing the whole story, had
counselled him to do. Alessandro had given him so vivid a
description of the Senora's face and tone, when she had ordered
him out of her sight, that Felipe was alarmed. He had never seen
his mother angry like that. He could not conceive why her wrath
should have been so severe. The longer he talked with Alessandro,
the more he felt that it would be wiser for him to be out of sight till
the first force of her anger had been spent. "I will say that I sent
you," said Felipe, "so she cannot feel that you have committed any
offence in going. Come back in four days, and by that time it will
be all settled what you shall do."

It went hard with Alessandro to go without seeing Ramona; but it
did not need Felipe's exclamation of surprise, to convince him that
it would be foolhardy to attempt it. His own judgment had told him
that it would be out of the question.

"But you will tell her all, Senor Felipe? You will tell her that it is
for her sake I go?" the poor fellow said piteously, gazing into
Felipe's eyes as if he would read his inmost soul.

"I will, indeed, Alessandro; I will," replied Felipe; and he held his
hand out to Alessandro, as to a friend and equal. "You may trust
me to do all I can do for Ramona and for you."

"God bless you, Senor Felipe," answered Alessandro, gravely, a
slight trembling of his voice alone showing how deeply he was

"He's a noble fellow," said Felipe to himself, as he watched
Alessandro leap on his horse, which had been tethered near the
corral all night,-- "a noble fellow! There isn't a man among all my
friends who would have been manlier or franker than he has been
in this whole business. I don't in the least wonder that Ramona
loves him. He's a noble fellow! But what is to be done! What is to
be done!"

Felipe was sorely perplexed. No sharp crisis of disagreement had
ever arisen between him and his mother, but he felt that one was
coming now. He was unaware of the extent of his influence over
her. He doubted whether he could move her very far. The threat of
shutting Ramona up in the convent terrified him more than he
liked to admit to himself. Had she power to do that? Felipe did not
know. She must believe that she had, or she would not have made
the threat. Felipe's whole soul revolted at the cruel injustice of the

"As if it were a sin for the poor girl to love Alessandro!" he said.
"I'd help her to run away with him, if worse comes to worst. What
can make my mother feel so!" And Felipe paced back and forth till
the sun was high, and the sharp glare and heat reminded him that
he must seek shelter; then he threw himself down under the
willows. He dreaded to go into the house. His instinctive shrinking
from the disagreeable, his disposition to put off till another time,
held him back, hour by hour. The longer he thought the situation
over, the less he knew how to broach the subject to his mother; the
more uncertain he felt whether it would be wise for him to broach
it at all. Suddenly he heard his name called. It was Margarita, who
had been sent to call him to dinner. "Good heavens! dinner
already!" he cried, springing to his feet.

"Yes, Senor," replied Margarita, eyeing him observantly. She had
seen him talking with Alessandro, had seen Alessandro galloping
away down the river road. She had also gathered much from the
Senora's look, and Ramona's, as they passed the dining-room door
together soon after breakfast. Margarita could have given a
tolerably connected account of all that had happened within the
last twenty-four hours to the chief actors in this tragedy which had
so suddenly begun in the Moreno household. Not supposed to
know anything, she yet knew nearly all; and her every pulse was
beating high with excited conjecture and wonder as to what would
come next.

Dinner was a silent and constrained meal,-- Ramona absent, the
fiction of her illness still kept up; Felipe embarrassed, and unlike
himself; the Senora silent, full of angry perplexity. At her first
glance in Felipe's face, she thought to herself, "Ramona has spoken
to him. When and how did she do it?" For it had been only a few
moments after Ramona had left her presence, that she herself had
followed, and, seeing the girl in her own room, had locked the
door as before, and had spent the rest of the morning on the
veranda within hands' reach of Ramona's window. How, when, and
where had she contrived to communicate with Felipe? The longer
the Senora studied over this, the angrier and more baffled she felt;
to be outwitted was even worse to her than to be disobeyed. Under
her very eyes, as it were, something evidently had happened, not
only against her will, but which she could not explain. Her anger
even rippled out towards Felipe, and was fed by the recollection of
Ramona's unwise retort, "Felipe would not let you!" What had
Felipe done or said to make the girl so sure that he would be on her
side and Alessandro's? Was it come to this, that she, the Senora
Moreno, was to be defied in her own house by children and

It was with a tone of severe displeasure that she said to Felipe, as
she rose from the dinner-table, "My son, I would like to have some
conversation with you in my room, if you are at leisure."

"Certainly, mother," said Felipe, a load rolling off his mind at her
having thus taken the initiative, for which he lacked courage; and
walking swiftly towards her, he attempted to put his arm around
her waist, as it was his affectionate habit frequently to do. She
repulsed him gently, but bethinking herself, passed her hand
through his arm, and leaning on it heavily as she walked, said:
"This is the most fitting way, my son. I must lean more and more
heavily on you each year now. Age is telling on me fast. Do you
not find me greatly changed, Felipe, in the last year?"

"No, madre mia," replied Felipe, "indeed I do not. I see not that
you have changed in the last ten years." And he was honest in this.
His eyes did not note the changes so clear to others, and for the
best of reasons. The face he saw was one no one else ever beheld;
it was kindled by emotion, transfigured by love, whenever it was
turned towards him.

The Senora sighed deeply as she answered: "That must be because
you so love me, Felipe. I myself see the changes even day by day.
Troubles tell on me as they did not when I was younger. Even
within the last twenty-four hours I seem to myself to have aged
frightfully;" and she looked keenly at Felipe as she seated herself
in the arm-chair where poor Ramona had swooned a few hours
before. Felipe remained standing before her, gazing, with a tender
expression, upon her features, but saying nothing.

"I see that Ramona has told you all!" she continued, her voice
hardening as she spoke. What a fortunate wording of her sentence!

"No, mother; it was not Ramona, it was Alessandro, who told me
this morning, early," Felipe answered hastily, hurrying on, to draw
the conversation as far away from Ramona as possible. "He came
and spoke to me last night after I was in bed; but I told him to wait
till morning, and then I would hear all he had to say."

"Ah!" said the Senora, relieved. Then, as Felipe remained silent,
she asked, "And what did he say?"

"He told me all that had happened."

"All!" said the Senora, sneeringly. "Do you suppose that he told
you all?"

"He said that you had bidden him begone out of your sight," said
Felipe, "and that he supposed he must go. So I told him to go at
once. I thought you would prefer not to see him again."

"Ah!" said the Senora again, startled, gratified that Felipe had so
promptly seconded her action, but sorry that Alessandro had gone.
"Ah, I did not know whether you would think it best to discharge
him at once or not; I told him he must answer to you. I did not
know but you might devise some measures by which he could be
retained on the estate."

Felipe stared. Could he believe his ears? This did not sound like
the relentless displeasure he had expected. Could Ramona have
been dreaming? In his astonishment, he did not weigh his mother's
words carefully; he did not carry his conjecture far enough; he did
not stop to make sure that retaining Alessandro on the estate might
not of necessity bode any good to Ramona; but with his usual
impetuous ardor, sanguine, at the first glimpse of hope, that all
was well, he exclaimed joyfully, "Ah, dear mother, if that could
only be done, all would be well;" and, never noting the expression
of his mother's face, nor pausing to take breath, he poured out all
he thought and felt on the subject.

"That is just what I have been hoping for ever since I saw that he
and Ramona were growing so fond of each other. He is a splendid
fellow, and the best hand we have ever had on the place. All the
men like him; he would make a capital overseer; and if we put him
in charge of the whole estate, there would not be any objection to
his marrying Ramona. That would give them a good living here
with us."

"Enough!" cried the Senora, in a voice which fell on Felipe's ears
like a voice from some other world,-- so hollow, so strange. He
stopped speaking, and uttered an ejaculation of amazement. At the
first words he had uttered, the Senora had fixed her eyes on the
floor,-- a habit of hers when she wished to listen with close
attention. Lifting her eyes now, fixing them full on Felipe, she
regarded him with a look which not all his filial reverence could
bear without resentment. It was nearly as scornful as that with
which she had regarded Ramona. Felipe colored.

"Why do you look at me like that, mother?" he exclaimed. "What
have I done?"

The Senora waved her hand imperiously. "Enough!" she reiterated.
"Do not say any more. I wish to think for a few moments;" and she
fixed her eyes on the floor again.

Felipe studied her countenance. A more nearly rebellious feeling
than he had supposed himself capable of slowly arose in his heart.
Now he for the first time perceived what terror his mother must
inspire in a girl like Ramona.

"Poor little one!" he thought. "If my mother looked at her as she
did at me just now, I wonder she did not die."

A great storm was going on in the Senora's bosom. Wrath against
Ramona was uppermost in it. In addition to all else, the girl had
now been the cause, or at least the occasion, of Felipe's having, for
the first time in his whole life, angered her beyond her control.

"As if I had not suffered enough by reason of that creature," she
thought bitterly to herself, "without her coming between me and

But nothing could long come between the Senora and Felipe. Like
a fresh lava-stream flowing down close on the track of its
predecessor, came the rush of the mother's passionate love for her
son close on the passionate anger at his words.

When she lifted her eyes they were full of tears, which it smote
Felipe to see. As she gazed at him, they rolled down her cheeks,
and she said in trembling tones: "Forgive me, my child; I had not
thought anything could make me thus angry with you. That
shameless creature is costing us too dear. She must leave the

Felipe's heart gave a bound; Ramona had not been mistaken, then.
A bitter shame seized him at his mother's cruelty. But her tears
made him tender; and it was in a gentle, even pleading voice that
he replied: "I do not see, mother, why you call Ramona shameless.
There is nothing wrong in her loving Alessandro."

"I found her in his arms!" exclaimed the Senora.

"I know," said Felipe; "Alessandro told me that he had just at that
instant told her he loved her, and she had said she loved him, and
would marry him, just as you came up."

"Humph!" retorted the Senora; "do you think that Indian would
have dared to speak a word of love to the Senorita Ramona
Ortegna, if she had not conducted herself shamelessly? I wonder
that he concerned himself to speak about marriage to her at all."

"Oh, mother! mother!" was all that Felipe could say to this. He was
aghast. He saw now, in a flash, the whole picture as it lay in his
mother's mind, and his heart sank within him. "Mother!" he
repeated, in a tone which spoke volumes.

"Ay," she continued, "that is what I say. I see no reason why he
hesitated to take her, as he would take any Indian squaw, with
small ceremony of marrying."

"Alessandro would not take any woman that way any quicker than
I would, mother," said Felipe courageously; "you do him injustice."
He longed to add, "And Ramona too," but he feared to make bad
matters worse by pleading for her at present.

"No, I do not," said the Senora; "I do Alessandro full justice. I
think very few men would have behaved as well as he has under
the same temptation. I do not hold him in the least responsible for
all that has happened. It is all Ramona's fault."

Felipe's patience gave way. He had not known, till now, how very
closely this pure and gentle girl, whom he had loved as a sister in
his boyhood, and had come near loving as a lover in his manhood,
had twined herself around his heart. He could not remain silent
another moment, and hear her thus wickedly accused.

"Mother!" he exclaimed, in a tone which made the Senora look up
at him in sudden astonishment. "Mother, I cannot help it if I make
you very angry; I must speak; I can't bear to hear you say such
things of Ramona. I have seen for a long time that Alessandro
loved the very ground under her feet; and Ramona would not have
been a woman if she had not seen it too! She has seen it, and has
felt it, and has come to love him with all her soul, just as I hope
some woman will love me one of these days. If I am ever loved as
well as she loves Alessandro, I shall be lucky. I think they ought to
be married; and I think we ought to take Alessandro on to the
estate, so that they can live here. I don't see anything disgraceful in
it, nor anything wrong, nor anything but what was perfectly
natural. You know, mother, it isn't as if Ramona really belonged to
our family; you know she is half Indian." A scornful ejaculation
from his mother interrupted him here; but Felipe hurried on, partly
because he was borne out of himself at last by impetuous feeling,
partly that he dreaded to stop, because if he did, his mother would
speak; and already he felt a terror of what her next words might be.
"I have often thought about Ramona's future, mother. You know a
great many men would not want to marry her, just because she is
half Indian. You, yourself, would never have given your consent to
my marrying her, if I had wanted to." Again an exclamation from
the Senora, this time more of horror than of scorn. But Felipe
pressed on. "No, of course you would not, I always knew that;
except for that, I might have loved her myself, for a sweeter girl
never drew breath in this God's earth." Felipe was reckless now;
having entered on this war, he would wage it with every weapon
that lay within his reach; if one did not tell, another might. "You
have never loved her. I don't know that you have ever even liked
her; I don't think you have. I know, as a little boy, I always used to
see how much kinder you were to me than to her, and I never
could understand it. And you are unjust to her now. I've been
watching her all summer; I've seen her and Alessandro together
continually. You know yourself, mother, he has been with us on
the veranda, day after day, just as if he were one of the family. I've
watched them by the hour, when I lay there so sick; I thought you
must have seen it too. I don't believe Alessandro has ever looked or
said or done a thing I wouldn't have done in his place; and I don't
believe Ramona has ever looked, said, or done a thing I would not
be willing to have my own sister do!" Here Felipe paused. He had
made his charge; like a young impetuous general, massing all his
forces at the onset; he had no reserves. It is not the way to take

When he paused, literally breathless, he had spoken so fast,-- and
even yet Felipe was not quite strong, so sadly had the fever
undermined his constitution,-- the Senora looked at him
interrogatively, and said in a now composed tone: "You do not
believe that Ramona has done anything that you would not be
willing to have your own sister do? Would you be willing that your
own sister should marry Alessandro?"

Clever Senora Moreno! During the few moments that Felipe had
been speaking, she had perceived certain things which it would be
beyond her power to do; certain others that it would be impolitic to
try to do. Nothing could possibly compensate her for antagonizing
Felipe. Nothing could so deeply wound her, as to have him in a
resentful mood towards her; or so weaken her real control of him,
as to have him feel that she arbitrarily overruled his preference or
his purpose. In presence of her imperious will, even her wrath
capitulated and surrendered. There would be no hot words between
her and her son. He should believe that he determined the policy of
the Moreno house, even in this desperate crisis.

Felipe did not answer. A better thrust was never seen on any field
than the Senora's question. She repeated it, still more deliberately,
in her wonted gentle voice. The Senora was herself again, as she
had not been for a moment since she came upon Alessandro and
Ramona at the brook. How just and reasonable the question
sounded, as she repeated it slowly, with an expression in her eyes,
of poising and weighing matters. "Would you be willing that your
own sister should marry Alessandro?"

Felipe was embarrassed. He saw whither he was being led. He
could give but one answer to this question. "No, mother," he said,
"I should not; but --"

"Never mind buts," interrupted his mother; "we have not got to
those yet;" and she smiled on Felipe,-- an affectionate smile, but it
somehow gave him a feeling of dread. "Of course I knew you
could make but one answer to my question. If you had a sister, you
would rather see her dead than married to any one of these

Felipe opened his lips eagerly, to speak. "Not so," he said.

"Wait, dear!" exclaimed his mother. "One thing at a time, I see
how full your loving heart is, and I was never prouder of you as my
son than when listening just now to your eloquent defence of
Ramona, Perhaps you may be right and I wrong as to her character
and conduct. We will not discuss those points." It was here that the
Senora had perceived some things that it would be out of her
power to do. "We will not discuss those, because they do not touch
the real point at issue. What it is our duty to do by Ramona, in
such a matter as this, does not turn on her worthiness or
unworthiness. The question is, Is it right for you to allow her to do
what you would not allow your own sister to do?" The Senora
paused for a second, noted with secret satisfaction how puzzled
and unhappy Felipe looked; then, in a still gentler voice, she went
on, "You surely would not think that right, my son, would you?"
And now the Senora waited for an answer.

"No, mother," came reluctantly from Felipe's lips. "I suppose not;
but --"

"I was sure my own son could make no other reply," interrupted
the Senora. She did not wish Felipe at present to do more than
reply to her questions. "Of course it would not be right for us to let
Ramona do anything which we would not let her do if she were
really of our own blood. That is the way I have always looked at
my obligation to her. My sister intended to rear her as her own
daughter. She had given her her own name. When my sister died,
she transferred to me all her right and responsibility in and for the
child. You do not suppose that if your aunt had lived, she would
have ever given her consent to her adopted daughter's marrying an
Indian, do you?"

Again the Senora paused for a reply, and again the reluctant Felipe
said, in a low tone, "No, I suppose she would not."

"Very well. Then that lays a double obligation on us. It is not only
that we are not to permit Ramona to do a thing which we would
consider disgraceful to one of our own blood; we are not to betray
the trust reposed in us by the only person who had a right to
control her, and who transferred that trust to us. Is not that so?"

"Yes, mother," said the unhappy Felipe.

He saw the meshes closing around him. He felt that there was a
flaw somewhere in his mother's reasoning, but he could not point it
out; in fact, he could hardly make it distinct to himself. His brain
was confused. Only one thing he saw clearly, and that was, that
after all had been said and done, Ramona would still marry
Alessandro. But it was evident that it would never be with his
mother's consent. "Nor with mine either, openly, the way she puts
it. I don't see how it can be; and yet I have promised Alessandro to
do all I could for him. Curse the luck, I wish he had never set foot
on the place!" said Felipe in his heart, growing unreasonable, and
tired with the perplexity.

The Senora continued: "I shall always blame myself bitterly for
having failed to see what was going on. As you say, Alessandro
has been with us a great deal since your illness, with his music,
and singing, and one thing and another; but I can truly say that I
never thought of Ramona's being in danger of looking upon him in
the light of a possible lover, any more than of her looking thus
upon Juan Canito, or Luigo, or any other of the herdsmen or
laborers. I regret it more than words can express, and I do not
know what we can do, now that it has happened."

"That's it, mother! That's it!" broke in Felipe. "You see, you see it
is too late now."

The Senora went on as if Felipe had not spoken. "I suppose you
would really very much regret to part with Alessandro, and your
word is in a way pledged to him, as you had asked him if he would
stay on the place, Of course, now that all this has happened, it
would be very unpleasant for Ramona to stay here, and see him
continually -- at least for a time, until she gets over this strange
passion she seems to have conceived for him. It will not last. Such
sudden passions never do." The Senora artfully interpolated, "What
should you think, Felipe, of having her go back to the Sisters'
school for a time? She was very happy there."

The Senora had strained a point too far. Felipe's self-control
suddenly gave way, and as impetuously as he had spoken in the
beginning, he spoke again now, nerved by the memory of
Ramona's face and tone as she had cried to him in the garden, "Oh,
Felipe, you won't let her shut me up in the convent, will you?"
"Mother!" he cried, "you would never do that. You would not shut
the poor girl up in the convent!"

The Senora raised her eyebrows in astonishment. "Who spoke of
shutting up?" she said. "Ramona has already been there at school.
She might go again. She is not too old to learn. A change of scene
and occupation is the best possible cure for a girl who has a thing
of this sort to get over. Can you propose anything better, my son?
What would you advise?" And a third time the Senora paused for
an answer.

These pauses and direct questions of the Senora's were like
nothing in life so much as like that stage in a spider's processes
when, withdrawing a little way from a half-entangled victim,
which still supposes himself free, it rests from its weaving, and
watches the victim flutter. Subtle questions like these, assuming,
taking for granted as settled, much which had never been settled at
all, were among the best weapons in the Senora's armory. They
rarely failed her.

"Advise!" cried Felipe, excitedly. "Advise! This is what I advise --
to let Ramona and Alessandro marry. I can't help all you say about
our obligations. I dare say you're right; and it's a cursedly awkward
complication for us, anyhow, the way you put it."

"Yes, awkward for you, as the head of our house," interrupted the
Senora, sighing. "I don't quite see how you would face it."

"Well, I don't propose to face it," continued Felipe, testily. "I don't
propose to have anything to do with it, from first to last. Let her go
away with him, if she wants to.'

"Without our consent?" said the Senora, gently.

"Yes, without it, if she can't go with it; and I don't see, as you have
stated it, how we could exactly take any responsibility about
marrying her to Alessandro. But for heaven's sake, mother, let her
go! She will go, any way. You haven't the least idea how she loves
Alessandro, or how he loves her. Let her go!"

"Do you really think she would run away with him, if it came to
that?" asked the Senora, earnestly. "Run away and marry him, spite
of our refusing to consent to the marriage?"

"I do," said Felipe.

"Then it is your opinion, is it, that the only thing left for us to do, is
to wash our hands of it altogether, and leave her free to do what
she pleases?"

"That's just what I do think, mother," replied Felipe, his heart
growing lighter at her words. "That's just what I do think. We can't
prevent it, and it is of no use to try. Do let us tell them they can do
as they like."

"Of course, Alessandro must leave us, then," said the Senora.
"They could not stay here."

"I don't see why!" said Felipe, anxiously.

"You will, my son, if you think a moment. Could we possibly give
a stronger indorsement to their marriage than by keeping them
here? Don't you see that would be so?"

Felipe's eyes fell. "Then I suppose they couldn't be married here,
either," he said,

"What more could we do than that, for a marriage that we heartily
approved of, my son?"

"True, mother;" and Felipe clapped his hand to his forehead. "But
then we force them to run away!"

"Oh, no." said the Senora, icily. "If they go, they will go of their
own accord. We hope they will never do anything so foolish and
wrong. If they do, I suppose we shall always be held in a measure
responsible for not having prevented it. But if you think it is not
wise, or of no use to attempt that, I do not see what there is to be

Felipe did not speak. He felt discomfited; felt as if he had betrayed
his friend Alessandro, his sister Ramona; as if a strange
complication, network of circumstances, had forced him into a
false position; he did not see what more he could ask, what more
could be asked, of his mother; he did not see, either, that much less
could have been granted to Alessandro and Ramona; he was angry,
wearied, perplexed.

The Senora studied his face. "You do not seem satisfied, Felipe
dear," she said tenderly. "As, indeed, how could you be in this
unfortunate state of affairs? But can you think of anything different
for us to do?"

"No," said Felipe, bitterly. "I can't, that's the worst of it. It is just
turning Ramona out of the house, that's all."

"Felipe! Felipe!" exclaimed the Senora, "how unjust you are to
yourself! You know you would never do that! You know that she
has always had a home here as if she were a daughter; and always
will have, as long as she wishes it. If she chooses to turn her back
on it, and go away, is it our fault? Do not let your pity for this
misguided girl blind you to what is just to yourself and to me. Turn
Ramona out of the house! You know I promised my sister to bring
her up as my own child; and I have always felt that my son would
receive the trust from me, when I died. Ramona has a home under
the Moreno roof so long as she will accept it. It is not just, Felipe,
to say that we turn her out;" and tears stood in the Senora's eyes.

"Forgive me, dear mother," cried the unhappy Felipe. "Forgive me
for adding one burden to all you have to bear. Truth is, this
miserable business has so distraught my senses, I can't seem to see
anything as it is. Dear mother, it is very hard for you. I wish it were
done with."

"Thanks for your precious sympathy, my Felipe," replied the
Senora. "If it were not for you, I should long ago have broken
down beneath my cares and burdens. But among them all, have
been few so grievous as this. I feel myself and our home
dishonored. But we must submit. As you say, Felipe, I wish it were
done with. It would be as well, perhaps, to send for Ramona at
once, and tell her what we have decided. She is no doubt in great
anxiety; we will see her here."

Felipe would have greatly preferred to see Ramona alone; but as
he knew not how to bring this about he assented to his mother's

Opening her door, the Senora walked slowly down the
passage-way, unlocked Ramona's door, and said: "Ramona, be so
good as to come to my room. Felipe and I have something to say to

Ramona followed, heavy-hearted. The words, "Felipe and I,"
boded no good.

"The Senora has made Felipe think just as she does herself,"
thought Ramona. "Oh, what will become of me!" and she stole a
reproachful, imploring look at Felipe. He smiled back in a way
which reassured her; but the reassurance did not last long.

"Senorita Ramona Ortegna," began the Senora. Felipe shivered. He
had had no conception that his mother could speak in that way.
The words seemed to open a gulf between Ramona and all the rest
of the world, so cold and distant they sounded,-- as the Senora
might speak to an intruding stranger.

"Senorita Ramona Ortegna," she said, "my son and I have been
discussing what it is best for us to do in the mortifying and
humiliating position in which you place us by your relation with
the Indian Alessandro. Of course you know -- or you ought to
know -- that it is utterly impossible for us to give our consent to
your making such a marriage; we should be false to a trust, and
dishonor our own family name, if we did that."

Ramona's eyes dilated, her cheeks paled; she opened her lips, but
no sound came from them; she looked toward Felipe, and seeing
him with downcast eyes, and an expression of angry
embarrassment on his face, despair seized her. Felipe had deserted
their cause. Oh, where, where was Alessandro! Clasping her hands,
she uttered a low cry,-- a cry that cut Felipe to the heart. He was
finding out, in thus being witness of Ramona's suffering, that she
was far nearer and dearer to him than he had realized. It would
have taken very little, at such moments as these, to have made
Felipe her lover again; he felt now like springing to her side,
folding his arms around her, and bidding his mother defiance. It
took all the self-control he could gather, to remain silent, and trust
to Ramona's understanding him later.

Ramona's cry made no break in the smooth, icy flow of the
Senora's sentences. She gave no sign of having heard it, but
continued: "My son tells me that he thinks our forbidding it would
make no difference; that you would go away with the man all the
same. I suppose he is right in thinking so, as you yourself told me
that even if Father Salvierderra forbade it, you would disobey him.
Of course, if this is your determination, we are powerless. Even if I
were to put you in the keeping of the Church, which is what I am
sure my sister, who adopted you as her child, would do, if she were
alive, you would devise some means of escape, and thus bring a
still greater and more public scandal on the family. Felipe thinks
that it is not worth while to attempt to bring you to reason in that
way; and we shall therefore do nothing. I wish to impress it upon
you that my son, as head of this house, and I, as my sister's
representative, consider you a member of our own family. So long
as we have a home for ourselves, that home is yours, as it always
has been. If you choose to leave it, and to disgrace yourself and us
by marrying an Indian, we cannot help ourselves."

The Senora paused. Ramona did not speak. Her eyes were fixed on
the Senora's face, as if she would penetrate to her inmost soul; the
girl was beginning to recognize the Senora's true nature; her
instincts and her perceptions were sharpened by love.

"Have you anything to say to me or to my son?" asked the Senora.

"No, Senora," replied Ramona; "I do not think of anything more to
say than I said this morning. Yes," she added, "there is. Perhaps I
shall not speak with you again before I go away. I thank you once
more for the home you have given me for so many years. And you
too, Felipe," she continued, turning towards Felipe, her face
changing, all her pent-up affection and sorrow looking out of her
tearful eyes,-- "you too, dear Felipe. You have always been so good
to me. I shall always love you as long as I live;" and she held out
both her hands to him. Felipe took them in his, and was about to
speak, when the Senora interrupted him. She did not intend to have
any more of this sort of affectionate familiarity between her son
and Ramona.

"Are we to understand that you are taking your leave now?" she
said. "Is it your purpose to go at once?"

"I do not know, Senora," stammered Ramona; "I have not seen
Alessandro; I have not heard --" And she looked up in distress at
Felipe, who answered compassionately,--

"Alessandro has gone."

"Gone!" shrieked Ramona. "Gone! not gone, Felipe!"

"Only for four days," replied Felipe. "To Temecula. I thought it
would be better for him to be away for a day or two. He is to come
back immediately. Perhaps he will be back day after to-morrow."

"Did he want to go? What did he go for? Why didn't you let me go
with him? Oh, why, why did he go?" cried Ramona.

"He went because my son told him to go," broke in the Senora,
impatient of this scene, and of the sympathy she saw struggling in
Felipe's expressive features. "My son thought, and rightly, that the
sight of him would be more than I could bear just now; so he
ordered him to go away, and Alessandro obeyed."

Like a wounded creature at bay, Ramona turned suddenly away
from Felipe, and facing the Senora, her eyes resolute and dauntless
spite of the streaming tears, exclaimed, lifting her right hand as she
spoke, "You have been cruel; God will punish you!" and without
waiting to see what effect her words had produced, without
looking again at Felipe, she walked swiftly out of the room.

"You see," said the Senora, "you see she defies us."

"She is desperate," said Felipe. "I am sorry I sent Alessandro

"No, my son," replied the Senora, "you were wise, as you always
are. It may bring her to her senses, to have a few days' reflection in

"You do not mean to keep her locked up, mother, do you?" cried

The Senora turned a look of apparently undisguised amazement on
him. "You would not think that best, would you? Did you not say
that all we could do, was simply not to interfere with her in any
way? To wash our hands, so far as is possible, of all responsibility
about her?"

"Yes, yes," said the baffled Felipe; "that was what I said. But,
mother --" He stopped. He did not know what he wanted to say.

The Senora looked tenderly at him, her face full of anxious

"What is it, Felipe dear? Is there anything more you think I ought
to say or do?" she asked.

"What is it you are going to do, mother?" said Felipe. "I don't seem
to understand what you are going to do."

"Nothing, Felipe! You have entirely convinced me that all effort
would be thrown away. I shall do nothing," replied the Senora.
"Nothing whatever."

"Then as long as Ramona is here, everything will be just as it
always has been?" said Felipe.

The Senora smiled sadly. "Dear Felipe, do you think that possible?
A girl who has announced her determination to disobey not only
you and me, but Father Salvierderra, who is going to bring disgrace
both on the Moreno and the Ortegna name,-- we can't feel exactly
the same towards her as we did before, can we?"

Felipe made an impatient gesture. "No, of course not. But I mean,
is everything to be just the same, outwardly, as it was before?"

"I supposed so," said the Senora. "Was not that your idea? We
must try to have it so, I think. Do not you?"

"Yes," groaned Felipe, "if we can!"


THE Senora Moreno had never before been so discomfited as in
this matter of Ramona and Alessandro. It chafed her to think over
her conversation with Felipe; to recall how far the thing she finally
attained was from the thing she had in view when she began. To
have Ramona sent to the convent, Alessandro kept as overseer of
the place, and the Ortegna jewels turned into the treasury of the
Church,-- this was the plan she had determined on in her own
mind. Instead of this, Alessandro was not to be overseer on the
place; Ramona would not go to the convent: she would be married
to Alessandro, and they would go away together; and the Ortegna
jewels,-- well, that was a thing to be decided in the future; that
should be left to Father Salvierderra to decide. Bold as the Senora
was, she had not quite the courage requisite to take that question
wholly into her own hands.

One thing was clear, Felipe must not be consulted in regard to
them. He had never known of them, and need not now. Felipe was
far too much in sympathy with Ramona to take a just view of the
situation. He would be sure to have a quixotic idea of Ramona's
right of ownership. It was not impossible that Father Salvierderra
might have the same feeling. If so, she must yield; but that would
go harder with her than all the rest. Almost the Senora would have
been ready to keep the whole thing a secret from the Father, if he
had not been at the time of the Senora Ortegna's death fully
informed of all the particulars of her bequest to her adopted child.
At any rate, it would be nearly a year before the Father came again,
and in the mean time she would not risk writing about it. The
treasure was as safe in Saint Catharine's keeping as it had been all
these fourteen years; it should still lie hidden there. When Ramona
went away with Alessandro, she would write to Father
Salvierderra, simply stating the facts in her own way, and telling
him that all further questions must wait for decision until they met.

And so she plotted and planned, and mapped out the future in her
tireless weaving brain, till she was somewhat soothed for the
partial failure of her plans.

There is nothing so skilful in its own defence as imperious pride. It
has an ingenious system of its own, of reprisals, -- a system so
ingenious that the defeat must be sore indeed, after which it cannot
still find some booty to bring off! And even greater than this
ingenuity at reprisals is its capacity for self-deception. In this
regard, it outdoes vanity a thousandfold. Wounded vanity knows
when it is mortally hurt; and limps off the field, piteous, all
disguises thrown away. But pride carries its banner to the last; and
fast as it is driven from one field unfurls it in another, never
admitting that there is a shade less honor in the second field than
in the first, or in the third than in the second; and so on till death. It
is impossible not to have a certain sort of admiration for this kind
of pride. Cruel, those who have it, are to all who come in their
way; but they are equally cruel to themselves, when pride demands
the sacrifice. Such pride as this has led many a forlorn hope, on the
earth, when all other motives have died out of men's breasts; has
won many a crown, which has not been called by its true name.

Before the afternoon was over, the Senora had her plan, her chart
of the future, as it were, all reconstructed; the sting of her
discomfiture soothed; the placid quiet of her manner restored; her
habitual occupations also, and little ways, all resumed. She was
going to do "nothing" in regard to Ramona. Only she herself knew
how much that meant; how bitterly much! She wished she were
sure that Felipe also would do "nothing;" but her mind still
misgave her about Felipe. Unpityingly she had led him on, and
entangled him in his own words, step by step, till she had brought
him to the position she wished him to take. Ostensibly, his position
and hers were one, their action a unit; all the same, she did not
deceive herself as to his real feeling about the affair. He loved
Ramona. He liked Alessandro. Barring the question of family
pride, which he had hardly thought of till she suggested it, and
which he would not dwell on apart from her continuing to press
it,-- barring this, he would have liked to have Alessandro marry
Ramona and remain on the place. All this would come uppermost
in Felipe's mind again when he was removed from the pressure of
her influence. Nevertheless, she did not intend to speak with him
on the subject again, or to permit him to speak to her. Her ends
would be best attained by taking and keeping the ground that the
question of their non-interference having been settled once for all,
the painful topic should never be renewed between them. In
patient silence they must await Ramona's action; must bear
whatever of disgrace and pain she chose to inflict on the family
which had sheltered her from her infancy till now.

The details of the "nothing" she proposed to do, slowly arranged
themselves in her mind. There should be no apparent change in
Ramona's position in the house. She should come and go as freely
as ever; no watch on her movements; she should eat, sleep, rise up
and sit down with them, as before; there should be not a word, or
act, that Felipe's sympathetic sensitiveness could construe into any
provocation to Ramona to run away. Nevertheless, Ramona should
be made to feel, every moment of every hour, that she was in
disgrace; that she was with them, but not of them; that she had
chosen an alien's position, and must abide by it. How this was to
be done, the Senora did not put in words to herself, but she knew
very well. If anything would bring the girl to her senses, this
would. There might still be a hope, the Senora believed, so little
did she know Ramona's nature, or the depth of her affection for
Alessandro, that she might be in this manner brought to see the
enormity of the offence she would commit if she persisted in her
purpose. And if she did perceive this, confess her wrong, and give
up the marriage,-- the Senora grew almost generous and tolerant in
her thoughts as she contemplated this contingency,-- if she did thus
humble herself and return to her rightful allegiance to the Moreno
house, the Senora would forgive her, and would do more for her
than she had ever hitherto done. She would take her to Los
Angeles and to Monterey; would show her a little more of the
world; and it was by no means unlikely that there might thus come
about for her a satisfactory and honorable marriage. Felipe should
see that she was not disposed to deal unfairly by Ramona in any
way, if Ramona herself would behave properly.

Ramona's surprise, when the Senora entered her room just before
supper, and, in her ordinary tone, asked a question about the chili
which was drying on the veranda, was so great, that she could not
avoid showing it both in her voice and look.

The Senora recognized this immediately, but gave no sign of
having done so, continuing what she had to say about the chili, the
hot sun, the turning of the grapes, etc., precisely as she would have
spoken to Ramona a week previous. At least, this was what
Ramona at first thought; but before the sentences were finished,
she had detected in the Senora's eye and tone the weapons which
were to be employed against her. The emotion of half-grateful
wonder with which she had heard the first words changed quickly
to heartsick misery before they were concluded; and she said to
herself: "That's the way she is going to break me down, she thinks!
But she can't do it. I can bear anything for four days; and the
minute Alessandro comes, I will go away with him." This train of
thought in Ramona's mind was reflected in her face. The Senora
saw it, and hardened herself still more. It was to be war, then. No
hope of surrender. Very well. The girl had made her choice.

Margarita was now the most puzzled person in the household. She
had overheard snatches of the conversation between Felipe and his
mother and Ramona, having let her curiosity get so far the better
of her discretion as to creep to the door and listen. In fact, she
narrowly escaped being caught, having had barely time to begin
her feint of sweeping the passage-way, when Ramona, flinging the
door wide open, came out, after her final reply to the Senora, the
words of which Margarita had distinctly heard: "God will punish

"Holy Virgin! how dare she say that to the Senora?" ejaculated
Margarita, under her breath; and the next second Ramona rushed
by, not even seeing her. But the Senora's vigilant eyes, following
Ramona, saw her; and the Senora's voice had a ring of suspicion in
it, as she called, "How comes it you are sweeping the passage-way
at this hour of the day, Margarita?"

It was surely the devil himself that put into Margarita's head the
quick lie which she instantaneously told. "There was early
breakfast, Senora, to be cooked for Alessandro, who was setting
off in haste, and my mother was not up, so I had it to cook."

As Margarita said this, Felipe fixed his eyes steadily upon her. She
changed color. Felipe knew this was a lie. He had seen Margarita
peering about among the willows while he was talking with
Alessandro at the sheepfold; he had seen Alessandro halt for a
moment and speak to her as he rode past,-- only for a moment;
then, pricking his horse sharply, he had galloped off down the
valley road. No breakfast had Alessandro had at Margarita's hands,
or any other's, that morning. What could have been Margarita's
motive for telling this lie?

But Felipe had too many serious cares on his mind to busy himself
long with any thought of Margarita or her fibs. She had said the
first thing which came into her head, most likely, to shelter herself
from the Senora's displeasure; which was indeed very near the
truth, only there was added a spice of malice against Alessandro. A
slight undercurrent of jealous antagonism towards him had begun
to grow up among the servants of late; fostered, if not originated,
by Margarita's sharp sayings as to his being admitted to such
strange intimacy with the family.

While Felipe continued ill, and was so soothed to rest by his
music, there was no room for cavil. It was natural that Alessandro
came and went as a physician might. But after Felipe had
recovered, why should this freedom and intimacy continue? More
than once there had been sullen mutterings of this kind on the
north veranda, when all the laborers and servants were gathered
there of an evening, Alessandro alone being absent from the group,
and the sounds of his voice or his violin coming from the south
veranda, where the family sat.

"It would be a good thing if we too had a bit of music now and
then," Juan Canito would grumble; "but the lad's chary enough of
his bow on this side the house."

"Ho! we're not good enough for him to play to!" Margarita would
reply; "'Like master, like servant,' is a good proverb sometimes, but
not always. But there's a deal going on, on the veranda yonder,
besides fiddling!" and Margarita's lips would purse themselves up
in an expression of concentrated mystery and secret knowledge,
well fitted to draw from everybody a fire of questions, none of
which, however, would she answer. She knew better than to
slander the Senorita Ramona, or to say a word even reflecting
upon her unfavorably. Not a man or a woman there would have
borne it. They all had loved Ramona ever since she came among
them as a toddling baby. They petted her then, and idolized her
now. Not one of them whom she had not done good offices for,--
nursed them, cheered them, remembered their birthdays and their
saints'-days. To no one but her mother had Margarita unbosomed
what she knew, and what she suspected; and old Marda, frightened
at the bare pronouncing of such words, had terrified Margarita into
the solemnest of promises never, under any circumstances
whatever, to say such things to any other member of the family.
Marda did not believe them. She could not. She believed that
Margarita's jealousy had imagined all.

"And the Senora; she'd send you packing off this place in an hour,
and me too, long's I've lived here, if ever she was to know of you
blackening the Senorita. An Indian, too! You must be mad,

When Margarita, in triumph, had flown to tell her that the Senora
had just dragged the Senorita Ramona up the garden-walk, and
shoved her into her room and locked the door, and that it was
because she had caught her with Alessandro at the washing-stones,
Marda first crossed herself in sheer mechanical fashion at the
shock of the story, and then cuffed Margarita's ears for telling her.

"I'll take the head off your neck, if you say that aloud again!
Whatever's come to the Senora! Forty years I've lived under this
roof, and I never saw her lift a hand to a living creature yet. You're
out of your senses, child!" she said, all the time gazing fearfully
towards the room.

"You'll see whether I am out of my senses or not," retorted
Margarita, and ran back to the dining-room. And after the
dining-room door was shut, and the unhappy pretence of a supper
had begun, old Marda had herself crept softly to the Senorita's door
and listened, and heard Ramona sobbing as if her heart would
break. Then she knew that what Margarita had said must be true,
and her faithful soul was in sore straits what to think. The Senorita
misdemean herself! Never! Whatever happened, it was not that!
There was some horrible mistake somewhere. Kneeling at the
keyhole, she had called cautiously to Ramona, "Oh, my lamb, what
is it?" But Ramona had not heard her, and the danger was too great
of remaining; so scrambling up with difficulty from her rheumatic
knees, the old woman had hobbled back to the kitchen as much in
the dark as before, and, by a curiously illogical consequence,
crosser than ever to her daughter. All the next day she watched for
herself, and could not but see that all appearances bore out
Margarita's statements. Alessandro's sudden departure had been a
tremendous corroboration of the story. Not one of the men had had
an inkling of it; Juan Canito, Luigo, both alike astonished; no word
left, no message sent; only Senor Felipe had said carelessly to Juan
Can, after breakfast: "You'll have to look after things yourself for a
few days, Juan. Alessandro has gone to Temecula."

"For a few days!" exclaimed Margarita, sarcastically, when this
was repeated to her. "That's easy said! If Alessandro Assis is seen
here again, I'll eat my head! He's played his last tune on the south
veranda, I wager you."

But when at supper-time of this same eventful day the Senora was
heard, as she passed the Senorita's door, to say in her ordinary
voice, "Are you ready for supper, Ramona?" and Ramona was seen
to come out and walk by the Senora's side to the dining-room;
silent, to be sure,-- but then that was no strange thing, the Senorita
always was more silent in the Senora's presence,-- when Marda,
standing in the court-yard, feigning to be feeding her chickens, but
keeping a close eye on the passage-ways, saw this, she was
relieved, and thought: "It's only a dispute there has been. There
will be disputes in families sometimes. It is none of our affair. All
is settled now."

And Margarita, standing in the dining-room, when she saw them
all coming in as usual,-- the Senora, Felipe, Ramona,-- no change,
even to her scrutinizing eye, in anybody's face, was more surprised
than she had been for many a day; and began to think again, as she
had more than once since this tragedy began, that she must have
dreamed much that she remembered.

But surfaces are deceitful, and eyes see little. Considering its
complexity, the fineness and delicacy of its mechanism, the results
attainable by the human eye seem far from adequate to the
expenditure put upon it. We have flattered ourselves by inventing
proverbs of comparison in matter of blindness,-- "blind as a bat,"
for instance. It would be safe to say that there cannot be found in
the animal kingdom a bat, or any other creature, so blind in its own
range of circumstance and connection, as the greater majority of
human beings are in the bosoms of their families. Tempers strain
and recover, hearts break and heal, strength falters, fails, and
comes near to giving way altogether, every day, without being
noted by the closest lookers-on.

Before night of this second day since the trouble had burst like a
storm-cloud on the peaceful Moreno household, everything had so
resumed the ordinary expression and routine, that a shrewder
observer and reasoner than Margarita might well be excused for
doubting if any serious disaster could have occurred to any one.
Senor Felipe sauntered about in his usual fashion, smoking his
cigarettes, or lay on his bed in the veranda, dozing. The Senora
went her usual rounds of inspection, fed her birds, spoke to every
one in her usual tone, sat in her carved chair with her hands folded,
gazing out on the southern sky. Ramona busied herself with her
usual duties, dusted the chapel, put fresh flowers before all the
Madonnas, and then sat down at her embroidery. Ramona had
been for a long time at work on a beautiful altar-cloth for the
chapel. It was to have been a present to the Senora. It was nearly
done. As she held up the frame in which it was stretched, and
looked at the delicate tracery of the pattern, she sighed. It had been
with a mingled feeling of interest and hopelessness that she had for
months been at work on it, often saying to herself, "She won't care
much for it, beautiful as it is, just because I did it; but Father
Salvierderra will be pleased when he sees it."

Now, as she wove the fine threads in and out, she thought: "She
will never let it be used on the altar. I wonder if I could any way
get it to Father Salvierderra, at Santa Barbara. I would like to give
it to him. I will ask Alessandro. I'm sure the Senora would never
use it, and it would be a shame to leave it here. I shall take it with
me." But as she thought these things, her face was unruffled. A
strange composure had settled on Ramona. "Only four days; only
four days; I can bear anything for four days!" these words were
coming and going in her mind like refrains of songs which haunt
one's memory and will not be still. She saw that Felipe looked
anxiously at her, but she answered his inquiring looks always with
a gentle smile. It was evident that the Senora did not intend that
she and Felipe should have any private conversation; but that did
not so much matter. After all, there was not so much to be said.
Felipe knew all. She could tell him nothing; Felipe had acted for
the best, as he thought, in sending Alessandro away till the heat of
the Senora's anger should have spent itself.

After her first dismay at suddenly learning that Alessandro had
gone, had passed, she had reflected that it was just as well. He
would come back prepared to take her with him. How, or where,
she did not know; but she would go with no questions. Perhaps she
would not even bid the Senora good-by; she wondered how that
would arrange itself, and how far Alessandro would have to take
her, to find a priest to marry them. It was a terrible thing to have to
do, to go out of a home in such a way: no wedding -- no wedding
clothes -- no friends -- to go unmarried, and journey to a priest's
house, to have the ceremony performed; "but it is not my fault,"
said Ramona to herself; "it is hers. She drives me to do it. If it is
wrong, the blame will be hers. Father Salvierderra would gladly
come here and marry us, if she would send for him. I wish we
could go to him, Alessandro and I; perhaps we can. I would not be
afraid to ride so far; we could do it in two days." The more
Ramona thought of this, the more it appeared to her the natural
thing for them to do. "He will be on our side, I know he will," she
thought. "He always liked Alessandro, and he loves me."

It was strange how little bitterness toward the Senora was in the
girl's mind; how comparatively little she thought of her. Her heart
was too full of Alessandro and of their future; and it had never
been Ramona's habit to dwell on the Senora in her thoughts. As
from her childhood up she had accepted the fact of the Senora's
coldness toward her, so now she accepted her injustice and
opposition as part of the nature of things, and not to be altered.

During all these hours, during the coming and going of these
crowds of fears, sorrows, memories, anticipations in Ramona's
heart, all that there was to be seen to the eye was simply a calm,
quiet girl, sitting on the veranda, diligently working at her
lace-frame. Even Felipe was deceived by her calmness, and
wondered what it meant,-- if it could be that she was undergoing
the change that his mother had thought possible, and designated as
coming "to her senses." Even Felipe did not know the steadfast
fibre of the girl's nature; neither did he realize what a bond had
grown between her and Alessandro. In fact, he sometimes
wondered of what this bond had been made. He had himself seen
the greater part of their intercourse with each other; nothing could
have been farther removed from anything like love-making. There
had been no crisis of incident, or marked moments of experience
such as in Felipe's imaginations of love were essential to the
fulness of its growth. This is a common mistake on the part of
those who have never felt love's true bonds. Once in those chains,
one perceives that they are not of the sort full forged in a day. They
are made as the great iron cables are made, on which bridges are
swung across the widest water-channels,-- not of single huge rods,
or bars, which would be stronger, perhaps, to look at, but of
myriads of the finest wires, each one by itself so fine, so frail, it
would barely hold a child's kite in the wind: by hundreds, hundreds
of thousands of such, twisted, re-twisted together, are made the
mighty cables, which do not any more swerve from their place in
the air, under the weight and jar of the ceaseless traffic and tread
of two cities, than the solid earth swerves under the same ceaseless
weight and jar. Such cables do not break.

Even Ramona herself would have found it hard to tell why she thus
loved Alessandro; how it began, or by what it grew. It had not been
a sudden adoration, like his passion for her; it was, in the
beginning, simply a response; but now it was as strong a love as
his,-- as strong, and as unchangeable. The Senora's harsh words
had been like a forcing-house air to it, and the sudden knowledge
of the fact of her own Indian descent seemed to her like a
revelation, pointing out the path in which destiny called her to
walk. She thrilled with pleasure at the thought of the joy with
which Alessandro would hear this,-- the joy and the surprise. She
imagined to herself, in hundreds of ways, the time, place, and
phrase in which she would tell him. She could not satisfy herself as
to the best; as to which would give keenest pleasure to him and to
her. She would tell him, as soon as she saw him; it should be her
first word of greeting. No! There would be too much of trouble
and embarrassment then. She would wait till they were far away,
till they were alone, in the wilderness; and then she would turn to
him, and say, "Alessandro, my people are your people!" Or she
would wait, and keep her secret until she had reached Temecula,
and they had begun their life there, and Alessandro had been
astonished to see how readily and kindly she took to all the ways
of the Indian village; and then, when he expressed some such
emotion, she would quietly say, "But I too am an Indian,

Strange, sad bride's dreams these; but they made Ramona's heart
beat with happiness as she dreamed them.


THE first day had gone, it was near night of the second, and not a
word had passed between Felipe and Ramona, except in the
presence of the Senora. It would have been beautiful to see, if it
had not been so cruel a thing, the various and devious methods by
which the Senora had brought this about. Felipe, oddly enough,
was more restive under it than Ramona. She had her dreams. He
had nothing but his restless consciousness that he had not done for
her what he hoped; that he must seem to her to have been disloyal;
this, and a continual wonder what she could be planning or
expecting which made her so placid, kept Felipe in a fever of
unrest, of which his mother noted every sign, and redoubled her

Felipe thought perhaps he could speak to Ramona in the night,
through her window. But the August heats were fierce now;
everybody slept with wide-open windows; the Senora was always
wakeful; if she should chance to hear him thus holding secret
converse with Ramona, it would indeed make bad matters worse.
Nevertheless, he decided to try it. At the first sound of his
footsteps on the veranda floor, "My son, are you ill? Can I do
anything?" came from the Senora's window. She had not been
asleep at all. It would take more courage than Felipe possessed, to
try that plan again; and he lay on his veranda bed, this afternoon,
tossing about with sheer impatience at his baffled purpose.
Ramona sat at the foot of the bed, taking the last stitches in the
nearly completed altar-cloth. The Senora sat in her usual seat,
dozing, with her head thrown back. It was very hot; a sultry
south-wind, with dust from the desert, had been blowing all day,
and every living creature was more or less prostrated by it.

As the Senora's eyes closed, a sudden thought struck Felipe.
Taking out a memorandum-book in which he kept his accounts, he
began rapidly writing. Looking up, and catching Ramona's eye, he
made a sign to her that it was for her. She glanced apprehensively
at the Senora. She was asleep. Presently Felipe, folding the note,
and concealing it in his hand, rose, and walked towards Ramona's
window, Ramona terrifiedly watching him; the sound of Felipe's
steps roused the Senora, who sat up instantly, and gazed about her
with that indescribable expression peculiar to people who hope
they have not been asleep, but know they have. "Have I been
asleep?" she asked.

"About one minute, mother," answered Felipe, who was leaning, as
he spoke, against Ramona's open window, his arms crossed behind
him. Stretching them out, and back and forth a few times, yawning
idly, he said, "This heat is intolerable!" Then he sauntered leisurely
down the veranda steps into the garden-walk, and seated himself
on the bench under the trellis there.

The note had been thrown into Ramona's room. She was hot and
cold with fear lest she might not be able to get it unobserved. What
if the Senora were to go first into the room! She hardly dared look
at her. But fortune is not always on the side of tyrants. The Senora
was fast dozing off again, relieved that Felipe was out of speaking
distance of Ramona. As soon as her eyes were again shut, Ramona
rose to go. The Senora opened her eyes. Ramona was crossing the
threshold of the door; she was going into the house. Good! Still
farther away from Felipe.

"Are you going to your room, Ramona?" said the Senor .

"I was," replied Ramona, alarmed. "Did you want me here?"

"No," said the Senora; and she closed her eyes again.

In a second more the note was safe in Ramona's hands.

"Dear Ramona," Felipe had written, "I am distracted because I
cannot speak with you alone. Can you think of any way? I want to
explain things to you. I am afraid you do not understand. Don't be
unhappy. Alessandro will surely be back in four days. I want to
help you all I can, but you saw I could not do much. Nobody will
hinder your doing what you please; but, dear, I wish you would not
go away from us!"

Tearing the paper into small fragments, Ramona thrust them into
her bosom, to be destroyed later. Then looking out of the window,
and seeing that the Senora was now in a sound sleep, she ventured
to write a reply to Felipe, though when she would find a safe
opportunity to give it to him, there was no telling. "Thank you,
dear Felipe. Don't be anxious. I am not unhappy. I understand all
about it. But I must go away as soon as Alessandro comes." Hiding
this also safe in her bosom, she went back to the veranda. Felipe
rose, and walked toward the steps. Ramona, suddenly bold,
stooped, and laid her note on the second step. Again the tired eyes
of the Senora opened. They had not been shut five minutes;
Ramona was at her work; Felipe was coming up the steps from the
garden. He nodded laughingly to his mother, and laid his finger on
his lips. All was well. The Senora dozed again. Her nap had cost
her more than she would ever know. This one secret interchange
between Felipe and Ramona then, thus making, as it were,
common cause with each other as against her, and in fear of her,
was a step never to be recalled,-- a step whose significance could
scarcely be overestimated. Tyrants, great and small, are apt to
overlook such possibilities as this; to forget the momentousness
which the most trivial incident may assume when forced into false
proportions and relations. Tyranny can make liars and cheats out
of the honestest souls. It is done oftener than any except close
students of human nature realize. When kings and emperors do
this, the world cries out with sympathy, and holds the plotters
more innocent than the tyrant who provoked the plot. It is Russia
that stands branded in men's thoughts, and not Siberia.

The Senora had a Siberia of her own, and it was there that Ramona
was living in these days. The Senora would have been surprised to
know how little the girl felt the cold. To be sure, it was not as if
she had ever felt warmth in the Senora's presence; yet between the
former chill and this were many degrees, and except for her new
life, and new love, and hope in the thought of Alessandro, Ramona
could not have borne it for a day.

The fourth day came; it seemed strangely longer than the others
had. All day Ramona watched and listened. Felipe, too; for,
knowing what Alessandro's impatience would be, he had, in truth,
looked for him on the previous night. The horse he rode was a fleet
one, and would have made the journey with ease in half the time.
But Felipe reflected that there might be many things for
Alessandro to arrange at Temecula. He would doubtless return
prepared to take Ramona back with him, in case that proved the
only alternative left them. Felipe grew wretched as his fancy dwelt
on the picture of Ramona's future. He had been in the Temecula
village. He knew its poverty; the thought of Ramona there was
monstrous, To the indolent, ease-loving Felipe it was incredible
that a girl reared as Ramona had been, could for a moment
contemplate leading the life of a poor laboring man's wife. He
could not conceive of love's making one undertake any such life.
Felipe had much to learn of love. Night came; no Alessandro. Till
the darkness settled down, Ramona sat, watching the willows.
When she could no longer see, she listened. The Senora, noting all,
also listened. She was uneasy as to the next stage of affairs, but she
would not speak. Nothing should induce her to swerve from the
line of conduct on which she had determined. It was the full of the
moon. When the first broad beam of its light came over the hill,
and flooded the garden and the white front of the little chapel, just
as it had done on that first night when Alessandro watched with
Felipe on the veranda, Ramona pressed her face against the
window-panes, and gazed out into the garden. At each flickering,
motion of the shadows she saw the form of a man approaching.
Again and again she saw it. Again and again the breeze died, and
the shadow ceased. It was near morning before, weary, sad, she
crept to bed; but not to sleep. With wide-open, anxious eyes, she
still watched and listened. Never had the thought once crossed her
mind that Alessandro might not come at the time Felipe had said.
In her childlike simplicity she had accepted this as unquestioningly
as she had accepted other facts in her life. Now that he did not
come, unreasoning and unfounded terror took possession of her,
and she asked herself continually, "Will he ever come! They sent
him away; perhaps he will be too proud to come back!" Then faith
would return, and saying to herself, "He would never, never
forsake me; he knows I have no one in the whole world but him;
he knows how I love him," she would regain composure, and
remind herself of the many detentions which might have prevented
his coming at the time set. Spite of all, however, she was heavy at
heart; and at breakfast her anxious eyes and absent look were sad
to see. They hurt Felipe. Too well he knew what it meant. He also
was anxious. The Senora saw it in his face, and it vexed her. The
girl might well pine, and be mortified if her lover did not appear.
But why should Felipe disquiet himself? The Senora disliked it. It
was a bad symptom. There might be trouble ahead yet. There was,
indeed, trouble ahead,-- of a sort the Senora's imaginings had not

Another day passed; another night; another, and another. One
week now since Alessandro, as he leaped on his horse, had grasped
Felipe's hand, and said: "You will tell the Senorita; you will make
sure that she understands why I go; and in four days I will be
back." One week, and he had not come. The three who were
watching and wondering looked covertly into each other's faces,
each longing to know what the others thought.

Ramona was wan and haggard. She had scarcely slept. The idea
had taken possession of her that Alessandro was dead. On the sixth
and seventh days she had walked each afternoon far down the river
road, by which he would be sure to come; down the meadows, and
by the cross-cut, out to the highway; at each step straining her
tearful eyes into the distance,-- the cruel, blank, silent distance.
She had come back after dark, whiter and more wan than she went
out. As she sat at the supper-table, silent, making no feint of
eating, only drinking glass after glass of milk, in thirsty haste, even
Margarita pitied her. But the Senora did not. She thought the best
thing which could happen, would be that the Indian should never
come back. Ramona would recover from it in a little while; the
mortification would be the worst thing, but even that, time would
heal. She wondered that the girl had not more pride than to let her
wretchedness be so plainly seen. She herself would have died
before she would go about with such a woe-begone face, for a
whole household to see and gossip about.

On the morning of the eighth day, Ramona, desperate, waylaid
Felipe, as he was going down the veranda steps. The Senora was in
the garden, and saw them; but Ramona did not care. "Felipe!" she
cried, "I must, I must speak to you! Do you think Alessandro is
dead? What else could keep him from coming?" Her lips were dry,
her cheeks scarlet, her voice husky. A few more days of this, and
she would be in a brain fever, Felipe thought, as he looked
compassionately at her.

"Oh, no, no, dear! Do not think that!" he replied. "A thousand
things might have kept him."

"Ten thousand things would not! Nothing could!" said Ramona. "I
know he is dead. Can't you send a messenger, Felipe, and see?"

The Senora was walking toward them. She overheard the last
words. Looking toward Felipe, no more regarding Ramona than if
she had not been within sight or hearing, the Senora said, "It seems
to me that would not be quite consistent with dignity. How does it
strike you, Felipe' If you thought best, we might spare a man as
soon as the vintage is done, I suppose."

Ramona walked away. The vintage would not be over for a week.
There were several vineyards yet which had not been touched;
every hand on the place was hard at work, picking the grapes,
treading them out in tubs, emptying the juice into stretched
raw-hides swung from cross-beams in a long shed. In the willow
copse the brandy-still was in full blast; it took one man to watch it;
this was Juan Can's favorite work; for reasons of his own he liked
best to do it alone; and now that he could no longer tread grapes in
the tubs, he had a better chance for uninterrupted work at the still.
"No ill but has its good," he thought sometimes, as he lay
comfortably stretched out in the shade, smoking his pipe day after
day, and breathing the fumes of the fiery brandy.

As Ramona disappeared in the doorway, the Senora, coming close
to Felipe, and laying her hand on his arm, said in a confidential
tone, nodding her head in the direction in which Ramona had
vanished: "She looks badly, Felipe. I don't know what we can do.
We surely cannot send to summon back a lover we do not wish her
to marry, can we? It is very perplexing. Most unfortunate, every
way. What do you think, my son?" There was almost a diabolical
art in the manner in which the Senora could, by a single phrase or
question, plant in a person's mind the precise idea she wished him
to think he had originated himself.

"No; of course we can't send for him," replied Felipe, angrily;
"unless it is to send him to marry her; I wish he had never set foot
on the place. I am sure I don't know what to do. Ramona's looks
frighten me. I believe she will die."

"I cannot wish Alessandro had never set foot on the place," said
the Senora, gently, "for I feel that I owe your life to him, my
Felipe; and he is not to blame for Ramona's conduct. You need not
fear her dying, She may be ill; but people do not die of love like
hers for Alessandro."

"Of what kind do they die, mother?" asked Felipe, impatiently.

The Senora looked reproachfully at him. "Not often of any," she
said; "but certainly not of a sudden passion for a person in every
way beneath them, in position, in education, in all points which are
essential to congeniality of tastes or association of life."

The Senora spoke calmly, with no excitement, as if she were
discussing an abstract case. Sometimes, when she spoke like this,
Felipe for the moment felt as if she were entirely right, as if it were
really a disgraceful thing in Ramona to have thus loved
Alessandro. It could not be gainsaid that there was this gulf, of
which she spoke. Alessandro was undeniably Ramona's inferior in
position, education, in all the external matters of life; but in nature,
in true nobility of soul, no! Alessandro was no man's inferior in
these; and in capacity to love,-- Felipe sometimes wondered
whether he had ever known Alessandro's equal in that. This
thought had occurred to him more than once, as from his sick-bed
he had, unobserved, studied the expression with which Alessandro
gazed at Ramona. But all this made no difference in the perplexity
of the present dilemma, in the embarrassment of his and his
mother's position now. Send a messenger to ask why Alessandro
did not return! Not even if he had been an accepted and publicly
recognized lover, would Felipe do that! Ramona ought to have
more pride. She ought of herself to know that. And when Felipe,
later in the day, saw Ramona again, he said as much to her. He
said it as gently as he could; so gently that she did not at first
comprehend his idea. It was so foreign, so incompatible with her
faith, how could she?

When she did understand, she said slowly: "You mean that it will
not do to send to find out if Alessandro is dead, because it will
look as if I wished him to marry me whether he wished it or not?"
and she fixed her eyes on Felipe's, with an expression he could not

"Yes, dear," he answered, "something like that, though you put it

"Is it not true," she persisted, "that is what you mean?"

Reluctantly Felipe admitted that it was.

Ramona was silent for some moments; then she said, speaking still
more slowly, "If you feel like that, we had better never talk about
Alessandro again. I suppose it is not possible that you should
know, as I do, that nothing but. his being dead would keep him
from coming back. Thanks, dear Felipe;" and after this she did not
speak again of Alessandro.

Days went by; a week. The vintage was over. The Senora
wondered if Ramona would now ask again for a messenger to go
to Temecula. Almost even the Senora relented, as she looked into
the girl's white and wasted face, as she sat silent, her hands folded
in her lap, her eyes fixed on the willows. The altar-cloth was done,
folded and laid away. It would never hang in the Moreno chapel. It
was promised, in Ramona's mind, to Father Salvierderra. She had
resolved to go to him; if he, a feeble old man, could walk all the
way between Santa Barbara and their home, she could surely do
the same. She would not lose the way. There were not many roads;
she could ask. The convent, the bare thought of which had been so
terrible to Ramona fourteen days ago, when the Senora had
threatened her with it, now seemed a heavenly refuge, the only
shelter she craved. There was a school for orphans attached to the
convent at San Juan Bautista, she knew; she would ask the Father
to let her go there, and she would spend the rest of her life in
prayer, and in teaching the orphan girls. As hour after hour she sat
revolving this plan, her fancy projected itself so vividly into the
future, that she lived years of her life. She felt herself middle-aged,
old. She saw the procession of nuns, going to vespers, leading the
children by the hand; herself wrinkled and white-haired, walking
between two of the little ones. The picture gave her peace. As soon
as she grew a little stronger, she would set off on her journey to the
Father; she could not go just yet, she was too weak; her feet
trembled if she did but walk to the foot of the garden. Alessandro
was dead; there could be no doubt of that. He was buried in that
little walled graveyard of which he had told her. Sometimes she
thought she would try to go there and see his grave, perhaps see his
father; if Alessandro had told him of her, the old man would be
glad to see her; perhaps, after all, her work might lie there, among
Alessandro's people. But this looked hard: she had not courage for
it; shelter and rest were what she wanted,-- the sound of the
Church's prayers, and the Father's blessing every day. The convent
was the best.

She thought she was sure that Alessandro was dead; but she was
not, for she still listened, still watched. Each day she walked out
on the river road, and sat waiting till dusk. At last came a day
when she could not go; her strength failed her. She lay all day on
her bed. To the Senora, who asked frigidly if she were ill, she
answered: "No, Senora, I do not think I am ill, I have no pain, but I
cannot get up. I shall be better to-morrow."

"I will send you strong broth and a medicine," the Senora said; and
sent her both by the hands of Margarita, whose hatred and jealousy
broke down at the first sight of Ramona's face on the pillow; it
looked so much thinner and sharper there than it had when she was
sitting up. "Oh, Senorita! Senorita!" she cried, in a tone of poignant
grief, "are you going to die? Forgive me, forgive me!"

"I have nothing to forgive you, Margarita," replied Ramona, raising
herself on her elbow, and lifting her eyes kindly to the girl's face as
she took the broth from her hands. "I do not know why you ask me
to forgive you."

Margarita flung herself on her knees by the bed, in a passion of
weeping. "Oh, but you do know, Senorita, you do know! Forgive

"No, I know nothing," replied Ramona; "but if you know anything,
it is all forgiven. I am not going to die, Margarita. I am going
away," she added, after a second's pause. Her inmost instinct told
her that she could trust Margarita now. Alessandro being dead,
Margarita would no longer be her enemy, and Margarita could
perhaps help her. "I am going away, Margarita, as soon as I feel a
little stronger. I am going to a convent; but the Senora does not
know. You will not tell?"

"No, Senorita!" whispered Margarita,-- thinking in her heart, "Yes,
she is going away, but it will be with the angels." -- "No, Senorita,
I will not tell. I will do anything you want me to."

"Thanks, Margarita mia," replied Ramona. "I thought you would;"
and she lay back on her pillow, and closed her eyes, looking so
much more like death than like life that Margarita's tears flowed
faster than before, and she ran to her mother, sobbing out,
"Mother, mother! the Senorita is ill to death. I am sure she is. She
has taken to her bed; and she is as white as Senor Felipe was at the
worst of the fever."

"Ay," said old Marda, who had seen all this for days back; "ay, she
has wasted away, this last week, like one in a fever, sure enough; I
have seen it. It must be she is starving herself to death."

"Indeed, she has not eaten for ten days,-- hardly since that day;"
and Margarita and her mother exchanged looks. It was not
necessary to further define the day.

"Juan Can says he thinks he will never be seen here again,"
continued Margarita.

"The saints grant it, then," said Marda, hotly, "if it is he has cost
the Senorita all this! I am that turned about in my head with it all,
that I've no thoughts to think; but plain enough it is, he is mixed up
with whatever 'tis has gone wrong."

"I could tell what it is," said Margarita, her old pertness coming
uppermost for a moment; "but I've got no more to say, now the
Senorita's lying on her bed, with the face she's got. It's enough to
break your heart to look at her. I could just go down on my knees
to her for all I've said; and I will, and to Saint Francis too! She's
going to be with him before long; I know she is."

"No," said the wiser, older Marda. "She is not so ill as you think.
She is young. It's the heart's gone out of her; that's all. I've been
that way myself. People are, when they're young."

"I'm young!" retorted Margarita. "I've never been that way."

"There's many a mile to the end of the road, my girl," said Marda,
significantly; "and 'It's ill boasting the first day out,' was a proverb
when I was your age!"

Marda had never been much more than half-way fond of this own
child of hers. Their natures were antagonistic. Traits which, in
Margarita's father, had embittered many a day of Marda's early
married life, were perpetually cropping out in Margarita, making
between the mother and daughter a barrier which even parental
love was not always strong enough to surmount. And, as was
inevitable, this antagonism was constantly leading to things which
seemed to Margarita, and in fact were, unjust and ill-founded.

"She's always flinging out at me, whatever I do," thought
Margarita. "I know one thing; I'll never tell her what the Senorita's
told me; never,-- not till after she's gone."

A sudden suspicion flashed into Margarita's mind. She seated
herself on the bench outside the kitchen door, to wrestle with it.
What if it were not to a convent at all, but to Alessandro, that the
Senorita meant to go! No; that was preposterous. If it had been
that, she would have gone with him in the outset. Nobody who was
plotting to run away with a lover ever wore such a look as the
Senorita wore now. Margarita dismissed the thought; yet it left its
trace. She would be more observant for having had it; her
resuscitated affection far her young mistress was not yet so strong
that it would resist the assaults of jealousy, if that passion were to
be again aroused in her fiery soul. Though she had never been
deeply in love with Alessandro herself, she had been enough so,
and she remembered him vividly enough, to feel yet a sharp
emotion of displeasure at the recollection of his devotion to the
Senorita. Now that the Senorita seemed to be deserted, unhappy,
prostrated, she had no room for anything but pity for her; but let
Alessandro come on the stage again, and all would be changed.
The old hostility would return. It was but a dubious sort of ally,
after all, that Ramona had so unexpectedly secured in Margarita.
She might prove the sharpest of broken reeds.

It was sunset of the eighteenth day since Alessandro's departure.
Ramona had lain for four days well-nigh motionless on her bed.
She herself began to think she must be going to die. Her mind
seemed to be vacant of all thought. She did not even sorrow for
Alessandro's death; she seemed torpid, body and soul. Such
prostrations as these are Nature's enforced rests. It is often only by
help of them that our bodies tide over crises, strains, in which, if
we continued to battle, we should be slain.

As Ramona lay half unconscious,-- neither awake nor yet asleep,--
on this evening, she was suddenly aware of a vivid impression
produced upon her; it was not sound, it was not sight. She was
alone; the house was still as death; the warm September twilight
silence reigned outside, She sat up in her bed, intent -- half
alarmed -- half glad -- bewildered -- alive. What had happened?
Still there was no sound, no stir. The twilight was fast deepening;
not a breath of air moving. Gradually her bewildered senses and
faculties awoke from their long-dormant condition; she looked
around the room; even the walls seemed revivified; she clasped
her hands, and leaped from the bed. "Alessandro is not dead!" she
said aloud; and she laughed hysterically. "He is not dead!" she
repeated. "He is not dead! He is somewhere near!"

With quivering hands she dressed, and stole out of the house. After
the first few seconds she found herself strangely strong; she did
not tremble; her feet trod firm on the ground. "Oh, miracle!" she
thought, as she hastened down the garden-walk; "I am well again!
Alessandro is near!" So vivid was the impression, that when she
reached the willows and found the spot silent, vacant, as when she
had last sat there, hopeless, broken-hearted, she experienced a
revulsion of disappointment. "Not here!" she cried; "not here!" and
a swift fear shook her. "Am I mad? Is it this way, perhaps, people
lose their senses, when they are as I have been!"

But the young, strong blood was running swift in her veins. No!
this was no madness; rather a newly discovered power; a fulness of
sense; a revelation. Alessandro was near.

Swiftly she walked down the river road. The farther she went, the
keener grew her expectation, her sense of Alessandro's nearness. In
her present mood she would have walked on and on, even to
Temecula itself, sure that she was at each step drawing nearer to

As she approached the second willow copse, which lay perhaps a
quarter of a mile west of the first, she saw the figure of a man,
standing, leaning against one of the trees. She halted. It could not
be Alessandro. He would not have paused for a moment so near
the house where he was to find her. She was afraid to go on. It was
late to meet a stranger in this lonely spot. The figure was strangely
still; so still that, as she peered through the dusk, she half fancied
it might be an optical illusion. She advanced a few steps,
hesitatingly, then stopped. As she did so, the man advanced a few
steps, then stopped. As he came out from the shadows of the trees,
she saw that he was of Alessandro's height. She quickened her
steps, then suddenly stopped again. What did this mean? It could
not be Alessandro. Ramona wrung her hands in agony of suspense.
An almost unconquerable instinct urged her forward; but terror
held her back. After standing irresolute for some minutes, she
turned to walk back to the house, saying, "I must not run the risk of
its being a stranger. If it is Alessandro, he will come."

But her feet seemed to refuse to move in the opposite direction.
Slower and slower she walked for a few paces, then turned again.
The man had returned to his former place, and stood as at first,
leaning against the tree.

"It may be a messenger from him," she said; "a messenger who has
been told not to come to the house until after dark."

Her mind was made up. She quickened her pace to a run. A few
moments more brought her so near that she could see distinctly. It
was -- yes, it was Alessandro. He did not see her. His face was
turned partially away, his head resting against the tree; he must be
ill. Ramona flew, rather than ran. In a moment more, Alessandro
had heard the light steps, turned, saw Ramona, and, with a cry,
bounded forward, and they were clasped in each other's arms
before they had looked in each other's faces. Ramona spoke first.
Disengaging herself gently, and looking up, she began:
"Alessandro --" But at the first sight of his face she shrieked. Was
this Alessandro, this haggard, emaciated, speechless man, who
gazed at her with hollow eyes, full of misery, and no joy! "O God,"
cried Ramona, "You have been ill! you are ill! My God,
Alessandro, what is it?"

Alessandro passed his hand slowly over his forehead, as if trying to
collect his thoughts before speaking, all the while keeping his eyes
fixed on Ramona, with the same anguished look, convulsively
holding both her hands in his.

"Senorita," he said, "my Senorita!" Then he stopped. His tongue
seemed to refuse him utterance; and this voice,-- this strange, hard,
unresonant voice,-- whose voice was it? Not Alessandro's.

"My Senorita," he began again, "I could not go without one sight of
your face; but when I was here, I had not courage to go near the
house. If you had not come, I should have gone back without
seeing you."

Ramona heard these words in fast-deepening terror, What did they
mean? Her look seemed to suggest a new thought to Alessandro.

"Heavens, Senorita!" he cried, "have you not heard? Do you not
know what has happened?"

"I know nothing, love," answered Ramona. "I have heard nothing
since you went away. For ten days I have been sure you were dead;
but to-night something told me that you were near, and I came to
meet you."

At the first words of Ramona's sentence, Alessandro threw his
arms around her again. As she said "love," his whole frame shook
with emotion.

"My Senorita!" he whispered, "my Senorita! how shall I tell you!
How shall I tell you!"

"What is there to tell, Alessandro?" she said. "I am afraid of
nothing, now that you are here, and not dead, as I thought."

But Alessandro did not speak. It seemed impossible. At last,
straining her closer to his breast, he cried: "Dearest Senorita! I feel
as if I should die when I tell you,-- I have no home; my father is
dead; my people are driven out of their village. I am only a beggar
now, Senorita; like those you used to feed and pity in Los Angeles
convent!" As he spoke the last words, he reeled, and, supporting
himself against the tree, added: "I am not strong, Senorita; we have
been starving."

Ramona's face did not reassure him. Even in the dusk he could see
its look of incredulous horror. He misread it.

"I only came to look at you once more," he continued. "I will go
now. May the saints bless you, my Senorita, always. I think the
Virgin sent you to me to-night. I should never have seen your face
if you had not come."

While he was speaking, Ramona had buried her face in his bosom.
Lifting it now, she said, "Did you mean to leave me to think you
were dead, Alessandro?"

"I thought that the news about our village must have reached you,"
he said, "and that you would know I had no home, and could not
come, to seem to remind you of what you had said. Oh, Senorita, it
was little enough I had before to give you! I don't know how I
dared to believe that you could come to be with me; but I loved
you so much, I had thought of many things I could do; and --"
lowering his voice and speaking almost sullenly -- "it is the saints,
I believe, who have punished me thus for having resolved to leave
my people, and take all I had for myself and you. Now they have
left me nothing;" and he groaned.

"Who?" cried Ramona. "Was there a battle? Was your father
killed?" She was trembling with horror.

"No," answered Alessandro. "There was no battle. There would
have been, if I had had my way; but my father implored me not to
resist. He said it would only make it worse for us in the end. The
sheriff, too, he begged me to let it all go on peaceably, and help
him keep the people quiet. He felt terribly to have to do it. It was
Mr. Rothsaker, from San Diego. We had often worked for him on
his ranch. He knew all about us. Don't you recollect, Senorita, I
told you about him,-- how fair he always was, and kind too? He
has the biggest wheat-ranch in Cajon; we've harvested miles and
miles of wheat for him. He said he would have rather died, almost,
than have had it to do; but if we resisted, he would have to order
his men to shoot. He had twenty men with him. They thought there
would be trouble; and well they might, -- turning a whole village
full of men and women and children out of their houses, and
driving them off like foxes. If it had been any man but Mr.
Rothsaker, I would have shot him dead, if I had hung for it; but I
knew if he thought we must go, there was no help for us."

"But, Alessandro," interrupted Ramona, "I can't understand. Who
was it made Mr. Rothsaker do it? Who has the land now?"

"I don't know who they are," Alessandro replied, his voice full of
anger and scorn. "They're Americans -- eight or ten of them. They
all got together and brought a suit, they call it, up in San Francisco;
and it was decided in the court that they owned all our land. That
was all Mr. Rothsaker could tell about it. It was the law, he said,
and nobody could go against the law."

"Oh," said Ramona, "that's the way the Americans took so much of
the Senora's land away from her. It was in the court up in San
Francisco; and they decided that miles and miles of her land,
which the General had always had, was not hers at all. They said it
belonged to the United States Government."

"They are a pack of thieves and liars, every one of them!" cried
Alessandro. "They are going to steal all the land in this country; we
might all just as well throw ourselves into the sea, and let them
have it. My father had been telling me this for years. He saw it
coming; but I did not believe him. I did not think men could be so
wicked; but he was right. I am glad he is dead. That is the only
thing I have to be thankful for now. One day I thought he was
going to get well, and I prayed to the Virgin not to let him. I did
not want him to live. He never knew anything clear after they took
him out of his house. That was before I got there. I found him
sitting on the ground outside. They said it was the sun that had
turned him crazy; but it was not. It was his heart breaking in his
bosom. He would not come out of his house, and the men lifted
him up and carried him out by force, and threw him on the ground;
and then they threw out all the furniture we had; and when he saw
them doing that, he put his hands up to his head, and called out,
'Alessandro! Alessandro!' and I was not there! Senorita, they said it
was a voice to make the dead hear, that he called with; and nobody
could stop him. All that day and all the night he kept on calling.
God! Senorita, I wonder I did not die when they told me! When I
got there, some one had built up a little booth of tule over his head,
to keep the sun off. He did not call any more, only for water,
water. That was what made them think the sun had done it. They
did all they could; but it was such a dreadful time, nobody could
do much; the sheriff's men were in great hurry; they gave no time.
They said the people must all be off in two days. Everybody was
running hither and thither. Everything out of the houses in piles on
the ground. The people took all the roofs off their houses too. They
were made of the tule reeds; so they would do again. Oh, Senorita,
don't ask me to tell you any more! It is like death. I can't!"

Ramona was crying bitterly. She did not know what to say. What
was love, in face of such calamity? What had she to give to a man
stricken like this'

"Don't weep, Senorita," said Alessandro, drearily. "Tears kill one,
and do no good."

"How long did your father live?" asked Ramona, clasping her arms
closer around his neck. They were sitting on the ground now, and
Ramona, yearning over Alessandro, as if she were the strong one
and he the one to be sheltered, had drawn his head to her bosom,
caressing him as if he had been hers for years. Nothing could have
so clearly shown his enfeebled and benumbed condition, as the
manner in which he received these caresses, which once would
have made him beside himself with joy. He leaned against her
breast as a child might.

"He! He died only four days ago. I stayed to bury him, and then I
came away. I have been three days on the way; the horse, poor
beast, is almost weaker than I. The Americans took my horse,"
Alessandro said.

"Took your horse!" cried Ramona, aghast. "Is that the law, too?"

"So Mr. Rothsaker told me. He said the judge had said he must
take enough of our cattle and horses to pay all it had cost for the
suit up in San Francisco. They didn't reckon the cattle at what they
were worth, I thought; but they said cattle were selling very low
now. There were not enough in all the village to pay it, so we had
to make it up in horses; and they took mine. I was not there the day
they drove the cattle away, or I would have put a ball into Benito's
head before any American should ever have had him to ride. But I
was over in Pachanga with my father. He would not stir a step for
anybody but me; so I led him all the way; and then after he got
there he was so ill I never left him a minute. He did not know me
any more, nor know anything that had happened. I built a little hut
of tule, and he lay on the ground till he died. When I put him in his
grave, I was glad."

"In Temecula?" asked Ramona.

"In Temecula." exclaimed Alessandro, fiercely. "You don't seem to
understand, Senorita. We have no right in Temecula, not even to
our graveyard full of the dead. Mr. Rothsaker warned us all not to
be hanging about there; for he said the men who were coming in
were a rough set, and they would shoot any Indian at sight, if they
saw him trespassing on their property."

"Their property!" ejaculated Ramona.

"Yes; it is theirs," said Alessandro, doggedly. "That is the law.
They've got all the papers to show it. That is what my father
always said,-- if the Senor Valdez had only given him a paper! But
they never did in those days. Nobody had papers. The American
law is different."

"It's a law of thieves!" cried Ramona.

"Yes, and of murderers too," said Alessandro. "Don't you call my
father murdered just as much as if they had shot him? I do! and, O
Senorita, my Senorita, there was Jose! You recollect Jose, who
went for my violin? But, my beloved one, I am killing you with
these terrible things! I will speak no more."

"No, no, Alessandro. Tell me all, all. You must have no grief I do
not share. Tell me about Jose," cried Ramona, breathlessly.

"Senorita, it will break your heart to hear. Jose was married a year
ago. He had the best house in Temecula, next to my father's. It was
the only other one that had a shingled roof. And he had a barn too,
and that splendid horse he rode, and oxen, and a flock of sheep. He
was at home when the sheriff came. A great many of the men were
away, grapepicking. That made it worse. But Jose was at home; for
his wife had a little baby only a few weeks old, and the child
seemed sickly and not like to live, and Jose would not leave it.
Jose was the first one that saw the sheriff riding into the village,
and the band of armed men behind him, and Jose knew what it
meant. He had often talked it over with me and with my father,
and now he saw that it had come; and he went crazy in one minute,
and fell on the ground all froth at his mouth. He had had a fit like
that once before; and the doctor said if he had another, he would
die. But he did not. They picked him up, and presently he was
better; and Mr. Rothsaker said nobody worked so well in the
moving the first day as Jose did. Most of the men would not lift a
hand. They sat on the ground with the women, and covered up
their faces, and would not see. But Jose worked; and, Senorita, one
of the first things he did, was to run with my father's violin to the
store, to Mrs. Hartsel, and ask her to hide it for us; Jose knew it
was worth money. But before noon the second day he had another
fit, and died in it,-- died right in his own door, carrying out some of
the things; and after Carmena -- that's his wife's name -- saw he
was dead, she never spoke, but sat rocking back and forth on the
ground, with the baby in her arms. She went over to Pachanga at
the same time I did with my father. It was a long procession of us."

"Where is Pachanga?" asked Ramona.

"About three miles from Temecula, a little sort of canon. I told the
people they'd better move over there; the land did not belong to
anybody, and perhaps they could make a living there. There isn't
any water; that's the worst of it."

"No water!" cried Ramona.

"No running water. There is one little spring, and they dug a well
by it as soon as they got there; so there was water to drink, but that
is all. I saw Carmena could hardly keep up, and I carried the baby
for her on one arm, while I led my father with the other hand; but
the baby cried, so she took it back. I thought then it wouldn't live
the day out; but it did live till the morning of the day my father
died. Just a few hours before he died, Carmena came along with
the baby rolled up in her shawl, and sat down by me on the ground,
and did not speak. When I said, 'How is the little one?' she opened
her shawl and showed it to me, dead. 'Good, Carmena!' said I. 'It is
good! My father is dying too. We will bury them together.' So she
sat by me all that morning, and at night she helped me dig the
graves. I wanted to put the baby on my father's breast; but she said,
no, it must have a little grave. So she dug it herself; and we put
them in; and she never spoke, except that once. She was sitting
there by the grave when I came away. I made a cross of two little
trees with the boughs chopped off, and set it up by the graves. So
that is the way our new graveyard was begun,-- my father and the
little baby; it is the very young and the very old that have the
blessed fortune to die. I cannot die, it seems!"

"Where did they bury Jose?" gasped Ramona.

"In Temecula," said Alessandro. "Mr. Rothsaker made two of his
men dig a grave in our old graveyard for Jose. But I think Carmena
will go at night and bring his body away. I would! But, my
Senorita, it is very dark, I can hardly see your beloved eyes. I think
you must not stay longer. Can I go as far as the brook with you,
safely, without being seen? The saints bless you, beloved, for
coming. I could not have lived, I think, without one more sight of
your face;" and, springing to his feet, Alessandro stood waiting for
Ramona to move. She remained still. She was in a sore strait. Her
heart held but one impulse, one desire,-- to go with Alessandro;
nothing was apparently farther from his thoughts than this. Could
she offer to go? Should she risk laying a burden on him greater
than he could bear? If he were indeed a beggar, as he said, would
his life be hindered or helped by her? She felt herself strong and
able. Work had no terrors for her; privations she knew nothing of,
but she felt no fear of them.

"Alessandro!" she said, in a tone which startled him.

"My Senorita!" he said tenderly.

"You have never once called me Ramona."

"I cannot, Senorita!" he replied.

"Why not?"

"I do not know. I sometimes think 'Ramona,'" he added faintly;
"but not often. If I think of you by any other name than as my
Senorita, it is usually by a name you never heard."

"What is it?" exclaimed Ramona, wonderingly.

"An Indian word, my dearest one, the name of the bird you are
like,-- the wood-dove. In the Luiseno tongue that is Majel; that was
what I thought my people would have called you, if you had come
to dwell among us. It is a beautiful name, Senorita, and is like

Alessandro was still standing. Ramona rose; coming close to him,
she laid both her hands on his breast, and her head on her hands,
and said: "Alessandro, I have something to tell you. I am an Indian.
I belong to your people."

Alessandro's silence astonished her. "You are surprised," she said.
"I thought you would be glad."

"The gladness of it came to me long ago, my Senorita," he said. "I
knew it!"

"How?" cried Ramona. "And you never told me, Alessandro!"

"How could I?" he replied. "I dared not. Juan Canito, it was told

"Juan Canito!" said Ramona, musingly. "How could he have
known?" Then in a few rapid words she told Alessandro all that
the Senora had told her. "Is that what Juan Can said?" she asked.

"All except the father's name," stammered Alessandro.

"Who did he say was my father?" she asked.

Alessandro was silent.

"It matters not," said Ramona. "He was wrong. The Senora, of
course, knew. He was a friend of hers, and of the Senora Ortegna,
to whom he gave me. But I think, Alessandro, I have more of my
mother than of my father."

"Yes, you have, my Senorita," replied Alessandro, tenderly. "After
I knew it, I then saw what it was in your face had always seemed to
me like the faces of my own people,"

"Are you not glad, Alessandro?"

"Yes, my Senorita."

What more should Ramona say? Suddenly her heart gave way; and
without premeditation, without resolve, almost without
consciousness of what she was doing, she flung herself on
Alessandro's breast, and cried: "Oh, Alessandro, take me with you!
take me with you! I would rather die than have you leave me


ALESSANDRO'S first answer to this cry of Ramona's was a
tightening of his arms around her; closer and closer he held her, till
it was almost pain; she could hear the throbs of his heart, but he
did not speak. Then, letting his arms fall, taking her hand in his, he
laid it on his forehead reverently, and said, in a voice which was so
husky and trembling she could barely understand his words: "My
Senorita knows that my life is hers. She can ask me to go into the
fire or into the sea, and neither the fire nor the sea would frighten
me; they would but make me glad for her sake. But I cannot take
my Senorita's life to throw it away. She is tender; she would die;
she cannot lie on the earth for a bed, and have no food to eat. My
Senorita does not know what she says."

His solemn tone; this third-person designation, as if he were
speaking of her, not with her, almost as if he were thinking aloud
to God rather than speaking to her, merely calmed and
strengthened, did not deter Ramona. "I am strong; I can work too,
Alessandro. You do not know. We can both work. I am not afraid
to lie on the earth; and God will give us food," she said.

"That was what I thought, my Senorita, until now. When I rode
away that morning, I had it in my thoughts, as you say, that if you
were not afraid, I would not be; and that there would at least
always be food, and I could make it that you should never suffer;
but, Senorita, the saints are displeased. They do not pray for us any
more. It is as my father said, they have forsaken us. These
Americans will destroy us all. I do not know but they will
presently begin to shoot us and poison us, to get us all out of the
country, as they do the rabbits and the gophers; it would not be any
worse than what they have done. Would not you rather be dead,
Senorita, than be as I am to-day?"

Each word he spoke but intensified Ramona's determination to
share his lot. "Alessandro," she interrupted, "there are many men
among your people who have wives, are there not?"

"Yes, Senorita!" replied Alessandro, wonderingly.

"Have their wives left them and gone away, now that this trouble
has come?"

"No, Senorita." still more wonderingly; "how could they?"

"They are going to stay with them, help them to earn money, try to
make them happier, are they not?"

"Yes, Senorita." Alessandro began to see whither these questions
tended. It was not unlike the Senora's tactics, the way in which
Ramona narrowed in her lines of interrogation.

"Do the women of your people love their husbands very much?"

"Very much, Senorita." A pause. It was very dark now. Alessandro
could not see the hot currents running swift and red over Ramona's
face; even her neck changed color as she asked her last question.
"Do you think any one of them loves her husband more than I love
you, Alessandro?"

Alessandro's arms were again around her, before the words were
done. Were not such words enough to make a dead man live?
Almost; but not enough to make such a love as Alessandro's
selfish. Alessandro was silent.

"You know there is not one!" said Ramona, impetuously.

"Oh, it is too much!" cried Alessandro, throwing his arms up
wildly. Then, drawing her to him again, he said, the words pouring
out breathless: "My Senorita, you take me to the door of heaven,
but I dare not go in. I know it would kill you, Senorita, to live the
life we must live. Let me go, dearest Senorita; let me go! It had
been better if you had never seen me."

"Do you know what I was going to do, Alessandro, if you had not
come?" said Ramona. "I was going to run away from the Senora's
house, all alone, and walk all the way to Santa Barbara, to Father
Salvierderra, and ask him to put me in the convent at San Juan
Bautista; and that is what I will do now if you leave me!"

"Oh, no, no, Senorita, my Senorita, you will not do that! My
beautiful Senorita in the convent! No, no!" cried Alessandro,
greatly agitated.

"Yes, if you do not let me come with you, I shall do it. I shall set
out to-morrow."

Her words carried conviction to Alessandro's soul. He knew she
would do as she said. "Even that would not be so dreadful as to be
hunted like a wild beast, Senorita; as you may be, if you come with

"When I thought you were dead, Alessandro, I did not think the
convent would be dreadful at all. I thought it would be peace; and I
could do good, teaching the children. But if I knew you were alive,
I could never have peace; not for one minute have peace,
Alessandro! I would rather die, than not be where you are. Oh,
Alessandro, take me with you!" 

Alessandro was conquered. "I will take you, my most beloved
Senorita," he said gravely,-- no lover's gladness in his tone, and his
voice was hollow; "I will take you. Perhaps the saints will have
mercy on you, even if they have forsaken me and my people!"

"Your people are my people, dearest; and the saints never forsake
any one who does not forsake them. You will be glad all our lives
long, Alessandro," cried Ramona; and she laid her head on his
breast in solemn silence for a moment, as if registering a vow.

Well might Felipe have said that he would hold himself fortunate
if any woman ever loved him as Ramona loved Alessandro.

When she lifted her head, she said timidly, now that she was sure,
"Then you will take your Ramona with you, Alessandro?"

"I will take you with me till I die; and may the Madonna guard
you, my Ramona," replied Alessandro, clasping her to his breast,
and bowing his head upon hers. But there were tears in his eyes,
and they were not tears of joy; and in his heart he said, as in his
rapturous delight when he first saw Ramona bending over the
brook under the willows he had said aloud, "My God! what shall I

It was not easy to decide on the best plan of procedure now.
Alessandro wished to go boldly to the house, see Senor Felipe, and
if need be the Senora. Ramona quivered with terror at the bare
mention of it. "You do not know the Senora, Alessandro," she
cried, "or you would never think of it. She has been terrible all this
time. She hates me so that she would kill me if she dared. She
pretends that she will do nothing to prevent my going away; but I
believe at the last minute she would throw me in the well in the
court-yard, rather than have me go with you."

"I would never let her harm you," said Alessandro. "Neither would
Senor Felipe."

"She turns Felipe round her finger as if he were soft wax,"
answered Ramona. "She makes him of a hundred minds in a
minute, and he can't help himself. Oh, I think she is in league with
the fiends, Alessandro! Don't dare to come near the house; I will
come here as soon as every one is asleep. We must go at once."

Ramona's terrors overruled Alessandro's judgment, and he
consented to wait for her at the spot where they now stood. She
turned back twice to embrace him again. "Oh, my Alessandro,
promise me that you will not stir from this place till I come," she

"I will be here when you come," he said.

"It will not be more than two hours," she said, "or three, at the
utmost. It must be nine o'clock now."

She did not observe that Alessandro had evaded the promise not to
leave the spot. That promise Alessandro would not have given. He
had something to do in preparation for this unexpected flight of
Ramona. In her innocence, her absorption in her thoughts of
Alessandro and of love, she had never seemed to consider how she
would make this long journey. As Alessandro had ridden towards
Temecula, eighteen days ago, he had pictured himself riding back
on his fleet, strong Benito, and bringing Antonio's matchless little
dun mare for Ramona to ride. Only eighteen short days ago; and as
he was dreaming that very dream, he had looked up and seen
Antonio on the little dun mare, galloping towards him like the
wind, the overridden creature's breath coming from her like pants
of a steam-engine, and her sides dripping blood, where Antonio,
who loved her, had not spared the cruel spurs; and Antonio, seeing
him, had uttered a cry, and flinging himself off, came with a bound
to his side, and with gasps between his words told him. Alessandro
could not remember the words, only that after them he set his
teeth, and dropping the bridle, laid his head down between Benito's
ears, and whispered to him; and Benito never stopped, but
galloped on all that day, till he came into Temecula; and there
Alessandro saw the roofless houses, and the wagons being loaded,
and the people running about, the women and children wailing;
and then they showed him the place where his father lay on the
ground, under the tule, and jumping off Benito he let him go, and
that was the last he ever saw of him. Only eighteen days ago! And
now here he was, under the willows,-- the same copse where he
first halted, at his first sight of Ramona; and it was night, dark
night, and Ramona had been there, in his arms; she was his; and
she was going back presently to go away with him,-- where! He
had no home in the wide world to which to take her,-- and this
poor beast he had ridden from Temecula, had it strength enough
left to carry her? Alessandro doubted. He had himself walked more
than half the distance, to spare the creature, and yet there had been
good pasture all the way; but the animal had been too long starved
to recover quickly. In the Pachanga canon, where they had found
refuge, the grass was burned up by the sun, and the few horses
taken over there had suffered wretchedly; some had died. But
Alessandro, even while his arms were around Ramona, had
revolved in his mind a project he would not have dared to confide
to her. If Baba, Ramona's own horse, was still in the corral,
Alessandro could without difficulty lure him out. He thought it
would be no sin. At any rate, if it were, it could not be avoided.
The Senorita must have a horse, and Baba had always been her
own; had followed her about like a dog ever since he could run; in
fact, the only taming he had ever had, had been done by Ramona,
with bread and honey. He was intractable to others; but Ramona
could guide him by a wisp of his silky mane. Alessandro also had
nearly as complete control over him; for it had been one of his
greatest pleasures, during the summer, when he could not see
Ramona, to caress and fondle her horse, till Baba knew and loved
him next to his young mistress. If only Baba were in the corral, all
would be well. As soon as the sound of Ramona's footsteps had
died away, Alessandro followed with quick but stealthy steps;
keeping well down in the bottom, below the willows, he skirted
the terrace where the artichoke-patch and the sheepfolds lay, and
then turned up to approach the corral from the farther side. There
was no light in any of the herdsmen's huts. They were all asleep.
That was good. Well Alessandro knew how sound they slept; many
a night while he slept there with them he had walked twice over
their bodies as they lay stretched on skins on the floor,-- out and in
without rousing them. If only Baba would not give a loud whinny.
leaning on the corral-fence, Alessandro gave a low, hardly audible
whistle. The horses were all in a group together at the farther end
of the corral. At the sound there was a slight movement in the
group; and one of them turned and came a pace or two toward

"I believe that is Baba himself," thought Alessandro; and he made
another low sound. The horse quickened. his steps; then halted, as
if he suspected some mischief.

"Baba," whispered Alessandro. The horse knew his name as well
as any dog; knew Alessandro's voice too; but the sagacious
creature seemed instinctively to know that here was an occasion
for secrecy and caution. If Alessandro whispered, he, Baba, would
whisper back; and it was little more than a whispered whinny
which he gave, as he trotted quickly to the fence, and put his nose
to Alessandro's face, rubbing and kissing and giving soft
whinnying sighs.

"Hush! hush! Baba," whispered Alessandro, as if he were speaking
to a human being. "Hush!" and he proceeded cautiously to lift off
the upper rails and bushes of the fence. The horse understood
instantly; and as soon as the fence was a little lowered, leaped over
it and stood still by Alessandro's side, while he replaced the rails,
smiling to himself, spite of his grave anxiety, to think of Juan
Can's wonder in the morning as to how Baba had managed to get
out of the corral.

This had taken only a few moments. It was better luck than
Alessandro had hoped for; emboldened by it, he began to wonder
if he could not get the saddle too. The saddles, harnesses, bridles,
and all such things hung on pegs in an open barn, such as is
constantly to be seen in Southern California; as significant a
testimony, in matter of climate, as any Signal Service Report could
be,-- a floor and a roof; no walls, only corner posts to hold the
roof. Nothing but summerhouses on a large scale are the South
California barns. Alessandro stood musing. The longer he thought,
the greater grew his desire for that saddle.

"Baba, if only you knew what I wanted of you, you'd lie down on
the ground here and wait while I got the saddle. But I dare not risk
leaving you. Come, Baba!" and he struck down the hill again, the
horse following him softly. When he got down below the terrace,
he broke into a run, with his hand in Baba's mane, as if it were a
frolic; and in a few moments they were safe in the willow copse,
where Alessandro's poor pony was tethered. Fastening Baba with
the same lariat, Alessandro patted him on the neck, pressed his
face to his nose, and said aloud, "Good Baba, stay here till the
Senorita comes." Baba whinnied.

"Why shouldn't he know the Senorita's name! I believe he does!"
thought Alessandro, as he turned and again ran swiftly back to the
corral. He felt strong now,-- felt like a new man. Spite of all the
terror, joy thrilled him. When he reached the corral, all was yet
still. The horses had not moved from their former position.
Throwing himself flat on the ground, Alessandro crept on his
breast from the corral to the barn, several rods' distance. This was
the most hazardous part of his adventure; every other moment he
paused, lay motionless for some seconds, then crept a few paces
more. As he neared the corner where Ramona's saddle always
hung, his heart beat. Sometimes, of a warm night, Luigo slept on
the barn floor. If he were there to-night, all was lost. Groping in
the darkness, Alessandro pulled himself up on the post, felt for the
saddle, found it, lifted it, and in a trice was flat on the ground
again, drawing the saddle along after him. Not a sound had he
made, that the most watchful of sheep-dogs could hear.

"Ha, old Capitan, caught you napping this time!" said Alessandro
to himself, as at last he got safe to the bottom of the terrace, and,
springing to his feet, bounded away with the saddle on his
shoulders. It was a weight for a starving man to carry, but he felt it
not, for the rejoicing he had in its possession. Now his Senorita
would go in comfort. To ride Baba was to be rocked in a cradle. If
need be, Baba would carry them both, and never know it; and it
might come to that, Alessandro thought, as he knelt by the side of
his poor beast, which was stretched out on the ground exhausted;
Baba standing by, looking down in scornful wonder at this strange
new associate.

"The saints be praised!" thought Alessandro, as he seated himself
to wait. "This looks as if they would not desert my Senorita."

Thoughts whirled in his brain. Where should they go first? What
would be best? Would they be pursued? Where could they hide?
Where should he seek a new home?

It was bootless thinking, until Ramona was by his side. He must
lay each plan before her. She must decide. The first thing was to
get to San Diego, to the priest, to be married. That would be three
days' hard ride; five for the exhausted Indian pony. What should
they eat on the ways Ah! Alessandro bethought him of the violin at
Hartsel's. Mr. Hartsel would give him money on that; perhaps buy
it. Then Alessandro remembered his own violin. He had not once
thought of it before. It lay in its case on a table in Senor Felipe's
room when he came away, Was it possible? No, of course it could
not be possible that the Senorita would think to bring it. What
would she bring? She would be wise, Alessandro was sure.

How long the hours seemed as he sat thus plotting and
conjecturing; more and more thankful, as each hour went by, to
see the sky still clouded, the darkness dense. "It must have been
the saints, too, that brought me on a night when there was no
moon," he thought; and then he said again, devout and
simple-minded man that he was. "They mean to protect my
Senorita; they will let me take care of her."

Ramona was threading a perilous way, through great difficulties.
She had reached her room unobserved, so far as she could judge.
Luckily for her, Margarita was in bed with a terrible toothache, for
which her mother had given her a strong sleeping-draught.
Margarita was disposed of. If she had not been, Ramona would
never have got away, for Margarita would have known that she had
been out of the house for two hours, and would have watched to
see what it meant.

Ramona came in through the court-yard; she dared not go by the
veranda, sure that Felipe and his mother were sitting there still, for
it was not late.

As she entered her room, she heard them talking. She closed one
of her windows, to let them know she was there. Then she knelt at
the Madonna's feet, and in an inaudible whisper told her all she
was going to do, and prayed that she would watch over her and
Alessandro, and show them where to go.

"I know she will! I am sure she will!" whispered Ramona to herself
as she rose from her knees.

Then she threw herself on her bed, to wait till the Senora and
Felipe should be asleep. Her brain was alert, clear. She knew
exactly what she wished to do. She had thought that all out, more
than two weeks ago, when she was looking for Alessandro hour by

Early in the summer Alessandro had given to her, as curiosities,
two of the large nets which the Indian women use for carrying all
sorts of burdens. They are woven out of the fibres of a flax-like
plant, and are strong as iron. The meshes being large, they are very
light; are gathered at each end, and fastened to a band which goes
around the forehead. In these can be carried on the back, with
comparative ease, heavier loads than could be lifted in any other
way. Until Ramona recollected these, she had been perplexed to
know how she should carry the things which she had made up her
mind it would be right for her to take,-- only a few; simply
necessaries; one stuff gown and her shawls; the new altar-cloth,
and two changes of clothes; that would not be a great deal; she had
a right to so much, she thought, now that she had seen the jewels
in the Senora's keeping. "I will tell Father Salvierderra exactly
what I took," she thought, "and ask him if it was too much." She
did not like to think that all these clothes she must take had been
paid for with the Senora Moreno's money.

And Alessandro's violin. Whatever else she left, that must go.
What would life be to Alessandro without a violin! And if they
went to Los Angeles, he might earn money by playing at dances.
Already Ramona had devised several ways by which they could
both earn money.

There must be also food for the journey. And it must be good food,
too; wine for Alessandro. Anguish filled her heart as she recalled
how gaunt he looked. "Starving," he said they had been. Good
God! Starving! And she had sat down each day at loaded tables,
and seen, each day, good food thrown to the dogs to eat.

It was long before the Senora went to her room; and long after that
before Felipe's breathing had become so deep and regular that
Ramona dared feel sure that he was asleep. At last she ventured
out. All was dark; it was past midnight.

"The violin first!" she said; and creeping into the dining-room, and
through the inner door to Felipe's room, she brought it out, rolled it
in shawl after shawl, and put it in the net with her clothes. Then
she stole out, with this net on her back, "like a true Indian woman
as I am," she said, almost gayly, to herself,-- through the
court-yard, around the southeast corner of the house, past the
garden, down to the willows, where she laid down her load, and
went back for the second.

This was harder. Wine she was resolved to have and bread and
cold meat. She did not know so well where to put her hand on old
Marda's possessions as on her own, and she dared not strike a light.
She made several journeys to the kitchen and pantry before she
had completed her store. Wine, luckily, she found in the
dining-room,-- two full bottles; also milk, which she poured into a
leathern flask which hung on the wall in the veranda.

Now all was ready. She leaned from her window, and listened to
Felipe's breathing. "How can I go without bidding him good-by?"
she said. "How can I?" and she stood irresolute.

"Dear Felipe! Dear Felipe! He has always been so good to me! He
has done all he could for me. I wish I dared kiss him. I will leave a
note for him."

Taking a pencil and paper, and a tiny wax taper, whose light would
hardly be seen across a room, she slipped once more into the
dining-room, knelt on the floor behind the door, lighted her taper,
and wrote:--

"DEAR FELIPE,-- Alessandro has come, and I am going away
with him to-night. Don't let anything be done to us, if you can help
it. I don't know where we are going. I hope, to Father Salvierderra.
I shall love you always. Thank you, dear Felipe, for all your


It had not taken a moment. She blew out her taper, and crept back
into her room. Felipe's bed was now moved close to the wall of the
house. From her window she could reach its foot. Slowly,
cautiously, she stretched out her arm and dropped the little paper
on the coverlet, just over Felipe's feet. There was a risk that the
Senora would come out in the morning, before Felipe awaked, and
see the note first; but that risk she would take.

"Farewell, dear Felipe!" she whispered, under her breath, as she
turned from the window.

The delay had cost her dear. The watchful Capitan, from his bed at
the upper end of the court, had half heard, half scented, something
strange going on. As Ramona stepped out, he gave one short, quick
bark, and came bounding down.

"Holy Virgin, I am lost!" thought Ramona; but, crouching on the
ground, she quickly opened her net, and as Capitan came towards
her, gave him a piece of meat, fondling and caressing him. While
he ate it, wagging his tail, and making great demonstrations of joy,
she picked up her load again, and still fondling him, said, "Come
on, Capitan!" It was her last chance. If he barked again, somebody
would be waked; if he went by her side quietly, she might escape.
A cold sweat of terror burst on her forehead as she took her first
step cautiously. The dog followed. She quickened her pace; he
trotted along, still smelling the meat in the net. When she reached
the willows, she halted, debating whether she should give him a
large piece of meat, and try to run away while he was eating it, or
whether she should let him go quietly along. She decided on the
latter course; and, picking up her other net, walked on. She was
safe now. She turned, and looked back towards the house; all was
dark and still. She could hardly see its outline. A great wave of
emotion swept over her. It was the only home she had ever known.
All she had experienced of happiness, as well as of bitter pain, had
been there,-- Felipe, Father Salvierderra, the servants, the birds, the
garden, the dear chapel! Ah, if she could have once more prayed in
the chapel! Who would put fresh flowers and ferns in the chapel
now? How Felipe would miss her, when he knelt before the altar!
For fourteen years she had knelt by his side. And the Senora,-- the
hard, cold Senora! She would alone be glad. Everybody else would
be sorry. "They will all be sorry I have gone,-- all but the Senora! I
wish it had been so that I could have bidden them all good-by, and
had them all bid me good-by, and wish us good fortune!" thought
the gentle, loving girl, as she drew a long sigh, and, turning her
back on her home, went forward in the path she had chosen.

She stooped and patted Capitan on the head. "Will you come with
me, Capitan?" she said; and Capitan leaped up joyfully, giving two
or three short, sharp notes of delight. "Good Capitan, come! They
will not miss him out of so many," she thought, "and it will always
seem like something from home, as long as I have Capitan."

When Alessandro first saw Ramona's figure dimly in the gloom,
drawing slowly nearer, he did not recognize it, and he was full of
apprehension at the sight. What stranger could it be, abroad in
these lonely meadows at this hour of the night? Hastily he led the
horses farther back into the copse, and hid himself behind a tree, to
watch. In a few moments more he thought he recognized Capitan,
bounding by the side of this bent and slow-moving figure. Yet this
was surely an Indian woman toiling along under a heavy load. But
what Indian woman would have so superb a collie as Capitan?
Alessandro strained his eyes through the darkness. Presently he
saw the figure halt,-- drop part of its .burden.

"Alessandro!" came in a sweet, low call.

He bounded like a deer, crying, "My Senorita! my Senorita! Can
that be you? To think that you have brought these heavy loads!"

Ramona laughed. "Do you remember the day you showed me how
the Indian women carried so much on their backs, in these nets? I
did not think then I would use it so soon. But it hurts my forehead,
Alessandro. It isn't the weight, but the strings cut. I couldn't have
carried them much farther!"

"Ah, you had no basket to cover the head," replied Alessandro, as
he threw up the two nets on his shoulders as if they had been
feathers. In doing so, he felt the violin-case.

"Is it the violin?" he cried. "My blessed one, where did you get it?"

"Off the table in Felipe's room," she answered. "I knew you would
rather have it than anything else. I brought very little, Alessandro;
it seemed nothing while I was getting it; but it is very heavy to
carry. Will it be too much for the poor tired horse? You and I can
walk. And see, Alessandro, here is Capitan. He waked up, and I
had to bring him, to keep him still. Can't he go with us?"

Capitan was leaping up, putting his paws on Alessandro's breast,
licking his face, yelping, doing all a dog could do, to show
welcome and affection.

Alessandro laughed aloud. Ramona had not more than two or three
times heard him do this. It frightened her. "Why do you laugh,
Alessandro?" she said.

"To think what I have to show you, my Senorita," he said. "Look
here;" and turning towards the willows, he gave two or three low
whistles, at the first note of which Baba came trotting out of the
copse to the end of his lariat, and began to snort and whinny with
delight as soon as he perceived Ramona.

Ramona burst into tears. The surprise was too great.

"Are you not glad, Senorita?" cried Alessandro, aghast. "Is it not
your own horse? If you do not wish to take him, I will lead him
back. My pony can carry you, if we journey very slowly. But I
thought it would be joy to you to have Baba."

"Oh, it is! it is!" sobbed Ramona, with her head on Baba's neck. "It
is a miracle,-- a miracle. How did he come here? And ,,the saddle
too!" she cried, for the first time observing that. "Alessandro," in
an awe-struck whisper, "did the saints send him? Did you find him
here?" It would have seemed to Ramona's faith no strange thing,
had this been so.

"I think the saints helped me to bring him," answered Alessandro,
seriously, "or else I had not done it so easily. I did but call, near the
corral-fence, and he came to my hand, and leaped over the rails at
my word, as quickly as Capitan might have done. He is yours,
Senorita. It is no harm to take him?"

"Oh, no!" answered Ramona. "He is more mine than anything else
I had; for it was Felipe gave him to me when he could but just
stand on his legs; he was only two days old; and I have fed him out
of my hand every day till now; and now he is five. Dear Baba, we
will never be parted, never!" and she took his head in both her
hands, and laid her cheek against it lovingly.

Alessandro was busy, fastening the two nets on either side of the
saddle. "Baba will never know he has a load at all; they are not so
heavy as my Senorita thought," he said. "It was the weight on the
forehead, with nothing to keep the strings from the skin, which
gave her pain."

Alessandro was making all haste. His hands trembled. "We must
make all the speed we can, dearest Senorita," he said, "for a few
hours. Then we will rest. Before light, we will be in a spot where
we can hide safely all day. We will journey only by night, lest they
pursue us."

"They will not," said Ramona. "There is no danger. The Senora
said she should do nothing. 'Nothing!'" she repeated, in a bitter
tone. "That is what she made Felipe say, too. Felipe wanted to help
us. He would have liked to have you stay with us; but all he could
get was, that she would do 'nothing!' But they will not follow us.
They will wish never to hear of me again. I mean, the Senora will
wish never to hear of me. Felipe will be sorry. Felipe is very good,

They were all ready now,-- Ramona on Baba, the two packed nets
swinging from her saddle, one on either side. Alessandro, walking,
led his tired pony. It was a sad sort of procession for one going to
be wed, but Ramona's heart was full of joy.

"I don't know why it is, Alessandro," she said; "I should think I
would be afraid, but I have not the least fear,-- not the least; not of
anything that can come, Alessandro," she reiterated with emphasis.
"Is it not strange?"

"Yes, Senorita," he replied solemnly, laying his hand on hers as he
walked close at her side. "It is strange. I am afraid,-- afraid for you,
my Senorita! But it is done, and we will not go back; and perhaps
the saints will help you, and will let me take care of you. They
must love you, Senorita; but they do not love me, nor my people."

"Are you never going to call me by my name?" asked Ramona. "I
hate your calling me Senorita. That was what the Senora always
called me when she was displeased."

"I will never speak the word again!" cried Alessandro. "The saints
forbid I should speak to you in the words of that woman!"

"Can't you say Ramona?" she asked.

Alessandro hesitated. He could not have told why it seemed to him
difficult to say Ramona.

"What was that other name, you said you always thought of me
by?" she continued. "The Indian name,-- the name of the dove?"

"Majel," he said. "It is by that name I have oftenest thought of you
since the night I watched all night for you, after you had kissed me,
and two wood-doves were calling and answering each other in the
dark; and I said to myself, that is what my love is like, the
wood-dove: the wood-dove's voice is low like hers, and sweeter
than any other sound in the earth; and the wood-dove is true to one
mate always --" He stopped.

"As I to you, Alessandro," said Ramona, leaning from her horse,
and resting her hand on Alessandro's shoulder.

Baba stopped. He was used to knowing by the most trivial signs
what his mistress wanted; he did not understand this new situation;
no one had ever before, when Ramona was riding him, walked by
his side so close that he touched his shoulders, and rested his hand
in his mane. If it had been anybody else than Alessandro, Baba
would not have permitted it even now. But it must be all right,
since Ramona was quiet; and now she had stretched out her hand
and rested it on Alessandro's shoulder. Did that mean halt for a
moment? Baba thought it might, and acted accordingly; turning his
head round to the right, and looking back to see what came of it.

Alessandro's arms around Ramona, her head bent down to his,
their lips together,-- what could Baba think? As mischievously as
if he had been a human being or an elf, Baba bounded to one side
and tore the lovers apart. They both laughed, and cantered on,--
Alessandro running; the poor Indian pony feeling the contagion,
and loping as it had not done for many a day.

"Majel is my name, then," said Ramona, "is it? It is a sweet sound,
but I would like it better Majella. Call me Majella."

"That will be good," replied Alessandro, "for the reason that never
before had any one the same name. It will not be hard for me to
say Majella. I know not why your name of Ramona has always
been hard to my tongue."

"Because it was to be that you should call me Majella," said
Ramona. "Remember, I am Ramona no longer. That also was the
name the Senora called me by -- and dear Felipe too," she added
thoughtfully. "He would not know me by my new name. I would
like to have him always call me Ramona. But for all the rest of the
world I am Majella, now,-- Alessandro's Majel!"


AFTER they reached the highway, and had trotted briskly on for a
mile, Alessandro suddenly put out his hand, and taking Baba by
the rein, began turning him round and round in the road.

"We will not go any farther in the road," he said, "but I must
conceal our tracks here. We will go backwards for a few paces."
The obedient Baba backed slowly, half dancing, as if he
understood the trick; the Indian pony, too, curvetted awkwardly,
then by a sudden bound under Alessandro's skilful guidance,
leaped over a rock to the right, and stood waiting further orders.
Baba followed, and Capitan; and there was no trail to show where
they had left the road.

After trotting the pony round and round again in ever-widening
circles, cantering off in one direction after another, then backing
over the tracks for a few moments, Ramona docilely following,
though much bewildered as to what it all meant, Alessandro said:
"I think now they will never discover where we left the road. They
will ride along, seeing our tracks plain, and then they will be so
sure that we would have kept straight on, that they will not notice
for a time; and when they do, they will never be able to see where
the trail ended. And now my Majella has a very hard ride before
her. Will she be afraid?"

"Afraid." laughed Ramona. "Afraid,-- on Baba, and with you!"

But it was indeed a hard ride. Alessandro had decided to hide for
the day in a canon he knew, from which a narrow trail led direct to
Temecula,-- a trail which was known to none but Indians. Once in
this canon, they would be safe from all possible pursuit.
Alessandro did not in the least share Ramona's confidence that no
effort would be made to overtake them. To his mind, it appeared
certain that the Senora would never accept the situation without
making an attempt to recover at least the horse and the dog. "She
can say, if she chooses, that I have stolen one of her horses," he
thought to himself bitterly; "and everybody would believe her.
Nobody would believe us, if we said it was the Senorita's own

The head of the canon was only a couple of miles from the road;
but it was in a nearly impenetrable thicket of chaparral, where
young oaks had grown up so high that their tops made, as it were, a
second stratum of thicket. Alessandro had never ridden through it;
he had come up on foot once from the other side, and, forcing his
way through the tangle had found, to his surprise, that he was near
the highway. It was from this canon that he had brought the ferns
which it had so delighted Ramona to arrange for the decoration of
the chapel. The place was filled with them, growing almost in
tropical luxuriance; but this was a mile or so farther down, and to
reach that spot from above, Alessandro had had to let himself
down a sheer wall of stone. The canon at its head was little more
than a rift in the rocks, and the stream which had its rise in it was
only a trickling spring at the beginning. It was this precious water,
as well as the inaccessibility of the spot, which had decided
Alessandro to gain the place at all hazards and costs. But a wall of
granite would not have seemed a much more insuperable obstacle
than did this wall of chaparral, along which they rode, vainly
searching for a break in it. It appeared to Alessandro to have
thickened and knit even since the last spring. At last they made
their way down a small side canon,-- a sort of wing to the main
canon; a very few rods down this, and they were as hidden from
view from above as if the earth had swallowed them. The first red
tints of the dawn were coming. From the eastern horizon to the
zenith, the whole sky was like a dappled crimson fleece.

"Oh, what a lovely place." exclaimed Ramona. "I am sure this was
not a hard ride at all, Alessandro! Is this where we are to stay?"

Alessandro turned a compassionate look upon her. "How little
does the wood-dove know of rough places!" he said. "This is only
the beginning; hardly is it even the beginning."

Fastening his pony to a bush, he reconnoitred the place,
disappearing from sight the moment he entered the chaparral in
any direction. Returning at last, with a grave face, he said, "Will
Majella let me leave her here for a little time? There is a way, but I
can find it only on foot. I will not be gone long. I know it is near."

Tears came into Ramona's eyes. The only thing she dreaded was
the losing sight of Alessandro. He gazed at her anxiously. "I must
go, Majella," he said with emphasis. "We are in danger here."

"Go! go! Alessandro," she cried. "But, oh, do not be long!"

As he disappeared in the thicket, the tough boughs crackling and
snapping before him, it seemed to Ramona that she was again
alone in the world. Capitan, too, bounded after Alessandro, and did
not return at her call. All was still. Ramona laid her head on Baba's
neck. The moments seemed hours. At last, just as the yellow light
streamed across the sky, and the crimson fleeces turned in one
second to gold, she heard Alessandro's steps, the next moment saw
his face. It was aglow with joy.

"I have found the trail!" he exclaimed; "but we must climb up
again out of this; and it is too light. I like it not."

With fear and trembling they urged their horses up and out into the
open again, and galloped a half-mile farther west, still keeping as
close to the chaparral thicket as possible. Here Alessandro, who
led the way, suddenly turned into the very thicket itself; no
apparent opening; but the boughs parted and closed, and his head
appeared above them; still the little pony was trotting bravely
along. Baba snorted with displeasure as he plunged into the same
bristling pathway. The thick-set, thorny branches smote Ramona's
cheeks. What was worse, they caught the nets swung on Baba's
sides; presently these were held fast, and Baba began to rear and
kick. Here was a real difficulty. Alessandro dismounted, cut the
strings, and put both the packages securely on the back of his own
pony. "I will walk," he said. "It was only a little way longer I would
have ridden. I shall lead Baba, where it is narrow."

"Narrow," indeed. It was from sheer terror, soon, that Ramona shut
her eyes. A path, it seemed to her only a hand's-breadth wide,-- a
stony, crumbling path,-- on the side of a precipice, down which the
stones rolled, and rolled, and rolled, echoing, far out of sight, as
they passed; at each step the beasts took, the stones rolled and fell.
Only the yucca-plants, with their sharp bayonet-leaves, had made
shift to keep foothold on this precipice. Of these there were
thousands; and their tall flower-stalks, fifteen, twenty feet high, set
thick with the shining, smooth seed-cups, glistened like satin
chalices in the sun. Below -- hundreds of feet below -- lay the
canon bottom, a solid bed of chaparral, looking soft and even as a
bed of moss. Giant sycamore-trees lifted their heads, at intervals,
above this; and far out in the plain glistened the loops of the river,
whose sources, unknown to the world, seen of but few human
eyes, were to be waters of comfort to these fugitives this day.

Alessandro was cheered. The trail was child's play to him. At the
first tread of Baba's dainty steps on the rolling stones, he saw that
the horse was as sure-footed as an Indian pony. In a few short
hours, now, they would be all at rest. He knew where, under a
sycamore-clump, there was running water, clear as crystal, and
cold,-- almost colder than one could drink,-- and green grass too;
plenty for two days' feed for the horses, or even three; and all
California might be searched over in vain for them, once they were
down this trail. His heart full of joy at these thoughts, he turned, to
see Ramona pallid, her lips parted, her eyes full of terror. He had
forgotten that her riding had hitherto been only on the smooth
ways of the valley and the plain, There she was so fearless, that he
had had no misgiving about her nerves here; but she had dropped
the reins, was clutching Baba's mane with both hands, and sitting
unsteadily in her saddle. She had been too proud to cry out; but she
was nearly beside herself with fright. Alessandro halted so
suddenly that Baba, whose nose was nearly on his shoulder, came
to so sharp a stop that Ramona uttered a cry. She thought he had
lost his footing.

Alessandro looked at her in dismay. To dismount on that perilous
trail was impossible; moreover, to walk there would take more
nerve than to ride. Yet she looked as if she could not much longer
keep her seat.

"Carita," he cried, "I was stupid not to have told you how narrow
the way is; but it is safe. I can run in it. I ran all this way with the
ferns on my back I brought for you."

"Oh, did you?" gasped Ramona, diverted, for the moment, from
her contemplation of the abyss, and more reassured by that change
of her thoughts than she could have been by anything else. "Did
you? It is frightful, Alessandro. I never heard of such a trail. I feel
as if I were on a rope in the air. If I could get down and go on my
hands and knees, I think I would like it better. Could I?"

"I would not dare to have you get off, just here, Majella," answered
Alessandro, sorrowfully. "It is dreadful to me to see you suffer so;
I will go very slowly. Indeed, it is safe; we all came up here, the
whole band, for the sheep-shearing,-- old Fernando on his horse all
the way."

"Really," said Ramona, taking comfort at each word, "I will try not
to be so silly. Is it far, dearest Alessandro?"

"Not much more as steep as this, dear, nor so narrow; but it will be
an hour yet before we stop."

But the worst was over for Ramona now, and long before they
reached the bottom of the precipice she was ready to laugh at her
fears; only, as she looked back at the zigzag lines of the path over
which she had come,-- little more than a brown thread, they
seemed, flung along the rock,-- she shuddered.

Down in the bottom of the canon it was still the dusky gloaming
when they arrived. Day came late to this fairy spot. Only at high
noon did the sun fairly shine in. As Ramona looked around her,
she uttered an exclamation of delight, which satisfied Alessandro.
"Yes," he said, "when I came here for the ferns, I wished to myself
many times that you could see it. There is not in all this country so
beautiful a place. This is our first home, my Majella," he added, in
a tone almost solemn; and throwing his arms around her, he drew
her to his breast, with the first feeling of joy he had experienced.

"I wish we could live here always," cried Ramona.

"Would Majella be content?" said Alessandro.

"Very," she answered.

He sighed. "There would not be land enough, to live here," he said.
"If there were, I too would like to stay here till I died, Majella, and
never see the face of a white man again!" Already the instinct of
the hunted and wounded animal to seek hiding, was striving in
Alessandro's blood. "But there would be no food. We could not
live here." Ramona's exclamation had set Alessandro to thinking,
however. "Would Majella be content to stay here three days now?"
he asked. "There is grass enough for the horses for that time. We
should be very safe here; and I fear very much we should not be
safe on any road. I think, Majella, the Senora will send men after

"Baba!" cried Ramona, aghast at the idea. "My own horse! She
would not dare to call it stealing a horse, to take my own Baba!"
But even as she spoke, her heart misgave her. The Senora would
dare anything; would misrepresent anything; only too well
Ramona knew what the very mention of the phrase
"horse-stealing" meant all through the country. She looked
piteously at Alessandro. He read her thoughts.

"Yes, that is it, Majella," he said. "If she sent men after Baba, there
is no knowing what they might do. It would not do any good for
you to say he was yours. They would not believe you; and they
might take me too, if the Senora had told them to, and put me into
Ventura jail."

"She's just wicked enough to do it!" cried Ramona. "Let us not stir
out of this spot, Alessandro,-- not for a week! Couldn't we stay a
week? By that time she would have given over looking for us."

"I am afraid not a week. There is not feed for the horses; and I do
not know what we could eat. I have my gun, but there is not much,
now, to kill."

"But I have brought meat and bread, Alessandro," said Ramona,
earnestly, "and we could eat very little each day, and make it last!"
She was like a child, in her simplicity and eagerness. Every other
thought was for the time being driven out of her mind by the terror
of being pursued. Pursuit of her, she knew, would not be in the
Senora's plan; but the reclaiming of Baba and Capitan, that was
another thing. The more Ramona thought of it, the more it seemed
to her a form of vengeance which would be likely to commend
itself to the Senora's mind. Felipe might possibly prevent it. It was
he who had given Baba to her. He would feel that it would be
shameful to recall or deny the gift. Only in Felipe lay Ramona's

If she had thought to tell Alessandro that in her farewell note to
Felipe she had said that she supposed they were going to Father
Salvierderra, it would have saved both her and Alessandro much
disquietude. Alessandro would have known that men pursuing
them, on that supposition, would have gone straight down the river
road to the sea, and struck northward along the coast. But it did not
occur to Ramona to mention this; in fact, she hardly recollected it
after the first day. Alessandro had explained to her his plan, which
was to go by way of Temecula to San Diego, to be married there
by Father Gaspara, the priest of that parish, and then go to the
village or pueblo of San Pasquale, about fifteen miles northwest of
San Diego. A cousin of Alessandro's was the head man of this
village, and had many times begged him to come there to live; but
Alessandro had steadily refused, believing it to be his duty to
remain at Temecula with his father. San Pasquale was a regularly
established pueblo, founded by a number of the Indian neophytes
of the San Luis Rey Mission at the time of the breaking up of that
Mission. It was established by a decree of the Governor of
California, and the lands of the San Pasquale Valley given to it. A
paper recording this establishment and gift, signed by the
Governor's own hand, was given to the Indian who was the first
Alcalde of the pueblo. He was Chief Pablo's brother. At his death
the authority passed into the hands of his son, Ysidro, the cousin of
whom Alessandro had spoken.

"Ysidro has that paper still," Alessandro said, "and he thinks it will
keep them their village. Perhaps it will; but the Americans are
beginning to come in at the head of the valley, and I do not
believe, Majella, there is any safety anywhere. Still, for a few years
we can perhaps stay there. There are nearly two hundred Indians in
the valley; it is much better than Temecula, and Ysidro's people
are much better off than ours were. They have splendid herds of
cattle and horses, and large wheat-fields. Ysidro's house stands
under a great fig-tree; they say it is the largest fig-tree in the

"But, Alessandro," cried Ramona, "why do you think it is not safe
there, if Ysidro has the paper? I thought a paper made it all right."

"I don't know," replied Alessandro. "Perhaps it may be; but I have
got the feeling now that nothing will be of any use against the
Americans. I don't believe they will mind the paper."

"They didn't mind the papers the Senora had for all that land of
hers they took away," said Ramona, thoughtfully. "But Felipe said
that was because Pio Pico was a bad man, and gave away lands he
had no right to give away."

"That's just it," said Alessandro. "Can't they say that same thing
about any governor, especially if he has given lands to us? If the
Senora couldn't keep hers, with Senor Felipe to help her, and he
knows all about the law, and can speak the American language,
what chance is there for us? We can't take care of ourselves any
better than the wild beasts can, my Majella. Oh, why, why did you
come with me? Why did I let you?"

After such words as these, Alessandro would throw himself on the
ground, and for a few moments not even Ramona's voice would
make him look up. It was strange that the gentle girl, unused to
hardship, or to the thought of danger, did net find herself terrified
by these fierce glooms and apprehensions of her lover. But she was
appalled by nothing. Saved from the only thing in life she had
dreaded, sure that Alessandro lived, and that he would not leave
her, she had no fears. This was partly from her inexperience, from
her utter inability to conceive of the things Alessandro's
imagination painted in colors only too true; but it was also largely
due to the inalienable loyalty and quenchless courage of her soul,--
qualities in her nature never yet tested; qualities of which she
hardly knew so much as the name, but which were to bear her
steadfast and buoyant through many sorrowful years.

Before nightfall of this their first day in the wilderness, Alessandro
had prepared for Ramona a bed of finely broken twigs of the
manzanita and ceanothus, both of which grew in abundance all
through the canon. Above these he spread layers of glossy ferns,
five and six feet long; when it was done, it was a couch no queen
need have scorned. As Ramona seated herself on it, she exclaimed:
"Now I shall see how it feels to lie and look up at the stars at night!
Do you recollect, Alessandro, the night you put Felipe's bed on the
veranda, when you told me how beautiful it was to lie at night out
of doors and look up at the stars?"

Indeed did Alessandro remember that night,-- the first moment he
had ever dared to dream of the Senorita Ramona as his own. "Yes,
I remember it, my Majella," he answered slowly; and in a moment
more added, "That was the day Juan Can had told me that your
mother was of my people; and that was the night I first dared in my
thoughts to say that perhaps you might some day love me."

"But where are you going to sleep, Alessandro?" said Ramona,
seeing that he spread no more boughs. "You have made yourself
no bed."

Alessandro laughed. "I need no bed," he said. "We think it is on
our mother's lap we lie, when we lie on the ground. It is not hard,
Majella. It is soft, and rests one better than beds. But to-night I
shall not sleep. I will sit by this tree and watch."

"Why, what are you afraid of?" asked Ramona.

"It may grow so cold that I must make a fire for Majella," he
answered. "It sometimes gets very cold before morning in these
canons; so I shall feel safer to watch to-night."

This he said, not to alarm Ramona. His real reason for watching
was, that he had seen on the edge of the stream tracks which gave
him uneasiness. They were faint and evidently old; but they looked
like the tracks of a mountain lion. As soon as it was dark enough to
prevent the curl of smoke from being seen from below, he would
light a fire, and keep it blazing all night, and watch, gun in hand,
lest the beast return.

"But you will be dead, Alessandro, if you do not sleep. You are not
strong," said Ramona, anxiously.

"I am strong now, Majella," answered Alessandro. And indeed he
did already look like a renewed man, spite of all his fatigue and
anxiety. "I am no longer weak; and to-morrow I will sleep, and you
shall watch."

"Will you lie on the fern-bed then?" asked Ramona, gleefully.

"I would like the ground better," said honest Alessandro.

Ramona looked disappointed. "That is very strange," she said. "It is
not so soft, this bed of boughs, that one need fear to be made
tender by lying on it," she continued, throwing herself down; "but
oh, how sweet, how sweet it smells!"

"Yes, there is spice-wood in it," he answered. "I put it in at the
head, for Majella's pillow."

Ramona was very tired, and she was happy. All night long she
slept like a child. She did not hear Alessandro's steps. She did not
hear the crackling of the fire he lighted. She did not hear the
barking of Capitan, who more than once, spite of all Alessandro
could do to quiet him, made the canon echo with sharp, quick
notes of warning, as he heard the stealthy steps of wild creatures in
the chaparral. Hour after hour she slept on. And hour after hour
Alessandro sat leaning against a huge sycamore-trunk, and
watched her. As the fitful firelight played over her face, he thought
he had never seen it so beautiful, Its expression of calm repose
insensibly soothed and strengthened him. She looked like a saint,
he thought; perhaps it was as a saint of help and guidance, the
Virgin was sending her to him and his people. The darkness
deepened, became blackness; only the red gleams from the fire
broke it, in swaying rifts, as the wind makes rifts in black
storm-clouds in the heavens. With the darkness, the stillness also
deepened. Nothing broke that, except an occasional motion of
Baba or the pony, or an alert signal from Capitan; then all seemed
stiller than ever. Alessandro felt as if God himself were in the
canon. Countless times in his life before he had lain in lonely
places under the sky and watched the night through, but he never
felt like this. It was ecstasy, and yet it was pain. What was to come
on the morrow, and the next morrow, and the next, and the next,
all through the coming years? What was to come to this beloved
and loving woman who lay there sleeping, so confident, so trustful,
guarded only by him,-- by him, Alessandro, the exile, fugitive,
homeless man?

Before the dawn, wood-doves began their calling. The canon was
full of them, no two notes quite alike, it seemed to Alessandro's
sharpened sense; pair after pair, he fancied that he recognized,
speaking and replying, as did the pair whose voices had so
comforted him the night he watched under the geranium hedge by
the Moreno chapel,-- "Love?" "Here!" "Love?" "Here!" They
comforted him still more now. "They too have only each other," he
thought, as he bent his eyes lovingly on Ramona's face.

It was dawn, and past dawn, on the plains, before it was yet
morning twilight in the canon; but the birds in the upper boughs' of
the sycamores caught the tokens of the coming day, and began to
twitter in the dusk. Their notes fell on Ramona's sleeping ear, like
the familiar sound of the linnets in the veranda-thatch at home, and
waked her instantly. Sitting up bewildered, and looking about her,
she exclaimed, "Oh, is it morning already, and so dark? The birds
can see more sky than we! Sing, Alessandro," and she began the
hymn: --

"'Singers at dawn
From the heavens above
People all regions;
Gladly we too sing,'"

Never went up truer invocation, from sweeter spot.

"Sing not so loud, my Majel," whispered Alessandro, as her voice
went carolling like a lark's in the pure ether. "There might be
hunters near who would hear;" and he joined in with low and
muffled tones.

As she dropped her voice at this caution, it seemed even sweeter
than before: --

"'Come, O sinners,
Come, and we will sing
Tender hymns
To our refuge,'"

"Ah, Majella, there is no sinner here, except me!" said Alessandro.
"My Majella is like one of the Virgin's own saints." And indeed he
might have been forgiven the thought. as he gazed at Ramona,
sitting there in the shimmering light, her face thrown out into relief
by the gray wall of fern-draped rock behind her; her splendid hair,
unbound, falling in tangled masses to her waist; her cheeks
flushed, her face radiant with devout and fervent supplication, her
eyes uplifted to the narrow belt of sky overhead, where filmy
vapors were turning to gold, touched by a sun she could not see.

"Hush, my love," she breathed rather than said. "That would be a
sin, if you really thought it.

'O beautiful Queen,
Princess of Heaven,'"

she continued, repeating the first lines of the song; and then,
sinking on her knees, reached out one hand for Alessandro's, and
glided, almost without a break in the melodious sound, into a low
recitative of the morning-prayers. Her rosary was of fine-chased
gold beads, with an ivory crucifix; a rare and precious relic of the
Missions' olden times. It had belonged to Father Peyri himself, was
given by him to Father Salvierderra, and by Father Salvierderra to
the "blessed child," Ramona, at her confirmation. A warmer token
of his love and trust he could not have bestowed upon her, and to
Ramona's religious and affectionate heart it had always seemed a
bond and an assurance, not only of Father Salvierderra's love, but
of the love and protection of the now sainted Peyri.

As she pronounced the last words of her trusting prayer, and
slipped the last of the golden beads along on its string, a thread of
sunlight shot into the canon through a deep narrow gap in its rocky
eastern crest,-- shot in for a second, no more; fell aslant the rosary,
lighted it; by a flash as if of fire, across the fine-cut facets of the
beads, on Ramona's hands, and on the white face of the ivory
Christ. Only a flash, and it was gone! To both Ramona and
Alessandro it came like an omen,-- like a message straight from
the Virgin. Could she choose better messenger,-- she, the
compassionate one, the loving woman in heaven; mother of the
Christ to whom they prayed, through her,-- mother, for whose sake
He would regard their least cry,-- could she choose better
messenger, or swifter, than the sunbeam, to say that she heard and
would help them in these sore straits'

Perhaps there were not, in the whole great world, at that moment
to be found, two souls who were experiencing so vivid a happiness
as thrilled the veins of these two friendless ones, on their knees,
alone in the wilderness, gazing half awe-stricken at the shining


BEFORE the end of their second day in the canon, the place had
become to Ramona so like a friendly home, that she dreaded to
leave its shelter. Nothing is stronger proof of the original intent of
Nature to do more for man than the civilization in its arrogance
will long permit her to do, than the quick and sure way in which
she reclaims his affection, when by weariness, idle chance, or
disaster, he is returned, for an interval, to her arms. How soon he
rejects the miserable subterfuges of what he had called habits;
sheds the still more miserable pretences of superiority, makeshifts
of adornment, and chains of custom! "Whom the gods love, die
young," has been too long carelessly said. It is not true, in the sense
in which men use the words. Whom the gods love, dwell with
nature; if they are ever lured away, return to her before they are
old. Then, however long they live before they die, they die young.
Whom the gods love, live young -- forever.

With the insight of a lover added to the instinct of the Indian,
Alessandro saw how, hour by hour, there grew in Ramona's eyes
the wonted look of one at home; how she watched the shadows,
and knew what they meant.

"If we lived here, the walls would be sun-dials for us, would they
not?" she said, in a tone of pleasure. "I see that yon tall yucca has
gone in shadow sooner than it did yesterday."

And, "What millions of things grow here, Alessandro! I did not
know there were so many. Have they all names? The nuns taught
us some names; but they were hard, and I forgot them, We might
name them for ourselves, if we lived here. They would be our

And, "For one year I should lie and look up at the sky, my
Alessandro, and do nothing else. It hardly seems as if it would be a
sin to do nothing for a year, if one gazed steadily at the sky all the

And, "Now I know what it is I have always seen in your face,
Alessandro. It is the look from the sky. One must be always serious
and not unhappy, but never too glad, I think, when he lives with
nothing between him and the sky, and the saints can see him every

And, "I cannot believe that it is but two days I have lived in the air,
Alessandro. This seems to me the first home I have ever had. Is it
because I am Indian, Alessandro, that it gives me such joy?"

It was strange how many more words Ramona spoke than
Alessandro, yet how full she felt their intercourse to be. His silence
was more than silent; it was taciturn. Yet she always felt herself
answered. A monosyllable of Alessandro's, nay, a look, told what
other men took long sentences to say, and said less eloquently.

After long thinking over this, she exclaimed, "You speak as the
trees speak, and like the rock yonder, and the flowers, without
saying anything!"

This delighted Alessandro's very heart. "And you, Majella," he
exclaimed; "when you say that, you speak in the language of our
people; you are as we are."

And Ramona, in her turn, was made happy by his words, -- happier
than she would have been made by any other praise or fondness.

Alessandro found himself regaining all his strength as if by a
miracle. The gaunt look had left his face. Almost it seemed that its
contour was already fuller. There is a beautiful old Gaelic legend
of a Fairy who wooed a Prince, came again and again to him, and,
herself invisible to all but the Prince, hovered in the air, sang
loving songs to draw him away from the crowd of his indignant
nobles, who heard her voice and summoned magicians to rout her
by all spells and enchantments at their command. Finally they
succeeded in silencing her and driving her off; but as she vanished
from the Prince's sight she threw him an apple,-- a magic golden
apple. Once having tasted of this, he refused all other food. Day
after day, night after night, he ate only this golden apple; and yet,
morning after morning, evening after evening, there lay the golden
fruit, still whole and shining, as if he had not fed upon it; and when
the Fairy came the next time, the Prince leaped into her magic
boat, sailed away with her, and never was seen in his kingdom
again. It was only an allegory, this legend,-- a beautiful allegory,
and true,-- of love and lovers. The food on which Alessandro was,
hour by hour, now growing strong, was as magic and invisible as
Prince Connla's apple, and just as strength-giving.

"My Alessandro, how is it you look so well, so soon?" said
Ramona, studying his countenance with loving care. "I thought that
night you would die. Now you look nearly strong as ever; your
eyes shine, and your hand is not hot! It is the blessed air; it has
cured you, as it cured Felipe of the fever."

"If the air could keep me well, I had not been ill, Majella," replied
Alessandro. "I had been under no roof except the tule-shed, till I
saw you. It is not the air;" and he looked at her with a gaze that
said the rest.

At twilight of the third day, when Ramona saw Alessandro leading
up Baba, saddled ready for the journey, the tears filled her eyes. At
noon Alessandro had said to her: "To-night, Majella, we must go.
There is not grass enough for another day. We must go while the
horses are strong. I dare not lead them any farther down the canon
to graze, for there is a ranch only a few miles lower. To-day I
found one of the man's cows feeding near Baba."

Ramona made no remonstrance. The necessity was too evident;
but the look on her face gave Alessandro a new pang. He, too, felt
as if exiled afresh in leaving the spot. And now, as he led the
horses slowly up, and saw Ramona sitting in a dejected attitude
beside the nets in which were again carefully packed their small
stores, his heart ached anew. Again the sense of his homeless and
destitute condition settled like an unbearable burden on his soul.
Whither and to what was he leading his Majella?

But once in the saddle, Ramona recovered cheerfulness. Baba was
in such gay heart, she could not be wholly sad. The horse seemed
fairly rollicking with satisfaction at being once more on the move.
Capitan, too, was gay. He had found the canon dull, spite of its
refreshing shade and cool water. He longed for sheep. He did not
understand this inactivity. The puzzled look on his face had made
Ramona laugh more than once, as he would come and stand before
her, wagging his tail and fixing his eyes intently on her face, as if
he said in so many words, "What in the world are you about in this
canon, and do not you ever intend to return home? Or if you will
stay here, why not keep sheep? Do you not see that I have nothing
to do?"

"We must ride all night, Majella," said Alessandro, "and lose no
time. It is a long way to the place where we shall stay to-morrow."

"Is it a canon?" asked Ramona, hopefully.

"No," he replied, "not a canon; but there are beautiful oak-trees. It
is where we get our acorns for the winter. It is on the top of a high

"Will it be safe there?" she asked.

"I think so," he replied; "though not so safe as here. There is no
such place as this in all the country."

"And then where shall we go next?" she asked.

"That is very near Temecula," he said. "We must go into
Temecula, dear Majella. I must go to Mr. Hartsel's. He is friendly.
He will give me money for my father's violin. If it were not for
that, I would never go near the place again."

"I would like to see it, Alessandro," she said gently.

"Oh, no, no, Majella!" he cried; "you would not. It is terrible; the
houses all unroofed,-- all but my father's and Jose's. They were
shingled roofs; they will be just the same; all the rest are only
walls. Antonio's mother threw hers down; I don't know how the old
woman ever had the strength; they said she was like a fury. She
said nobody should ever live in those walls again; and she took a
pole, and made a great hole in one side, and then she ran Antonio's
wagon against it with all her might, till it fell in. No, Majella. It
will be dreadful."

"Wouldn't you like to go into the graveyard again, Alessandro?"
she said timidly.

"The saints forbid!" he said solemnly. "I think it would make me a
murderer to stand in that graveyard! If I had not you, my Majel, I
should kill some white man when I came out. Oh, do not speak of
it!" he added, after a moment's silence; "it takes the strength all out
of my blood again, Majella. It feels as if I should die!"

And the word "Temecula" was not mentioned between them again
until dusk the next day, when, as they were riding slowly along
between low, wooded hills, they suddenly came to an opening, a
green, marshy place, with a little thread of trickling water, at
which their horses stopped, and drank thirstily; and Ramona,
looking ahead, saw lights twinkling in the distance. "Lights,
Alessandro, lights!" she exclaimed, pointing to them.

"Yes, Majella," he replied, "it is Temecula," and springing off his
pony he came to her side, and putting both his hands on hers, said:
"I have been thinking, for a long way back, Carita, what is to be
done here. I do not know. What does Majella think will be wise? If
men have been sent out to pursue us, they may be at Hartsel's. His
store is the place where everybody stops, everybody goes. I dare
not have you go there, Majella; yet I must go. The only way I can
get any money is from Mr. Hartsel."

"I must wait somewhere while you go!" said Ramona, her heart
beating as she gazed ahead into the blackness of the great plain. It
looked vast as the sea. "That is the only safe thing, Alessandro."

"I think so too," he said; "but, oh, I am afraid for you; and will not
you be afraid?"

"Yes," she replied, "I am afraid. But it is not so dangerous as the

"If anything were to happen to me, and I could not come back to
you, Majella, if you give Baba his reins he will take you safe
home,-- he and Capitan."

Ramona shrieked aloud. She had not thought of this possibility.
Alessandro had thought of everything. "What could happen?" she

"I mean if the men were there, and if they took me for stealing the
horse," he said.

"But you would not have the horse with you," she said. "How could
they take you?"

"That mightn't make any difference," replied Alessandro. "They
might take me, to make me tell where the horse was."

"Oh, Alessandro," sobbed Ramona, "what shall we do!" Then in
another second, gathering her courage, she exclaimed,
"Alessandro, I know what I will do. I will stay in the graveyard. No
one will come there. Shall I not be safest there?"

"Holy Virgin! would my Majel stay there?" exclaimed Alessandro.

"Why not?" she said. "It is not the dead that will harm us. They
would all help us if they could. I have no fear. I will wait there
while you go; and if you do not come in an hour, I will come to
Mr. Hartsel's after you. If there are men of the Senora's there, they
will know me; they will not dare to touch me. They will know that
Felipe would punish them. I will not be afraid. And if they are
ordered to take Baba, they can have him; we can walk when the
pony is tired."

Her confidence was contagious. "My wood-dove has in her breast
the heart of the lion," said Alessandro, fondly. "We will do as she
says. She is wise;" and he turned their horses' heads in the
direction of the graveyard. It was surrounded by a low adobe wall,
with one small gate of wooden paling. As they reached it,
Alessandro exclaimed, "The thieves have taken the gate!"

"What could they have wanted with that?" said Ramona

"To burn," he said doggedly, "It was wood; but it was very little.
They might have left the graves safe from wild beasts and cattle!"

As they entered the enclosure, a dark figure rose from one of the
graves. Ramona started.

"Fear nothing," whispered Alessandro. "It must be one of our
people. I am glad; now you will not be alone. It is Carmena, I am
sure. That was the corner where they buried Jose. I will speak to
her;" and leaving Ramona at the gate, he went slowly on, saying in
a low voice, in the Luiseno language, "Carmena, is that you? Have
no fear. It is I, Alessandro!"

It was Carmena. The poor creature, nearly crazed with grief, was
spending her days by her baby's grave in Pachanga, and her nights
by her husband's in Temecula. She dared not come to Temecula by
day, for the Americans were there, and she feared them. After a
short talk with her, Alessandro returned, leading her along.
Bringing her to Ramona's side, he laid her feverish hand in
Ramona's, and said: "Majella, I have told her all. She cannot speak
a word of Spanish, but she is very glad, she says, that you have
come with me, and she will stay close by your side till I come

Ramona's tender heart ached with desire to comfort the girl; but all
she could do was to press her hand in silence. Even in the darkness
she could see the hollow, mournful eyes and the wasted cheek.
Words are less needful to sorrow than to joy. Carmena felt in every
fibre how Ramona was pitying her. Presently she made a gentle
motion, as if to draw her from the saddle. Ramona bent down and
looked inquiringly into her face. Again she drew her gently with
one hand, and with the other pointed to the corner from which she
had come. Ramona understood. "She wants to show me her
husband's grave," she thought. "She does not like to be away from
it. I will go with her."

Dismounting, and taking Baba's bridle over her arm, she bowed
her head assentingly, and still keeping firm hold of Carmena's
hand, followed her. The graves were thick, and irregularly placed,
each mound marked by a small wooden cross. Carmena led with
the swift step of one who knew each inch of the way by heart.
More than once Ramona stumbled and nearly fell, and Baba was
impatient and restive at the strange inequalities under his feet.
When they reached the corner, Ramona saw the fresh-piled earth
of the new grave. Uttering a wailing cry, Carmena, drawing
Ramona to the edge of it, pointing down with her right hand, then
laid both hands on her heart, and gazed at Ramona piteously.
Ramona burst into weeping, and again clasping Carmena's hand,
laid it on her own breast, to show her sympathy. Carmena did not
weep. She was long past that; and she felt for the moment lifted
out of herself by the sweet, sudden sympathy of this stranger,-- this
girl like herself, yet so different, so wonderful, so beautiful,
Carmena was sure she must be. Had the saints sent her from
heaven to Alessandro? What did it mean? Carmena's bosom was
heaving with the things she longed to say and to ask; but all she
could do was to press Ramona's hand again and again, and
occasionally lay her soft cheek upon it.

"Now, was it not the saints that put it into my head to come to the
graveyard?" thought Ramona. "What a comfort to this poor
heart-broken thing to see Alessandro! And she keeps me from all
fear. Holy Virgin! but I had died of terror here all alone. Not that
the dead would harm me; but simply from the vast, silent plain,
and the gloom."

Soon Carmena made signs to Ramona that they would return to the
gate. Considerate and thoughtful, she remembered that Alessandro
would expect to find them there. But it was a long and weary
watch they had, waiting for Alessandro to come.

After leaving them, and tethering his pony, he had struck off at a
quick run for Hartsel's, which was perhaps an eighth of a mile
from the graveyard. His own old home lay a little to the right. As
he drew near, he saw a light in its windows. He stopped as if shot.
"A light in our house!" he exclaimed; and he clenched his hands.
"Those cursed robbers have gone into it to live already!" His blood
seemed turning to fire. Ramona would not have recognized the
face of her Alessandro now. It was full of implacable vengeance.
Involuntarily he felt for his knife. It was gone. His gun he had left
inside the graveyard, leaning against the wall. Ah! in the
graveyard! Yes, and there also was Ramona waiting for him.
Thoughts of vengeance fled. The world held now but one work,
one hope, one passion, for him. But he would at least see who
were these dwellers in his father's house. A fierce desire to see
their faces burned within him. Why should he thus torture himself?
Why, indeed? But he must. He would see the new home-life
already begun on the grave of his. Stealthily creeping under the
window from which the light shone, he listened. He heard
children's voices; a woman's voice; at intervals the voice of a man,
gruff and surly; various household sounds also. It was evidently the
supper-hour. Cautiously raising himself till his eyes were on a
level with the lowest panes in the window, he looked in.

A table was set in the middle of the floor, and there were sitting at
it a man, woman, and two children. The youngest, little more than
a baby, sat in its high chair, drumming with a spoon on the table,
impatient for its supper. The room was in great confusion,-- beds
made on the floor, open boxes half unpacked, saddles and harness
thrown down in the corners; evidently there were new-comers into
the house. The window was open by an inch. It had warped, and
would not shut down. Bitterly Alessandro recollected how he had
put off from day to day the planing of that window to make it shut
tight. Now, thanks to the crack, he could hear all that was said.
The woman looked weary and worn. Her face was a sensitive one,
and her voice kindly; but the man had the countenance of a brute,--
of a human brute. Why do we malign the so-called brute creation,
making their names a unit of comparison for base traits which
never one of them possessed?

"It seems as if I never should get to rights in this world!" said the
woman. Alessandro understood enough English to gather the
meaning of what she said. He listened eagerly. "When will the next
wagon get here?"

"I don't know," growled her husband. "There's been a slide in that
cursed canon, and blocked the road. They won't be here for several
days yet. Hain't you got stuff enough round now? If you'd clear up
what's here now, then 'twould be time enough to grumble because
you hadn't got everything."

"But, John," she replied, "I can't clear up till the bureau comes, to
put the things away in, and the bedstead. I can't seem to do

"You can grumble, I take notice," he answered. "That's about all
you women are good for, anyhow. There was a first-rate raw-hide
bedstead in here. If Rothsaker hadn't been such a fool's to let those
dogs of Indians carry off all their truck, we might have had that!"

The woman looked at him reproachfully, but did not speak for a
moment. Then her cheeks flushed, and seeming unable to repress
the speech, she exclaimed, "Well, I'm thankful enough he did let
the poor things take their furniture. I'd never have slept a wink an
that bedstead, I know, if it had ha' been left here. It's bad enough to
take their houses this way!"

"Oh, you shut up your head for a blamed fool, will you!" cried the
man. He was half drunk, his worst and most dangerous state. She
glanced at him half timorously, half indignantly, and turning to the
children, began feeding the baby. At that second the other child
looked up, and catching sight of the outline of Alessandro's head,
cried out, "There's a man there! There, at the window!"

Alessandro threw himself flat on the ground, and held his breath.
Had he imperilled all, brought danger on himself and Ramona, by
yielding to this mad impulse to look once more inside the walls of
his home? With a fearful oath, the half-drunken man exclaimed,
"One of those damned Indians, I expect. I've seen several hangin'
round to-day. We'll have to shoot two or three of 'em yet, before
we're rid of 'em!" and he took his gun down from the pegs above
the fireplace, and went to the door with it in his hand.

"Oh, don't fire, father, don't." cried the woman. "They'll come and
murder us all in our sleep if you do! Don't fire!" and she pulled
him back by the sleeve.

Shaking her off, with another oath, he stepped across the
threshold, and stood listening, and peering into the darkness.
Alessandro's heart beat like a hammer in his breast. Except for the
thought of Ramona, he would have sprung on the man, seized his
gun, and killed him.

"I don't believe it was anybody, after all, father," persisted the
woman. "Bud's always seein' things. I don't believe there was
anybody there. Come in; supper's gettin' all cold."

"Well, I'll jest fire, to let 'em know there's powder 'n shot round
here," said the fiend. "If it hits any on 'em roamin' round, he won't
know what hurt him;" and levelling his gun at random, with his
drunken, unsteady hand he fired. The bullet whistled away
harmlessly into the empty darkness. Hearkening a few moments,
and hearing no cry, he hiccuped, "Mi-i-issed him that time," and
went in to his supper.

Alessandro did not dare to stir for a long time. How he cursed his
own folly in having brought himself into this plight! What needless
pain of waiting he was inflicting on the faithful one, watching for
him in that desolate and fearful place of graves! At last he
ventured,-- sliding along on his belly a few inches at a time, till,
several rods from the house, he dared at last to spring to his feet
and bound away at full speed for Hartsel's.

Hartsel's was one of those mongrel establishments to be seen
nowhere except in Southern California. Half shop, half farm, half
tavern, it gathered up to itself all the threads of the life of the
whole region. Indians, ranchmen, travellers of all sorts, traded at
Hartsel's, drank at Hartsel's, slept at Hartsel's. It was the only place
of its kind within a radius of twenty miles; and it was the least bad
place of its kind within a much wider radius.

Hartsel was by no means a bad fellow -- when he was sober; but as
that condition was not so frequent as it should have been, he
sometimes came near being a very bad fellow indeed. At such
times everybody was afraid of him,-- wife, children, travellers,
ranchmen, and all. "It was only a question of time and occasion,"
they said, "Hartsel's killing somebody sooner or later;" and it
looked as if the time were drawing near fast. But, out of his cups,
Hartsel was kindly, and fairly truthful; entertaining, too, to a
degree which held many a wayfarer chained to his chair till small
hours of the morning, listening to his landlord's talk. How he had
drifted from Alsace to San Diego County, he could hardly have
told in minute detail himself, there had been so many stages and
phases of the strange journey; but he had come to his last halt now.
Here, in this Temecula, he would lay his bones. He liked the
country. He liked the wild life, and, for a wonder, he liked the
Indians. Many a good word he spoke for them to travellers who
believed no good of the race, and evidently listened with polite
incredulity when he would say, as he often did: "I've never lost a
dollar off these Indians yet. They do all their trading with me.
There's some of them I trust as high's a hundred dollars. If they
can't pay this year, they'll pay next; and if they die, their relations
will pay their debts for them, a little at a time, till they've got it all
paid off. They'll pay in wheat, or bring a steer, maybe, or baskets
or mats the women make; but they'll pay. They're honester 'n the
general run of Mexicans about paying; I mean Mexicans that are as
poor's they are."

Hartsel's dwelling-house was a long, low adobe building, with still
lower flanking additions, in which were bedrooms for travellers,
the kitchen, and storerooms. The shop was a separate building, of
rough planks, a story and a half high, the loft of which was one
great dormitory well provided with beds on the floor, but with no
other article of bedroom furniture. They who slept in this loft had
no fastidious standards of personal luxury. These two buildings,
with some half-dozen out-houses of one sort and another, stood in
an enclosure surrounded by a low white picket fence, which gave
to the place a certain home-like look, spite of the neglected
condition of the ground, which was bare sand, or sparsely tufted
with weeds and wild grass. A few plants, parched and straggling,
stood in pots and tin cans around the door of the dwelling-house.
One hardly knew whether they made the place look less desolate
or more so. But they were token of a woman's hand, and of a
nature which craved something more than the unredeemed
wilderness around her afforded.

A dull and lurid light streamed out from the wide-open door of the
store. Alessandro drew cautiously near. The place was full of men,
and he heard loud laughing and talking. He dared not go in.
Stealing around to the rear, he leaped the fence, and went to the
other house and opened the kitchen door. Here he was not afraid.
Mrs. Hartsel had never any but Indian servants in her employ. The
kitchen was lighted only by one dim candle. On the stove were
sputtering and hissing all the pots and frying-pans it would hold.
Much cooking was evidently going on for the men who were
noisily rollicking in the other house.

Seating himself by the fire, Alessandro waited. In a few moments
Mrs. Hartsel came hurrying back to her work. It was no uncommon
experience to find an Indian quietly sitting by her fire. In the dim
light she did not recognize Alessandro, but mistook him, as he sat
bowed over, his head in his hands, for old Ramon, who was a sort
of recognized hanger-on of the place, earning his living there by
odd jobs of fetching and carrying, and anything else he could do.

"Run, Ramon," she said, "and bring me more wood; this cotton
wood is so dry, it burns out like rotten punk; I'm off my feet
to-night, with all these men to cook for;" then turning to the table,
she began cutting her bread, and did not see how tall and unlike
Ramon was the man who silently rose and went out to do her
bidding. When, a few moments later, Alessandro re-entered,
bringing a huge armful of wood, which it would have cost poor old
Ramon three journeys at least to bring, and throwing it down, on
the hearth, said, "Will that be enough, Mrs. Hartsel?" she gave a
scream of surprise, and dropped her knife. "Why, who --" she
began; then, seeing his face, her own lighting up with pleasure, she
continued, "Alessandro! Is it you? Why, I took you in the dark for
old Ramon! I thought you were in Pachanga."

"In Pachanga!" Then as yet no one had come from the Senora
Moreno's to Hartsel's in search of him and the Senorita Ramona!
Alessandro's heart felt almost light in his bosom, From the one
immediate danger he had dreaded, they were safe; but no trace of
emotion showed on his face, and he did not raise his eyes as he
replied; "I have been in Pachanga. My father is dead. I have buried
him there."

"Oh, Alessandro! Did he die?" cried the kindly woman, coming
closer to Alessandro, and laying her hand on his shoulder. "I heard
he was sick." She paused; she did not know what to say. She had
suffered so at the time of the ejectment of the Indians, that it had
made her ill. For two days she had kept her doors shut and her
windows close curtained, that she need not see the terrible sights.
She was not a woman of many words. She was a Mexican, but
there were those who said that some Indian blood ran in her veins.
This was not improbable; and it seemed more than ever probable
now, as she stood still by Alessandro's side, her hand on his
shoulder, her eyes fixed in distress on his face. How he had
altered! How well she recollected his lithe figure, his alert motion,
his superb bearing, his handsome face, when she last saw him in
the spring!

"You were away all summer, Alessandro?" she said at last, turning
back to her work.

"Yes," he said: "at the Senora Moreno's."

"So I heard," she said. "That is a fine great place, is it not? Is her
son grown a fine man? He was a lad when I saw him. He went
through here with a drove of sheep once."

"Ay, he is a man now," said Alessandro, and buried his face in his
hands again.

"Poor fellow! I don't wonder he does not want to speak," thought
Mrs. Hartsel. "I'll just let him alone;" and she spoke no more for
some moments.

Alessandro sat still by the fire. A strange apathy seemed to have
seized him; at last he said wearily: "I must be going now. I wanted
to see Mr. Hartsel a minute, but he seems to be busy in the store."

"Yes," she said, "a lot of San Francisco men; they belong to the
company that's coming in here in the valley; they've been here two
days. Oh, Alessandro," she continued, bethinking herself, "Jim's
got your violin here; Jose brought it."

"Yes, I know it," answered Alessandro. "Jose told me; and that was
one thing I stopped for."

"I'll run and get it," she exclaimed.

"No," said Alessandro, in a slow, husky voice. "I do not want it. I
thought Mr. Hartsel might buy it. I want some money. It was not
mine; it was my father's. It is a great deal better than mine. My
father said it would bring a great deal of money. It is very old."

"Indeed it is," she replied; "one of those men in there was looking
at it last night. He was astonished at it, and he would not believe
Jim when he told him about its having come from the Mission."

"Does he play? Will he buy it?" cried Alessandro,

"I don't know; I'll call Jim," she said; and running out she looked in
at the other door, saying, "Jim! Jim!"

Alas, Jim was in no condition to reply. At her first glance in his
face, her countenance hardened into an expression of disgust and
defiance. Returning to the kitchen, she said scornfully, disdaining
all disguises, "Jim's drunk. No use your talking to him to-night.
Wait till morning."

"Till morning!" A groan escaped from Alessandro, in spite of
himself. "I can't!" he cried. "I must go on to-night."

"Why, what for?" exclaimed Mrs. Hartsel, much astonished. For
one brief second Alessandro revolved in his mind the idea of
confiding everything to her; only for a second, however. No; the
fewer knew his secret and Ramona's, the better.

"I must be in San Diego to-morrow," he said.

"Got work there?" she said.

"Yes; that is, in San Pasquale," he said; "and I ought to have been
there three days ago."

Mrs. Hartsel mused. "Jim can't do anything to-night," she said;
"that's certain. You might see the man yourself, and ask him if he'd
buy it,"

Alessandro shook his head. An invincible repugnance withheld
him. He could not face one of these Americans who were "coming
in" to his valley. Mrs. Hartsel understood.

"I'll tell you, Alessandro," said the kindly woman, "I'll give you
what money you need to-night, and then, if you say so, Jim'll sell
the violin to-morrow, if the man wants it, and you can pay me back
out of that, and when you're along this way again you can have the
rest. Jim'll make as good a trade for you's he can. He's a real good
friend to all of you, Alessandro, when he's himself."

"I know it, Mrs. Hartsel. I'd trust Mr. Hartsel more than any other
man in this country," said Alessandro. "He's about the only white
man I do trust!"

Mrs. Hartsel was fumbling in a deep pocket in her under-petticoat.
Gold-piece after gold-piece she drew out. "Humph! Got more'n I
thought I had," she said. "I've kept all that's been paid in here
to-day, for I knew Jim'd be drunk before night."

Alessandro's eyes fastened on the gold. How he longed for an
abundance of those little shining pieces for his Majella! He sighed
as Mrs. Hartsel counted them out on the table,-- one, two, three,
four, bright five-dollar pieces.

"That is as much as I dare take," said Alessandro, when she put
down the fourth. "Will you trust me for so much?" he added sadly.
"You know I have nothing left now. Mrs. Hartsel, I am only a
beggar, till I get some work to do."

The tears came into Mrs. Hartsel's eyes. "It's a shame!" she said,--
"a shame, Alessandro! Jim and I haven't thought of anything else,
since it happened. Jim says they'll never prosper, never. Trust you?
Yes, indeed. Jim and I'd trust you, or your father, the last day of
our lives."

"I'm glad he is dead," said Alessandro, as he knotted the gold into
his handkerchief and put it into his bosom. "But he was murdered,
Mrs. Hartsel,-- murdered, just as much as if they had fired a bullet
into him."

"That's true." she exclaimed vehemently. "I say so too; and so was
Jose. That's just what I said at the time,-- that bullets would not be
half so inhuman!"

The words had hardly left her lips, when the door from the
dining-room burst open, and a dozen men, headed by the drunken
Jim, came stumbling, laughing, reeling into the kitchen.

"Where's supper! Give us our supper! What are you about with
your Indian here? I'll teach you how to cook ham!" stammered Jim,
making a lurch towards the stove. The men behind caught him and
saved him. Eyeing the group with scorn, Mrs. Hartsel, who had not
a cowardly nerve in her body, said: "Gentlemen, if you will take
your seats at the table, I will bring in your supper immediately. It is
all ready."

One or two of the soberer ones, shamed by her tone, led the rest
back into the dining-room, where, seating themselves, they began
to pound the table and swing the chairs, swearing, and singing
ribald songs.

"Get off as quick as you can, Alessandro," whispered Mrs. Hartsel,
as she passed by him, standing like a statue, his eyes, full of hatred
and contempt, fixed on the tipsy group. "You'd better go. There's
no knowing what they'll do next."

"Are you not afraid?" he said in a low tone.

"No!" she said. "I'm used to it. I can always manage Jim. And
Ramon's round somewhere,-- he and the bull-pups; if worse comes
to worse, I can call the dogs. These San Francisco fellows are
always the worst to get drunk. But you'd better get out of the way!"

"And these are the men that have stolen our lands, and killed my
father, and Jose, and Carmena's baby!" thought Alessandro, as he
ran swiftly back towards the graveyard. "And Father Salvierderra
says, God is good. It must be the saints no longer pray to Him for

But Alessandro's heart was too full of other thoughts, now, to
dwell long on past wrongs, however bitter. The present called him
too loudly. Putting his hand in his bosom, and feeling the soft,
knotted handkerchief, he thought: "Twenty dollars! It is not much!
But it will buy food for many days for my Majella and for Baba!"


EXCEPT for the reassuring help of Carmena's presence by her
side, Ramona would never have had courage to remain during this
long hour in the graveyard. As it was, she twice resolved to bear
the suspense no longer, and made a movement to go. The chance
of Alessandro's encountering at Hartsel's the men sent in pursuit of
him and of Baba, loomed in her thoughts into a more and more
frightful danger each moment she reflected upon it. It was a most
unfortunate suggestion for Alessandro to have made. Her excited
fancy went on and on, picturing the possible scenes which might
be going on almost within stone's-throw of where she was sitting,
helpless, in the midnight darkness,-- Alessandro seized, tied,
treated as a thief, and she, Ramona, not there to vindicate him, to
terrify the men into letting him go. She could not bear it; she
would ride boldly to Hartsel's door. But when she made a motion
as if she would go, and said in the soft Spanish, of which Carmena
knew no word, but which yet somehow conveyed Ramona's
meaning, "I must go! It is too long! I cannot wait here!" Carmena
had clasped her hand tighter, and said in the San Luiseno tongue,
of which Ramona knew no word, but which yet somehow
conveyed Carmena's meaning, "O beloved lady, you must not go!
Waiting is the only safe thing. Alessandro said, to wait here. He
will come." The word "Alessandro" was plain. Yes, Alessandro
had said, wait; Carmena was right. She would obey, but it was a
fearful ordeal. It was strange how Ramona, who felt herself
preternaturally brave, afraid of nothing, so long as Alessandro was
by her side, became timorous and wretched the instant he was lost
to her sight. When she first heard his steps coming, she quivered
with terror lest they might not be his. The next second she knew;
and with a glad cry, "Alessandro! Alessandro!" she bounded to
him, dropping Baba's reins.

Sighing gently, Carmena picked up the reins, and stood still,
holding the horse, while the lovers clasped each other with
breathless words. "How she loves Alessandro!" thought the
widowed Carmena. "Will they leave him alive to stay with her? It
is better not to love!" But there was no bitter envy in her mind for
the two who were thus blest while she went desolate. All of Pablo's
people had great affection for Alessandro. They had looked
forward to his being over them in his father's place. They knew his
goodness, and were proud of his superiority to themselves.

"Majella, you tremble," said Alessandro, as he threw his arms
around her. "You have feared! Yet you were not alone." He
glanced at Carmena's motionless figure, standing by Baba.

"No, not alone, dear Alessandro, but it was so long!" replied
Ramona; "and I feared the men had taken you, as you feared. Was
there any one there?"

"No! No one has heard anything. All was well. They thought I had
just come from Pachanga," he answered.

"Except for Carmena, I should have ridden after you half an hour
ago," continued Ramona. "But she told me to wait."

"She told you!" repeated Alessandro. "How did you understand her

"I do not know. Was it not a strange thing?" replied Ramona. "She
spoke in your tongue, but I thought I understood her, Ask her if she
did not say that I must not go; that it was safer to wait; that you
had so said, and you would soon come."

Alessandro repeated the words to Carmena. "Did you say that?" he

"Yes," answered Carmena.

"You see, then, she has understood the Luiseno words," he said
delightedly. "She is one of us."

"Yes," said Carmena, gravely, "she is one of us." Then, taking
Ramona's hand in both of her own for farewell, she repeated, in a
tone as of dire prophecy, "One of us, Alessandro! one of us!" And
as she gazed after their retreating forms, almost immediately
swallowed and lost in the darkness, she repeated the words again
to herself,-- "One of us! one of us! Sorrow came to me; she rides to
meet it!" and she crept back to her husband's grave, and threw
herself down, to watch till the dawn.

The road which Alessandro would naturally have taken would
carry them directly by Hartsel's again. But, wishing to avoid all
risk of meeting or being seen by any of the men on the place, he
struck well out to the north, to make a wide circuit around it. This
brought them past the place where Antonio's house had stood.
Here Alessandro halted, and putting his hand on Baba's rein,
walked the horses close to the pile of ruined walls. "This was
Antonio's house, Majella," he whispered. "I wish every house in
the valley had been pulled down like this. Old Juana was right.
The Americans are living in my father's house, Majella," he went
on, his whisper growing thick with rage. "That was what kept me
so long. I was looking in at the window at them eating their
supper. I thought I should go mad, Majella. If I had had my gun, I
should have shot them all dead!"

An almost inarticulate gasp was Ramona's first reply to this.
"Living in your house!" she said. "You saw them?"

"Yes," he said; "the man, and his wife, and two little children; and
the man came out, with his gun, on the doorstep, and fired it. They
thought they heard something moving, and it might be an Indian;
so he fired. That was what kept me so long."

Just at this moment Baba tripped over some small object on the
ground. A few steps farther, and he tripped again. "There is
something caught round his foot, Alessandro," said Ramona. "It
keeps moving."

Alessandro jumped off his horse, and kneeling down, exclaimed,
"It's a stake,-- and the lariat fastened to it. Holy Virgin! what --"
The rest of his ejaculation was inaudible. The next Ramona knew,
he had run swiftly on, a rod or two. Baba had followed, and
Capitan and the pony; and there stood a splendid black horse, as
big as Baba, and Alessandro talking under his breath to him, and
clapping both his hands over the horse's nose, to stop him, as often
as he began whinnying; and it seemed hardly a second more before
he had his saddle off the poor little Indian pony, and striking it
sharply on its sides had turned it free, had saddled the black horse,
and leaping on his back, said, with almost a sob in his voice: "My
Majella, it is Benito, my own Benito. Now the saints indeed have
helped us! Oh, the ass, the idiot, to stake out Benito with such a
stake as that! A jack rabbit had pulled it up. Now, my Majella, we
will gallop! Faster! faster! I will not breathe easy till we are out of
this cursed valley. When we are once in the Santa Margarita
Canon, I know a trail they will never find!"

Like the wind galloped Benito,-- Alessandro half lying on his back,
stroking his forehead, whispering to him, the horse snorting with
joy: which were gladder of the two, horse or man, could not be
said. And neck by neck with Benito came Baba. How the ground
flew away under their feet! This was companionship, indeed,
worthy of Baba's best powers. Not in all the California herds could
be found two superber horses than Benito and Baba. A wild,
almost reckless joy took possession of Alessandro. Ramona was
half terrified as she heard him still talking, talking to Benito. For
an hour they did not draw rein. Both Benito and Alessandro knew
every inch of the ground. Then, just as they had descended into the
deepest part of the canon, Alessandro suddenly reined sharply to
the left, and began climbing the precipitous wall. "Can you follow,
dearest Majella?" he cried.

"Do you suppose Benito can do anything that Baba cannot?" she
retorted, pressing on closely.

But Baba did not like it. Except for the stimulus of Benito ahead,
he would have given Ramona trouble.

"There is only a little, rough like this, dear," called Alessandro, as
he leaped a fallen tree, and halted to see how Baba took it.
"Good!" he cried, as Baba jumped it like a deer. "Good! Majella!
We have got the two best horses in the country. You'll see they are
alike, when daylight comes. I have often wondered they were so
much alike. They would go together splendidly."

After a few rods of this steep climbing they came out on the top of
the canon's south wall, in a dense oak forest comparatively free
from underbrush. "Now," said Alessandro, "I can go from here to
San Diego by paths that no white man knows. We will be near
there before daylight."

Already the keen salt air of the ocean smote their faces. Ramona
drank it in with delight. "I taste salt in the air, Alessandro," she

"Yes, it is the sea," he said. "This canon leads straight to the sea. I
wish we could go by the shore, Majella. It is beautiful there. When
it is still, the waves come as gently to the land as if they were in
play; and you can ride along with your horse's feet in the water,
and the green cliffs almost over your head; and the air off the
water is like wine in one's head."

"Cannot we go there?" she said longingly. "Would it not be safe?"

"I dare not," he answered regretfully. "Not now, Majella; for on the
shore-way, at all times, there are people going and coming."

"Some other time, Alessandro, we can come, after we are married,
and there is no danger?" she asked.

"Yes, Majella," he replied; but as he spoke the words, he thought,
"Will a time ever come when there will be no danger?"

The shore of the Pacific Ocean for many miles north of San Diego
is a succession of rounding promontories, walling the mouths of
canons, down many of which small streams make to the sea. These
canons are green and rich at bottom, and filled with trees, chiefly
oak. Beginning as little more than rifts in the ground, they deepen
and widen, till at their mouths they have a beautiful crescent of
shining beach from an eighth to a quarter of a mile long, The one
which Alessandro hoped to reach before morning was not a dozen
miles from the old town of San Diego, and commanded a fine
view of the outer harbor. When he was last in it, he had found it a
nearly impenetrable thicket of young oak-trees. Here, he believed,
they could hide safely all day, and after nightfall ride into San
Diego, be married at the priest's house, and push on to San
Pasquale that same night. "All day, in that canon, Majella can look
at the sea," he thought; "but I will not tell her now, for it may be
the trees have been cut down, and we cannot be so close to the

It was near sunrise when they reached the place. The trees had not
been cut down. Their tops, seen from above, looked like a solid
bed of moss filling in the canon bottom. The sky and the sea were
both red. As Ramona looked down into this soft green pathway, it
seemed, leading out to the wide and sparkling sea, she thought
Alessandro had brought her into a fairy-land.

"What a beautiful world!" she cried; and riding up so close to
Benito that she could lay her hand on Alessandro's, she said
solemnly: "Do you not think we ought to be very happy,
Alessandro, in such a beautiful world as this? Do you think we
might sing our sunrise hymn here?"

Alessandro glanced around. They were alone on the breezy open; it
was not yet full dawn; great masses of crimson vapor were floating
upward from the hills behind San Diego. The light was still
burning in the light-house on the promontory walling the inner
harbor, but in a few moments more it would be day. "No, Majella,
not here." he said. "We must not stay. As soon as the sun rises, a
man or a horse may be seen on this upper coast-line as far as eye
can reach. We must be among the trees with all the speed we can

It was like a house with a high, thick roof of oak tree-tops, the
shelter they found. No sun penetrated it; a tiny trickle of water still
remained, and some grass along its rims was still green, spite of
the long drought,-- a scanty meal for Baba and Benito, but they ate
it with relish in each other's company.

"They like each other, those two," said Ramona, laughing, as she
watched them. "They will be friends."

"Ay," said Alessandro, also smiling. "Horses are friends, like men,
and can hate each other, like men, too. Benito would never see
Antonio's mare, the little yellow one, that he did not let fly his
heels at her; and she was as afraid, at sight of him, as a cat is at a
dog. Many a time I have laughed to see it."

"Know you the priest at San Diego?" asked Ramona.

"Not well," replied Alessandro. "He came seldom to Temecula
when I was there; but he is a friend of Indians. I know he came
with the men from San Diego at the time when there was fighting,
and the whites were in great terror; and they said, except for Father
Gaspara's words, there would not have been a white man left alive
in Pala. My father had sent all his people away before that fight
began. He knew it was coming, but he would have nothing to do
with it. He said the Indians were all crazy. It was no use. They
would only be killed themselves. That is the worst thing, my
Majella. The stupid Indians fight and kill, and then what can we
do? The white men think we are all the same. Father Gaspara has
never been to Pala, I heard, since that time. There goes there now
the San Juan Capistrano priest. He is a bad man. He takes money
from the starving poor."

"A priest!" ejaculated Ramona, horror-stricken.

"Ay! a priest!" replied Alessandro. "They are not all good, -- not
like Father Salvierderra."

"Oh, if we could but have gone to Father Salvierderra!" exclaimed
Ramona, involuntarily.

Alessandro looked distressed. "It would have been much more
danger, Majella," he said, "and I had no knowledge of work I could
do there."

His look made Ramona remorseful at once. How cruel to lay one
feather-weight of additional burden on this loving man. "Oh, this is
much better, really," she said. "I did not mean what I said. It is
only because I have always loved Father Salvierderra so. And the
Senora will tell him what is not true. Could we not send him a
letter, Alessandro?"

"There is a Santa Inez Indian I know," replied Alessandro, "who
comes down with nets to sell, sometimes, to Temecula. I know not
if he goes to San Diego. If I could get speech with him, he would
go up from Santa Inez to Santa Barbara for me, I am sure; for once
he lay in my father's house, sick for many weeks, and I nursed him,
and since then he is always begging me to take a net from him,
whenever he comes. It is not two days from Santa Inez to Santa

"I wish it were the olden time now, Alessandro," sighed Ramona,
"when the men like Father Salvierderra had all the country. Then
there would be work for all, at the Missions. The Senora says the
Missions were like palaces, and that there were thousands of
Indians in every one of them; thousands and thousands, all
working so happy and peaceful."

"The Senora does not know all that happened at the Missions,"
replied Alessandro. "My father says that at some of them were
dreadful things, when bad men had power. Never any such things
at San Luis Rey. Father Peyri was like a father to all his Indians.
My father says that they would all of them lie down in a fire for
him, if he had commanded it. And when he went away, to leave
the country, when his heart was broken, and the Mission all ruined,
he had to fly by night, Majella, just as you and I have done; for if
the Indians had known it, they would have risen up to keep him.
There was a ship here in San Diego harbor, to sail for Mexico, and
the Father made up his mind to go in it; and it was over this same
road we have come, my Majella, that he rode, and by night; and
my father was the only one he trusted to know it. My father came
with him; they took the swiftest horses, and they rode all night, and
my father carried in front of him, on the horse, a box of the sacred
things of the altar, very heavy. And many a time my father has told
me the story, how they got to San Diego at daybreak, and the
Father was rowed out to the ship in a little boat; and not much
more than on board was he, my father standing like one dead on
the shore, watching, he loved him so, when, lo! he heard a great
crying, and shouting, and trampling of horses' feet, and there came
galloping down to the water's edge three hundred of the Indians
from San Luis Rey, who had found out that the Father had gone to
San Diego to take ship, and they had ridden all night on his track,
to fetch him back. And when my father pointed to the ship, and
told them he was already on board, they set up a cry fit to bring the
very sky down; and some of them flung themselves into the sea,
and swam out to the ship, and cried and begged to be taken on
board and go with him. And Father Peyri stood on the deck,
blessing them, and saying farewell, with the tears running on his
face; and one of the Indians -- how they never knew -- made shift
to climb up on the chains and ropes, and got into the ship itself;
and they let him stay, and he sailed away with the Father. And my
father said he was all his life sorry that he himself had not thought
to do the same thing; but he was like one dumb and deaf and with
no head, he was so unhappy at the Father's going."

"Was it here, in this very harbor?" asked Ramona, in breathless
interest, pointing out towards the blue water of which they could
see a broad belt framed by their leafy foreground arch of oak tops.

"Ay, just there he sailed,-- as that ship goes now," he exclaimed, as
a white-sailed schooner sailed swiftly by, going out to sea. "But the
ship lay at first inside the bar; you cannot see the inside harbor
from here. It is the most beautiful water I have ever seen, Majella.
The two high lands come out like two arms to hold it and keep it
safe, as if they loved it."

"But, Alessandro," continued Ramona, "were there really bad men
at the other Missions? Surely not the Franciscan Fathers?"

"Perhaps not the Fathers themselves, but the men under them. It
was too much power, Majella. When my father has told me how it
was, it has seemed to me I should not have liked to be as he was. It
is not right that one man should have so much power. There was
one at the San Gabriel Mission; he was an Indian. He had been set
over the rest; and when a whole band of them ran away one time,
and went back into the mountains, he went after them; and he
brought back a piece of each man's ear; the pieces were strung on a
string; and he laughed, and said that was to know them by again,--
by their clipped ears. An old woman, a Gabrieleno, who came over
to Temecula, told me she saw that. She lived at the Mission
herself. The Indians did not all want to come to the Missions;
some of them preferred to stay in the woods, and live as they
always had lived; and I think they had a right to do that if they
preferred, Majella. It was stupid of them to stay and be like beasts,
and not know anything; but do you not think they had the right?"

"It is the command to preach the gospel to every creature," replied
the pious Ramona. "That is what Father Salvierderra said was the
reason the Franciscans came here. I think they ought to have made
the Indians listen. But that was dreadful about the ears,
Alessandro. Do you believe it?"

"The old woman laughed when she told it," he answered. "She said
it was a joke; so I think it was true. I know I would have killed the
man who tried to crop my ears that way."

"Did you ever tell that to Father Salvierderra?" asked Ramona.

"No, Majella. It would not be polite," said Alessandro.

"Well, I don't believe it," replied Ramona, in a relieved tone. "I
don't believe any Franciscan ever could have permitted such

The great red light in the light-house tower had again blazed out,
and had been some time burning before Alessandro thought it
prudent to resume their journey. The road on which they must go
into old San Diego, where Father Gaspara lived, was the public
road from San Diego to San Luis Rey, and they were almost sure
to meet travellers on it.

But their fleet horses bore them so well, that it was not late when
they reached the town. Father Gaspara's house was at the end of a
long, low adobe building, which had served no mean purpose in
the old Presidio days, but was now fallen into decay; and all its
rooms except those occupied by the Father, had been long
uninhabited. On the opposite side of the way, in a neglected,
weedy open, stood his chapel,-- a poverty-stricken little place, its
walls imperfectly whitewashed, decorated by a few coarse pictures
and by broken sconces of looking-glass, rescued in their
dilapidated condition from the Mission buildings, now gone utterly
to ruin. In these had been put handle-holders of common tin, in
which a few cheap candles dimly lighted the room. Everything
about it was in unison with the atmosphere of the place,-- the most
profoundly melancholy in all Southern California. Here was the
spot where that grand old Franciscan, Padre Junipero Serra, began
his work, full of the devout and ardent purpose to reclaim the
wilderness and its peoples to his country and his Church; on this
very beach he went up and down for those first terrible weeks,
nursing the sick, praying with the dying, and burying the dead,
from the pestilence-stricken Mexican ships lying in the harbor.
Here he baptized his first Indian converts, and founded his first
Mission. And the only traces now remaining of his heroic labors
and hard-won successes were a pile of crumbling ruins, a few old
olive-trees and palms; in less than another century even these
would be gone; returned into the keeping of that mother, the earth,
who puts no head-stones at the sacredest of her graves.

Father Gaspara had been for many years at San Diego. Although
not a Franciscan, having, indeed, no especial love for the order, he
had been from the first deeply impressed by the holy associations
of the place. He had a nature at once fiery and poetic; there were
but three things he could have been,-- a soldier, a poet, or a priest.
Circumstances had made him a priest; and the fire and the poetry
which would have wielded the sword or kindled the verse, had he
found himself set either to fight or to sing, had all gathered into
added force in his priestly vocation. The look of a soldier he had
never quite lost,-- neither the look nor the tread; and his flashing
dark eyes, heavy black hair and beard, and quick elastic step,
seemed sometimes strangely out of harmony with his priest's
gown. And it was the sensitive soul of the poet in him which had
made him withdraw within himself more and more, year after year,
as he found himself comparatively powerless to do anything for
the hundreds of Indians that he would fain have seen gathered once
more, as of old, into the keeping of the Church. He had made
frequent visits to them in their shifting refuges, following up
family after family, band after band, that he knew; he had written
bootless letter after letter to the Government officials of one sort
and another, at Washington. He had made equally bootless efforts
to win some justice, some protection for them, from officials
nearer home; he had endeavored to stir the Church itself to greater
efficiency in their behalf. Finally, weary, disheartened, and
indignant with that intense, suppressed indignation which the
poetic temperament alone can feel, he had ceased,-- had said, "It is
of no use; I will speak no word; I am done; I can bear no more!"
and settling down into the routine of his parochial duties to the
little Mexican and Irish congregation of his charge in San Diego,
he had abandoned all effort to do more for the Indians than visit
their chief settlements once or twice a year, to administer the
sacraments. When fresh outrages were brought to his notice, he
paced his room, plucked fiercely at his black beard, with
ejaculations, it is to be feared, savoring more of the camp than the
altar; but he made no effort to do anything. Lighting his pipe, he
would sit down on the old bench in his tile-paved veranda, and
smoke by the hour, gazing out on the placid water of the deserted
harbor, brooding, ever brooding, over the wrongs he could not

A few paces off from his door stood the just begun walls of a fine
brick church, which it had been the dream and pride of his heart to
see builded, and full of worshippers. This, too, had failed. With
San Diego's repeatedly vanishing hopes and dreams of prosperity
had gone this hope and dream of Father Gaspara's. It looked, now,
as if it would be indeed a waste of money to build a costly church
on this site. Sentiment, however sacred and loving towards the
dead, must yield to the demands of the living. To build a church on
the ground where Father Junipero first trod and labored, would be
a work to which no Catholic could be indifferent; but there were
other and more pressing claims to be met first. This was right. Yet
the sight of these silent walls, only a few feet high, was a sore one
to Father Gaspara,-- a daily cross, which he did not find grow
lighter as he paced up and down his veranda, year in and year out,
in the balmy winter and cool summer of that magic climate.

"Majella, the chapel is lighted; but that is good!" exclaimed
Alessandro, as they rode into the silent plaza. "Father Gaspara
must be there;" and jumping off his horse, he peered in at the
uncurtained window. "A marriage, Majella, -- a marriage!" he
cried, hastily returning. "This, too, is good fortune. We need not to
wait long."

When the sacristan whispered to Father Gaspara that an Indian
couple had just come in, wishing to be married, the Father
frowned. His supper was waiting; he had been out all day, over at
the old Mission olive-orchard, where he had not found things to his
mind; the Indian man and wife whom he hired to take care of the
few acres the Church yet owned there had been neglecting the
Church lands and trees, to look after their own. The Father was
vexed, tired, and hungry, and the expression with which he
regarded Alessandro and Ramona, as they came towards him, was
one of the least prepossessing of which his dark face was capable.
Ramona, who had never knelt to any priest save the gentle Father
Salvierderra, and who had supposed that all priests must look, at
least, friendly, was shocked at the sight of the impatient visage
confronting her. But, as his first glance fell on Ramona, Father
Gaspara's expression changed.

"What is all this!" he thought; and as quick as he thought it, he
exclaimed, in a severe tone, looking at Ramona, "Woman, are you
an Indian?"

"Yes, Father," answered Ramona, gently. "My mother was an

"Ah! half-breed!" thought Father Gaspara. "It is strange how
sometimes one of the types will conquer, and sometimes another!
But this is no common creature;" and it was with a look of new
interest and sympathy on his face that he proceeded with the
ceremony,-- the other couple, a middle-aged Irishman, with his
more than middle-aged bride, standing quietly by, and looking on
with a vague sort of wonder in their ugly, impassive faces, as if it
struck them oddly that Indians should marry.

The book of the marriage-records was kept in Father Gaspara's
own rooms, locked up and hidden even from his old housekeeper.
He had had bitter reason to take this precaution. It had been for
more than one man's interest to cut leaves out of this old record,
which dated back to 1769, and had many pages written full in the
hand of Father Junipero himself.

As they came out of the chapel, Father Gaspara leading the way,
the Irish couple shambling along shamefacedly apart from each
other, Alessandro, still holding Ramona's hand in his, said, "Will
you ride, dear? It is but a step."

"No, thanks, dear Alessandro, I would rather walk," she replied;
and Alessandro slipping the bridles of the two horses over his left
arm, they walked on. Father Gaspara heard the question and
answer, and was still more puzzled.

"He speaks as a gentleman speaks to a lady," he mused. "What
does it mean? Who are they?"

Father Gaspara was a well-born man, and in his home in Spain had
been used to associations far superior to any which he had known
in his Californian life, A gentle courtesy of tone and speech, such
as that with which Alessandro had addressed Ramona, was not
often heard in his parish. When they entered his house, he again
regarded them both attentively. Ramona wore on her head the
usual black shawl of the Mexican women. There was nothing
distinctive, to the Father's eye, in her figure or face. In the dim
light of the one candle,-- Father Gaspara allowed himself no
luxuries,-- the exquisite coloring of her skin and the deep blue of
her eyes were not to be seen. Alessandro's tall figure and dignified
bearing were not uncommon. The Father had seen many as
fine-looking Indian men. But his voice was remarkable, and he
spoke better Spanish than was wont to be heard from Indians.

"Where are you from?" said the Father, as he held his pen poised in
hand, ready to write their names in the old raw-hide-bound book.

"Temecula, Father," replied Alessandro.

Father Gaspara dropped his pen. "The village the Americans drove
out the other day?" he cried.

"Yes, Father."

Father Gaspara sprang from his chair, took refuge from his
excitement, as usual, in pacing the floor. "Go! go! I'm done with
you! It's all over," he said fiercely to the Irish bride and groom,
who had given him their names and their fee, but were still
hanging about irresolute, not knowing if all were ended or not. "A
burning shame! The most dastardly thing I have seen yet in this
land forsaken of God!" cried the Father. "I saw the particulars of it
in the San Diego paper yesterday." Then, coming to a halt in front
of Alessandro, he exclaimed: "The paper said that the Indians were
compelled to pay all the costs of the suit; that the sheriff took their
cattle to do it. Was that true?"

"Yes, Father," replied Alessandro.

The Father strode up and down again, plucking at his beard. "What
are you going to do?" he said. "Where have you all gone? There
were two hundred in your village the last time I was there."

"Some have gone over into Pachanga," replied Alessandro, "some
to San Pasquale, and the rest to San Bernardino."

"Body of Jesus! man! But you take it with philosophy!" stormed
Father Gaspara.

Alessandro did not understand the word "philosophy," but he knew
what the Father meant. "Yes, Father," he said doggedly. "It is now
twenty-one days ago. I was not so at first. There is nothing to be

Ramona held tight to Alessandro's hand. She was afraid of this
fierce, black-bearded priest, who dashed back and forth, pouring
out angry invectives.

"The United States Government will suffer for it!" he continued.
"It is a Government of thieves and robbers! God will punish them.
You will see; they will be visited with a curse,-- a curse in their
borders; their sons and their daughters shall be desolate! But why
do I prate in these vain words? My son, tell me your names again;"
and he seated himself once more at the table where the ancient
marriage-record lay open.

After writing Alessandro's name, he turned to Ramona. "And the
woman's?" he said.

Alessandro looked at Ramona. In the chapel he had said simply,
"Majella." What name should he give more?

Without a second's hesitation, Ramona answered, "Majella.
Majella Phail is my name."

She pronounced the word "Phail," slowly. It was new to her. She
had never seen it written; as it lingered on her lips, the Father, to
whom also it was a new word, misunderstood it, took it to be in
two syllables, and so wrote it.

The last step was taken in the disappearance of Ramona. How
should any one, searching in after years, find any trace of Ramona
Ortegna, in the woman married under the name of "Majella

"No, no! Put up your money, son," said Father Gaspara, as
Alessandro began to undo the knots of the handkerchief in which
his gold was tied. "Put up your money. I'll take no money from a
Temecula Indian. I would the Church had money to give you.
Where are you going now?"

"To San Pasquale, Father."

"Ah! San Pasquale! The head man there has the old pueblo paper,"
said Father Gaspara. "He was showing it to me the other day. That
will, it may be, save you there. But do not trust to it, son. Buy
yourself a piece of land as the white man buys his. Trust to

Alessandro looked anxiously in the Father's face. "How is that,
Father?" he said. "I do not know."

"Well, their rules be thick as the crabs here on the beach," replied
Father Gaspara; "and, faith, they appear to me to be backwards of
motion also, like the crabs: but the lawyers understand. When you
have picked out your land, and have the money, come to me, and I
will go with you and see that you are not cheated in the buying, so
far as I can tell; but I myself am at my wit's ends with their
devices. Farewell, son! Farewell, daughter!" he said, rising from
his chair. Hunger was again getting the better of sympathy in
Father Gaspara, and as he sat down to his long-deferred supper, the
Indian couple faded from his mind; but after supper was over, as
he sat smoking his pipe on the veranda, they returned again, and
lingered in his thoughts,-- lingered strangely, it seemed to him; he
could not shake off the impression that there was something
unusual about the woman. "I shall hear of them again, some day,"
he thought. And he thought rightly.


AFTER leaving Father Gaspara's door, Alessandro and Ramona
rode slowly through the now deserted plaza, and turned northward,
on the river road, leaving the old Presidio walls on their right. The
river was low, and they forded it without difficulty.

"I have seen this river so high that there was no fording it for many
days," said Alessandro; "but that was in spring."

"Then it is well we came not at that time," said Ramona, "All the
times have fallen out well for us, Alessandro,-- the dark nights, and
the streams low; but look! as I say it, there comes the moon!" and
she pointed to the fine threadlike arc of the new moon, just visible
in the sky. "Not big enough to do us any harm, however," she
added. "But, dear Alessandro, do you not think we are safe now?"

"I know not, Majella, if ever we may be safe; but I hope so. I have
been all day thinking I had gone foolish last night, when I told
Mrs. Hartsel that I was on my way to San Pasquale. But if men
should come there asking for us, she would understand, I think,
and keep a still tongue. She would keep harm from us if she

Their way from San Diego to San Pasquale lay at first along a high
mesa, or table-land, covered with low shrub growths; after some
ten or twelve miles of this, they descended among winding ridges,
into a narrow valley,-- the Poway valley. It was here that the
Mexicans made one of their few abortive efforts to repel the
American forces.

"Here were some Americans killed, in a fight with the Mexicans,
Majella," said Alessandro. "I myself have a dozen bullets which I
picked up in the ground about here. Many a time I have looked at
them and thought if there should come another war against the
Americans, I would fire them again, if I could. Does Senor Felipe
think there is any likelihood that his people will rise against them
any more? If they would, they would have all the Indians to help
them, now. It would be a mercy if they might be driven out of the
land, Majella."

"Yes," sighed Majella. "But there is no hope. I have heard the
Senora speak of it with Felipe. There is no hope. They have power,
and great riches, she said. Money is all that they think of. To get
money, they will commit any crime, even murder. Every day there
comes the news of their murdering each other for gold. Mexicans
kill each other only for hate, Alessandro,-- for hate, or in anger;
never for gold."

"Indians, also," replied Alessandro. "Never one Indian killed
another, yet, for money. It is for vengeance, always. For money!
Bah! Majella, they are dogs!"

Rarely did Alessandro speak with such vehemence; but this last
outrage on his people had kindled in his veins a fire of scorn and
hatred which would never die out. Trust in an American was
henceforth to him impossible. The name was a synonym for fraud
and cruelty.

"They cannot all be so bad, I think, Alessandro," said Ramona.
"There must be some that are honest; do you not think so?"

"Where are they, then," he cried fiercely,-- "the ones who are
good? Among my people there are always some that are bad; but
they are in disgrace. My father punished them, the whole people
punished them. If there are Americans who are good, who will not
cheat and kill, why do they not send after these robbers and punish
them? And how is it that they make laws which cheat? It was the
American law which took Temecula away from us, and gave it to
those men! The law was on the side of the thieves. No, Majella, it
is a people that steals! That is their name,-- a people that steals,
and that kills for money. Is not that a good name for a great people
to bear, when they are like the sands in the sea, they are so many?"

"That is what the Senora says," answered Ramona. "She says they
are all thieves; that she knows not, each day, but that on the next
will come more of them, with new laws, to take away more of her
land. She had once more than twice what she has now,

"Yes," he replied; "I know it. My father has told me. He was with
Father Peyri at the place, when General Moreno was alive. Then
all was his to the sea,-- all that land we rode over the second night,

"Yes," she said, "all to the sea! That is what the Senora is ever
saying: 'To the sea!' Oh, the beautiful sea! Can we behold it from
San Pasquale, Alessandro?"

"No, my Majella, it is too far. San Pasquale is in the valley; it has
hills all around it like walls. But it is good. Majella will love it;
and I will build a house, Majella. All the people will help me. That
is the way with our people. In two days it will be done. But it will
be a poor place for my Majella," he said sadly. Alessandro's heart
was ill at ease. Truly a strange bride's journey was this; but
Ramona felt no fear.

"No place can be so poor that I do not choose it, if you are there,
rather than the most beautiful place in the world where you are
not, Alessandro," she said.

"But my Majella loves things that are beautiful," said Alessandro.
"She has lived like a queen."

"Oh, Alessandro," merrily laughed Ramona, "how little you know
of the way queens live! Nothing was fine at the Senora Moreno's,
only comfortable; and any house you will build, I can make as
comfortable as that was; it is nothing but trouble to have one so
large as the Senora's. Margarita used to be tired to death, sweeping
all those rooms in which nobody lived except the blessed old San
Luis Rey saints. Alessandro, if we could have had just one statue,
either Saint Francis or the Madonna, to bring back to our house!
That is what I would like better than all other things in the world.
It is beautiful to sleep with the Madonna close to your bed. She
speaks often to you in dreams."

Alessandro fixed serious, questioning eyes on Ramona as she
uttered these words. When she spoke like this, he felt indeed as if a
being of some other sphere had come to dwell by his side. "I
cannot find how to feel towards the saints as you do, my Majella,"
he said. "I am afraid of them. It must be because they love you, and
do not love us. That is what I believe, Majella. I believe they are
displeased with us, and no longer make mention of us in heaven.
That is what the Fathers taught that the saints were ever doing,--
praying to God for us, and to the Virgin and Jesus. It is not
possible, you see, that they could have been praying for us, and yet
such things have happened, as happened in Temecula. I do not
know how it is my people have displeased them."

"I think Father Salvierderra would say that it is a sin to be afraid of
the saints, Alessandro," replied Ramona, earnestly. "He has often
told me that it was a sin to be unhappy; and that withheld me many
times from being wretched because the Senora would not love me.
And, Alessandro," she went on, growing more and more fervent in
tone, "even if nothing but misfortune comes to people, that does
not prove that the saints do not love them; for when the saints were
on earth themselves, look what they suffered: martyrs they were,
almost all of them. Look at what holy Saint Catharine endured, and
the blessed Saint Agnes. It is not by what happens to us here in this
world that we can tell if the saints love us, or if we will see the
Blessed Virgin."

"How can we tell, then?" he asked.

"By what we feel in our hearts, Alessandro," she replied; "just as I
knew all the time, when you did not come,-- I knew that you loved
me. I knew that in my heart; and I shall always know it, no matter
what happens. If you are dead, I shall know that you love me. And
you,-- you will know that I love you, the same."

"Yes," said Alessandro, reflectively, "that is true. But, Majella, it is
not possible to have the same thoughts about a saint as about a
person that one has seen, and heard the voice, and touched the

"No, not quite," said Ramona; "not quite, about a saint; but one can
for the Blessed Virgin, Alessandro! I am sure of that. Her statue, in
my room at the Senora's, has been always my mother. Ever since I
was little I have told her all I did. It was she helped me to plan
what I should bring away with us. She reminded me of many
things I had forgotten, except for her."

"Did you hear her speak?" said Alessandro, awe-stricken.

"Not exactly in words; but just the same as in words," replied
Ramona, confidently. "You see when you sleep in the room with
her, it is very different from what it is if you only see her in a
chapel. Oh, I could never be very unhappy with her in my room!"

"I would almost go and steal it for you, Majella," cried Alessandro,
with sacrilegious warmth.

"Holy Virgin!" cried Ramona, "never speak such a word. You
would be struck dead if you laid your hand on her! I fear even the
thought was a sin,"

"There was a small figure of her in the wall of our house," said
Alessandro. "It was from San Luis Rey. I do not know what
became of it,-- if it were left behind, or if they took it with my
father's things to Pachanga. I did not see it there. When I go again,
I will look."

"Again!" cried Ramona. "What say you? You go again to
Pachanga? You will not leave me, Alessandro?"

At the bare mention of Alessandro's leaving her, Ramona's courage
always vanished. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, she was
transformed from the dauntless, confident, sunny woman, who
bore him up as it were on wings of hope and faith, to a timid,
shrinking, despondent child, crying out in alarm, and clinging to
the hand.

"After a time, dear Majella, when you are wonted to the place, I
must go, to fetch the wagon and the few things that were ours.
There is the raw-hide bed which was Father Peyri's, and he gave to
my father. Majella will like to lie on that. My father believed it had
great virtue."

"Like that you made for Felipe?" she asked.

"Yes; but it is not so large. In those days the cattle were not so
large as they are now: this is not so broad as Senor Felipe's. There
are chairs, too, from the Mission, three of them, one almost as fine
as those on your veranda at home. They were given to my father.
And music-books,-- beautiful parchment books! Oh, I hope those
are not lost, Majella! If Jose had lived, he would have looked after
it all. But in the confusion, all the things belonging to the village
were thrown into wagons together, and no one knew where
anything was. But all the people knew my father's chairs and the
books of the music. If the Americans did not steal them,
everything will be safe. My people do not steal. There was never
but one thief in our village, and my father had him so whipped, he
ran away and never came back. I heard he was living in San
Jacinto, and was a thief yet, spite of all that whipping he had. I
think if it is in the blood to be a thief, not even whipping will take
it out, Majella,"

"Like the Americans," she said, half laughing, but with tears in the
voice. "Whipping would not cure them."

It wanted yet more than an hour of dawn when they reached the
crest of the hill from which they looked down on the San Pasquale
valley. Two such crests and valleys they had passed; this was the
broadest of the three valleys, and the hills walling it were softer
and rounder of contour than any they had yet seen. To the east and
northeast lay ranges of high mountains, their tops lost in the
clouds. The whole sky was overcast and gray.

"If it were spring, this would mean rain," said Alessandro; "but it
cannot rain, I think, now."

"No!" laughed Ramona, "not till we get our house done. Will it be
of adobe, Alessandro?"

"Dearest Majella, not yet! At first it must be of the tule. They are
very comfortable while it is warm, and before winter I will build
one of adobe."

'Two houses! Wasteful Alessandro! If the tule house is good, I
shall not let you, Alessandro, build another."

Ramona's mirthful moments bewildered Alessandro. To his slower
temperament and saddened nature they seemed preternatural; as if
she were all of a sudden changed into a bird, or some gay creature
outside the pale of human life,-- outside and above it.

"You speak as the birds sing, my Majella," he said slowly. "It was
well to name you Majel; only the wood-dove has not joy in her
voice, as you have. She says only that she loves and waits."

"I say that, too, Alessandro!" replied Ramona, reaching out both
her arms towards him.

The horses were walking slowly, and very close side by side. Baba
and Benito were now such friends they liked to pace closely side
by side; and Baba and Benito were by no means without instinctive
recognitions of the sympathy between their riders. Already Benito
knew Ramona's voice, and answered it with pleasure; and Baba
had long ago learned to stop when his mistress laid her hand on
Alessandro's shoulder. He stopped now, and it was long minutes
before he had the signal to go on again.

"Majella! Majella!" cried Alessandro, as, grasping both her hands
in his, he held them to his cheeks, to his neck, to his mouth, "if the
saints would ask Alessandro to be a martyr for Majella's sake, like
those she was telling of, then she would know if Alessandro loved
her! But what can Alessandro do now? What, oh, what? Majella
gives all; Alessandro gives nothing!" and he bowed his forehead on
her hands, before he put them back gently on Baba's neck.

Tears filled Ramona's eyes. How should she win this saddened
man, this distrusting lover, to the joy which was his desert?
"Alessandro can do one thing," she said, insensibly falling into his
mode of speaking,-- "one thing for his Majella: never, never say
that he has nothing to give her. When he says that, he makes
Majella a liar; for she has said that he is all the world to her,-- he
himself all the world which she desires. Is Majella a liar?"

But it was even now with an ecstasy only half joy, the other half
anguish, that Alessandro replied: "Majella cannot lie. Majella is
like the saints. Alessandro is hers."

When they rode down into the valley, the whole village was astir.
The vintage-time had nearly passed; everywhere were to be seen
large, flat baskets of grapes drying in the sun. Old women and
children were turning these, or pounding acorns in the deep stone
bowls; others were beating the yucca-stalks, and putting them to
soak in water; the oldest women were sitting on the ground,
weaving baskets. There were not many men in the village now;
two large bands were away at work,-- one at the autumn
sheep-shearing, and one working on a large irrigating ditch at San

In different directions from the village slow-moving herds of goats
or of cattle could be seen, being driven to pasture on the hills;
some men were ploughing; several groups were at work building
houses of bundles of the tule reeds,

"These are some of the Temecula people," said Alessandro; "they
are building themselves new houses here. See those piles of
bundles darker-colored than the rest. Those are their old roofs they
brought from Temecula. There, there comes Ysidro!" he cried
joyfully, as a man, well-mounted, who had been riding from point
to point in the village, came galloping towards them. As soon as
Ysidro recognized Alessandro, he flung himself from his horse.
Alessandro did the same, and both running swiftly towards each
other till they met, they embraced silently. Ramona, riding up, held
out her hand, saying, as she did so, "Ysidro?"

Pleased, yet surprised, at this confident and assured greeting,
Ysidro saluted her, and turning to Alessandro, said in their own
tongue, "Who is this woman whom you bring, that has heard my

"My wife!" answered Alessandro, in the same tongue. "We were
married last night by Father Gaspara. She comes from the house of
the Senora Moreno. We will live in San Pasquale, if you have land
for me, as you have said."

What astonishment Ysidro felt, he showed none. Only a grave and
courteous welcome was in his face and in his words as he said, "It
is well. There is room. You are welcome." But when he heard the
soft Spanish syllables in which Ramona spoke to Alessandro, and
Alessandro, translating her words to him, said, "Majel speaks only
in the Spanish tongue, but she will learn ours," a look of disquiet
passed over his countenance. His heart feared for Alessandro, and
he said, "Is she, then, not Indian? Whence got she the name of

A look of swift intelligence from Alessandro reassured him.
"Indian on the mother's side!" said Alessandro, "and she belongs in
heart to our people. She is alone, save for me. She is one blessed
of the Virgin, Ysidro. She will help us. The name Majel I have
given her, for she is like the wood-dove; and she is glad to lay her
old name down forever, to bear this new name in our tongue."

And this was Ramona's introduction to the Indian village, -- this
and her smile; perhaps the smile did most. Even the little children
were not afraid of her. The women, though shy, in the beginning,
at sight of her noble bearing, and her clothes of a kind and quality
they associated only with superiors, soon felt her friendliness, and,
what was more, saw by her every word, tone, look, that she was
Alessandro's. If Alessandro's, theirs. She was one of them. Ramona
would have been profoundly impressed and touched, could she
have heard them speaking among themselves about her; wondering
how it had come about that she, so beautiful, and nurtured in the
Moreno house, of which they all knew, should be Alessandro's
loving wife. It must be, they thought in their simplicity, that the
saints had sent it as an omen of good to the Indian people. Toward
night they came, bringing in a hand-barrow the most aged woman
in the village to look at her. She wished to see the beautiful
stranger before the sun went down, they said, because she was now
so old she believed each night that before morning her time would
come to die. They also wished to hear the old woman's verdict on
her. When Alessandro saw them coming, he understood, and made
haste to explain it to Ramona. While he was yet speaking, the
procession arrived, and the aged woman in her strange litter was
placed silently on the ground in front of Ramona, who was sitting
under Ysidro's great fig-tree. Those who had borne her withdrew,
and seated themselves a few paces off. Alessandro spoke first. In a
few words he told the old woman of Ramona's birth, of their
marriage, and of her new name of adoption; then he said, "Take
her hand, dear Majella, if you feel no fear."

There was something scarcely human in the shrivelled arm and
hand outstretched in greeting; but Ramona took it in hers with
tender reverence: "Say to her for me, Alessandro," she said, "that I
bow down to her great age with reverence, and that I hope, if it is
the will of God that I live on the earth so long as she has, I may be
worthy of such reverence as these people all feel for her."

Alessandro turned a grateful look on Ramona as he translated this
speech, so in unison with Indian modes of thought and feeling. A
murmur of pleasure rose from the group of women sitting by. The
aged woman made no reply; her eyes still studied Ramona's face,
and she still held her hand.

"Tell her," continued Ramona, "that I ask if there is anything I can
do for her. Say I will be her daughter if she will let me."

"It must be the Virgin herself that is teaching Majella what to say,"
thought Alessandro, as he repeated this in the San Luiseno tongue.

Again the women murmured pleasure, but the old woman spoke
not. "And say that you will be her son," added Ramona.

Alessandro said it. It was perhaps for this that the old woman had
waited. Lifting up her arm, like a sibyl, she said: "It is well; I am
your mother. The winds of the valley shall love you, and the grass
shall dance when you come. The daughter looks on her mother's
face each day. I will go;" and making a sign to her bearers, she was
lifted, and carried to her house.

The scene affected Ramona deeply. The simplest acts of these
people seemed to her marvellously profound in their meanings.
She was not herself sufficiently educated or versed in life to know
why she was so moved,-- to know that such utterances, such
symbolisms as these, among primitive peoples, are thus impressive
because they are truly and grandly dramatic; but she was none the
less stirred by them, because she could not analyze or explain

"I will go and see her every day," she said; "she shall be like my
mother, whom I never saw."

"We must both go each day," said Alessandro. "What we have said
is a solemn promise among my people; it would not be possible to
break it."

Ysidro's home was in the centre of the village, on a slightly rising
ground; it was a picturesque group of four small houses, three of
tule reeds and one of adobe,-- the latter a comfortable little house
of two rooms, with a floor and a shingled roof, both luxuries in
San Pasquale. The great fig-tree, whose luxuriance and size were
noted far and near throughout the country, stood half-way down
the slope; but its boughs shaded all three of the tule houses. On
one of its lower branches was fastened a dove-cote, ingeniously
made of willow wands, plastered with adobe, and containing so
many rooms that the whole tree seemed sometimes a-flutter with
doves and dovelings. Here and there, between the houses, were
huge baskets, larger than barrels, woven of twigs, as the eagle
weaves its nest, only tighter and thicker. These were the outdoor
granaries; in these were kept acorns, barley, wheat, and corn.
Ramona thought them, as well she might, the prettiest things she
ever saw.

"Are they hard to make?" she asked. "Can you make them,
Alessandro? I shall want many."

"All you want, my Majella," replied Alessandro. "We will go
together to get the twigs; I can, I dare say, buy some in the village.
It is only two days to make a large one."

"No. Do not buy one," she exclaimed. "I wish everything in our
house to be made by ourselves." In which, again, Ramona was
unconsciously striking one of the keynotes of pleasure in the
primitive harmonies of existence.

The tule house which stood nearest to the dove-cote was, by a
lucky chance, now empty. Ysidro's brother Ramon, who had
occupied it, having gone with his wife and baby to San Bernardino,
for the winter, to work; this house Ysidro was but too happy to
give to Alessandro till his own should be done. It was a tiny place,
though it was really two houses joined together by a roofed
passage-way. In this passage-way the tidy Juana, Ramon's wife,
kept her few pots and pans, and a small stove. It looked to Ramona
like a baby-house. Timidly Alessandro said: "Can Majella live in
this small place for a time? It will not be very long; there are
adobes already made."

His countenance cleared as Ramona replied gleefully, "I think it
will be very comfortable, and I shall feel as if we were all doves
together in the dove-cote!"

"Majel!" exclaimed Alessandro; and that was all he said.

Only a few rods off stood the little chapel; in front of it swung on a
cross-bar from two slanting posts an old bronze bell which had
once belonged to the San Diego Mission. When Ramona read the
date, "1790," on its side, and heard that it was from the San Diego
Mission church it had come, she felt a sense of protection in its

"Think, Alessandro," she said; "this bell, no doubt, has rung many
times for the mass for the holy Father Junipero himself. It is a
blessing to the village. I want to live where I can see it all the time.
It will be like a saint's statue in the house."

With every allusion that Ramona made to the saints' statues,
Alessandro's desire to procure one for her deepened. He said
nothing; but he revolved it in his mind continually. He had once
gone with his shearers to San Fernando, and there he had seen in a
room of the old Mission buildings a dozen statues of saints
huddled in dusty confusion. The San Fernando church was in
crumbled ruins, and such of the church properties as were left
there were in the keeping of a Mexican not over-careful, and not in
the least devout. It would not trouble him to part with a saint or
two, Alessandro thought, and no irreverence to the saint either; on
the contrary, the greatest of reverence, since the statue was to be
taken from a place where no one cared for it, and brought into one
where it would be tenderly cherished, and worshipped every day. If
only San Fernando were not so far away, and the wooden saints so
heavy! However, it should come about yet. Majella should have a
saint; nor distance nor difficulty should keep Alessandro from
procuring for his Majel the few things that lay within his power.
But he held his peace about it. It would be a sweeter gift, if she did
not know it beforehand. He pleased himself as subtly and secretly
as if he had come of civilized generations, thinking how her eyes
would dilate, if she waked up some morning and saw the saint by
her bedside; and how sure she would be to think, at first, it was a
miracle,-- his dear, devout Majella, who, with all her superior
knowledge, was yet more credulous than he. All her education had
not taught her to think, as he, untaught, had learned, in his solitude
with nature.

Before Alessandro had been two days in San Pasquale, he had
heard of a piece of good-fortune which almost passed his belief,
and which startled him for once out of his usual impassive

"You know I have a herd of cattle of your father's, and near a
hundred sheep?" said Ysidro.

"Holy Virgin!" cried Alessandro, "you do not mean that! How is
that? They told me all our stock was taken by the Americans."

"Yes, so it was, all that was in Temecula," replied Ysidro; "but in
the spring your father sent down to know if I would take a herd for
him up into the mountains, with ours, as he feared the Temecula
pasture would fall short, and the people there, who could not
leave, must have their cattle near home; so he sent a herd over,-- I
think, near fifty head; and many of the cows have calved; and he
sent, also, a little flock of sheep,-- a hundred, Ramon said; he
herded them with ours all summer, and he left a man up there with
them. They will be down next week. It is time they were sheared."

Before he had finished speaking, Alessandro had vanished,
bounding like a deer. Ysidro stared after him; but seeing him enter
the doorway of the little tule hut, he understood, and a sad smile
passed over his face. He was not yet persuaded that this marriage
of Alessandro's would turn out a blessing. "What are a handful of
sheep to her!" he thought.

Breathless, panting, Alessandro burst into Ramona's presence.
"Majella! my Majella! There are cattle -- and sheep," he cried.
"The saints be praised! We are not like the beggars, as I said."

"I told you that God would give us food, dear Alessandro," replied
Ramona, gently.

"You do not wonder! You do not ask!" he cried, astonished at her
calm. "Does Majella think that a sheep or a steer can come down
from the skies?"

"Nay, not as our eyes would see," she answered; "but the holy ones
who live in the skies can do anything they like on the earth.
Whence came these cattle, and how are they ours?"

When he told her, her face grew solemn. "Do you remember that
night in the willows," she said, "when I was like one dying,
because you would not bring me with you? You had no faith that
there would be food. And I told you then that the saints never
forsook those who loved them, and that God would give food. And
even at that moment, when you did not know it, there were your
cattle and your sheep feeding in the mountains, in the keeping of
God! Will my Alessandro believe after this?" and she threw her
arms around his neck and kissed him.

"It is true," said Alessandro. "I will believe, after this, that the
saints love my Majella."

But as he walked at a slower pace back to Ysidro, he said to
himself: "Majella did not see Temecula. What would she have said
about the saints, if she had seen that, and seen the people dying for
want of food? It is only for her that the saints pray. They are
displeased with my people."


ONE year, and a half of another year, had passed. Sheep-shearings
and vintages had been in San Pasquale; and Alessandro's new
house, having been beaten on by the heavy spring rains, looked no
longer new. It stood on the south side of the valley,-- too far,
Ramona felt, from the blessed bell; but there had not been land
enough for wheat-fields any nearer, and she could see the chapel,
and the posts, and, on a clear day, the bell itself. The house was
small. "Small to hold so much joy," she said, when Alessandro first
led her to it, and said, deprecatingly, "It is small, Majella,-- too
small;" and he recollected bitterly, as he spoke, the size of
Ramona's own room at the Senora's house. "Too small," he

"Very small to hold so much joy, my Alessandro," she laughed;
"but quite large enough to hold two persons."

It looked like a palace to the San Pasquale people, after Ramona
had arranged their little possessions in it; and she herself felt rich
as she looked around her two small rooms. The old San Luis Rey
chairs and the raw-hide bedstead were there, and, most precious of
all, the statuette of the Madonna. For this Alessandro had built a
niche in the wall, between the head of the bed and the one
window. The niche was deep enough to hold small pots in front of
the statuette; and Ramona kept constantly growing there
wild-cucumber plants, which wreathed and re-wreathed the niche
till it looked like a bower. Below it hung her gold rosary and the
ivory Christ; and many a woman of the village, when she came to
see Ramona, asked permission to go into the bedroom and say her
prayers there; so that it finally came to be a sort of shrine for the
whole village.

A broad veranda, as broad as the Senora's, ran across the front of
the little house. This was the only thing for which Ramona had
asked. She could not quite fancy life without a veranda, and linnets
in the thatch. But the linnets had not yet come. In vain Ramona
strewed food for them, and laid little trains of crumbs to lure them
inside the posts; they would not build nests inside. It was not their
way in San Pasquale. They lived in the canons, but this part of the
valley was too bare of trees for them. "In a year or two more, when
we have orchards, they will come," Alessandro said.

With the money from that first sheep-shearing, and from the sale
of part of his cattle, Alessandro had bought all he needed in the
way of farming implements,-- a good wagon and harnesses, and a
plough. Baba and Benito, at first restive and indignant, soon made
up their minds to work. Ramona had talked to Baba about it as she
would have talked to a brother. In fact, except for Ramona's help,
it would have been a question whether even Alessandro could have
made Baba work in harness. "Good Baba!" Ramona said, as she
slipped piece after piece of the harness over his neck,-- "Good
Baba, you must help us; we have so much work to do, and you are
so strong! Good Baba, do you love me?" and with one hand in his
mane, and her cheek, every few steps, laid close to his, she led
Baba up and down the first furrows he ploughed.

"My Senorita!" thought Alessandro to himself, half in pain, half in
pride, as, running behind with the unevenly jerked plough, he
watched her laughing face and blowing hair,-- "my Senorita!"

But Ramona would not run with her hand in Baba's mane this
winter. There was a new work for her, indoors. In a rustic cradle,
which Alessandro had made, under her directions, of the woven
twigs, like the great outdoor acorn-granaries, only closer woven,
and of an oval shape, and lifted from the floor by four uprights of
red manzanita stems,-- in this cradle, on soft white wool fleeces,
covered with white homespun blankets, lay Ramona's baby, six
months old, lusty, strong, and beautiful, as only children born of
great love and under healthful conditions can be. This child was a
girl, to Alessandro's delight; to Ramona's regret,-- so far as a loving
mother can feel regret connected with her firstborn. Ramona had
wished for an Alessandro; but the disappointed wish faded out of
her thoughts, hour by hour, as she gazed into her baby-girl's blue
eyes,-- eyes so blue that their color was the first thing noticed by
each person who looked at her.

"Eyes of the sky," exclaimed Ysidro, when he first saw her.

"Like the mother's," said Alessandro; on which Ysidro turned an
astonished look upon Ramona, and saw for the first time that her
eyes, too, were blue.

"Wonderful!" he said. "It is so. I never saw it;" and he wondered in
his heart what father it had been, who had given eyes like those to
one born of an Indian mother.

"Eyes of the sky," became at once the baby's name in the village;
and Alessandro and Ramona, before they knew it, had fallen into
the way of so calling her. But when it came to the christening, they
demurred. The news was brought to the village, one Saturday, that
Father Gaspara would hold services in the valley the next day, and
that he wished all the new-born babes to be brought for
christening. Late into the night, Alessandro and Ramona sat by
their sleeping baby and discussed what should be her name.
Ramona wondered that Alessandro did not wish to name her

"No! Never but one Majella," he said, in a tone which gave
Ramona a sense of vague fear, it was so solemn.

They discussed "Ramona," "Isabella." Alessandro suggested
Carmena. This had been his mother's name.

At the mention of it Ramona shuddered, recollecting the scene in
the Temecula graveyard. "Oh, no, no! Not that!" she cried. "It is
ill-fated;" and Alessandro blamed himself for having forgotten her
only association with the name.

At last Alessandro said: "The people have named her, I think,
Majella. Whatever name we give her in the chapel, she will never
be called anything but 'Eyes of the Sky,' in the village."

"Let that name be her true one, then," said Ramona. And so it was
settled; and when Father Gaspara took the little one in his arms,
and made the sign of the cross on her brow, he pronounced with
some difficulty the syllables of the Indian name, which meant
"Blue Eyes," or "Eyes of the Sky."

Heretofore, when Father Gaspara had come to San Pasquale to say
mass, he had slept at Lomax's, the store and post-office, six miles
away, in the Bernardo valley. But Ysidro, with great pride, had this
time ridden to meet him, to say that his cousin Alessandro, who
had come to live in the valley, and had a good new adobe house,
begged that the Father would do him the honor to stay with him.

"And indeed, Father," added Ysidro, "you will be far better lodged
and fed than in the house of Lomax. My cousin's wife knows well
how all should be done."

"Alessandro! Alessandro!" said the Father, musingly. "Has he been
long married?"

"No, Father," answered Ysidro. "But little more than two years.
They were married by you, on their way from Temecula here."

"Ay, ay. I remember," said Father Gaspara. "I will come;" and it
was with no small interest that he looked forward to meeting again
the couple that had so strongly impressed him.

Ramona was full of eager interest in her preparations for
entertaining the priest. This was like the olden time; and as she
busied herself with her cooking and other arrangements, the
thought of Father Salvierderra was much in her mind. She could,
perhaps, hear news of him from Father Gaspara. It was she who
had suggested the idea to Alessandro; and when he said, "But
where will you sleep yourself, with the child, Majella, if we give
our room to the Father? I can lie on the floor outside; but you?" --
"I will go to Ysidro's, and sleep with Juana," she replied. "For two
nights, it is no matter; and it is such shame to have the Father sleep
in the house of an American, when we have a good bed like this!"

Seldom in his life had Alessandro experienced such a sense of
gratification as he did when he led Father Gaspara into his and
Ramona's bedroom. The clean whitewashed walls, the bed neatly
made, with broad lace on sheets and pillows, hung with curtains
and a canopy of bright red calico, the old carved chairs, the
Madonna shrine in its bower of green leaves, the shelves on the
walls, the white-curtained window, -- all made up a picture such as
Father Gaspara had never before seen in his pilgrimages among the
Indian villages. He could not restrain an ejaculation of surprise.
Then his eye falling on the golden rosary, he exclaimed, "Where
got you that?"

"It is my wife's," replied Alessandro, proudly. "It was given to her
by Father Salvierderra."

"Ah!" said the Father. "He died the other day."

"Dead! Father Salvierderra dead!" cried Alessandro. "That will be
a terrible blow. Oh, Father, I implore you not to speak of it in her
presence. She must not know it till after the christening. It will
make her heart heavy, so that she will have no joy."

Father Gaspara was still scrutinizing the rosary and crucifix. "To
be sure, to be sure," he said absently; "I will say nothing of it; but
this is a work of art, this crucifix; do you know what you have
here? And this,-- is this not an altar-cloth?" he added, lifting up the
beautiful wrought altar-cloth, which Ramona, in honor of his
coming, had pinned on the wall below the Madonna's shrine.

"Yes, Father, it was made for that. My wife made it. It was to be a
present to Father Salvierderra; but she has not seen him, to give it
to him. It will take the light out of the sun for her, when first she
hears that he is dead,"

Father Gaspara was about to ask another question, when Ramona
appeared in the doorway, flushed with running. She had carried the
baby over to Juana's and left her there, that she might be free to
serve the Father's supper.

"I pray you tell her not," said Alessandro, under his breath; but it
was too late. Seeing the Father with her rosary in his hand,
Ramona exclaimed: --

"That, Father, is my most sacred possession. It once belonged to
Father Peyri, of San Luis Rey, and he gave it to Father
Salvierderra, who gave it to me, Know you Father Salvierderra? I
was hoping to hear news of him through you."

"Yes, I knew him,-- not very well; it is long since I saw him,"
stammered Father Gaspara. His hesitancy alone would not have
told Ramona the truth; she would have set that down to the secular
priest's indifference, or hostility, to the Franciscan order; but
looking at Alessandro, she saw terror and sadness on his face. No
shadow there ever escaped her eye. "What is it, Alessandro?" she
exclaimed. "Is it something about Father Salvierderra? Is he ill?"

Alessandro shook his head. He did not know what to say. Looking
from one to the other, seeing the confused pain in both their faces,
Ramona, laying both her hands on her breast, in the expressive
gesture she had learned from the Indian women, cried out in a
piteous tone: "You will not tell me! You do not speak! Then he is
dead!" and she sank on her knees.

"Yes, my daughter, he is dead," said Father Gaspara, more tenderly
than that brusque and warlike priest often spoke. "He died a month
ago, at Santa Barbara. I am grieved to have brought you tidings to
give you such sorrow. But you must not mourn for him. He was
very feeble, and he longed to die, I heard. He could no longer
work, and he did not wish to live."

Ramona had buried her face in her hands. The Father's words were
only a confused sound in her ears. She had heard nothing after the
words, "a month ago." She remained silent and motionless for
some moments; then rising, without speaking a word, or looking at
either of the men, she crossed the room and knelt down before the
Madonna. By a common impulse, both Alessandro and Father
Gaspara silently left the room. As they stood together outside the
door, the Father said, "I would go back to Lomax's if it were not so
late. I like not to be here when your wife is in such grief."

"That would but be another grief, Father," said Alessandro. "She
has been full of happiness in making ready for you. She is very
strong of soul. It is she who makes me strong often, and not I who
give strength to her."

"My faith, but the man is right," thought Father Gaspara, a
half-hour later, when, with a calm face, Ramona summoned them
to supper. He did not know, as Alessandro did, how that face had
changed in the half-hour. It wore a look Alessandro had never seen
upon it. Almost he dreaded to speak to her.

When he walked by her side, later in the evening, as she went
across the valley to Fernando's house, he ventured to mention
Father Salvierderra's name. Ramona laid her hand on his lips. "I
cannot talk about him yet, dear," she said. "I never believed that he
would die without giving us his blessing. Do not speak of him till
to-morrow is over."

Ramona's saddened face smote on all the women's hearts as they
met her the next morning. One by one they gazed, astonished, then
turned away, and spoke softly among themselves. They all loved
her, and half revered her too, for her great kindness, and readiness
to teach and to help them. She had been like a sort of missionary in
the valley ever since she came, and no one had ever seen her face
without a smile. Now she smiled not. Yet there was the beautiful
baby in its white dress, ready to be christened; and the sun shone,
and the bell had been ringing for half an hour, and from every
corner of the valley the people were gathering, and Father Gaspara,
in his gold and green cassock, was praying before the altar; it was
a joyous day in San Pasquale. Why did Alessandro and Ramona
kneel apart in a corner, with such heart-stricken countenances, not
even looking glad when their baby laughed, and reached up her
hands? Gradually it was whispered about what had happened.
Some one had got it from Antonio, of Temecula, Alessandro's
friend. Then all the women's faces grew sad too. They all had
heard of Father Salvierderra, and many of them had prayed to the
ivory Christ in Ramona's room, and knew that he had given it to

As Ramona passed out of the chapel, some of them came up to
her, and taking her hand in theirs, laid it on their hearts, speaking
no word. The gesture was more than any speech could have been.

When Father Gaspara was taking leave, Ramona said, with
quivering lips, "Father, if there is anything you know of Father
Salvierderra's last hours, I would be grateful to you for telling me."

"I heard very little," replied the Father, "except that he had been
feeble for some weeks; yet he would persist in spending most of
the night kneeling on the stone floor in the church, praying."

"Yes," interrupted Ramona; "that he always did."

"And the last morning," continued the Father, "the Brothers found
him there, still kneeling on the stone floor, but quite powerless to
move; and they lifted him, and carried him to his room, and there
they found, to their horror, that he had had no bed; he had lain on
the stones; and then they took him to the Superior's own room, and
laid him in the bed, and he did not speak any more, and at noon he

"Thank you very much, Father," said Ramona, without lifting her
eyes from the ground; and in the same low, tremulous tone, "I am
glad that I know that he is dead."

"Strange what a hold those Franciscans got on these Indians!"
mused Father Gaspara, as he rode down the valley. "There's none
of them would look like that if I were dead, I warrant me! There,"
he exclaimed, "I meant to have asked Alessandro who this wife of
his is! I don't believe she is a Temecula Indian. Next time I come, I
will find out. She's had some schooling somewhere, that's plain.
She's quite superior to the general run of them. Next time I come, I
will find out about her."

"Next time!" In what calendar are kept the records of those next
times which never come? Long before Father Gaspara visited San
Pasquale again, Alessandro and Ramona were far away, and
strangers were living in their home.

It seemed to Ramona in after years, as she looked back over this
life, that the news of Father Salvierderra's death was the first note
of the knell of their happiness. It was but a few days afterward,
when Alessandro came in one noon with an expression on his face
that terrified her; seating himself in a chair, he buried his face in
his hands, and would neither look up nor speak; not until Ramona
was near crying from his silence, did he utter a word. Then,
looking at her with a ghastly face, he said in a hollow voice, "It has
begun!" and buried his face again. Finally Ramona's tears wrung
from him the following story:

Ysidro, it seemed, had the previous year rented a canon, at the
head of the valley, to one Doctor Morong. It was simply as
bee-pasture that the Doctor wanted it, he said. He put his hives
there, and built a sort of hut for the man whom he sent up to look
after the honey. Ysidro did not need the land, and thought it a good
chance to make a little money. He had taken every precaution to
make the transaction a safe one; had gone to San Diego, and got
Father Gaspara to act as interpreter for him, in the interview with
Morong; it had been a written agreement, and the rent agreed upon
had been punctually paid. Now, the time of the lease having
expired, Ysidro had been to San Diego to ask the Doctor if he
wished to renew it for another year; and the Doctor had said that
the land was his, and he was coming out there to build a house,
and live.

Ysidro had gone to Father Gaspara for help, and Father Gaspara
had had an angry interview with Doctor Morong; but it had done
no good. The Doctor said the land did not belong to Ysidro at all,
but to the United States Government; and that he had paid the
money for it to the agents in Los Angeles, and there would very
soon come papers from Washington, to show that it was his. Father
Gaspara had gone with Ysidro to a lawyer in San Diego, and had
shown to his lawyer Ysidro's paper,-- the old one from the
Mexican Governor of California, establishing the pueblo of San
Pasquale, and saying how many leagues of land the Indians were to
have; but the lawyer had only laughed at Father Gaspara for
believing that such a paper as that was good for anything. He said
that was all very well when the country belonged to Mexico, but it
was no good now; that the Americans owned it now; and
everything was done by the American law now, not by the
Mexican law any more.

"Then we do not own any land in San Pasquale at all," said Ysidro.
"Is that what it means?"

And the lawyer had said, he did not know how it would be with the
cultivated land, and the village where the houses were,-- he could
not tell about that; but he thought it all belonged to the men at

Father Gaspara was in such rage, Ysidro said, that he tore open his
gown on his breast, and he smote himself, and he said he wished
he were a soldier, and no priest, that he might fight this accursed
United States Government; and the lawyer laughed at him, and
told him to look after souls, -- that was his business,-- and let the
Indian beggars alone! "Yes, that was what he said,-- 'the Indian
beggars!' and so they would be all beggars, presently."

Alessandro told this by gasps, as it were; at long intervals. His
voice was choked; his whole frame shook. He was nearly beside
himself with rage and despair.

"You see, it is as I said, Majella. There is no place safe. We can do
nothing! We might better be dead!"

"It is a long way off, that canon Doctor Morong had," said
Ramona, piteously. "It wouldn't do any harm, his living there, if no
more came."

"Majella talks like a dove, and not like a woman," said Alessandro,
fiercely. "Will there be one to come, and not two? It is the
beginning. To-morrow may come ten more, with papers to show
that the land is theirs. We can do nothing, any more than the wild
beasts. They are better than we."

From this day Alessandro was a changed man. Hope had died in
his bosom. In all the village councils,-- and they were many and
long now, for the little community had been plunged into great
anxiety and distress by this Doctor Morong's affair,-- Alessandro
sat dumb and gloomy. To whatever was proposed, he had but one
reply: "It is of no use. We can do nothing."

"Eat your dinners to-day, to-morrow we starve," he said one night,
bitterly, as the council broke up. When Ysidro proposed to him
that they should journey to Los Angeles, where Father Gaspara had
said the headquarters of the Government officers were, and where
they could learn all about the new laws in regard to land,
Alessandro laughed at him. "What more is it, then, which you wish
to know, my brother, about the American laws?" he said. "Is it not
enough that you know they have made a law which will take the
land from Indians; from us who have owned it longer than any can
remember; land that our ancestors are buried in,-- will take that
land and give it to themselves, and say it is theirs? Is it to hear this
again said in your face, and to see the man laugh who says it, like
the lawyer in San Diego, that you will journey to Los Angeles? I
will not go!"

And Ysidro went alone. Father Gaspara gave him a letter to the
Los Angeles priest, who went with him to the land-office, patiently
interpreted for him all he had to say, and as patiently interpreted
all that the officials had to say in reply. They did not laugh, as
Alessandro in his bitterness had said. They were not inhuman, and
they felt sincere sympathy for this man, representative of two
hundred hard-working, industrious people, in danger of being
turned out of house and home. But they were very busy; they had
to say curtly, and in few words, all there was to be said: the San
Pasquale district was certainly the property of the United States
Government, and the lands were in market, to be filed on, and
bought, according to the homestead laws, These officials had
neither authority nor option in the matter. They were there simply
to carry out instructions, and obey orders.

Ysidro understood the substance of all this, though the details were
beyond his comprehension. But he did not regret having taken the
journey; he had now made his last effort for his people. The Los
Angeles priest had promised that he would himself write a letter to
Washington, to lay the case before the head man there, and
perhaps something would be done for their relief. It seemed
incredible to Ysidro, as, riding along day after day, on his sad
homeward journey, he reflected on the subject,-- it seemed
incredible to him that the Government would permit such a village
as theirs to be destroyed. He reached home just at sunset; and
looking down, as Alessandro and Ramona had done on the
morning of their arrival, from the hillcrests at the west end of the
valley, seeing the broad belt of cultivated fields and orchards, the
peaceful little hamlet of houses, he groaned. "If the people who
make these laws could only see this village, they would never turn
us out, never! They can't know what is being done. I am sure they
can't know."

"What did I tell you?" cried Alessandro, galloping up on Benito,
and reining him in so sharply he reared and plunged. "What did I
tell you? I saw by your face, many paces back, that you had come
as you went, or worse! I have been watching for you these two
days. Another American has come in with Morong in the canon;
they are making corrals; they will keep stock. You will see how
long we have any pasture-lands in that end of the valley. I drive all
my stock to San Diego next week. I will sell it for what it will
bring,-- both the cattle and the sheep. It is no use. You will see."

When Ysidro began to recount his interview with the land-office
authorities, Alessandro broke in fiercely: "I wish to hear no more
of it. Their names and their speech are like smoke in my eyes and
my nose. I think I shall go mad, Ysidro. Go tell your story to the
men who are waiting to hear it, and who yet believe that an
American may speak truth!"

Alessandro was as good as his word. The very next week he drove
all his cattle and sheep to San Diego, and sold them at great loss.
"It is better than nothing," he said. "They will not now be sold by
the sheriff, like my father's in Temecula." The money he got, he
took to Father Gaspara. "Father," he said huskily. "I have sold all
my stock. I would not wait for the Americans to sell it for me, and
take the money. I have not got much, but it is better than nothing.
It will make that we do not starve for one year. Will you keep it for
me, Father? I dare not have it in San Pasquale. San Pasquale will
be like Temecula,-- it may be to-morrow."

To the Father's suggestion that he should put the money in a bank
in San Diego, Alessandro cried: "Sooner would I throw it in the sea
yonder! I trust no man, henceforth; only the Church I will trust.
Keep it for me, Father, I pray you," and the Father could not refuse
his imploring tone.

"What are your plans now?" he asked.

"Plans!" repeated Alessandro,-- "plans, Father! Why should I make
plans? I will stay in my house so long as the Americans will let
me. You saw our little house, Father!" His voice broke as he said
this. "I have large wheat-fields; if I can get one more crop off
them, it will be something; but my land is of the richest in the
valley, and as soon as the Americans see it, they will want it.
Farewell, Father. I thank you for keeping my money, and for all
you said to the thief Morong. Ysidro told me. Farewell." And he
was gone, and out of sight on the swift galloping Benito, before
Father Gaspara bethought himself.

"And I remembered not to ask who his wife was. I will look back
at the record," said the Father. Taking down the old volume, he ran
his eye back over the year. Marriages were not so many in Father
Gaspara's parish, that the list took long to read. The entry of
Alessandro's marriage was blotted. The Father had been in haste
that night. "Alessandro Assis. Majella Fa--" No more could be
read. The name meant nothing to Father Gaspara. "Clearly an
Indian name," he said to himself; "yet she seemed superior in every
way. I wonder where she got it."

The winter wore along quietly in San Pasquale. The delicious soft
rains set in early, promising a good grain year. It seemed a pity not
to get in as much wheat as possible; and all the San Pasquale
people went early to ploughing new fields,-- all but Alessandro.

"If I reap all I have, I will thank the saints," he said. "I will plough
no more land for the robbers." But after his fields were all planted,
and the beneficent rains still kept on, and the hills all along the
valley wall began to turn green earlier than ever before was
known, he said to Ramona one morning, "I think I will make one
more field of wheat. There will be a great yield this year. Maybe
we will be left unmolested till the harvest is over."

"Oh, yes, and for many more harvests, dear Alessandro!" said
Ramona, cheerily. "You are always looking on the black side."

"There is no other but the black side, Majella," he replied. "Strain
my eyes as I may, on all sides all is black. You will see. Never any
more harvests in San Pasquale for us, after this. If we get this, we
are lucky. I have seen the white men riding up and down in the
valley, and I found some of their cursed bits of wood with figures
on them set up on my land the other day; and I pulled them up and
burned them to ashes. But I will plough one more field this week;
though, I know not why it is, my thoughts go against it even now.
But I will do it; and I will not come home till night, Majella, for
the field is too far to go and come twice. I shall be the whole day
ploughing." So saying, he stooped and kissed the baby, and then
kissing Ramona, went out.

Ramona stood at the door and watched him as he harnessed Benito
and Baba to the plough. He did not once look back at her; his face
seemed full of thought, his hands acting as it were mechanically.
After he had gone a few rods from the house, he stopped, stood
still for some minutes meditatingly, then went on irresolutely,
halted again, but finally went on, and disappeared from sight
among the low foothills to the east. Sighing deeply, Ramona
turned back to her work. But her heart was too disquieted. She
could not keep back the tears.

"How changed is Alessandro!" she thought. "It terrifies me to see
him thus. I will tell the Blessed Virgin about it;" and kneeling
before the shrine, she prayed fervently and long. She rose
comforted, and drawing the baby's cradle out into the veranda,
seated herself at her embroidery. Her skill with her needle had
proved a not inconsiderable source of income, her fine lace-work
being always taken by San Diego merchants, and at fairly good

It seemed to her only a short time that she had been sitting thus,
when, glancing up at the sun, she saw it was near noon; at the
same moment she saw Alessandro approaching, with the horses. In
dismay, she thought, "There is no dinner! He said he would not
come!" and springing up, was about to run to meet him, when she
observed that he was not alone. A short, thick-set man was
walking by his side; they were talking earnestly. It was a white
man. What did it bode? Presently they stopped. She saw
Alessandro lift his hand and point to the house, then to the tule
sheds in the rear. He seemed to be talking excitedly; the white man
also; they were both speaking at once. Ramona shivered with fear.
Motionless she stood, straining eye and ear; she could hear
nothing, but the gestures told much. Had it come,-- the thing
Alessandro had said would come? Were they to be driven out,--
driven out this very day, when the Virgin had only just now
seemed to promise her help and protection?

The baby stirred, waked, began to cry. Catching the child up to her
breast, she stilled her by convulsive caresses. Clasping her tight in
her arms, she walked a few steps towards Alessandro, who, seeing
her, made an imperative gesture to her to return. Sick at heart, she
went back to the veranda and sat down to wait.

In a few moments she saw the white man counting out money into
Alessandro's hand; then he turned and walked away, Alessandro
still standing as if rooted to the spot, gazing into the palm of his
hand, Benito and Baba slowly walking away from him unnoticed;
at last he seemed to rouse himself as from a trance, and picking up
the horses' reins, came slowly toward her. Again she started to
meet him; again he made the same authoritative gesture to her to
return; and again she seated herself, trembling in every nerve of
her body. Ramona was now sometimes afraid of Alessandro. When
these fierce glooms seized him, she dreaded, she knew not what.
He seemed no more the Alessandro she had loved.

Deliberately, lingeringly, he unharnessed the horses and put them
in the corral. Then still more deliberately, lingeringly, he walked
to the house; walked, without speaking, past Ramona, into the
door. A lurid spot on each cheek showed burning red through the
bronze of his skin. His eyes glittered. In silence Ramona followed
him, and saw him draw from his pocket a handful of gold-pieces,
fling them on the table, and burst into a laugh more terrible than
any weeping,-- a laugh which wrung from her instantly,
involuntarily, the cry, "Oh, my Alessandro! my Alessandro! What
is it? Are you mad?"

"No, my sweet Majel," he exclaimed, turning to her, and flinging
his arms round her and the child together, drawing them so close
to his breast that the embrace hurt,-- "no, I am not mad; but I think
I shall soon be! What is that gold? The price of this house, Majel,
and of the fields,-- of all that was ours in San Pasquale!
To-morrow we will go out into the world again. I will see if I can
find a place the Americans do not want!"

It did not take many words to tell the story. Alessandro had not
been ploughing more than an hour, when, hearing a strange sound,
he looked up and saw a man unloading lumber a few rods off'.
Alessandro stopped midway in the furrow and watched him. The
man also watched Alessandro. Presently he came toward him, and
said roughly, "Look here! Be off, will you? This is my land. I'm
going to build a house here."

Alessandro had replied, "This was my land yesterday. How comes
it yours to-day?"

Something in the wording of this answer, or something in
Alessandro's tone and bearing, smote the man's conscience, or
heart, or what stood to him in the place of conscience and heart,
and he said: "Come, now, my good fellow, you look like a
reasonable kind of a fellow; you just clear out, will you, and not
make me any trouble. You see the land's mine. I've got all this land
round here;" and he waved his arm, describing a circle; "three
hundred and twenty acres, me and my brother together, and we're
coming in here to settle. We got our papers from Washington last
week. It's all right, and you may just as well go peaceably, as make
a fuss about it. Don't you see?"

Yes, Alessandro saw. He had been seeing this precise thing for
months. Many times, in his dreams and in his waking thoughts, he
had lived over scenes similar to this. An almost preternatural calm
and wisdom seemed to be given him now.

"Yes, I see, Senor," he said. "I am not surprised. I knew it would
come; but I hoped it would not be till after harvest. I will not give
you any trouble, Senor, because I cannot. If I could, I would. But I
have heard all about the new law which gives all the Indians' lands
to the Americans. We cannot help ourselves. But it is very hard,
Senor." He paused.

The man, confused and embarrassed, astonished beyond
expression at being met in this way by an Indian, did not find
words come ready to his tongue. "Of course, I know it does seem a
little rough on fellows like you, that are industrious, and have done
some work on the land. But you see the land's in the market; I've
paid my money for it."

"The Senor is going to build a house?" asked Alessandro.

"Yes," the man answered. "I've got my family in San Diego, and I
want to get them settled as soon as I can. My wife won't feel
comfortable till she's in her own house. We're from the States, and
she's been used to having everything comfortable."

"I have a wife and child, Senor," said Alessandro, still in the same
calm, deliberate tone; "and we have a very good house of two
rooms. It would save the Senor's building, if he would buy mine."

"How far is it?" said the man. "I can't tell exactly where the
boundaries of my land are, for the stakes we set have been pulled

"Yes, Senor, I pulled them up and burned them. They were on my
land," replied Alessandro. "My house is farther west than your
stakes; and I have large wheat-fields there, too,-- many acres,
Senor, all planted."

Here was a chance, indeed. The man's eyes gleamed. He would do
the handsome thing. He would give this fellow something for his
house and wheat-crops. First he would see the house, however; and
it was for that purpose he had walked back with Alessandro, When
he saw the neat whitewashed adobe, with its broad veranda, the
sheds and corrals all in good order, he instantly resolved to get
possession of them by fair means or foul.

"There will be three hundred dollars' worth of wheat in July,
Senor, you can see for yourself; and a house so good as that, you
cannot build for less than one hundred dollars. What will you give
me for them?"

"I suppose I can have them without paying you for them, if I
choose," said the man, insolently.

"No, Senor," replied Alessandro.

"What's to hinder, then, I'd like to know!" in a brutal sneer. "You
haven't got any rights here, whatever, according to law."

"I shall hinder, Senor," replied Alessandro. "I shall burn down the
sheds and corrals, tear down the house; and before a blade of the
wheat is reaped, I will burn that." Still in the same calm tone.

"What'll you take?" said the man, sullenly.

"Two hundred dollars," replied Alessandro.

"Well, leave your plough and wagon, and I'll give it to you," said
the man; "and a big fool I am, too. Well laughed at, I'll be, do you
know it, for buying out an Indian!"

"The wagon, Senor, cost me one hundred and thirty dollars in San
Diego. You cannot buy one so good for less. I will not sell it. I
need it to take away my things in. The plough you may have. That
is worth twenty."

"I'll do it," said the man; and pulling out a heavy buckskin pouch,
he counted out into Alessandro's hand two hundred dollars in gold.

"Is that all right?" he said, as he put down the last piece.

"That is the sum I said, Senor," replied Alessandro. "Tomorrow, at
noon, you can come into the house."

"Where will you go?" asked the man, again slightly touched by
Alessandro's manner. "Why don't you stay round here? I expect you
could get work enough; there are a lot of farmers coming in here;
they'll want hands."

A fierce torrent of words sprang to Alessandro's lips, but he
choked them back. "I do not know where I shall go, but I will not
stay here," he said; and that ended the interview.

"I don't know as I blame him a mite for feeling that way," thought
the man from the States, as he walked slowly back to his pile of
lumber. "I expect I should feel just so myself."

Almost before Alessandro had finished this tale, he began to move
about the room, taking down, folding up, opening and shutting
lids; his restlessness was terrible to see. "By sunrise, I would like
to be off," he said. "It is like death, to be in the house which is no
longer ours." Ramona had spoken no words since her first cry on
hearing that terrible laugh. She was like one stricken dumb. The
shock was greater to her than to Alessandro. He had lived with it
ever present in his thoughts for a year. She had always hoped. But
far more dreadful than the loss of her home, was the anguish of
seeing, hearing, the changed face, changed voice, of Alessandro.
Almost this swallowed up the other. She obeyed him
mechanically, working faster and faster as he grew more and more
feverish in his haste. Before sundown the little house was
dismantled; everything, except the bed and the stove, packed in the
big wagon.

"Now, we must cook food for the journey," said Alessandro.

"Where are we going?" said the weeping Ramona.

"Where?" ejaculated Alessandro, so scornfully that it sounded like
impatience with Ramona, and made her tears flow afresh. "Where?
I know not, Majella! Into the mountains, where the white men
come not! At sunrise we will start."

Ramona wished to say good-by to their friends. There were women
in the village that she tenderly loved. But Alessandro was
unwilling. "There will be weeping and crying, Majella; I pray you
do not speak to one. Why should we have more tears? Let us
disappear. I will say all to Ysidro. He will tell them."

This was a sore grief to Ramona. In her heart she rebelled against
it, as she had never yet rebelled against an act of Alessandro's; but
she could not distress him. Was not his burden heavy enough now?

Without a word of farewell to any one, they set off in the gray
dawn, before a creature was stirring in the village,-- the wagon
piled high; Ramona, her baby in her arms, in front; Alessandro
walking. The load was heavy. Benito and Baba walked slowly.
Capitan, unhappy, looking first at Ramona's face, then at
Alessandro's, walked dispiritedly by their side. He knew all was

As Alessandro turned the horses into a faintly marked road leading
in a northeasterly direction, Ramona said with a sob, "Where does
this road lead, Alessandro?"

"To San Jacinto," he said. "San Jacinto Mountain. Do not look
back, Majella! Do not look back!" he cried, as he saw Ramona,
with streaming eyes, gazing back towards San Pasquale. "Do not
look back! It is gone! Pray to the saints now, Majella! Pray! Pray!"


THE Senora Moreno was dying. It had been a sad two years in the
Moreno house. After the first excitement following Ramona's
departure had died away, things had settled down in a surface
similitude of their old routine. But nothing was really the same. No
one was so happy as before. Juan Canito was heart-broken. There
had been set over him the very Mexican whose coming to the
place he had dreaded. The sheep had not done well; there had been
a drought; many had died of hunger,-- a thing for which the new
Mexican overseer was not to blame, though it pleased Juan to hold
him so, and to say from morning till night that if his leg had not
been broken, or if the lad Alessandro had been there, the
wool-crop would have been as big as ever. Not one of the servants
liked this Mexican; he had a sorry time of it, poor fellow; each
man and woman on the place had or fancied some reason for being
set against him; some from sympathy with Juan Can, some from
idleness and general impatience; Margarita, most of all, because
he was not Alessandro. Margarita, between remorse about her
young mistress and pique and disappointment about Alessandro,
had become a very unhappy girl; and her mother, instead of
comforting or soothing her, added to her misery by continually
bemoaning Ramona's fate. The void that Ramona had left in the
whole household seemed an irreparable one; nothing came to fill
it; there was no forgetting; every day her name was mentioned by
some one; mentioned with bated breath, fearful conjecture,
compassion, and regret. Where had she vanished? Had she indeed
gone to the convent, as she said, or had she fled with Alessandro?

Margarita would have given her right hand to know. Only Juan
Can felt sure. Very well Juan Can knew that nobody but
Alessandro had the wit and the power over Baba to lure him out of
that corral, "and never a rail out of its place." And the saddle, too!
Ay, the smart lad! He had done the best he could for the Senorita;
but, Holy Virgin! what had got into the Senorita to run off like
that, with an Indian,-- even Alessandro! The fiends had bewitched
her. Tirelessly Juan Can questioned every traveller, every
wandering herder he saw. No one knew anything of Alessandro,
beyond the fact that all the Temecula Indians had been driven out
of their village, and that there was now not an Indian in the valley.
There was a rumor that Alessandro and his father had both died;
but no one knew anything certainly. The Temecula Indians had
disappeared, that was all there was of it,-- disappeared, like any
wild creatures, foxes or coyotes, hunted down, driven out; the
valley was rid of them. But the Senorita! She was not with these
fugitives. That could not be! Heaven forbid!

"If I'd my legs, I'd go and see for myself." said Juan Can. "It would
be some comfort to know even the worst. Perdition take the
Senora, who drove her to it! Ay, drove her to it! That's what I say,
Luigo." In some of his most venturesome wrathy moments he
would say: "There's none of you know the truth about the Senorita
but me! It's a hard hand the Senora's reared her with, from the first.
She's a wonderful woman, our Senora! She gets power over one."

But the Senora's power was shaken now. More changed than all
else in the changed Moreno household, was the relation between
the Senora Moreno and her son Felipe. On the morning after
Ramona's disappearance, words had been spoken by each which
neither would ever forget. In fact, the Senora believed that it was
of them she was dying, and perhaps that was not far from the truth;
the reason that forces could no longer rally in her to repel disease,
lying no doubt largely in the fact that to live seemed no longer to
her desirable.

Felipe had found the note Ramona had laid on his bed. Before it
was yet dawn he had waked, and tossing uneasily under the light
covering had heard the rustle of the paper, and knowing
instinctively that it was from Ramona, had risen instantly to make
sure of it. Before his mother opened her window, he had read it.
He felt like one bereft of his senses as he read. Gone! Gone with
Alessandro! Stolen away like a thief in the night, his dear, sweet
little sister! Ah, what a cruel shame! Scales seemed to drop from
Felipe's eyes as he lay motionless, thinking of it. A shame! a cruel
shame! And he and his mother were the ones who had brought it
on Ramona's head, and on the house of Moreno. Felipe felt as if he
had been under a spell all along, not to have realized this. "That's
what I told my mother!" he groaned,-- "that it drove her to running
away! Oh, my sweet Ramona! what will become of her? I will go
after them, and bring them back;" and Felipe rose, and hastily
dressing himself, ran down the veranda steps, to gain a little more
time to think. He returned shortly, to meet his mother standing in
the doorway, with pale, affrighted face.

"Felipe!" she cried, "Ramona is not here."

"I know it," he replied in an angry tone. "That is what I told you we
should do,-- drive her to running away with Alessandro!"

"With Alessandro!" interrupted the Senora.

"Yes," continued Felipe,-- "with Alessandro, the Indian! Perhaps
you think it is less disgrace to the names of Ortegna and Moreno to
have her run away with him, than to be married to him here under
our roof! I do not! Curse the day, I say, when I ever lent myself to
breaking the girl's heart! I am going after them, to fetch them

If the skies had opened and rained fire, the Senora had hardly less
quailed and wondered than she did at these words; but even for fire
from the skies she would not surrender till she must.

"How know you that it is with Alessandro?" she said.

"Because she has written it here!" cried Felipe, defiantly holding
up his little note. "She left this, her good-by to me. Bless her! She
writes like a saint, to thank me for all my goodness to her,-- I, who
drove her to steal out of my house like a thief!"

The phrase, "my house," smote the Senora's ear like a note from
some other sphere, which indeed it was,-- from the new world into
which Felipe had been in an hour born. Her cheeks flushed, and
she opened her lips to reply; but before she had uttered a word,
Luigo came running round the corner, Juan Can hobbling after him
at a miraculous pace on his crutches. "Senor Felipe! Senor Felipe!
Oh, Senora!" they cried. "Thieves have been here in the night!
Baba is gone,-- Baba, and the Senorita's saddle."

A malicious smile broke over the Senora's countenance, and
turning to Felipe, she said in a tone -- what a tone it was! Felipe
felt as if he must put his hands to his ears to shut it out; Felipe
would never forget,-- "As you were saying, like a thief in the

With a swifter and more energetic movement than any had ever
before seen Senor Felipe make, he stepped forward, saying in an
undertone to his mother, "For God's sake, mother, not a word
before the men! -- What is that you say, Luigo? Baba gone? We
must see to our corral. I will come down, after breakfast, and look
at it;" and turning his back on them, he drew his mother by a firm
grasp, she could not resist, into the house.

She gazed at him in sheer, dumb wonder.

"Ay, mother," he said, "you may well look thus in wonder; I have
been no man, to let my foster-sister, I care not what blood were in
her veins, be driven to this pass! I will set out this day, and bring
her back."

"The day you do that, then, I lie in this house dead!" retorted the
Senora, at white heat. "You may rear as many Indian families as
you please under the Moreno roof, I will at least have my grave!"
In spite of her anger, grief convulsed her; and in another second
she had burst into tears, and sunk helpless and trembling into a
chair. No counterfeiting now. No pretences. The Senora Moreno's
heart broke within her, when those words passed her lips to her
adored Felipe. At the sight, Felipe flung himself on his knees
before her; he kissed the aged hands as they lay trembling in her
lap. "Mother mia," he cried, "you will break my heart if you speak
like that! Oh, why, why do you command me to do what a man
may not? I would die for you, my mother; but how can I see my
sister a homeless wanderer in the wilderness?"

"I suppose the man Alessandro has something he calls a home,"
said the Senora, regaining herself a little. "Had they no plans?
Spoke she not in her letter of what they would do?"

"Only that they would go to Father Salvierderra first," he replied.

"Ah!" The Senora reflected. At first startled, her second thought
was that this would be the best possible thing which could happen.
"Father Salvierderra will counsel them what to do," she said. "He
could no doubt establish them in Santa Barbara in some way. My
son, when you reflect, you will see the impossibility of bringing
them here. Help them in any way you like, but do not bring them
here." She paused. "Not until I am dead, Felipe! It will not be

Felipe bowed his head in his mother's lap. She laid her hands on
his hair, and stroked it with passionate tenderness. "My Felipe!"
she said. "It was a cruel fate to rob me of you at the last!"

"Mother! mother!" he cried in anguish. "I am yours,-- wholly,
devotedly yours! Why do you torture me thus?"

"I will not torture you more," she said wearily, in a feeble tone. "I
ask only one thing of you; let me never hear again the name of that
wretched girl, who has brought all this woe on our house; let her
name never be spoken on this place by man, woman, or child. Like
a thief in the night! Ay, a horse-thief!"

Felipe sprang to his feet.

"Mother." he said, "Baba was Ramona's own; I myself gave him to
her as soon as he was born!"

The Senora made no reply. She had fainted. Calling the maids, in
terror and sorrow Felipe bore her to her bed, and she did not leave
it for many days. She seemed hovering between life and death.
Felipe watched over her as a lover might; her great mournful eyes
followed his every motion. She spoke little, partly because of
physical weakness, partly from despair. The Senora had got her
death-blow. She would die hard. It would take long. Yet she was
dying, and she knew it.

Felipe did not know it. When he saw her going about again, with a
step only a little slower than before, and with a countenance not so
much changed as he had feared, he thought she would be well
again, after a time. And now he would go in search of Ramona.
How he hoped he should find them in Santa Barbara! He must
leave them there, or wherever he should find them; never again
would he for a moment contemplate the possibility of bringing
them home with him. But he would see them; help them, if need
be. Ramona should not feel herself an outcast, so long as he lived.

When he said, agitatedly, to his mother, one night, "You are so
strong now, mother, I think I will take a journey; I will not be away
long,-- not over a week," she understood, and with a deep sigh
replied: "I am not strong; but I am as strong as I shall ever be. If
the journey must be taken, it is as well done now."

How was the Senora changed!

"It must be, mother," said Felipe, "or I would not leave you. I will
set off before sunrise, so I will say farewell tonight."

But in the morning, at his first step, his mother's window opened,
and there she stood, wan, speechless, looking at him. "You must
go, my son?" she asked at last.

"I must, mother!" and Felipe threw his arms around her, and kissed
her again and again. "Dearest mother! Do smile! Can you not?"

"No, my son, I cannot. Farewell. The saints keep you. Farewell."
And she turned, that she might not see him go.

Felipe rode away with a sad heart, but his purpose did not falter.
Following straight down the river road to the sea, he then kept up
along the coast, asking here and there, cautiously, if persons
answering to the description of Alessandro and Ramona had been
seen. No one had seen any such persons.

When, on the night of the second day, he rode up to the Santa
Barbara Mission, the first figure he saw was the venerable Father
Salvierderra sitting in the corridor. As Felipe approached, the old
man's face beamed with pleasure, and he came forward totteringly,
leaning on a staff in each hand. "Welcome, my son!" he said. "Are
all well? You find me very feeble just now; my legs are failing me
sorely this autumn."

Dismay seized on Felipe at the Father's first words. He would not
have spoken thus, had he seen Ramona. Barely replying to the
greeting, Felipe exclaimed: "Father, I come seeking Ramona. Has
she not been with you?"

Father Salvierderra's face was reply to the question. "Ramona!" he
cried. "Seeking Ramona! What has befallen the blessed child?"

It was a bitter story for Felipe to tell; but he told it, sparing himself
no shame. He would have suffered less in the telling, had he
known how well Father Salvierderra understood his mother's
character, and her almost unlimited power over all persons around
her. Father Salvierderra was not shocked at the news of Ramona's
attachment for Alessandro. He regretted it, but he did not think it
shame, as the Senora had done. As Felipe talked with him, he
perceived even more clearly how bitter and unjust his mother had
been to Alessandro.

"He is a noble young man," said Father Salvierderra. "His father
was one of the most trusted of Father Peyri's assistants. You must
find them, Felipe. I wonder much they did not come to me.
Perhaps they may yet come. When you find them, bear them my
blessing, and say that I wish they would come hither. I would like
to give them my blessing before I die. Felipe, I shall never leave
Santa Barbara again. My time draws near."

Felipe was so full of impatience to continue his search, that he
hardly listened to the Father's words. "I will not tarry," he said. "I
cannot rest till I find her. I will ride back as far as Ventura

"You will send me word by a messenger, when you find them,"
said the Father. "God grant no harm has befallen them. I will pray
for them, Felipe;" and he tottered into the church.

Felipe's thoughts, as he retraced his road, were full of
bewilderment and pain. He was wholly at loss to conjecture what
course Alessandro and Ramona had taken, or what could have led
them to abandon their intention of going to Father Salvierderra.
Temecula seemed the only place, now, to look for them; and yet
from Temecula Felipe had heard, only a few days before leaving
home, that there was not an Indian left in the valley. But he could
at least learn there where the Indians had gone. Poor as the clew
seemed, it was all he had. Cruelly Felipe urged his horse on his
return journey. He grudged an hour's rest to himself or to the beast;
and before he reached the head of the Temecula canon the creature
was near spent. At the steepest part he jumped off and walked, to
save her strength. As he was toiling slowly up a narrow, rocky
pass, he suddenly saw an Indian's head peering over the ledge. He
made signs to him to come down. The Indian turned his head, and
spoke to some one behind; one after another a score of figures
rose. They made signs to Felipe to come up. "Poor things!" he
thought; "they are afraid." He shouted to them that his horse was
too tired to climb that wall; but if they would come down, he
would give them money, holding up a gold-piece. They consulted
among themselves; presently they began slowly descending, still
halting at intervals, and looking suspiciously at him. He held up
the gold again, and beckoned. As soon as they could see his face
distinctly, they broke into a run. That was no enemy's face.

Only one of the number could speak Spanish. On hearing this
man's reply to Felipe's first question, a woman, who had listened
sharply and caught the word Alessandro, came forward, and spoke
rapidly in the Indian tongue.

"This woman has seen Alessandro," said the man.

"Where?" said Felipe, breathlessly.

"In Temecula, two weeks ago," he said.

"Ask her if he had any one with him," said Felipe.

"No," said the woman. "He was alone."

A convulsion passed over Felipe's face. "Alone!" What did this
mean! He reflected. The woman watched him. "Is she sure he was
alone; there was no one with him?"


"Was he riding a big black horse?"

"No, a white horse," answered the woman, promptly. "A small
white horse."

It was Carmena, every nerve of her loyal nature on the alert to
baffle this pursuer of Alessandro and Ramona. Again Felipe
reflected. "Ask her if she saw him for any length of time; how long
she saw him."

"All night," he answered. "He spent the night where she did."

Felipe despaired. "Does she know where he is now?" he asked.

"He was going to San Luis Obispo, to go in a ship to Monterey."

"What to do?"

"She does not know."

"Did he say when he would come back?"



"Never! He said he would never set foot in Temecula again."

"Does she know him well?"

"As well as her own brother."

What more could Felipe ask? With a groan, wrung from the very
depths of his heart, he tossed the man a gold-piece; another to the
woman. "I am sorry," he said. "Alessandro was my friend. I wanted
to see him;" and he rode away, Carmena's eyes following him with
a covert gleam of triumph.

When these last words of his were interpreted to her, she started,
made as if she would run after him, but checked herself. "No," she
thought. "It may be a lie. He may be an enemy, for all that. I will
not tell. Alessandro wished not to be found. I will not tell."

And thus vanished the last chance of succor for Ramona; vanished
in a moment; blown like a thistledown on a chance breath,-- the
breath of a loyal, loving friend, speaking a lie to save her.

Distraught with grief, Felipe returned home. Ramona had been
very ill when she left home. Had she died, and been buried by the
lonely, sorrowing Alessandro? And was that the reason Alessandro
was going away to the North, never to return? Fool that he was, to
have shrunk from speaking Ramona's name to the Indians! He
would return, and ask again. As soon as he had seen his mother, he
would set off again, and never cease searching till he had found
either Ramona or her grave. But when Felipe entered his mother's
presence, his first look in her face told him that he would not leave
her side again until he had laid her at rest in the tomb.

"Thank God! you have come, Felipe," she said in a feeble voice. "I
had begun to fear you would not come in time to say farewell to
me. I am going to leave you, my son;" and the tears rolled down
her cheeks.

Though she no longer wished to live, neither did she wish to die,--
this poor, proud, passionate, defeated, bereft Senora. All the
consolations of her religion seemed to fail her. She had prayed
incessantly, but got no peace. She fixed her imploring eyes on the
Virgin's face and on the saints; but all seemed to her to wear a
forbidding look. "If Father Salvierderra would only come!" she
groaned. "He could give me peace. If only I can live till he comes

When Felipe told her of the old man's feeble state, and that he
would never again make the journey, she turned her face to the
wall and wept. Not only for her own soul's help did she wish to see
him: she wished to put into his hands the Ortegna jewels. What
would become of them? To whom should she transfer the charge?
Was there a secular priest within reach that she could trust? When
her sister had said, in her instructions, "the Church," she meant, as
the Senora Moreno well knew, the Franciscans. The Senora dared
not consult Felipe; yet she must. Day by day these fretting
anxieties and perplexities wasted her strength, and her fever grew
higher and higher. She asked no questions as to the result of
Felipe's journey, and he dared not mention Ramona's name. At last
he could bear it no longer, and one day said, "Mother, I found no
trace of Ramona. I have not the least idea where she is. The Father
had not seen her or heard of her. I fear she is dead."

"Better so," was the Senora's sole reply; and she fell again into still
deeper, more perplexed thought about the hidden treasure. Each
day she resolved, "To-morrow I will tell Felipe;" and when
to-morrow came, she put it off again. Finally she decided not to do
it till she found herself dying. Father Salvierderra might yet come
once more, and then all would be well. With trembling hands she
wrote him a letter, imploring him to be brought to her, and sent it
by messenger, who was empowered to hire a litter and four men to
bring the Father gently and carefully all the way. But when the
messenger reached Santa Barbara, Father Salvierderra was too
feeble to be moved; too feeble even to write. He could write only
by amanuensis, and wrote, therefore, guardedly, sending her his
blessing, and saying that he hoped her foster-child might yet be
restored to the keeping of her friends. The Father had been in sore
straits of mind, as month after month had passed without tidings of
his "blessed child."

Soon after this came the news that the Father was dead. This dealt
the Senora a terrible blow. She never left her bed after it. And so
the year had worn on; and Felipe, mourning over his sinking and
failing mother, and haunted by terrible fears about the lost
Ramona, had been tortured indeed.

But the end drew near, now. The Senora was plainly dying. The
Ventura doctor had left off coming, saying that he could do no
more; nothing remained but to give her what ease was possible; in
a day or two more all would be over. Felipe hardly left her bedside.
Rarely was mother so loved and nursed by son. No daughter could
have shown more tenderness and devotion. In the close relation
and affection of these last days, the sense of alienation and
antagonism faded from both their hearts.

"My adorable Felipe!" she would murmur. "What a son hast thou
been!" And, "My beloved mother! How shall I give you up?" Felipe
would reply, bowing his head on her hands,-- so wasted now, so
white, so weak; those hands which had been cruel and strong little
more than one short year ago. Ah, no one could refuse to forgive
the Senora now! The gentle Ramona, had she seen her, had wept
tears of pity. Her eyes wore at times a look almost of terror. It was
the secret. How should she speak it? What would Felipe say? At
last the moment came. She had been with difficulty roused from a
long fainting; one more such would be the last, she knew,-- knew
even better than those around her. As she regained consciousness,
she gasped, "Felipe! Alone!"

He understood, and waved the rest away.

"Alone!" she said again, turning her eyes to the door.

"Leave the room," said Felipe; "all -- wait outside;" and he closed
the door on them. Even then the Senora hesitated. Almost was she
ready to go out of life leaving the hidden treasure to its chance of
discovery, rather than with her own lips reveal to Felipe what she
saw now, saw with the terrible, relentless clear-sightedness of
death, would make him, even after she was in her grave, reproach
her in his thoughts.

But she dared not withhold it. It must be said. Pointing to the
statue of Saint Catharine, whose face seemed, she thought, to
frown unforgiving upon her, she said, "Felipe -- behind that statue
-- look!"

Felipe thought her delirious, and said tenderly, "Nothing is there,
dearest mother. Be calm. I am here."

New terror seized the dying woman. Was she to be forced to carry
the secret to the grave? to be denied this late avowal? "No! no!
Felipe -- there is a door there -- secret door. Look! Open! I must
tell you!"

Hastily Felipe moved the statue. There was indeed the door, as she
had said.

"Do not tell me now, mother dear. Wait till you are stronger," he
said. As he spoke, he turned, and saw, with alarm, his mother
sitting upright in the bed, her right arm outstretched, her hand
pointing to the door, her eyes in a glassy stare, her face convulsed.
Before a cry could pass his lips, she had fallen back. The Senora
Moreno was dead.

At Felipe's cry, the women waiting in the hall hurried in, wailing
aloud as their first glance showed them all was over. In the
confusion, Felipe, with a pale, set face, pushed the statue back into
its place. Even then a premonition of horror swept over him. What
was he, the son, to find behind that secret door, at sight of which
his mother had died with that look of anguished terror in her eyes?
All through the sad duties of the next four days Felipe was
conscious of the undercurrent of this premonition. The funeral
ceremonies were impressive. The little chapel could not hold the
quarter part of those who came, from far and near. Everybody
wished to do honor to the Senora Moreno. A priest from Ventura
and one from San Luis Obispo were there. When all was done,
they bore the Senora to the little graveyard on the hillside, and laid
her by the side of her husband and her children; silent and still at
last, the restless, passionate, proud, sad heart! When, the night
after the funeral, the servants saw Senor Felipe going into his
mother's room, they shuddered, and whispered, "Oh, he must not!
He will break his heart, Senor Felipe! How he loved her!"

Old Marda ventured to follow him, and at the threshold said: "Dear
Senor Felipe, do not! It is not good to go there! Come away!"

But he put her gently by, saying, "I would rather be here, good
Marda;" and went in and locked the door.

It was past midnight when he came out. His face was stern. He had
buried his mother again. Well might the Senora have dreaded to
tell to Felipe the tale of the Ortegna treasure. Until he reached the
bottom of the jewel-box, and found the Senora Ortegna's letter to
his mother, he was in entire bewilderment at all he saw. After he
had read this letter, he sat motionless for a long time, his head
buried in his hands. His soul was wrung.

"And she thought that shame, and not this!" he said bitterly.

But one thing remained for Felipe now, If Ramona lived, he would
find her, and restore to her this her rightful property. If she were
dead, it must go to the Santa Barbara College.

"Surely my mother must have intended to give it to the Church," he
said. "But why keep it all this time? It is this that has killed her.
Oh, shame! oh, disgrace!" From the grave in which Felipe had
buried his mother now, was no resurrection.

Replacing everything as before in the safe hiding-place, he sat
down and wrote a letter to the Superior of the Santa Barbara
College, telling him of the existence of these valuables, which in
certain contingencies would belong to the College. Early in the
morning he gave this letter to Juan Canito, saying: "I am going
away, Juan, on a journey. If anything happens to me, and I do not
return, send this letter by trusty messenger to Santa Barbara."

"Will you be long away, Senor Felipe?" asked the old man,

"I cannot tell, Juan," replied Felipe. "It may be only a short time; it
may be long. I leave everything in your care. You will do all
according to your best judgment, I know. I will say to all that I
have left you in charge."

"Thanks, Senor Felipe! Thanks!" exclaimed Juan, happier than he
had been for two years. "Indeed, you may trust me! From the time
you were a boy till now, I have had no thought except for your

Even in heaven the Senora Moreno had felt woe as if in hell, had
she known the thoughts with which her Felipe galloped this
morning out of the gateway through which, only the day before, he
had walked weeping behind her body borne to burial.

"And she thought this no shame to the house of Moreno!" he said.
"My God!"


DURING the first day of Ramona's and Alessandro's sad journey
they scarcely spoke. Alessandro walked at the horses' heads, his
face sunk on his breast, his eyes fixed on the ground. Ramona
watched him in anxious fear. Even the baby's voice and cooing
laugh won from him no response. After they were camped for the
night, she said, "Dear Alessandro, will you not tell me where we
are going?"

In spite of her gentleness, there was a shade of wounded feeling in
her tone. Alessandro flung himself on his knees before her, and
cried: "My Majella! my Majella! it seems to me I am going mad! I
cannot tell what to do. I do not know what I think; all my thoughts
seem whirling round as leaves do in brooks in the time of the
spring rains. Do you think I can be going mad? It was enough to
make me!"

Ramona, her own heart wrung with fear, soothed him as best she
could. "Dear Alessandro," she said, "let us go to Los Angeles, and
not live with the Indians any more. You could get work there. You
could play at dances sometimes; there must be plenty of work. I
could get more sewing to do, too. It would be better, I think."

He looked horror-stricken at the thought. "Go live among the white
people!" he cried. "What does Majella think would become of one
Indian, or two, alone among whites? If they will come to our
villages and drive us out a hundred at a time, what would they do
to one man alone? Oh, Majella is foolish!"

"But there are many of your people at work for whites at San
Bernardino and other places," she persisted. "Why could not we do
as they do?"

"Yes," he said bitterly, "at work for whites; so they are, Majella
has not seen. No man will pay an Indian but half wages; even long
ago, when the Fathers were not all gone, and tried to help the
Indians, my father has told me that it was the way only to pay an
Indian one-half that a white man or a Mexican had. It was the
Mexicans, too, did that, Majella. And now they pay the Indians in
money sometimes, half wages; sometimes in bad flour, or things
he does not want; sometimes in whiskey; and if he will not take it,
and asks for his money, they laugh, and tell him to go, then. One
man in San Bernardino last year, when an Indian would not take a
bottle of sour wine for pay for a day's work, shot him in the cheek
with his pistol, and told him to mind how he was insolent any
more! Oh, Majella, do not ask me to go work in the towns! I
should kill some man, Majella, if I saw things like that."

Ramona shuddered, and was silent. Alessandro continued: "If
Majella would not be afraid, I know a place, high up on the
mountain, where no white man has ever been, or ever will be. I
found it when I was following a bear. The beast led me up. It was
his home; and I said then, it was a fit hiding-place for a man. There
is water, and a little green valley. We could live there; but it would
be no more than to live,, it is very small, the valley. Majella would
be afraid?"

"Yes, Alessandro, I would be afraid, all alone on a high mountain.
Oh, do not let us go there! Try something else first, Alessandro. Is
there no other Indian village you know?"

"There is Saboba," he said, "at foot of the San Jacinto Mountain; I
had thought of that. Some of my people went there from
Temecula; but it is a poor little village, Majella. Majella would not
like to live in it. Neither do I believe it will long be any safer than
San Pasquale. There was a kind, good old man who owned all that
valley,-- Senor Ravallo; he found the village of Saboba there when
he came to the country. It is one of the very oldest of all; he was
good to all Indians, and he said they should never be disturbed,
never. He is dead; but his three sons have the estate yet, and I think
they would keep their father's promise to the Indians. But you see,
to-morrow, Majella, they may die, or go back to Mexico, as Senor
Valdez did, and then the Americans will get it, as they did
Temecula. And there are already white men living in the valley.
We will go that way, Majella. Majella shall see. If she says stay,
we will stay."

It was in the early afternoon that they entered the broad valley of
San Jacinto. They entered it from the west. As they came in,
though the sky over their heads was overcast and gray, the eastern
and northeastern part of the valley was flooded with a strange
light, at once ruddy and golden. It was a glorious sight. The jagged
top and spurs of San Jacinto Mountain shone like the turrets and
posterns of a citadel built of rubies. The glow seemed

"Behold San Jacinto!" cried Alessandro.

Ramona exclaimed in delight. "It is an omen!" she said. "We are
going into the sunlight, out of the shadow;" and she glanced back
at the west, which was of a slaty blackness.

"I like it not!" said Alessandro. "The shadow follows too fast!"

Indeed it did. Even as he spoke, a fierce wind blew from the north,
and tearing off fleeces from the black cloud, sent them in scurrying
masses across the sky. In a moment more, snow-flakes began to

"Holy Virgin!" cried Alessandro. Too well he knew what it meant.
He urged the horses, running fast beside them. It was of no use.
Too much even for Baba and Benito to make any haste, with the
heavily loaded wagon.

"There is an old sheep-corral and a hut not over a mile farther, if
we could but reach it!" groaned Alessandro. "Majella, you and the
child will freeze."

"She is warm on my breast," said Ramona; "but, Alessandro, what
ice in this wind! It is like a knife at my back!"

Alessandro uttered another ejaculation of dismay. The snow was
fast thickening; already the track was covered. The wind lessened.

"Thank God, that wind no longer cuts as it did," said Ramona, her
teeth chattering, clasping the baby closer and closer.

"I would rather it blew than not," said Alessandro; "it will carry the
snow before it. A little more of this, and we cannot see, any more
than in the night."

Still thicker and faster fell the snow; the air was dense; it was, as
Alessandro had said, worse than the darkness of night,-- this
strange opaque whiteness, thick, choking, freezing one's breath.
Presently the rough jolting of the wagon showed that they were off
the road. The horses stopped; refused to go on.

"We are lost, if we stay here!" cried Alessandro. "Come, my
Benito, come!" and he took him by the head, and pulled him by
main force back into the road, and led him along. It was terrible.
Ramona's heart sank within her. She felt her arms growing numb;
how much longer could she hold the baby safe? She called to
Alessandro. He did not hear her; the wind had risen again; the
snow was being blown in masses; it was like making headway
among whirling snow-drifts.

"We will die," thought Ramona. "Perhaps it is as well!" And that
was the last she knew, till she heard a shouting, and found herself
being shaken and beaten, and heard a strange voice saying, "Sorry
ter handle yer so rough, ma'am, but we've got ter git yer out ter the

"Fire!" Were there such things as fire and warmth? Mechanically
she put the baby into the unknown arms that were reaching up to
her, and tried to rise from her seat; but she could not move.

"Set still! set still!" said the strange voice. "I'll jest carry the baby
ter my wife, an' come back fur you. I allowed yer couldn't git up on
yer feet;" and the tall form disappeared. The baby, thus vigorously
disturbed from her warm sleep, began to cry.

"Thank God!" said Alessandro, at the plunging horses' heads. "The
child is alive! Majella!" he called.

"Yes, Alessandro," she answered faintly, the gusts sweeping her
voice like a distant echo past him.

It was a marvellous rescue. They had been nearer the old
sheep-corral than Alessandro had thought; but except that other
storm-beaten travellers had reached it before them, Alessandro had
never found it. Just as he felt his strength failing him, and had
thought to himself, in almost the same despairing words as
Ramona, "This will end all our troubles," he saw a faint light to the
left. Instantly he had turned the horses' heads towards it. The
ground was rough and broken, and more than once he had been in
danger of overturning the wagon; but he had pressed on, shouting
at intervals for help. At last his call was answered, and another
light appeared; this time a swinging one, coming slowly towards
him,-- a lantern, in the hand of a man, whose first words, "Wall,
stranger, I allow yer inter trouble," were as intelligible to
Alessandro as if they had been spoken in the purest San Luiseno

Not so, to the stranger, Alessandro's grateful reply in Spanish.

"Another o' these no-'count Mexicans, by thunder!" thought Jeff
Hyer to himself. "Blamed ef I'd lived in a country all my life, ef I
wouldn't know better'n to git caught out in such weather's this!"
And as he put the crying babe into his wife's arms, he said half
impatiently, "Ef I'd knowed 't wuz Mexicans, Ri, I wouldn't ev'
gone out ter 'um. They're more ter hum 'n I am, 'n these yer

"Naow, Jeff, yer know yer wouldn't let ennythin' in shape ev a
human creetur go perishin' past aour fire sech weather's this,"
replied the woman, as she took the baby, which recognized the
motherly hand at its first touch, and ceased crying.

"Why, yer pooty, blue-eyed little thing!" she exclaimed, as she
looked into the baby's face. "I declar, Jos, think o' sech a mite's this
bein' aout'n this weather. I'll jest warm up some milk for it this

"Better see't th' mother fust, Ri," said Jeff, leading, half carrying,
Ramona into the hut. "She's nigh abaout froze stiff!"

But the sight of her baby safe and smiling was a better restorative
for Ramona than anything else, and in a few moments she had
fully recovered. It was in a strange group she found herself. On a
mattress, in the corner of the hut, lay a young man apparently
about twenty-five, whose bright eyes and flushed cheeks told but
too plainly the story of his disease. The woman, tall, ungainly, her
face gaunt, her hands hardened and wrinkled, gown ragged, shoes
ragged, her dry and broken light hair wound in a careless,
straggling knot in her neck, wisps of it flying over her forehead,
was certainly not a prepossessing figure. Yet spite of her careless,
unkempt condition, there was a certain gentle dignity in her
bearing, and a kindliness in her glance, which won trust and
warmed hearts at once. Her pale blue eyes were still keen-sighted;
and as she fixed them on Ramona, she thought to herself, "This
ain't no common Mexican, no how." "Be ye movers?" she said.

Ramona stared. In the little English she knew, that word was not
included. "Ah, Senora," she said regretfully, "I cannot talk in the
English speech; only in Spanish."

"Spanish, eh? Yer mean Mexican? Jos, hyar, he kin talk thet. He
can't talk much, though; 'tain't good fur him; his lungs is out er
kilter. Thet's what we're bringin' him hyar fur,-- fur warm climate!
'pears like it, don't it?" and she chuckled grimly, but with a side
glance of ineffable tenderness at the sick man. "Ask her who they
be, Jos," she added.

Jos lifted himself on his elbow, and fixing his shining eyes on
Ramona, said in Spanish, "My mother asks if you are travellers?"

"Yes," said Ramona. "We have come all the way from San Diego.
We are Indians."

"Injuns!" ejaculated Jos's mother. "Lord save us, Jos! Hev we reelly
took in Injuns? What on airth -- Well, well, she's fond uv her
baby's enny white woman! I kin see thet; an', Injun or no Injun,
they've got to stay naow. Yer couldn't turn a dog out 'n sech
weather's this. I bet thet baby's father wuz white, then. Look at
them blue eyes."

Ramona listened and looked intently, but could understand
nothing. Almost she doubted if the woman were really speaking
English. She had never before heard so many English sentences
without being able to understand one word. The Tennessee drawl
so altered even the commonest words, that she did not recognize
them. Turning to Jos, she said gently, "I know very little English. I
am so sorry I cannot understand. Will it tire you to interpret to me
what your mother said?"

Jos was as full of humor as his mother. "She wants me to tell her
what you wuz sayin'," he said, "I allow, I'll only tell her the part
on't she'll like best.-- My mother says you can stay here with us till
the storm is over," he said to Ramona.

Swifter than lightning, Ramona had seized the woman's hand and
carried it to her heart, with an expressive gesture of gratitude and
emotion. "Thanks! thanks! Senora!" she cried.

"What is it she calls me, Jos?" asked his mother.

"Senora," he replied. "It only means the same as lady."

"Shaw, Jos! You tell her I ain't any lady. Tell her everybody round
where we live calls me 'Aunt Ri,' or 'Mis Hyer;' she kin call me
whichever she's a mind to. She's reel sweet-spoken."

With some difficulty Jos explained his mother's disclaimer of the
title of Senora, and the choice of names she offered to Ramona.

Ramona, with smiles which won both mother and son, repeated
after him both names, getting neither exactly right at first trial, and
finally said, "I like 'Aunt Ri' best; she is so kind, like aunt, to every

"Naow, ain't thet queer, Jos," said Aunt Ri, "aout here 'n thes
wilderness to ketch sumbody sayin' thet,-- jest what they all say ter
hum? I donno's I'm enny kinder'n ennybody else. I don't want ter
see ennybody put upon, nor noways sufferin', ef so be's I kin help;
but thet ain't ennythin' stronary, ez I know. I donno how ennybody
could feel enny different."

"There's lots doos, mammy," replied Jos, affectionately. "Yer'd
find out fast enuf, ef yer went raound more. There's mighty few's
good's you air ter everybody."

Ramona was crouching in the corner by the fire, her baby held
close to her breast. The place which at first had seemed a haven of
warmth, she now saw was indeed but a poor shelter against the
fearful storm which raged outside. It was only a hut of rough
boards, carelessly knocked together for a shepherd's temporary
home. It had been long unused, and many of the boards were loose
and broken. Through these crevices, at every blast of the wind, the
fine snow swirled. On the hearth were burning a few sticks of
wood, dead cottonwood branches, which Jef Hyer had hastily
collected before the storm reached its height. A few more sticks
lay by the hearth. Aunt Ri glanced at them anxiously. A poor
provision for a night in the snow. "Be ye warm, Jos?" she asked.

"Not very, mammy," he said; "but I ain't cold, nuther; an' thet's

It was the way in the Hyer family to make the best of things; they
had always possessed this virtue to such an extent, that they
suffered from it as from a vice. There was hardly to be found in all
Southern Tennessee a more contented, shiftless, ill-bestead family
than theirs. But there was no grumbling. Whatever went wrong,
whatever was lacking, it was "jest like aour luck," they said, and
did nothing, or next to nothing, about it. Good-natured,
affectionate, humorous people; after all, they got more comfort out
of life than many a family whose surface conditions were
incomparably better than theirs. When Jos, their oldest child and
only son, broke down, had hemorrhage after hemorrhage, and the
doctor said the only thing that could save him was to go across the
plains in a wagon to California, they said, "What good luck 'Lizy
was married last year! Now there ain't nuthin' ter hinder sellin' the
farm 'n goin' right off." And they sold their little place for half it
was worth, traded cattle for a pair of horses and a covered wagon,
and set off, half beggared, with their sick boy on a bed in the
bottom of the wagon, as cheery as if they were rich people on a
pleasure-trip. A pair of steers "to spell" the horses, and a cow to
give milk for Jos, they drove before them; and so they had come by
slow stages, sometimes camping for a week at a time, all the way
from Tennessee to the San Jacinto Valley. They were rewarded.
Jos was getting well. Another six months, they thought, would see
him cured; and it would have gone hard with any one who had
tried to persuade either Jefferson or Maria Hyer that they were not
as lucky a couple as could be found. Had they not saved Joshua,
their son?

Nicknames among this class of poor whites in the South seem
singularly like those in vogue in New England. From totally
opposite motives, the lazy, easy-going Tennesseean and the
hurry-driven Vermonter cut down all their family names to the
shortest. To speak three syllables where one will answer, seems to
the Vermonter a waste of time; to the Tennesseean, quite too much
trouble. Mrs. Hyer could hardly recollect ever having heard her
name, "Maria," in full; as a child, and until she was married, she
was simply "Ri;" and as soon as she had a house of her own, to
become a centre of hospitality and help, she was adopted by
common consent of the neighborhood, in a sort of titular and
universal aunt-hood, which really was a much greater tribute and
honor than she dreamed. Not a man, woman, or child, within her
reach, that did not call her or know of her as "Aunt Ri."

"I donno whether I'd best make enny more fire naow or not," she
said reflectively; "ef this storm's goin' to last till mornin', we'll
come short o' wood, thet's clear." As she spoke, the door of the hut
burst open, and her husband staggered in, followed by Alessandro,
both covered with snow, their arms full of wood. Alessandro,
luckily, knew of a little clump of young cottonwood-trees in a
ravine, only a few rods from the house; and the first thing he had
thought of, after tethering the horses in shelter between the hut and
the wagons, was to get wood. Jeff, seeing him take a hatchet from
the wagon, had understood, got his own, and followed; and now
there lay on the ground enough to keep them warm for hours. As
soon as Alessandro had thrown down his load, he darted to
Ramona, and kneeling down, looked anxiously into the baby's
face, then into hers; then he said devoutly, "The saints be praised,
my Majella! It is a miracle!"

Jos listened in dismay to this ejaculation. "Ef they ain't Catholics!"
he thought. "What kind o' Injuns be they I wonder. I won't tell
mammy they're Catholics; she'd feel wuss'n ever. I don't care what
they be. Thet gal's got the sweetest eyes'n her head ever I saw
sence I wuz born."

By help of Jos's interpreting, the two families soon became well
acquainted with each other's condition and plans; and a feeling of
friendliness, surprising under the circumstances, grew up between

"Jeff," said Aunt Ri,-- "Jeff, they can't understand a word we say,
so't's no harm done, I s'pose, to speak afore 'em, though't don't
seem hardly fair to take advantage o' their not knowin' any
language but their own; but I jest tell you thet I've got a lesson'n
the subjeck uv Injuns. I've always hed a reel mean feelin' about
'em; I didn't want ter come nigh 'em, nor ter hev 'em come nigh me.
This woman, here, she's ez sweet a creetur's ever I see; 'n' ez bound
up 'n thet baby's yer could ask enny woman to be; 'n' 's fur thet
man, can't yer see, Jeff, he jest worships the ground she walks on?
Thet's a fact, Jeff. I donno's ever I see a white man think so much
uv a woman; come, naow, Jeff, d' yer think yer ever did yerself?"

Aunt Ri was excited. The experience was, to her, almost
incredible. Her ideas of Indians had been drawn from newspapers,
and from a book or two of narratives of massacres, and from an
occasional sight of vagabond bands or families they had
encountered in their journey across the plains. Here she found
herself sitting side by side in friendly intercourse with an Indian
man and Indian woman, whose appearance and behavior were
attractive; towards whom she felt herself singularly drawn.

"I'm free to confess, Jos," she said, "I wouldn't ha' bleeved it. I
hain't seen nobody, black, white, or gray, sence we left hum, I've
took to like these yere folks. An' they're real dark; 's dark's any
nigger in Tennessee; 'n' he's pewer Injun; her father wuz white, she
sez, but she don't call herself nothin' but an Injun, the same's he is.
D' yer notice the way she looks at him, Jos? Don't she jest set a
store by thet feller? 'N' I don't blame her."

Indeed, Jos had noticed. No man was likely to see Ramona with
Alessandro without perceiving the rare quality of her devotion to
him. And now there was added to this devotion an element of
indefinable anxiety which made its vigilance unceasing. Ramona
feared for Alessandro's reason. She had hardly put it into words to
herself, but the terrible fear dwelt with her. She felt that another
blow would be more than he could bear.

The storm lasted only a few hours. When it cleared, the valley was
a solid expanse of white, and the stars shone out as if in an Arctic

"It will be all gone by noon to-morrow," said Alessandro to Jos,
who was dreading the next day.

"Not really!" he said.

"You will see," said Alessandro. "I have often known it thus. It is
like death while it lasts; but it is never long."

The Hyers were on their way to some hot springs on the north side
of the valley. Here they proposed to camp for three months, to try
the waters for Jos. They had a tent, and all that was necessary for
living in their primitive fashion. Aunt Ri was looking forward to
the rest with great anticipation; she was heartily tired of being on
the move. Her husband's anticipations were of a more stirring
nature. He had heard that there was good hunting on San Jacinto
Mountain. When he found that Alessandro knew the region
thoroughly, and had been thinking of settling there, he was
rejoiced, and proposed to him to become his companion and guide
in hunting expeditions. Ramona grasped eagerly at the suggestion;
companionship, she was sure, would do Alessandro good,--
companionship, the outdoor life, and the excitement of hunting, of
which he was fond. This hot-spring canon was only a short
distance from the Saboba village, of which they had spoken as a
possible home; which she had from the first desired to try. She no
longer had repugnance to the thought of an Indian village; she
already felt a sense of kinship and shelter with any Indian people.
She had become, as Carmena had said, "one of them."

A few days saw the two families settled,-- the Hyers in their tent
and wagon, at the hot springs, and Alessandro and Ramona, with
the baby, in a little adobe house in the Saboba village. The house
belonged to an old Indian woman who, her husband having died,
had gone to live with a daughter, and was very glad to get a few
dollars by renting her own house. It was a wretched place; one
small room, walled with poorly made adobe bricks, thatched with
tule, no floor, and only one window. When Alessandro heard
Ramona say cheerily, "Oh, this will do very well, when it is
repaired a little," his face was convulsed, and he turned away; but
he said nothing. It was the only house to be had in the village, and
there were few better. Two months later, no one would have
known it. Alessandro had had good luck in hunting. Two fine
deerskins covered the earth floor; a third was spread over the
bedstead; and the horns, hung on the walls, served for hooks to
hang clothes upon. The scarlet calico canopy was again set up over
the bed, and the woven cradle, on its red manzanita frame, stood
near. A small window in the door, and one more cut in the walls,
let in light and air. On a shelf near one of these windows stood the
little Madonna, again wreathed with vines as in San Pasquale.

When Aunt Ri first saw the room, after it was thus arranged, she
put both arms akimbo, and stood in the doorway, her mouth wide
open, her eyes full of wonder. Finally her wonder framed itself in
an ejaculation: "Wall, I allow yer air fixed up!"

Aunt Ri, at her best estate, had never possessed a room which had
the expression of this poor little mud hut of Ramona's. She could
not understand it. The more she studied the place, the less she
understood it. On returning to the tent, she said to Jos: "It beats all
ever I see, the way thet Injun woman's got fixed up out er nothin'.
It ain't no more'n a hovel, a mud hovel, Jos, not much bigger'n this
yer tent, fur all three on 'em, an' the bed an' the stove an' everythin';
an' I vow, Jos, she's fixed it so't looks jest like a parlor! It beats me,
it does. I'd jest like you to see it."

And when Jos saw it, and Jeff, they were as full of wonder as Aunt
Ri had been. Dimly they recognized the existence of a principle
here which had never entered into their life. They did not know it
by name, and it could not have been either taught, transferred, or
explained to the good-hearted wife and mother who had been so
many years the affectionate disorderly genius of their home. But
they felt its charm; and when, one day, after the return of
Alessandro and Jeff from a particularly successful hunt, the two
families had sat down together to a supper of Ramona's cooking, --
stewed venison and artichokes, and frijoles with chili,-- their
wonder was still greater.

"Ask her if this is Injun style of cooking, Jos," said Aunt Ri. "I
never thought nothin' o' beans; but these air good, 'n' no mistake!"

Ramona laughed. "No; it is Mexican," she said. "I learned to cook
from an old Mexican woman."

"Wall, I'd like the receipt on't; but I allow I shouldn't never git the
time to fuss with it," said Aunt Ri; "but I may's well git the rule,
naow I'm here."

Alessandro began to lose some of his gloom. He had earned
money. He had been lifted out of himself by kindly
companionship; he saw Ramona cheerful, the little one sunny; the
sense of home, the strongest passion Alessandro possessed, next to
his love for Ramona, began again to awake in him. He began to
talk about building a house. He had found things in the village
better than he feared. It was but a poverty-stricken little handful, to
be sure; still, they were unmolested; the valley was large; their
stock ran free; the few white settlers, one at the upper end and two
or three on the south side, had manifested no disposition to crowd
the Indians; the Ravallo brothers were living on the estate still, and
there was protection in that, Alessandro thought. And Majella was
content. Majella had found friends. Something, not quite hope, but
akin to it, began to stir in Alessandro's heart. He would build a
house; Majella should no longer live in this mud hut. But to his
surprise, when he spoke of it, Ramona said no; they had all they
needed, now. Was not Alessandro comfortable? She was. It would
be wise to wait longer before building.

Ramona knew many things that Alessandro did not. While he had
been away on his hunts, she had had speech with many a one he
never saw. She had gone to the store and post-office several times,
to exchange baskets or lace for flour, and she had heard talk there
which disquieted her. She did not believe that Saboba was safe.
One day she had heard a man say, "If there is a drought we shall
have the devil to pay with our stock before winter is over." "Yes,"
said another; "and look at those damned Indians over there in
Saboba, with water running all the time in their village! It's a
shame they should have that spring!"

Not for worlds would Ramona have told this to Alessandro. She
kept it locked in her own breast, but it rankled there like a
ceaseless warning and prophecy. When she reached home that day
she went down to the spring in the centre of the village, and stood
a long time looking at the bubbling water. It was indeed a priceless
treasure; a long irrigating ditch led from it down into the bottom,
where lay the cultivated fields,-- many acres in wheat, barley, and
vegetables. Alessandro himself had fields there from which they
would harvest all they needed for the horses and their cow all
winter, in case pasturage failed. If the whites took away this water,
Saboba would be ruined. However, as the spring began in the very
heart of the village, they could not take it without destroying the
village. "And the Ravallos would surely never let that be done,"
thought Ramona. "While they live, it will not happen."

It was a sad day for Ramona and Alessandro when the kindly
Hyers pulled up their tent-stakes and left the valley. Their intended
three months had stretched into six, they had so enjoyed the
climate, and the waters had seemed to do such good to Jos. But,
"We ain't rich folks, yer know, not by a long ways, we ain't," said
Aunt Ri; "an' we've got pretty nigh down to where Jeff an' me's got
to begin airnin' suthin'. Ef we kin git settled 'n some o' these towns
where there's carpenterin' to be done. Jeff, he's a master hand to
thet kind o' work, though yer mightn't think it; 'n I kin airn right
smart at weavin'; jest give me a good carpet-loom, 'n I won't be
beholden to nobody for vittles. I jest du love weavin'. I donno how
I've contented myself this hull year, or nigh about a year, without a
loom. Jeff, he sez to me once, sez he, 'Ri, do yer think yer'd be
contented in heaven without yer loom?' an' I was free to say I didn't
know's I should."

"Is it hard?" cried Ramona. "Could I learn to do it?" It was
wonderful what progress in understanding and speaking English
Ramona had made in these six months. She now understood nearly
all that was said directly to her, though she could not follow
general and confused conversation.

"Wall, 'tis, an' 'tain't," said Aunt Ri. "I don't s'pose I'm much of a
jedge; fur I can't remember when I fust learned it. I know I set in
the loom to weave when my feet couldn't reach the floor; an' I
don't remember nothin' about fust learnin' to spool 'n' warp. I've
tried to teach lots of folks; an' sum learns quick, an' some don't
never learn; it's jest 's 't strikes 'em. I should think, naow, thet you
wuz one o' the kind could turn yer hands to anythin'. When we get
settled in San Bernardino, if yer'll come down thar, I'll teach yer all
I know, 'n' be glad ter. I donno's 't 's goin' to be much uv a place for
carpet-weavin' though, anywheres raound 'n this yer country; not
but what thar's plenty o' rags, but folks seems to be wearin' 'em;
pooty gen'ral wear, I sh'd say. I've seen more cloes on folks' backs
hyar, thet wan't no more'n fit for carpet-rags, than any place ever I
struck. They're drefful sheftless lot, these yere Mexicans; 'n' the
Injuns is wuss. Naow when I say Injuns, I don't never mean yeow,
yer know thet. Yer ain't ever seemed to me one mite like an Injun."

"Most of our people haven't had any chance," said Ramona. "You
wouldn't believe if I were to tell you what things have been done to
them; how they are robbed, and cheated, and turned out of their

Then she told the story of Temecula, and of San Pasquale, in
Spanish, to Jos, who translated it with no loss in the telling. Aunt
Ri was aghast; she found no words to express her indignation.

"I don't bleeve the Guvvermunt knows anything about it." she said.
"Why, they take folks up, n'n penetentiarize 'em fur life, back 'n
Tennessee, fur things thet ain't so bad's thet! Somebody ought ter
be sent ter tell 'em 't Washington what's goin' on hyar."

"I think it's the people in Washington that have done it," said
Ramona, sadly. "Is it not in Washington all the laws are made?"

"I bleeve so!" said Aunt Ri, "Ain't it, Jos? It's Congress ain't 't,
makes the laws?"

"I bleeve so." said Jos. "They make some, at any rate. I donno's
they make 'em all."

"It is all done by the American law," said Ramona, "all these
things; nobody can help himself; for if anybody goes against the
law he has to be killed or put in prison; that was what the sheriff
told Alessandro, at Temecula. He felt very sorry for the Temecula
people, the sheriff did; but he had to obey the law himself.
Alessandro says there isn't any help."

Aunt Ri shook her head. She was not convinced. "I sh'll make a
business o' findin' out abaout this thing yit," she said. "I think yer
hain't got the rights on't yit. There's cheatin' somewhere!"

"It's all cheating." said Ramona; "but there isn't any help for it,
Aunt Ri. The Americans think it is no shame to cheat for money."

"I'm an Ummeriken!" cried Aunt Ri; "an' Jeff Hyer, and Jos! We're
Ummerikens! 'n' we wouldn't cheat nobody, not ef we knowed it,
not out er a doller. We're pore, an' I allus expect to be, but we're
above cheatin'; an' I tell you, naow, the Ummeriken people don't
want any o' this cheatin' done, naow! I'm going to ask Jeff haow
'tis. Why, it's a burnin' shame to any country! So 'tis! I think
something oughter be done abaout it! I wouldn't mind goin' myself,
ef thar wan't anybody else!"

A seed had been sown in Aunt Ri's mind which was not destined to
die for want of soil. She was hot with shame and anger, and full of
impulse to do something. "I ain't nobody," she said; "I know thet
well enough,-- I ain't nobody nor nothin'; but I allow I've got suthin'
to say abaout the country I live in, 'n' the way things hed oughter
be; or 't least Jeff hez; 'n' thet's the same thing. I tell yer, Jos, I ain't
goin' to rest, nor ter give yeou 'n' yer father no rest nuther, till yeou
find aout what all this yere means she's been tellin' us."

But sharper and closer anxieties than any connected with rights to
lands and homes were pressing upon Alessandro and Ramona. All
summer the baby had been slowly drooping; so slowly that it was
each day possible for Ramona to deceive herself, thinking that
there had been since yesterday no loss, perhaps a little gain; but
looking back from the autumn to the spring, and now from the
winter to the autumn, there was no doubt that she had been
steadily going down. From the day of that terrible chill in the
snow-storm, she had never been quite well, Ramona thought.
Before that, she was strong, always strong, always beautiful and
merry, Now her pinched little face was sad to see, and sometimes
for hours she made a feeble wailing cry without any apparent
cause. All the simple remedies that Aunt Ri had known, had failed
to touch her disease; in fact, Aunt Ri from the first had been
baffled in her own mind by the child's symptoms. Day after day
Alessandro knelt by the cradle, his hands clasped, his face set.
Hour after hour, night and day, indoors and out, he bore her in his
arms, trying to give her relief. Prayer after prayer to the Virgin, to
the saints, Ramona had said; and candles by the dozen, though
money was now scant, she had burned before the Madonna; all in
vain. At last she implored Alessandro to go to San Bernardino and
see a doctor. "Find Aunt Ri," she said; "she will go with you, with
Jos, and talk to him; she can make him understand. Tell Aunt Ri
she seems just as she did when they were here, only weaker and

Alessandro found Aunt Ri in a sort of shanty on the outskirts of
San Bernardino. "Not to rights yit," she said,-- as if she ever would
be. Jeff had found work; and Jos, too, had been able to do a little
on pleasant days. He had made a loom and put up a loom-house for
his mother,-- a floor just large enough to hold the loom, rough
walls, and a roof; one small square window,-- that was all; but if
Aunt Ri had been presented with a palace, she would not have
been so well pleased. Already she had woven a rag carpet for
herself, was at work on one for a neighbor, and had promised as
many more as she could do before spring; the news of the arrival
of a rag-carpet weaver having gone with despatch all through the
lower walks of San Bernardino life. "I wouldn't hev bleeved they
hed so many rags besides what they're wearin'," said Aunt Ri, as
sack after sack appeared at her door. Already, too, Aunt Ri had
gathered up the threads of the village life; in her friendly,
impressionable way she had come into relation with scores of
people, and knew who was who, and what was what, and why,
among them all, far better than many an old resident of the town.

When she saw Benito galloping up to her door, she sprang down
from her high stool at the loom, and ran bareheaded to the gate,
and before Alessandro had dismounted, cried: "Ye're jest the man I
wanted; I've been tryin' to 'range it so's we could go down 'n' see
yer, but Jeff couldn't leave the job he's got; an' I'm druv nigh
abaout off my feet, 'n' I donno when we'd hev fetched it. How's all?
Why didn't yer come in ther wagon 'n' fetch 'em 'long? I've got
heaps ter tell yer. I allowed yer hadn't got the rights o' all them
things. The Guvvermunt ain't on the side o' the thieves, as yer said.
I knowed they couldn't be,' an' they've jest sent out a man a purpose
to look after things fur yer,-- to take keer o' the Injuns 'n' nothin'
else. That's what he's here fur. He come last month; he's a reel nice
man. I seen him 'n' talked with him a spell, last week; I'm gwine to
make his wife a rag carpet. 'N' there's a doctor, too, to 'tend ter yer
when ye're sick, 'n' the Guvvermunt pays him; yer don't hev to pay
nothin'; 'n' I tell yeow, thet's a heap o' savin', to git yer docterin' fur

Aunt Ri was out of breath. Alessandro had not understood half she
said. He looked about helplessly for Jos. Jos was away. In his
broken English he tried to explain what Ramona had wished her to

"Doctor! Thet's jest what I'm tellin' yer! There is one here's paid by
the Guvvermunt to 'tend to the Injuns thet's sick. I'll go 'n' show yer
ter his house. I kin tell him jest how the baby is. P'r'aps he'll drive
down 'n' see her!"

Ah! if he would! What would Majella say, should she see him
enter the door bringing a doctor!

Luckily Jos returned in time to go with them to the doctor's house
as interpreter. Alessandro was bewildered. He could not
understand this new phase of affairs, Could it be true? As they
walked along, he listened with trembling, half-incredulous hope to
Jos's interpretation of Aunt Ri's voluble narrative.

The doctor was in his office. To Aunt Ri's statement of
Alessandro's errand he listened indifferently, and then said, "Is he
an Agency Indian?"

"A what?" exclaimed Aunt Ri.

"Does he belong to the Agency? Is his name on the Agency

"No," said she; "he never heern uv any Agency till I wuz tellin'
him, jest naow. We knoo him, him 'n' her, over 'n San Jacinto. He
lives in Saboba. He's never been to San Bernardino sence the
Agent come aout."

"Well, is he going to put his name down on the books?" said the
doctor, impatiently. "You ought to have taken him to the Agent

"Ain't you the Guvvermunt doctor for all Injuns?" asked Aunt Ri,
wrathfully. "Thet's what I heerd."

"Well, my good woman, you hear a great deal, I expect, that isn't
true;" and the doctor laughed coarsely but not ill-naturedly,
Alessandro all the time studying his face with the scrutiny of one
awaiting life and death; "I am the Agency physician, and I suppose
all the Indians will sooner or later come in and report themselves
to the Agent; you'd better take this man over there. What does he
want now?"

Aunt Ri began to explain the baby's case. Cutting her short, the
doctor said, "Yes, yes, I understand. I'll give him something that
will help her;" and going into an inner room, he brought out a
bottle of dark-colored liquid, wrote a few lines of prescription, and
handed it to Alessandro, saying, "That will do her good, I guess."

"Thanks, Senor, thanks," said Alessandro.

The doctor stared. "That's the first Indian's said 'Thank you' in this
office," he said. "You tell the Agent you've brought him a rara

"What's that, Jos?" said Aunt Ri, as they went out.

"Donno!" said Jos. "I don't like thet man, anyhow, mammy. He's no

Alessandro looked at the bottle of medicine like one in a dream.
Would it make the baby well? Had it indeed been given to him by
that great Government in Washington? Was he to be protected
now? Could this man, who had been sent out to take care of
Indians, get back his San Pasquale farm for him? Alessandro's
brain was in a whirl.

From the doctor's office they went to the Agent's house. Here, Aunt
Ri felt herself more at home.

"I've brought ye thet Injun I wuz tellin' ye uv," she said, with a
wave of her hand toward Alessandro. "We've ben ter ther doctor's
to git some metcen fur his baby. She's reel sick, I'm afeerd."

The Agent sat down at his desk, opened a large ledger, saying as
he did so, "The man's never been here before, has he?"

"No," said Aunt Ri.

"What is his name?"

Jos gave it, and the Agent began to write it in the book. "Stop
him." cried Alessandro, agitatedly to Jos. "Don't let him write, till I
know what he puts my name in his book for!"

"Wait," said Jos. "He doesn't want you to write his name in that
book. He wants to know what it's put there for."

Wheeling his chair with a look of suppressed impatience, yet
trying to speak kindly, the Agent said: "There's no making these
Indians understand anything. They seem to think if I have their
names in my book, it gives me some power over them."

"Wall, don't it?" said the direct-minded Aunt Ri. "Hain't yer got
any power over 'em? If yer hain't got it over them, who have yer
got it over? What yer goin' to do for 'em?" 

The Agent laughed in spite of himself. "Well, Aunt Ri," -- she was
already "Aunt Ri" to the Agent's boys,-- "that's just the trouble with
this Agency. It is very different from what it would be if I had all
my Indians on a reservation."

Alessandro understood the words "my Indians." He had heard them

"What does he mean by his Indians, Jos?" he asked fiercely. "I will
not have my name in his book if it makes me his."

When Jos reluctantly interpreted this, the Agent lost his temper.
"That's all the use there is trying to do anything with them! Let him
go, then, if he doesn't want any help from the Government!"

"Oh, no, no." cried Aunt Ri. "Yeow jest explain it to Jos, an' he'll
make him understand."

Alessandro's face had darkened. All this seemed to him
exceedingly suspicious. Could it be possible that Aunt Ri and Jos,
the first whites except Mr. Hartsel he had ever trusted, were
deceiving him? No; that was impossible. But they themselves
might be deceived. That they were simple and ignorant,
Alessandro well knew. "Let us go!" he said. "I do not wish to sign
any paper."

"Naow don't be a fool, will yeow? Yeow ain't signin' a thing!" said
Aunt Ri. "Jos, yeow tell him I say there ain't anythin' a bindin' him,
hevin' his name 'n' thet book, It's only so the Agent kin know what
Injuns wants help, 'n' where they air. Ain't thet so?" she added,
turning to the Agent. "Tell him he can't hev the Agency doctor, ef
he ain't on the Agency books."

Not have the doctor? Give up this precious medicine which might
save his baby's life? No! he could not do that. Majella would say,
let the name be written, rather than that.

"Let him write the name, then," said Alessandro, doggedly; but he
went out of the room feeling as if he had put a chain around his


THE medicine did the baby no good. In fact, it did her harm. She
was too feeble for violent remedies. In a week, Alessandro
appeared again at the Agency doctor's door. This time he had come
with a request which to his mind seemed not unreasonable. He had
brought Baba for the doctor to ride. Could the doctor then refuse to
go to Saboba? Baba would carry him there in three hours, and it
would be like a cradle all the way. Alessandro's name was in the
Agency books. It was for this he had written it,-- for this and
nothing else,-- to save the baby's life. Having thus enrolled himself
as one of the Agency Indians, he had a claim on this the Agency
.doctor. And that his application might be all in due form, he took
with him the Agency interpreter. He had had a misgiving, before,
that Aunt Ri's kindly volubility had not been well timed. Not one
unnecessary word, was Alessandro's motto.

To say that the Agency doctor was astonished at being requested to
ride thirty miles to prescribe for an ailing Indian baby, would be a
mild statement of the doctor's emotion. He could hardly keep from
laughing, when it was made clear to him that this was what the
Indian father expected.

"Good Lord!" he said, turning to a crony who chanced to be
lounging in the office. "Listen to that beggar, will you? I wonder
what he thinks the Government pays me a year for doctoring

Alessandro listened so closely it attracted the doctor's attention.
"Do you understand English?" he asked sharply.

"A very little, Senor," replied Alessandro.

The doctor would be more careful in his speech, then. But he made
it most emphatically clear that the thing Alessandro had asked was
not only out of the question, but preposterous. Alessandro pleaded.
For the child's sake he could do it. The horse was at the door; there
was no such horse in San Bernardino County; he went like the
wind, and one would not know he was in motion, it was so easy.
Would not the doctor come down and look at the horse? Then he
would see what it would be like to ride him.

"Oh, I've seen plenty of your Indian ponies," said the doctor. "I
know they can run."

Alessandro lingered. He could not give up this last hope. The tears
came into his eyes. "It is our only child, Senor," he said. "It will
take you but six hours in all. My wife counts the moments till you
come! If the child dies, she will die."

"No! no!" The doctor was weary of being importuned. "Tell the
man it is impossible! I'd soon have my hands full, if I began to go
about the country this way. They'd be sending for me down to
Agua Caliente next, and bringing up their ponies to carry me."

"He will not go?" asked Alessandro.

The interpreter shook his head. "He cannot," he said.

Without a word Alessandro left the room. Presently he returned.
"Ask him if he will come for money?" he said. "I have gold at
home. I will pay him, what the white men pay him."

"Tell him no man of any color could pay me for going sixty
miles!" said the doctor.

And Alessandro departed again, walking so slowly, however, that
he heard the coarse laugh, and the words, "Gold! Looked like it,
didn't he?" which followed his departure from the room.

When Ramona saw him returning alone, she wrung her hands. Her
heart seemed breaking. The baby had lain in a sort of stupor since
noon; she was plainly worse, and Ramona had been going from the
door to the cradle, from the cradle to the door, for an hour, looking
each moment for the hoped-for aid. It had not once crossed her
mind that the doctor would not come. She had accepted in much
fuller faith than Alessandro the account of the appointment by the
Government of these two men to look after the Indians' interests.
What else could their coming mean, except that, at last, the Indians
were to have justice? She thought, in her simplicity, that the doctor
must have died, since Alessandro was riding home alone.

"He would not come!" said Alessandro, as he threw himself off his
horse, wearily.

"Would not!" cried Ramona. "Would not! Did you not say the
Government had sent him to be the doctor for Indians?"

"That was what they said," he replied. "You see it is a lie, like the
rest! But I offered him gold, and he would not come then. The
child must die, Majella!"

"She shall not die!" cried Ramona. "We will carry her to him!" The
thought struck them both as an inspiration. Why had they not
thought of it before? "You can fasten the cradle on Baba's back,
and he will go so gently, she will think it is but play; and I will
walk by her side, or you, all the way!" she continued. "And we can
sleep at Aunt Ri's house. Oh, why, why did we not do it before?
Early in the morning we will start."

All through the night they sat watching the little creature. If they
had ever seen death, they would have known that there was no
hope for the child. But how should Ramona and Alessandro know?

The sun rose bright and warm. Before it was up, the cradle was
ready, ingeniously strapped on Baba's back. When the baby was
placed in it, she smiled. "The first smile she has given for days,"
cried Ramona. "Oh, the air itself will do good to her! Let me walk
by her first! Come, Baba! Dear Baba!" and Ramona stepped almost
joyfully by the horse's side, Alessandro riding Benito. As they
paced along, their eyes never leaving the baby's face, Ramona said,
in a low tone, "Alessandro, I am almost afraid to tell you what I
have done. I took the little Jesus out of the Madonna's arms and
hid it! Did you never hear, that if you do that, the Madonna will
grant you anything, to get him back again in her arms' Did you ever
hear of it?"

"Never!" exclaimed Alessandro, with horror in his tone. "Never,
Majella! How dared you?"

"I dare anything now!" said Ramona. "I have been thinking to do it
for some days, and to tell her she could not have him any more till
she gave me back the baby well and strong; but I knew I could not
have courage to sit and look at her all lonely without him in her
arms, so I did not do it. But now we are to be away, I thought, that
is the time; and I told her, 'When we come back with our baby
well, you shall have your little Jesus again, too; now, Holy Mother,
you go with us, and make the doctor cure our baby!' Oh, I have
heard, many times, women tell the Senora they had done this, and
always they got what they wanted. Never will she let the Jesus be
out of her arms more than three weeks before she will grant any
prayer one can make. It was that way she brought you to me,
Alessandro. I never before told you. I was afraid. I think she had
brought you sooner, but I could keep the little Jesus hid from her
only at night. In the day I could not, because the Senora would see.
So she did not miss him so much; else she had brought you

"But, Majella," said the logical Alessandro, "it was because I could
not leave my father that I did not come. As soon as he was buried,
I came."

"If it had not been for the Virgin, you would never have come at
all," said Ramona, confidently.

For the first hour of this sad journey it seemed as if the child were
really rallying; the air, the sunlight, the novel motion, the smiling
mother by her side, the big black horses she had already learned to
love, all roused her to an animation she had not shown for days.
But it was only the last flicker of the expiring flame. The eyes
drooped, closed; a strange pallor came over the face. Alessandro
saw it first. He was now walking, Ramona riding Benito.
"Majella!" he cried, in a tone which told her all.

In a second she was at the baby's side, with a cry which smote the
dying child's consciousness. Once more the eyelids lifted; she
knew her mother; a swift spasm shook the little frame; a
convulsion as of agony swept over the face, then it was at peace.
Ramona's shrieks were heart-rending. Fiercely she put Alessandro
away from her, as he strove to caress her. She stretched her arms
up towards the sky. "I have killed her! I have killed her!" she cried.
"Oh, let me die!"

Slowly Alessandro turned Baba's head homeward again.

"Oh, give her to me! Let her lie on my breast! I will hold her
warm!" gasped Ramona.

Silently Alessandro laid the body in her arms. He had not spoken
since his first cry of alarm, If Ramona had looked at him, she
would have forgotten her grief for her dead child. Alessandro's
face seemed turned to stone.

When they reached the house, Ramona, laying the child on the
bed, ran hastily to a corner of the room, and lifting the deerskin,
drew from its hiding-place the little wooden Jesus. With tears
streaming, she laid it again in the Madonna's arms, and flinging
herself on her knees, sobbed out prayers for forgiveness.
Alessandro stood at the foot of the bed, his arms folded, his eyes
riveted on the child. Soon he went out, still without speaking.
Presently Ramona heard the sound of a saw. She groaned aloud,
and her tears flowed faster: Alessandro was making the baby's
coffin. Mechanically she rose, and, moving like one half
paralyzed, she dressed the little one in fresh white clothes for the
burial; then laying her in the cradle, she spread over it the beautiful
lace-wrought altar-cloth. As she adjusted its folds, her mind was
carried back to the time when she embroidered it, sitting on the
Senora's veranda; the song of the finches, the linnets; the voice and
smile of Felipe; Alessandro sitting on the steps, drawing divine
music from his violin. Was that she, -- that girl who sat there
weaving the fine threads in the beautiful altar-cloth? Was it a
hundred years ago? Was it another world? Was it Alessandro
yonder, driving those nails into a coffin? How the blows rang,
louder and louder! The air seemed deafening full of sound. With
her hands pressed to her temples, Ramona sank to the floor. A
merciful unconsciousness set her free, for an interval, from her

When she opened her eyes, she was lying on the bed. Alessandro
had lifted her and laid her there, making no effort to rouse her. He
thought she would die too; and even that thought did not stir him
from his lethargy. When she opened her eyes, and looked at him,
he did not speak. She closed them. He did not move. Presently she
opened them again. "I heard you out there," she said.

"Yes," he replied. "It is done." And he pointed to a little box of
rough boards by the side of the cradle.

"Is Majella ready to go to the mountain now?" he asked.

"Yes, Alessandro, I am ready," she said.

"We will hide forever," he said.

"It makes no difference," she replied.

The Saboba women did not know what to think of Ramona now.
She had never come into sympathetic relations with them, as she
had with the women of San Pasquale. Her intimacy with the Hyers
had been a barrier the Saboba people could not surmount. No one
could be on such terms with whites, and be at heart an Indian, they
thought; so they held aloof from Ramona. But now in her
bereavement they gathered round her. They wept at sight of the
dead baby's face, lying in its tiny white coffin. Ramona had
covered the box with white cloth, and the lace altar-cloth thrown
over it fell in folds to the floor. "Why does not this mother weep?
Is she like the whites, who have no heart?" said the Saboba
mothers among themselves; and they were embarrassed before her,
and knew not what to say. Ramona perceived it, but had no life in
her to speak to them. Benumbing terrors, which were worse than
her grief, were crowding Ramona's heart now. She had offended
the Virgin; she had committed a blasphemy: in one short hour the
Virgin had punished her, had smitten her child dead before her
eyes. And now Alessandro was going mad; hour by hour Ramona
fancied she saw changes in him. What form would the Virgin's
vengeance take next? Would she let Alessandro become a raging
madman, and finally kill both himself and her? That seemed to
Ramona the most probable fate in store for them. When the funeral
was over, and they returned to their desolate home, at the sight of
the empty cradle Ramona broke down.

"Oh, take me away, Alessandro! Anywhere! I don't care where!
anywhere, so it is not here!" she cried.

"Would Majella be afraid, now, on the high mountain, the place I
told her of?" he said.

"No!" she replied earnestly. "No! I am afraid of nothing! Only take
me away!"

A gleam of wild delight flitted across Alessandro's face. "It is
well," he said. "My Majella, we will go to the mountain; we will
be safe there."

The same fierce restlessness which took possession of him at San
Pasquale again showed itself in his every act. His mind was
unceasingly at work, planning the details of their move and of the
new life. He mentioned them one after another to Ramona. They
could not take both horses; feed would be scanty there, and there
would be no need of two horses. The cow also they must give up.
Alessandro would kill her, and the meat, dried, would last them for
a long time. The wagon he hoped he could sell; and he would buy
a few sheep; sheep and goats could live well in these heights to
which they were going. Safe at last! Oh, yes, very safe; not only
against whites, who, because the little valley was so small and
bare, would not desire it, but against Indians also. For the Indians,
silly things, had a terror of the upper heights of San Jacinto; they
believed the Devil lived there, and money would not hire one of
the Saboba Indians to go so high as this valley which Alessandro
had discovered. Fiercely he gloated over each one of these features
of safety in their hiding-place. "The first time I saw it, Majella,-- I
believe the saints led me there,-- I said, it is a hiding-place. And
then I never thought I would be in want of such,-- of a place to
keep my Majella safe! safe! Oh, my Majel!" And he clasped her to
his breast with a terrifying passion.

For an Indian to sell a horse and wagon in the San Jacinto valley
was not an easy thing, unless he would give them away.
Alessandro had hard work to give civil answers to the men who
wished to buy Benito and the wagon for quarter of their value. He
knew they would not have dared to so much as name such prices to
a white man. Finally Ramona, who had felt unconquerable
misgivings as to the wisdom of thus irrevocably parting from their
most valuable possessions, persuaded him to take both horses and
wagon to San Bernardino, and offer them to the Hyers to use for
the winter.

It would be just the work for Jos, to keep him in the open air, if he
could get teaming to do; she was sure he would be thankful for the
chance. "He is as fond of the horses as we are ourselves,
Alessandro," she said. "They would be well cared for; and then, if
we did not like living on the mountain, we could have the horses
and wagon again when we came down, or Jos could sell them for
us in San Bernardino. Nobody could see Benito and Baba working
together, and not want them."

"Majella is wiser than the dove!" cried Alessandro. "She has seen
what is the best thing to do. I will take them."

When he was ready to set off, he implored Ramona to go with
him; but with a look of horror she refused. "Never," she cried, "one
step on that accursed road! I will never go on that road again
unless it is to be carried, as we brought her, dead."

Neither did Ramona wish to see Aunt Ri. Her sympathy would be
intolerable, spite of all its affectionate kindliness. "Tell her I love
her," she said, "but I do not want to see a human being yet; next
year perhaps we will go down,-- if there is any other way besides
that road."

Aunt Ri was deeply grieved. She could not understand Ramona's
feeling. It rankled deep. "I allow I'd never hev bleeved it uv her,
never," she said. "I shan't never think she wuz quite right 'n her
head, to do 't! I allow we shan't never set eyes on ter her, Jos. I've
got jest thet feelin' abaout it. 'Pears like she'd gone klar out 'er this
yer world inter anuther."

The majestic bulwark of San Jacinto Mountain looms in the
southern horizon of the San Bernardino valley. It was in full sight
from the door of the little shanty in which Aunt Ri's carpet-loom
stood. As she sat there hour after hour, sometimes seven hours to
the day, working the heavy treadle, and slipping the shuttle back
and forth, she gazed with tender yearnings at the solemn, shining
summit. When sunset colors smote it, it glowed like fire; on
cloudy days, it was lost in the clouds.

"'Pears like 'twas next door to heaven, up there, Jos," Aunt Ri
would say. "I can't tell yer the feelin' 't comes over me, to look up 't
it, ever sence I knowed she wuz there. 'T shines enuf to put yer
eyes aout, sometimes; I allow 'tain't so light's thet when you air
into 't; 't can't be; ther couldn't nobody stan' it, ef 't wuz. I allow 't
must be like bein' dead, Jos, don't yer think so, to be livin' thar? He
sed ther couldn't nobody git to 'em. Nobody ever seed the place but
hisself. He found it a huntin'. Thar's water thar, 'n' thet's abaout all
thar is, fur's I cud make aout; I allow we shan't never see her agin."

The horses and the wagon were indeed a godsend to Jos. It was the
very thing he had been longing for; the only sort of work he was as
yet strong enough to do, and there was plenty of it to be had in San
Bernardino. But the purchase of a wagon suitable for the purpose
was at present out of their power; the utmost Aunt Ri had hoped to
accomplish was to have, at the end of a year, a sufficient sum laid
up to buy one. They had tried in vain to exchange their heavy
emigrant-wagon for one suitable for light work. "'Pears like I'd die
o' shame," said Aunt Ri, "sometimes when I ketch myself er
thinkin' what luck et's ben to Jos, er gettin' thet Injun's hosses an'
waggin. But ef Jos keeps on, airnin' ez much ez he hez so fur, he's
goin' ter pay the Injun part on 't, when he cums. I allow ter Jos
'tain't no more'n fair. Why, them hosses, they'll dew good tew days'
work'n one. I never see sech hosses; 'n' they're jest like kittens;
they've ben drefful pets, I allow. I know she set all the world, 'n'
more tew, by thet nigh one. He wuz hern, ever sence she wuz a
child. Pore thing,-- 'pears like she hedn't hed no chance!"

Alessandro had put off, from day to day, the killing of the cow. It
went hard with him to slaughter the faithful creature, who knew
him, and came towards him at the first sound of his voice. He had
pastured her, since the baby died, in a canon about three miles
northeast of the village,-- a lovely green canon with oak-trees and
a running brook. It was here that he had thought of building his
house if they had stayed in Saboba. But Alessandro laughed
bitterly to himself now, as he recalled that dream. Already the
news had come to Saboba that a company had been formed for the
settling up of the San Jacinto valley; the Ravallo brothers had sold
to this company a large grant of land. The white ranchmen in the
valley were all fencing in their lands; no more free running of
stock. The Saboba people were too poor to build miles of fencing;
they must soon give up keeping stock; and the next thing would be
that they would be driven out, like the people of Temecula. It was
none too soon that he had persuaded Majella to flee to the
mountain. There, at least, they could live and die in peace,-- a
poverty-stricken life, and the loneliest of deaths; but they would
have each other. It was well the baby had died; she was saved all
this misery. By the time she had grown to be a woman, if she had
lived, there would be no place in all the country where an Indian
could find refuge. Brooding over such thoughts as these,
Alessandro went up into the canon one morning. It must be done.
Everything was ready for their move; it would take many days to
carry even their few possessions up the steep mountain trail to
their new home; the pony which had replaced Benito and Baba
could not carry a heavy load. While this was being done, Ramona
would dry the beef which would be their supply of meat for many
months. Then they would go,

At noon he came down with the first load of the meat, and
Ramona began cutting it into long strips, as is the Mexican fashion
of drying. Alessandro returned for the remainder. Early in the
afternoon, as Ramona went to and fro about her work, she saw a
group of horsemen riding from house to house, in the upper part of
the village; women came running out excitedly from each house as
the horsemen left it; finally one of them darted swiftly up the hill
to Ramona. "Hide it! hide it!" she cried, breathless; "hide the meat!
It is Merrill's men, from the end of the valley. They have lost a
steer, and they say we stole it. They found the place, with blood on
it, where it was killed; and they say we did it. Oh, hide the meat!
They took all that Fernando had; and it was his own, that he
bought; he did not know anything about their steer!"

"I shall not hide it!" cried Ramona, indignantly. "It is our own cow.
Alessandro killed it to-day."

"They won't believe you!" said the woman, in distress. "They'll
take it all away. Oh, hide some of it!" And she dragged a part of it
across the floor, and threw it under the bed, Ramona standing by,

Before she had spoken again, the forms of the galloping riders
darkened the doorway; the foremost of them, leaping off his horse,
exclaimed: "By God! here's the rest of it. If they ain't the
damnedest impudent thieves! Look at this woman, cutting it up!
Put that down, will you? We'll save you the trouble of dryin' our
meat for us, besides killin' it! Fork over, now, every bit you've got,
you --" And he called Ramona by a vile epithet.

Every drop of blood left Ramona's face. Her eyes blazed, and she
came forward with the knife uplifted in her hand. "Out of my
house, you dogs of the white color!" she said. "This meat is our
own; my husband killed the creature but this morning."

Her tone and bearing surprised them. There were six of the men,
and they had all swarmed into the little room.

"I say, Merrill," said one of them, "hold on; the squaw says her
husband only jest killed it to-day. It might be theirs."

Ramona turned on him like lightning. "Are you liars, you all," she
cried, "that you think I lie? I tell you the meat is ours; and there is
not an Indian in this village would steal cattle!"

A derisive shout of laughter from all the men greeted this speech;
and at that second, the leader, seeing the mark of blood where the
Indian woman had dragged the meat across the ground, sprang to
the bed, and lifting the deerskin, pointed with a sneer to the beef
hidden there. "Perhaps, when you know Injun's well's I do," he
said, "you won't be for believin' all they say! What's she got it hid
under the bed for, if it was their own cow?" and he stooped to drag
the meat out. "Give us a hand here, Jake!"

"If you touch it, I will kill you!" cried Ramona, beside herself with
rage; and she sprang between the men, her uplifted knife gleaming.

"Hoity-toity!" cried Jake, stepping back; "that's a handsome squaw
when she's mad! Say, boys, let's leave her some of the meat. She
wasn't to blame; of course, she believes what her husband told

"You go to grass for a soft-head, you Jake!" muttered Merrill, as he
dragged the meat out from beneath the bed.

"What is all this?" said a deep voice in the door; and Ramona,
turning, with a glad cry, saw Alessandro standing there, looking
on, with an expression which, even in her own terror and
indignation, gave her a sense of dread, it was so icily defiant. He
had his hand on his gun. "What is all this?" he repeated. He knew
very well.

"It's that Temecula man," said one of the men, in a low tone, to
Merrill. "If I'd known 't was his house, I wouldn't have let you
come here. You're up the wrong tree, sure!"

Merrill dropped the meat he was dragging over the floor, and
turned to confront Alessandro's eyes. His countenance fell. Even
he saw that he had made a mistake. He began to speak. Alessandro
interrupted him. Alessandro could speak forcibly in Spanish.
Pointing to his pony, which stood at the door with a package on its
back, the remainder of the meat rolled in the hide, he said: "There
is the remainder of the beef. I killed the creature this morning, in
the canon. I will take Senor Merrill to the place, if he wishes it.
Senor Merrill's steer was killed down in the willows yonder,

"That's so!" cried the men, gathering around him. "How did you
know? Who did it?"

Alessandro made no reply. He was looking at Ramona. She had
flung her shawl over her head, as the other woman had done, and
the two were cowering in the corner, their faces turned away.
Ramona dared not look on; she felt sure Alessandro would kill
some one. But this was not the type of outrage that roused
Alessandro to dangerous wrath. He even felt a certain enjoyment
in the discomfiture of the self-constituted posse of searchers for
stolen goods. To all their questions in regard to the stolen steer, he
maintained silence. He would not open his lips. At last, angry,
ashamed, with a volley of coarse oaths at him for his obstinacy,
they rode away. Alessandro went to Ramona's side. She was
trembling. Her hands were like ice.

"Let us go to the mountain to-night!" she gasped. "Take me where I
need never see a white face again!"

A melancholy joy gleamed in Alessandro's eyes. Ramona, at last,
felt as he did.

"I would not dare to leave Majella there alone, while there is no
house," he said; "and I must go and come many times, before all
the things can be carried."

"It will be less danger there than here, Alessandro," said Ramona,
bursting into violent weeping as she recalled the insolent leer with
which the man Jake had looked at her. "Oh! I cannot stay here!"

"It will not be many days, my Majel. I will borrow Fernando's
pony, to take double at once; then we can go sooner."

"Who was it stole that man's steer?" said Ramona. "Why did you
not tell them? They looked as if they would kill you."

"It was that Mexican that lives in the bottom, Jose Castro. I myself
came on him, cutting the steer up. He said it was his; but I knew
very well, by the way he spoke, he was lying. But why should I
tell? They think only Indians will steal cattle. I can tell them, the
Mexicans steal more."

"I told them there was not an Indian in this village would steal
cattle," said Ramona, indignantly.

"That was not true, Majella," replied Alessandro, sadly. "When
they are very hungry, they will steal a heifer or steer. They lose
many themselves, and they say it is not so much harm to take one
when they can get it. This man Merrill, they say, branded twenty
steers for his own, last spring, when he knew they were Saboba

"Why did they not make him give them up?" cried Ramona.

"Did not Majella see to-day why they can do nothing? There is no
help for us, Majella, only to hide; that is all we can do!"

A new terror had entered into Ramona's life; she dared not tell it to
Alessandro; she hardly put it into words in her thoughts. But she
was haunted by the face of the man Jake, as by a vision of evil, and
on one pretext and another she contrived to secure the presence of
some one of the Indian women in her house whenever Alessandro
was away. Every day she saw the man riding past. Once he had
galloped up to the open door, looked in, spoken in a friendly way
to her, and ridden on. Ramona's instinct was right. Jake was
merely biding his time. He had made up his mind to settle in the
San Jacinto valley, at least for a few years, and he wished to have
an Indian woman come to live with him and keep his house. Over
in Santa Ysabel, his brother had lived in that way with an Indian
mistress for three years; and when he sold out, and left Santa
Ysabel, he had given the woman a hundred dollars and a little
house for herself and her child. And she was not only satisfied, but
held herself, in consequence of this temporary connection with a
white man, much above her Indian relatives and friends. When an
Indian man had wished to marry her, she had replied scornfully
that she would never marry an Indian; she might marry another
white man, but an Indian,-- never. Nobody had held his brother in
any less esteem for this connection; it was quite the way in the
country. And if Jake could induce this handsomest squaw he had
ever seen, to come and live with him in a smaller fashion, he
would consider himself a lucky man, and also think he was doing a
good thing for the squaw. It was all very clear and simple in his
mind; and when, seeing Ramona walking alone in the village one
morning, he overtook her, and walking by her side began to sound
her on the subject, he had small misgivings as to the result.
Ramona trembled as he approached her. She walked faster, and
would not look at him; but he, in his ignorance, misinterpreted
these signs egregiously.

"Are you married to your husband?" he finally said. "It is but a
poor place he gives you to live in. If you will come and live with
me, you shall have the best house in the valley, as good as the
Ravallos'; and --" Jake did not finish his sentence. With a cry
which haunted his memory for years, Ramona sprang from his side
as if to run; then, halting suddenly, she faced him, her eyes like
javelins, her breath coming fast. "Beast!" she said, and spat
towards him; then turned and fled to the nearest house, where she
sank on the floor and burst into tears, saying that the man below
there in the road had been rude to her. Yes, the women said, he
was a bad man; they all knew it. Of this Ramona said no word to
Alessandro. She dared not; she believed he would kill Jake.

When the furious Jake confided to his friend Merrill his repulse,
and the indignity accompanying it, Merrill only laughed at him,
and said: "I could have told you better than to try that woman.
She's married, fast enough. There's plenty you can get, though, if
you want 'em. They're first-rate about a house, and jest's faithful's
dogs. You can trust 'em with every dollar you've got."

From this day, Ramona never knew an instant's peace or rest till
she stood on the rim of the refuge valley, high on San Jacinto.
Then, gazing around, looking up at the lofty pinnacles above,
which seemed to pierce the sky, looking down upon the world,-- it
seemed the whole world, so limitless it stretched away at her
feet,-- feeling that infinite unspeakable sense of nearness to
Heaven, remoteness from earth which comes only on mountain
heights, she drew in a long breath of delight, and cried: "At last! at
last, Alessandro! Here we are safe! This is freedom! This is joy!"

"Can Majella be content?" he asked.

"I can almost be glad, Alessandro!" she cried, inspired by the
glorious scene. "I dreamed not it was like this!"

It was a wondrous valley. The mountain seemed to have been cleft
to make it. It lay near midway to the top, and ran transversely on
the mountain's side, its western or southwestern end being many
feet lower than the eastern. Both the upper and lower ends were
closed by piles of rocks and tangled fallen trees; the rocky summit
of the mountain itself made the southern wall; the northern was a
spur, or ridge, nearly vertical, and covered thick with pine-trees. A
man might roam years on the mountain and not find this cleft. At
the upper end gushed out a crystal spring, which trickled rather
than ran, in a bed of marshy green, the entire length of the valley,
disappeared in the rocks at the lower end, and came out no more;
many times Alessandro had searched for it lower down, but could
find no trace of it. During the summer, when he was hunting with
Jeff, he had several times climbed the wall and descended it on the
inner side, to see if the rivulet still ran; and, to his joy, had found it
the same in July as in January. Drought could not harm it, then.
What salvation in such a spring! And the water was pure and sweet
as if it came from the skies.

A short distance off was another ridge or spur of the mountain,
widening out into almost a plateau. This was covered with
acorn-bearing oaks; and under them were flat stones worn into
hollows, where bygone generations of Indians had ground the nuts
into meal. Generations long bygone indeed, for it was not in the
memory of the oldest now living, that Indians had ventured so high
up as this on San Jacinto. It was held to be certain death to climb
to its summit, and foolhardy in the extreme to go far up its sides.

There was exhilaration in the place. It brought healing to both
Alessandro and Ramona. Even the bitter grief for the baby's death
was soothed. She did not seem so far off, since they had come so
much nearer to the sky. They lived at first in a tent; no time to
build a house, till the wheat and vegetables were planted.
Alessandro was surprised, when he came to the ploughing, to see
how much good land he had. The valley thrust itself, in inlets and
coves, into the very rocks of its southern wall; lovely sheltered
nooks these were, where he hated to wound the soft, flower-filled
sward with his plough. As soon as the planting was done, he began
to fell trees for the house. No mournful gray adobe this time, but
walls of hewn pine, with half the bark left on; alternate yellow and
brown, as gay as if glad hearts had devised it. The roof, of thatch,
tule, and yucca-stalks, double laid and thick, was carried out
several feet in front of the house, making a sort of bower-like
veranda, supported by young fir-tree stems, left rough. Once more
Ramona would sit under a thatch with birds'-nests in it. A little
corral for the sheep, and a rough shed for the pony, and the home
was complete: far the prettiest home they had ever had. And here,
in the sunny veranda, when autumn came, sat Ramona, plaiting out
of fragrant willow twigs a cradle. The one over which she had
wept such bitter tears in the valley, they had burned the night
before they left their Saboba home. It was in early autumn she sat
plaiting this cradle. The ground around was strewn with wild
grapes drying; the bees were feasting on them in such clouds that
Ramona rose frequently from her work to drive them away, saying,
as she did so, "Good bees, make our honey from something else;
we gain nothing if you drain our grapes for it; we want these
grapes for the winter;" and as she spoke, her imagination sped
fleetly forward to the winter, The Virgin must have forgiven her,
to give her again the joy of a child in her arms. Ay, a joy! Spite of
poverty, spite of danger, spite of all that cruelty and oppression
could do, it would still be a joy to hold her child in her arms.

The baby was born before winter came. An old Indian woman, the
same whose house they had hired in Saboba, had come up to live
with Ramona. She was friendless now, her daughter having died,
and she thankfully came to be as a mother to Ramona. She was
ignorant and feeble but Ramona saw in her always the picture of
what her own mother might perchance be, wandering, suffering,
she knew not what or where; and her yearning, filial instinct found
sad pleasure in caring for this lonely, childless, aged one.

Ramona was alone with her on the mountain at the time of the
baby's birth. Alessandro had gone to the valley, to be gone two
days; but Ramona felt no fear. When Alessandro returned, and she
laid the child in his arms, she said with a smile, radiant once more,
like the old smiles, "See, beloved! The Virgin has forgiven me; she
has given us a daughter again!"

But Alessandro did not smile. Looking scrutinizingly into the
baby's face, he sighed, and said, "Alas, Majella, her eyes are like
mine, not yours!"

"I am glad of it," cried Ramona. "I was glad the first minute I saw

He shook his head. "It is an ill fate to have the eyes of Alessandro,"
he said. "They look ever on woe;" and he laid the baby back on
Ramona's breast, and stood gazing sadly at her.

"Dear Alessandro," said Ramona, "it is a sin to always mourn.
Father Salvierderra said if we repined under our crosses, then a
heavier cross would be laid on us. Worse things would come."

"Yes," he said. "That is true. Worse things will come." And he
walked away, with his head sunk deep on his breast.


THERE was no real healing for Alessandro. His hurts had gone too
deep. His passionate heart, ever secretly brooding on the wrongs
he had borne, the hopeless outlook for his people in the future, and
most of all on the probable destitution and suffering in store for
Ramona, consumed itself as by hidden fires. Speech, complaint,
active antagonism, might have saved him; but all these were
foreign to his self-contained, reticent, repressed nature. Slowly, so
slowly that Ramona could not tell on what hour or what day her
terrible fears first changed to an even more terrible certainty, his
brain gave way, and the thing, in dread of which he had cried out
the morning they left San Pasquale, came upon him. Strangely
enough, and mercifully, now that it had really come, he did not
know it. He knew that he suddenly came to his consciousness
sometimes, and discovered himself in strange and unexplained
situations; had no recollection of what had happened for an
interval of time, longer or shorter. But he thought it was only a sort
of sickness; he did not know that during those intervals his acts
were the acts of a madman; never violent, aggressive, or harmful
to any one; never destructive. It was piteous to see how in these
intervals his delusions were always shaped by the bitterest
experiences of his life. Sometimes he fancied that the Americans
were pursuing him, or that they were carrying off Ramona, and he
was pursuing them. At such times he would run with maniac
swiftness for hours, till he fell exhausted on the ground, and slowly
regained true consciousness by exhaustion. At other times he
believed he owned vast flocks and herds; would enter any
enclosure he saw, where there were sheep or cattle, go about
among them, speaking of them to passers-by as his own.
Sometimes he would try to drive them away; but on being
remonstrated with, would bewilderedly give up the attempt. Once
he suddenly found himself in the road driving a small flock of
goats, whose he knew not, nor whence he got them. Sitting down
by the roadside, he buried his head in his hands. "What has
happened to my memory?" he said. "I must be ill of a fever!" As he
sat there, the goats, of their own accord, turned and trotted back
into a corral near by, the owner of which stood, laughing, on his
doorsill; and when Alessandro came up, said goodnaturedly, "All
right, Alessandro! I saw you driving off my goats, but I thought
you'd bring 'em back."

Everybody in the valley knew him, and knew his condition. It did
not interfere with his capacity as a worker, for the greater part of
the time. He was one of the best shearers in the region, the best
horse-breaker; and his services were always in demand, spite of
the risk there was of his having at any time one of these attacks of
wandering. His absences were a great grief to Ramona, not only
from the loneliness in which it left her, but from the anxiety she
felt lest his mental disorder might at any time take a more violent
and dangerous shape. This anxiety was all the more harrowing
because she must keep it locked in her own breast, her wise and
loving instinct telling her that nothing could be more fatal to him
than the knowledge of his real condition. More than once he
reached home, breathless, panting, the sweat rolling off his face,
crying aloud, "The Americans have found us out, Majella! They
were on the trail! I baffled them. I came up another way." At such
times she would soothe him like a child; persuade him to lie down
and rest; and when he waked and wondered why he was so tired,
she would say, "You were all out of breath when you came in,
dear. You must not climb so fast; it is foolish to tire one's self so."

In these days Ramona began to think earnestly of Felipe. She
believed Alessandro might be cured. A wise doctor could surely do
something for him. If Felipe knew what sore straits she was in,
Felipe would help her. But how could she reach Felipe without the
Senora's knowing it? And, still more, how could she send a letter
to Felipe without Alessandro's knowing what she had written?
Ramona was as helpless in her freedom on this mountain eyrie as
if she had been chained hand and foot.

And so the winter wore away, and the spring. What wheat grew in
their fields in this upper air! Wild oats, too, in every nook and
corner. The goats frisked and fattened, and their hair grew long
and silky; the sheep were already heavy again with wool, and it
was not yet midsummer. The spring rains had been good; the
stream was full, and flowers grew along its edges thick as in beds.

The baby had thrived; as placid, laughing a little thing as if its
mother had never known sorrow. "One would think she had
suckled pain," thought Ramona, "so constantly have I grieved this
year; but the Virgin has kept her well."

If prayers could compass it, that would surely have been so; for
night and day the devout, trusting, and contrite Ramona had knelt
before the Madonna and told her golden beads, till they were
wellnigh worn smooth of all their delicate chasing.

At midsummer was to be a fete in the Saboba village, and the San
Bernardino priest would come there. This would be the time to
take the baby down to be christened; this also would be the time to
send the letter to Felipe, enclosed in one to Aunt Ri, who would
send it for her from San Bernardino. Ramona felt half guilty as she
sat plotting what she should say and how she should send it,-- she,
who had never had in her loyal, transparent breast one thought
secret from Alessandro since they were wedded. But it was all for
his sake. When he was well, he would thank her.

She wrote the letter with much study and deliberation; her dread of
its being read by the Senora was so great, that it almost paralyzed
her pen as she wrote. More than once she destroyed pages, as
being too sacred a confidence for unloving eyes to read. At last,
the day before the fete, it was done, and safely hidden away. The
baby's white robe, finely wrought in open-work, was also done,
and freshly washed and ironed. No baby would there be at the fete
so daintily wrapped as hers; and Alessandro had at last given his
consent that the name should be Majella. It was a reluctant
consent, yielded finally only to please Ramona; and, contrary to
her wont, she had been willing in this instance to have her own
wish fulfilled rather than his. Her heart was set upon having the
seal of baptism added to the name she so loved; and, "If I were to
die," she thought, "how glad Alessandro would be, to have still a

All her preparations were completed, and it was yet not noon. She
seated herself on the veranda to watch for Alessandro, who had
been two days away, and was to have returned the previous
evening, to make ready for the trip to Saboba. She was disquieted
at his failure to return at the appointed time. As the hours crept on
and he did not come, her anxiety increased. The sun had gone
more than an hour past the midheavens before he came. He had
ridden fast; she had heard the quick strokes of the horse's hoofs on
the ground before she saw him. "Why comes he riding like that?"
she thought, and ran to meet him. As he drew near, she saw to her
surprise that he was riding a new horse. "Why, Alessandro!" she
cried. "What horse is this?"

He looked at her bewilderedly, then at the horse. True; it was not
his own horse! He struck his hand on his forehead, endeavoring to
collect his thoughts. "Where is my horse, then?" he said.

"My God! Alessandro," cried Ramona. "Take the horse back
instantly. They will say you stole it."

"But I left my pony there in the corral," he said. "They will know I
did not mean to steal it. How could I ever have made the mistake?
I recollect nothing, Majella. I must have had one of the

Ramona's heart was cold with fear. Only too well she knew what
summary punishment was dealt in that region to horse-thieves.
"Oh, let me take it back, dear!" she cried, "Let me go down with it.
They will believe me."

"Majella!" he exclaimed, "think you I would send you into the fold
of the wolf? My wood-dove! It is in Jim Farrar's corral I left my
pony. I was there last night, to see about his sheep-shearing in the
autumn. And that is the last I know. I will ride back as soon as I
have rested. I am heavy with sleep."

Thinking it safer to let him sleep for an hour, as his brain was
evidently still confused, Ramona assented to this, though a sense
of danger oppressed her. Getting fresh hay from the corral, she
with her own hands rubbed the horse down. It was a fine, powerful
black horse; Alessandro had evidently urged him cruelly up the
steep trail, for his sides were steaming, his nostrils white with
foam. Tears stood in Ramona's eyes as she did what she could for
him. He recognized her good-will, and put his nose to her face. "It
must be because he was black like Benito, that Alessandro took
him," she thought. "Oh, Mary Mother, help us to get the creature
safe back!" she said.

When she went into the house, Alessandro was asleep. Ramona
glanced at the sun. It was already in the western sky. By no
possibility could Alessandro go to Farrar's and back before dark.
She was on the point of waking him, when a furious barking from
Capitan and the other dogs roused him instantly from his sleep,
and springing to his feet, he ran out to see what it meant. In a
moment more Ramona followed,-- only a moment, hardly a
moment; but when she reached the threshold, it was to hear a
gun-shot, to see Alessandro fall to the ground, to see, in the same
second, a ruffianly man leap from his horse, and standing over
Alessandro's body, fire his pistol again, once, twice, into the
forehead, cheek. Then with a volley of oaths, each word of which
seemed to Ramona's reeling senses to fill the air with a sound like
thunder, he untied the black horse from the post where Ramona
had fastened him, and leaping into his saddle again, galloped
away, leading the horse. As he rode away, he shook his fist at
Ramona, who was kneeling on the ground, striving to lift
Alessandro's head, and to stanch the blood flowing from the
ghastly wounds. "That'll teach you damned Indians to leave off
stealing our horses!" he cried, and with another volley of terrible
oaths was out of sight.

With a calmness which was more dreadful than any wild outcry of
grief, Ramona sat on the ground by Alessandro's body, and held his
hands in hers. There was nothing to be done for him. The first shot
had been fatal, close to his heart,-- the murderer aimed well; the
after-shots, with the pistol, were from mere wanton brutality. After
a few seconds Ramona rose, went into the house, brought out the
white altar-cloth, and laid it over the mutilated face. As she did
this, she recalled words she had heard Father Salvierderra quote as
having been said by Father Junipero, when one of the Franciscan
Fathers had been massacred by the Indians, at San Diego. "Thank
God." he said, "the ground is now watered by the blood of a

"The blood of a martyr!" The words seemed to float in the air; to
cleanse it from the foul blasphemies the murderer had spoken.
"My Alessandro!" she said. "Gone to be with the saints; one of the
blessed martyrs; they will listen to what a martyr says." His hands
were warm. She laid them in her bosom, kissed them again and
again. Stretching herself on the ground by his side, she threw one
arm over him, and whispered in his ear, "My love, my Alessandro!
Oh, speak once to Majella! Why do I not grieve more? My
Alessandro! Is he not blest already? And soon we will be with him!
The burdens were too great. He could not bear them!" Then waves
of grief broke over her, and she sobbed convulsively; but still she
shed no tears. Suddenly she sprang to her feet, and looked wildly
around. The sun was not many hours high. Whither should she go
for help? The old Indian woman had gone away with the sheep,
and would not be back till dark. Alessandro must not lie there on
the ground. To whom should she go? To walk to Saboba was out
of the question. There was another Indian village nearer,-- the
village of the Cahuillas, on one of the high plateaus of San Jacinto.
She had once been there. Could she find that trail now? She must
try. There was no human help nearer,

Taking the baby in her arms, she knelt by Alessandro, and kissing
him, whispered, "Farewell, my beloved. I will not be long gone. I
go to bring friends." As she set off, swiftly running, Capitan, who
had been lying by Alessandro's side, uttering heart-rending howls,
bounded to his feet to follow her. "No, Capitan," she said; and
leading him back to the body, she took his head in her hands,
looked into his eyes, and said, "Capitan, watch here." With a
whimpering cry, he licked her hands, and stretched himself on the
ground. He understood, and would obey; but his eyes followed her
wistfully till she disappeared from sight.

The trail was rough, and hard to find. More than once Ramona
stopped, baffled, among the rocky ridges and precipices. Her
clothes were torn, her face bleeding, from the thorny shrubs; her
feet seemed leaden, she made her way so slowly. It was dark in the
ravines; as she climbed spur after spur, and still saw nothing but
pine forests or bleak opens, her heart sank within her. The way had
not seemed so long before. Alessandro had been with her; it was a
joyous, bright day, and they had lingered wherever they liked, and
yet the way had seemed short. Fear seized her that she was lost. If
that were so, before morning she would be with Alessandro; for
fierce beasts roamed San Jacinto by night. But for the baby's sake,
she must not die. Feverishly she pressed on. At last, just as it had
grown so dark she could see only a few hand-breadths before her,
and was panting more from terror than from running, lights
suddenly gleamed out, only a few rods ahead. It was the Cahuilla
village. In a few moments she was there,

It is a poverty-stricken little place, the Cahuilla village, -- a cluster
of tule and adobe huts, on a narrow bit of bleak and broken
ground, on San Jacinto Mountain; the people are very poor, but are
proud and high-spirited,-- veritable mountaineers in nature, fierce
and independent.

Alessandro had warm friends among them, and the news that he
had been murdered, and that his wife had run all the way down the
mountain, with her baby in her arms, for help, went like wild-fire
through the place. The people gathered in an excited group around
the house where Ramona had taken refuge. She was lying, half
unconscious, on a bed. As soon as she had gasped out her terrible
story, she had fallen forward on the floor, fainting, and the baby
had been snatched from her arms just in time to save it. She did
not seem to miss the child; had not asked for it, or noticed it when
it was brought to the bed. A merciful oblivion seemed to be fast
stealing over her senses. But she had spoken words enough to set
the village in a blaze of excitement. It ran higher and higher. Men
were everywhere mounting their horses,-- some to go up and bring
Alessandro's body down; some organizing a party to go at once to
Jim Farrar's house and shoot him: these were the younger men,
friends of Alessandro. Earnestly the aged Capitan of the village
implored them to refrain from such violence.

"Why should ten be dead instead of one, my sons?" he said. "Will
you leave your wives and your children like his? The whites will
kill us all if you lay hands on the man. Perhaps they themselves
will punish him."

A derisive laugh rose from the group. Never yet within their
experience had a white man been punished for shooting an Indian.
The Capitan knew that as well as they did. Why did he command
them to sit still like women, and do nothing, when a friend was

"Because I am old, and you are young. I have seen that we fight in
vain," said the wise old man. "It is not sweet to me, any more than
to you. It is a fire in my veins; but I am old. I have seen. I forbid
you to go."

The women added their entreaties to his, and the young men
abandoned their project. But it was with sullen reluctance; and
mutterings were to be heard, on all sides, that the time would come
yet. There was more than one way of killing a man. Farrar would
not be long seen in the valley. Alessandro should be avenged.

As Farrar rode slowly down the mountain, leading his recovered
horse, he revolved in his thoughts what course to pursue. A few
years before, he would have gone home, no more disquieted at
having killed an Indian than if he had killed a fox or a wolf. But
things were different now. This Agent, that the Government had
taken it into its head to send out to look after the Indians, had
made it hot, the other day, for some fellows in San Bernardino
who had maltreated an Indian; he had even gone so far as to arrest
several liquor-dealers for simply selling whiskey to Indians. If he
were to take this case of Alessandro's in hand, it might be
troublesome. Farrar concluded that his wisest course would be to
make a show of good conscience and fair-dealing by delivering
himself up at once to the nearest justice of the peace, as having
killed a man in self-defence, Accordingly he rode straight to the
house of a Judge Wells, a few miles below Saboba, and said that
he wished to surrender himself as having committed "justifiable
homicide" on an Indian, or Mexican, he did net know which, who
had stolen his horse. He told a plausible story. He professed not to
know the man, or the place; but did not explain how it was, that,
knowing neither, he had gone so direct to the spot.

He said: "I followed the trail for some time, but when I reached a
turn, I came into a sort of blind trail, where I lost the track. I think
the horse had been led up on hard sod, to mislead any one on the
track. I pushed on, crossed the creek, and soon found the tracks
again in soft ground. This part of the mountain was perfectly
unknown to me, and very wild. Finally I came to a ridge, from
which I looked down on a little ranch. As I came near the house,
the dogs began to bark, just as I discovered my horse tied to a tree.
Hearing the dogs, an Indian, or Mexican, I could not tell which,
came out of the house, flourishing a large knife. I called out to
him, 'Whose horse is that?' He answered in Spanish, 'It is mine.'
'Where did you get it?' I asked. 'In San Jacinto,' was his reply. As
he still came towards me, brandishing the knife, I drew my gun,
and said, 'Stop, or I'll shoot!' He did not stop, and I fired; still he
did not stop, so I fired again; and as he did not fall, I knocked him
down with the butt of my gun. After he was down, I shot him twice
with my pistol."

The duty of a justice in such a case as this was clear. Taking the
prisoner into custody, he sent out messengers to summon a jury of
six men to hold inquest on the body of said Indian, or Mexican;
and early the next morning, led by Farrar, they set out for the
mountain. When they reached the ranch, the body had been
removed; the house was locked; no signs left of the tragedy of the
day before, except a few blood-stains on the ground, where
Alessandro had fallen. Farrar seemed greatly relieved at this
unexpected phase of affairs. However, when he found that Judge
Wells, instead of attempting to return to the valley that night,
proposed to pass the night at a ranch only a few miles from the
Cahuilla village, he became almost hysterical with fright. He
declared that the Cahuillas would surely come and murder him in
the night, and begged piteously that the men would all stay with
him to guard him.

At midnight Judge Wells was roused by the arrival of the Capitan
and head men of the Cahuilla village. They had heard of his arrival
with his jury, and they had come to lead them to their village,
where the body of the murdered man lay. They were greatly
distressed on learning that they ought not to have removed the
body from the spot where the death had taken place, and that now
no inquest could be held.

Judge Wells himself, however, went back with them, saw the
body, and heard the full account of the murder as given by
Ramona on her first arrival. Nothing more could now be learned
from her, as she was in high fever and delirium; knew no one, not
even her baby when they laid it on her breast. She lay restlessly
tossing from side to side, talking incessantly, clasping her rosary in
her hands, and constantly mingling snatches of prayers with cries
for Alessandro and Felipe; the only token of consciousness she
gave was to clutch the rosary wildly, and sometimes hide it in her
bosom, if they attempted to take it from her.

Judge Wells was a frontiersman, and by no means sentimentally
inclined; but the tears stood in his eyes as he looked at the
unconscious Ramona.

Farrar had pleaded that the preliminary hearing might take place
immediately; but after this visit to the village, the judge refused his
request, and appointed the trial a week from that day, to give time
for Ramona to recover, and appear as a witness. He impressed
upon the Indians as strongly as he could the importance of having
her appear. It was evident that Farrar's account of the affair was
false from first to last. Alessandro had no knife. He had not had
time to go many steps from the door; the volley of oaths, and the
two shots almost simultaneously, were what Ramona heard as she
ran to the door. Alessandro could not have spoken many words.

The day for the hearing came. Farrar had been, during the interval,
in a merely nominal custody; having been allowed to go about his
business, on his own personal guarantee of appearing in time for
the trial. It was with a strange mixture of regret and relief that
Judge Wells saw the hour of the trial arrive, and not a witness on
the ground except Farrar himself. That Farrar was a brutal ruffian,
the whole country knew. This last outrage was only one of a long
series; the judge would have been glad to have committed him for
trial, and have seen him get his deserts. But San Jacinto Valley,
wild, sparsely settled as it was, had yet as fixed standards and
criterions of popularity as the most civilized of communities could
show; and to betray sympathy with Indians was more than any
man's political head was worth. The word "justice" had lost its
meaning, if indeed it ever had any, so far as they were concerned.
The valley was a unit on that question, however divided it might
be upon others. On the whole, the judge was relieved, though it
was not without a bitter twinge, as of one accessory after the deed,
and unfaithful to a friend; for he had known Alessandro well. Yet,
on the whole, he was relieved when he was forced to accede to the
motion made by Farrar's counsel, that "the prisoner be discharged
on ground of justifiable homicide, no witnesses having appeared
against him."

He comforted himself by thinking -- what was no doubt true -- that
even if the case had been brought to a jury trial, the result would
have been the same; for there would never have been found a San
Diego County jury that would convict a white man of murder for
killing an Indian, if there were no witnesses to the occurrence
except the Indian wife. But he derived small comfort from this.
Alessandro's face haunted him, and also the memory of Ramona's,
as she lay tossing and moaning in the wretched Cahuilla hovel. He
knew that only her continued illness, or her death, could explain
her not having come to the trial. The Indians would have brought
her in their arms all the way, if she had been alive and in
possession of her senses.

During the summer that she and Alessandro had lived in Saboba he
had seen her many times, and had been impressed by her rare
quality. His children knew her and loved her; had often been in her
house; his wife had bought her embroidery. Alessandro also had
worked for him; and no one knew better than Judge Wells that
Alessandro in his senses was as incapable of stealing a horse as
any white man in the valley. Farrar knew it; everybody knew it.
Everybody knew, also, about his strange fits of wandering mind;
and that when these half-crazed fits came on him, he was wholly
irresponsible. Farrar knew this. The only explanation of Farrar's
deed was, that on seeing his horse spent and exhausted from
having been forced up that terrible trail, he was seized by
ungovernable rage, and fired on the second, without knowing what
he did. "But he wouldn't have done it, if it hadn't been an Indian!"
mused the judge. "He'd ha' thought twice before he shot any white
man down, that way."

Day after day such thoughts as these pursued the judge, and he
could not shake them off. An uneasy sense that he owed something
to Ramona, or, if Ramona were dead, to the little child she had
left, haunted him. There might in some such way be a sort of
atonement made to the murdered, unavenged Alessandro. He
might even take the child, and bring it up in his own house. That
was by no means an uncommon thing in the valley. The longer he
thought, the more he felt himself eased in his mind by this
purpose; and he decided that as soon as he could find leisure he
would go to the Cahuilla village and see what could be done.

But it was not destined that stranger hands should bring succor to
Ramona. Felipe had at last found trace of her. Felipe was on the


EFFECTUALLY misled by the faithful Carmena, Felipe had begun
his search for Alessandro by going direct to Monterey. He found
few Indians in the place, and not one had ever heard Alessandro's
name. Six miles from the town was a little settlement of them, in
hiding, in the bottoms of the San Carlos River, near the old
Mission. The Catholic priest advised him to search there;
sometimes, he said, fugitives of one sort and another took refuge
in this settlement, lived there for a few months, then disappeared
as noiselessly as they had come. Felipe searched there also; equally
in vain.

He questioned all the sailors in port; all the shippers. No one had
heard of an Indian shipping on board any vessel; in fact, a captain
would have to be in straits before he would take an Indian in his

"But this was an exceptionally good worker, this Indian; he could
turn his hand to anything; he might have gone as ship's carpenter."

"That might be," they said; "nobody had ever heard of any such
thing, however;" and very much they all wondered what it was that
made the handsome, sad Mexican gentleman so anxious to find
this Indian.

Felipe wasted weeks in Monterey. Long after he had ceased to
hope, he lingered. He felt as if he would like to stay till every ship
that had sailed out of Monterey in the last three years had returned.
Whenever he heard of one coming into harbor, he hastened to the
shore, and closely watched the disembarking. His melancholy
countenance, with its eager, searching look, became a familiar
sight to every one; even the children knew that the pale gentleman
was looking for some one he could not find. Women pitied him,
and gazed at him tenderly, wondering if a man could look like that
for anything save the loss of a sweetheart. Felipe made no
confidences. He simply asked, day after day, of every one he met,
for an Indian named Alessandro Assis.

Finally he shook himself free from the dreamy spell of the place,
and turned his face southward again. He went by the route which
the Franciscan Fathers used to take, when the only road on the
California coast was the one leading from Mission to Mission.
Felipe had heard Father Salvierderra say that there were in the
neighborhood of each of the old Missions Indian villages, or
families still living. He thought it not improbable that, from
Alessandro's father's long connection with the San Luis Rey
Mission, Alessandro might be known to some of these Indians. He
would leave no stone unturned; no Indian village unsearched; no
Indian unquestioned.

San Juan Bautista came first; then Soledad, San Antonio, San
Miguel, San Luis Obispo, Santa Inez; and that brought him to
Santa Barbara. He had spent two months on the journey. At each
of these places he found Indians; miserable, half-starved creatures,
most of them. Felipe's heart ached, and he was hot with shame, at
their condition. The ruins of the old Mission buildings were sad to
see, but the human ruins were sadder. Now Felipe understood why
Father Salvierderra's heart had broken, and why his mother had
been full of such fierce indignation against the heretic usurpers
and despoilers of the estates which the Franciscans once held. He
could not understand why the Church had submitted, without
fighting, to such indignities and robberies. At every one of the
Missions he heard harrowing tales of the sufferings of those
Fathers who had clung to their congregations to the last, and died
at their posts. At Soledad an old Indian, weeping, showed him the
grave of Father Sarria, who had died there of starvation. "He gave
us all he had, to the last," said the old man. "He lay on a raw-hide
on the ground, as we did; and one morning, before he had finished
the mass, he fell forward at the altar and was dead. And when we
put him in the grave, his body was only bones, and no flesh; he had
gone so long without food, to give it to us."

At all these Missions Felipe asked in vain for Alessandro. They
knew very little, these northern Indians, about those in the south,
they said. It was seldom one from the southern tribes came
northward. They did not understand each other's speech. The more
Felipe inquired, and the longer he reflected, the more he doubted
Alessandro's having ever gone to Monterey. At Santa Barbara he
made a long stay. The Brothers at the College welcomed him
hospitably. They had heard from Father Salvierderra the sad story
of Ramona, and were distressed, with Felipe, that no traces had
been found of her. It grieved Father Salvierderra to the last, they
said; he prayed for her daily, but said he could not get any
certainty in his spirit of his prayers being heard. Only the day
before he died, he had said this to Father Francis, a young
Brazilian monk, to whom he was greatly attached.

In Felipe's overwrought frame of mind this seemed to him a
terrible omen; and he set out on his journey with a still heavier
heart than before. He believed Ramona was dead, buried in some
unknown, unconsecrated spot, never to be found; yet he would not
give up the search. As he journeyed southward, he began to find
persons who had known of Alessandro; and still more, those who
had known his father, old Pablo. But no one had heard anything of
Alessandro's whereabouts since the driving out of his people from
Temecula; there was no knowing where any of those Temecula
people were now. They had scattered "like a flock of ducks," one
Indian said,-- "like a flock of ducks after they are fired into. You'd
never see all those ducks in any one place again. The Temecula
people were here, there, and everywhere, all through San Diego
County. There was one Temecula man at San Juan Capistrano,
however. The Senor would better see him. He no doubt knew
about Alessandro. He was living in a room in the old Mission
building. The priest had given it to him for taking care of the
chapel and the priest's room, and a little rent besides. He was a
hard man, the San Juan Capistrano priest; he would take the last
dollar from a poor man."

It was late at night when Felipe reached San Juan Capistrano; but
he could not sleep till he had seen this man. Here was the first
clew he had gained. He found the man, with his wife and children,
in a large corner room opening on the inner court of the Mission
quadrangle. The room was dark and damp as a cellar; a fire
smouldered in the enormous fireplace; a few skins and rags were
piled near the hearth, and on these lay the woman, evidently ill.
The sunken tile floor was icy cold to the feet; the wind swept in at
a dozen broken places in the corridor side of the wall; there was
not an article of furniture. "Heavens!" thought Felipe, as he
entered, "a priest of our Church take rent for such a hole as this!"

There was no light in the place, except the little which came from
the fire. "I am sorry I have no candle, Senor," said the man, as he
came forward. "My wife is sick, and we are very poor."

"No matter," said Felipe, his hand already at his purse. "I only want
to ask you a few questions. You are from Temecula, they tell me."

"Yes, Senor," the man replied in a dogged tone,-- no man of
Temecula could yet hear the word without a pang,-- "I was of

"I want to find one Alessandro Assis who lived there. You knew
him, I suppose," said Felipe, eagerly.

At this moment a brand broke in the smouldering fire, and for one
second a bright blaze shot up; only for a second, then all was dark
again. But the swift blaze had fallen on Felipe's face, and with a
start which he could not control, but which Felipe did not see, the
Indian had recognized him. "Ha, ha!" he thought to himself. "Senor
Felipe Moreno, you come to the wrong house asking for news of
Alessandro Assis!"

It was Antonio,-- Antonio, who had been at the Moreno
sheep-shearing; Antonio, who knew even more than Carmena had
known, for he knew what a marvel and miracle it seemed that the
beautiful Senorita from the Moreno house should have loved
Alessandro, and wedded him; and he knew that on the night she
went away with him, Alessandro had lured out of the corral a
beautiful horse for her to ride. Alessandro had told him all about
it,-- Baba, fiery, splendid Baba, black as night, with a white star in
his forehead. Saints! but it was a bold thing to do, to steal such a
horse as that, with a star for a mark; and no wonder that even now,
though near three years afterwards, Senor Felipe was in search of
him. Of course it could be only the horse he wanted. Ha! much
help might he get from Antonio!

"Yes, Senor, I knew him," he replied.

"Do you know where he is now?"

"No, Senor."

"Do you know where he went, from Temecula?"

"No, Senor."

"A woman told me he went to Monterey. I have been there looking
for him."

"I heard, too, he had gone to Monterey."

"Where did you see him last?"

"In Temecula."

"Was he alone?"

"Yes, Senor."

"Did you ever hear of his being married?"

"No, Senor."

"Where are the greater part of the Temecula people now?"

"Like this, Senor," with a bitter gesture, pointing to his wife. "Most
of us are beggars. A few here, a few there. Some have gone to
Capitan Grande, some way down into Lower California."

Wearily Felipe continued his bootless questioning. No suspicion
that the man was deceiving him crossed his mind. At last, with a
sigh, he said, "I hoped to have found Alessandro by your means. I
am greatly disappointed.

"I doubt not that, Senor Felipe Moreno," thought Antonio. "I am
sorry, Senor," he said.

It smote his conscience when Felipe laid in his hand a generous
gold-piece, and said, "Here is a bit of money for you. I am sorry to
see you so poorly off."

The thanks which he spoke sounded hesitating and gruff, so
remorseful did he feel. Senor Felipe had always been kind to them.
How well they had fared always in his house! It was a shame to lie
to him; yet the first duty was to Alessandro. It could not be
avoided. And thus a second time help drifted away from Ramona.

At Temecula, from Mrs. Hartsel, Felipe got the first true
intelligence of Alessandro's movements; but at first it only
confirmed his worst forebodings. Alessandro had been at Mrs.
Hartsel's house; he had been alone, and on foot; he was going to
walk all the way to San Pasquale, where he had the promise of

How sure the kindly woman was that she was telling the exact
truth. After long ransacking of her memory and comparing of
events, she fixed the time so nearly to the true date, that it was to
Felipe's mind a terrible corroboration of his fears. It was, he
thought, about a week after Ramona's flight from home that
Alessandro had appeared thus, alone, on foot, at Mrs. Hartsel's. In
great destitution, she said; and she had lent him money on the
expectation of selling his violin; but they had never sold it; there it
was yet. And that Alessandro was dead, she had no more doubt
than that she herself was alive; for else, he would have come back
to pay her what he owed. The honestest fellow that ever lived, was
Alessandro. Did not the Senor Moreno think so? Had he not found
him so always? There were not many such Indians as Alessandro
and his father. If there had been, it would have been better for their
people. "If they'd all been like Alessandro, I tell you," she said, "it
would have taken more than any San Diego sheriff to have put
them out of their homes here."

"But what could they do to help themselves, Mrs. Hartsel?" asked
Felipe. "The law was against them. We can't any of us go against
that. I myself have lost half my estate in the same way."

"Well, at any rate they wouldn't have gone without fighting!" she
said. "'If Alessandro had been here!' they all said."

Felipe asked to see the violin. "But that is not Alessandro's," he
exclaimed. "I have seen his."

"No!" she said. "Did I say it was his? It was his father's. One of the
Indians brought it in here to hide it with us at the time they were
driven out. It is very old, they say, and worth a great deal of
money, if you could find the right man to buy it. But he has not
come along yet. He will, though. I am not a bit afraid but that we'll
get our money back on it. If Alessandro was alive, he'd have been
here long before this."

Finding Mrs. Hartsel thus friendly, Felipe suddenly decided to tell
her the whole story. Surprise and incredulity almost overpowered
her at first. She sat buried in thought for some minutes; then she
sprang to her feet, and cried: "If he's got that girl with him, he's
hiding somewhere. There's nothing like an Indian to hide; and if he
is hiding, every other Indian knows it, and you just waste your
breath asking any questions of any of them. They will die before
they will tell you one thing. They are as secret as the grave. And
they, every one of them, worshipped Alessandro. You see they
thought he would be over them, after Pablo, and they were all
proud of him because he could read and write, and knew more
than most of them. If I were in your place," she continued, "I
would not give it up yet. I should go to San Pasquale. Now it might
just be that she was along with him that night he stopped here, hid
somewhere, while he came in to get the money. I know I urged
him to stay all night, and he said he could not do it. I don't know,
though, where he could possibly have left her while he came here."

Never in all her life had Mrs. Hartsel been so puzzled and so
astonished as now. But her sympathy, and her confident belief that
Alessandro might yet be found, gave unspeakable cheer to Felipe.

"If I find them, I shall take them home with me, Mrs. Hartsel," he
said as he rode away; "and we will come by this road and stop to
see you." And the very speaking of the words cheered him all the
way to San Pasquale,

But before he had been in San Pasquale an hour, he was plunged
into a perplexity and disappointment deeper than he had yet felt.
He found the village in disorder, the fields neglected, many houses
deserted, the remainder of the people preparing to move away. In
the house of Ysidro, Alessandro's kinsman, was living a white
family,-- the family of a man who had pre-empted the greater part
of the land on which the village stood. Ysidro, profiting by
Alessandro's example, when he found that there was no help, that
the American had his papers from the land-office, in all due form,
certifying that the land was his, had given the man his option of
paying for the house or having it burned down. The man had
bought the house; and it was only the week before Felipe arrived,
that Ysidro had set off, with all his goods and chattels, for Mesa
Grande. He might possibly have told the Senor more, the people
said, than any one now in the village could; but even Ysidro did
not know where Alessandro intended to settle. He told no one. He
went to the north. That was all they knew.

To the north! That north which Felipe thought he had thoroughly
searched. He sighed at the word. The Senor could, if he liked, see
the house in which Alessandro had lived. There it was, on the
south side of the valley, just in the edge of the foothills; some
Americans lived in it now. Such a good ranch Alessandro had; the
best wheat in the valley. The American had paid Alessandro
something for it,-- they did not know how much; but Alessandro
was very lucky to get anything. If only they had listened to him. He
was always telling them this would come. Now it was too late for
most of them to get anything for their farms. One man had taken
the whole of the village lands, and he had bought Ysidro's house
because it was the best; and so they would not get anything. They
were utterly disheartened, broken-spirited.

In his sympathy for them, Felipe almost forgot his own distresses.
"Where are you going?" he asked of several.

"Who knows, Senor?" was their reply. "Where can we go? There is
no place."

When, in reply to his questions in regard to Alessandro's wife,
Felipe heard her spoken of as "Majella," his perplexity deepened.
Finally he asked if no one had ever heard the name Ramona.


What could it mean? Could it be possible that this was another
Alessandro than the one of whom he was in search? Felipe
bethought himself of a possible marriage-record. Did they know
where Alessandro had married this wife of his, of whom every
word they spoke seemed both like and unlike Ramona?

Yes. It was in San Diego they had been married, by Father

Hoping against hope, the baffled Felipe rode on to San Diego; and
here, as ill-luck would have it, he found, not Father Gaspara, who
would at his first word have understood all, but a young Irish
priest, who had only just come to be Father Gaspara's assistant.
Father Gaspara was away in the mountains, at Santa Ysabel. But
the young assistant would do equally well, to examine the records.
He was courteous and kind; brought out the tattered old book, and,
looking over his shoulder, his breath coming fast with excitement
and fear, there Felipe read, in Father Gaspara's hasty and blotted
characters, the fatal entry of the names, "Alessandro Assis and
Majella Fa --"

Heart-sick, Felipe went away. Most certainly Ramona would never
have been married under any but her own name. Who, then, was
this woman whom Alessandro Assis had married in less than ten
days from the night on which Ramona had left her home? Some
Indian woman for whom he felt compassion, or to whom he was
bound by previous ties? And where, in what lonely, forever hidden
spot, was the grave of Ramona?

Now at last Felipe felt sure that she was dead. It was useless
searching farther. Yet, after he reached home, his restless
conjectures took one more turn, and he sat down and wrote a letter
to every priest between San Diego and Monterey, asking if there
were on his books a record of the marriage of one Alessandro
Assis and Ramona Ortegna.

It was not impossible that there might be, after all, another
Alessandro Assis, The old Fathers, in baptizing their tens of
thousands of Indian converts, were sore put to it to make out
names enough. There might have been another Assis besides old
Pablo, and of Alessandros there were dozens everywhere.

This last faint hope also failed. No record anywhere of an
Alessandro Assis, except in Father Gaspara's book.

As Felipe was riding out of San Pasquale, he had seen an Indian
man and woman walking by the side of mules heavily laden. Two
little children, two young or too feeble to walk, were so packed in
among the bundles that their faces were the only part of them in
sight. The woman was crying bitterly. "More of these exiles. God
help the poor creatures!" thought Felipe; and he pulled out his
purse, and gave the woman a piece of gold. She looked up in as
great astonishment as if the money had fallen from the skies.
"Thanks! Thanks, Senor!" she exclaimed; and the man coming up
to Felipe said also, "God reward you, Senor! That is more money
than I had in the world! Does the Senor know of any place where I
could get work?"

Felipe longed to say, "Yes, come to my estate; there you shall have
work!" In the olden time he would have done it without a second
thought, for both the man and the woman had good faces,-- were
young and strong. But the pay-roll of the Moreno estate was even
now too long for its dwindled fortunes. "No, my man, I am sorry to
say I do not," he answered. "I live a long way from here. Where
were you thinking of going?"

"Somewhere in San Jacinto," said the man. "They say the
Americans have not come in there much yet. I have a brother
living there. Thanks, Senor; may the saints reward you!"

"San Jacinto!" After Felipe returned home, the name haunted his
thoughts. The grand mountain-top bearing that name he had
known well in many a distant horizon. "Juan Can," he said one
day, "are there many Indians in San Jacinto?"

"The mountain?" said Juan Can.

"Ay, I suppose, the mountain," said Felipe. "What else is there?"

"The valley, too," replied Juan. "The San Jacinto Valley is a fine,
broad valley, though the river is not much to be counted on. It is
mostly dry sand a good part of the year. But there is good grazing.
There is one village of Indians I know in the valley; some of the
San Luis Rey Indians came from there; and up on the mountain is
a big village; the wildest Indians in all the country live there. Oh,
they are fierce, Senor!"

The next morning Felipe set out for San Jacinto. Why had no one
mentioned, why had he not himself known, of these villages?
Perhaps there were yet others he had not heard of. Hope sprang in
Felipe's impressionable nature as easily as it died. An hour, a
moment, might see him both lifted up and cast down. When he
rode into the sleepy little village street of San Bernardino, and
saw, in the near horizon, against the southern sky, a superb
mountain-peak, changing in the sunset lights from turquoise to
ruby, and from ruby to turquoise again, he said to himself, "She is
there! I have found her!"

The sight of the mountain affected him, as it had always affected
Aunt Ri, with an indefinable, solemn sense of something revealed,
yet hidden. "San Jacinto?" he said to a bystander, pointing to it
with his whip.

"Yes, Senor," replied the man. As he spoke, a pair of black horses
came whirling round the corner, and he sprang to one side,
narrowly escaping being knocked down. "That Tennessee fellow'll
run over somebody yet, with those black devils of his, if he don't
look out," he muttered, as he recovered his balance.

Felipe glanced at the horses, then driving his spurs deep into his
horse's sides, galloped after them. "Baba! by God!" he cried aloud
in his excitement and forgetful of everything, he urged his horse
faster, shouting as he rode, "Stop that man! Stop that man with the
black horses!"

Jos, hearing his name called on all sides, reined in Benito and
Baba as soon as he could, and looked around in bewilderment to
see what had happened. Before he had time to ask any questions,
Felipe had overtaken him, and riding straight to Baba's head, had
flung himself from his own horse and taken Baba by the rein,
crying, "Baba! Baba!" Baba knew his voice, and began to whinny
and plunge. Felipe was nearly unmanned. For the second, he forgot
everything. A crowd was gathering around them. It had never been
quite clear to the San Bernardino mind that Jos's title to Benito and
Baba would bear looking into; and it was no surprise, therefore, to
some of the on-lookers, to hear Felipe cry in a loud voice, looking
suspiciously at Jos, "How did you get him?"

Jos was a wag, and Jos was never hurried. The man did not live,
nor could the occasion arrive, which would quicken his
constitutional drawl. Before even beginning his answer he crossed
one leg over the other and took a long, observant look at Felipe;
then in a pleasant voice he said: "Wall, Senor,-- I allow yer air a
Senor by yer color,-- it would take right smart uv time tew tell
yeow haow I cum by thet hoss, 'n' by the other one tew. They ain't
mine, neither one on 'em."

Jos's speech was as unintelligible to Felipe as it had been to
Ramona, Jos saw it, and chuckled.

"Mebbe 't would holp yer tew understand me ef I wuz tew talk
Mexican," he said, and proceeded to repeat in tolerably good
Spanish the sum and substance of what he had just said, adding:
"They belong to an Indian over on San Jacinto; at least, the off one
does; the nigh one's his wife's; he wouldn't ever call thet one
anything but hers. It had been hers ever sence she was a girl, they
said, I never saw people think so much of hosses as they did."

Before Jos had finished speaking, Felipe had bounded into the
wagon, throwing his horse's reins to a boy in the crowd, and
crying, "Follow along with my horse, will you? I must speak to this

Found! Found,-- the saints be praised,-- at last! How should he tell
this man fast enough? How should he thank him enough?

Laying his hand on Jos's knee, he cried: "I can't explain to you; I
can't tell you. Bless you forever,-- forever! It must be the saints led
you here!"

"Oh, Lawd!" thought Jos; "another o' them 'saint' fellers! I allow
not, Senor," he said, relapsing into Tennesseean. "It wur Tom
Wurmsee led me; I wuz gwine ter move his truck fur him this

"Take me home with you to your house," said Felipe, still
trembling with excitement; "we cannot talk here in the street. I
want to hear all you can tell me about them. I have been searching
for them all over California."

Jos's face lighted up. This meant good fortune for that gentle,
sweet Ramona, he was sure. "I'll take you straight there," he said;
"but first I must stop at Tom's. He will be waiting for me."

The crowd dispersed, disappointed; cheated out of their
anticipated scene of an arrest for horse-stealing. "Good for you,
Tennessee!" and, "Fork over that black horse, Jos!" echoed from
the departing groups. Sensations were not so common in San
Bernardino that they could afford to slight so notable an occasion
as this.

As Jos turned the corner into the street where he lived, he saw his
mother coming at a rapid run towards them, her sun-bonnet half
off her head, her spectacles pushed up in her hair.

"Why, thar's mammy!" he exclaimed. "What ever hez gone wrong

Before he finished speaking, she saw the black horses, and
snatching her bonnet from her head waved it wildly, crying, "Yeow
Jos! Jos, hyar! Stop! I wuz er comin' ter hunt yer!"

Breathlessly she continued talking, her words half lost in the sound
of the wheels. Apparently she did not see the stranger sitting by
Jos's side. "Oh, Jos, thar's the terriblest news come! Thet Injun
Alessandro's got killed; murdered; jest murdered, I say; 'tain't no
less. Thar wuz an Injun come down from ther mounting with a
letter to the Agent."

"Good God! Alessandro killed!" burst from Felipe's lips in a
heart-rending voice.

Jos looked bewilderedly from his mother to Felipe; the
complication was almost beyond him. "Oh, Lawd!" he gasped.
Turning to Felipe, "Thet's mammy," he said. "She wuz real fond o'
both on 'em." Turning to his mother, "This hyar's her brother," he
said. "He jest knowed me by Baba, hyar on ther street. He's been
huntin' 'em everywhar."

Aunt Ri grasped the situation instantly. Wiping her streaming eyes,
she sobbed out: "Wall, I'll allow, arter this, thar is sech a thing ez a
Providence, ez they call it. 'Pears like ther couldn't ennythin' less
brung yer hyar jest naow. I know who yer be; ye're her brother
Feeleepy, ain't yer? Menny's ther time she's tolt me about yer! Oh,
Lawd! How air we ever goin' to git ter her? I allow she's dead! I
allow she'd never live arter seein' him shot down dead! He tolt me
thar couldn't nobody git up thar whar they'd gone; no white folks, I
mean. Oh, Lawd, Lawd!"

Felipe stood paralyzed, horror-stricken. He turned in despair to
Jos. "Tell me in Spanish,." he said. "I cannot understand."

As Jos gradually drew out the whole story from his mother's
excited and incoherent speech, and translated it, Felipe groaned
aloud, "Too late! Too late!" He too felt, as Aunt Ri had, that
Ramona never could have survived the shock of seeing her
husband murdered. "Too late! Too late!" he cried, as he staggered
into the house. "She has surely died of the sight."

"I allow she didn't die, nuther," said Jos; "not ser long ez she hed
thet young un to look arter!"

"Yer air right, Jos!" said Aunt Ri. "I allow yer air right. Thar
couldn't nothin' kill her, short er wild beasts, ef she hed ther baby
'n her arms! She ain't dead, not ef the baby ez erlive, I allow. Thet's
some comfort."

Felipe sat with his face buried in his hands. Suddenly looking up,
he said, "How far is it?"

"Thirty miles 'n' more inter the valley, where we wuz," said Jos; "'n'
the Lawd knows how fur 'tis up on ter the mounting, where they
wuz livin'. It's like goin' up the wall uv a house, goin' up San
Jacinto Mounting, daddy sez. He wuz thar huntin' all summer with

How strange, how incredible it seemed, to hear Alessandro's name
thus familiarly spoken,-- spoken by persons who had known him
so recently, and who were grieving, grieving as friends, to hear of
his terrible death! Felipe felt as if he were in a trance. Rousing
himself, he said, "We must go. We must start at once. You will let
me have the horses?"

"Wall, I allow yer've got more right ter 'em 'n --" began Jos,
energetically, forgetting himself; then, dropping Tennesseean, he
completed in Spanish his cordial assurances that the horses were at
Felipe's command.

"Jos! He's got ter take me!" cried Aunt Ri. "I allow I ain't never
gwine ter set still hyar, 'n' thet girl inter sech trouble; 'n' if so be ez
she is reely dead, thar's the baby. He hadn't orter go alone by

Felipe was thankful, indeed, for Aunt Ri's companionship, and
expressed himself in phrases so warm, that she was embarrassed.

"Yeow tell him, Jos," she said, "I can't never git used ter bein'
called Senory. Yeow tell him his' sister allers called me Aunt Ri, 'n'
I jest wish he would. I allow me 'n' him'll git along all right. 'Pears
like I'd known him all my days, jest ez 't did with her, arter the
fust. I'm free to confess I take more ter these Mexicans than I do
ter these low-down, driven Yankees, ennyhow,-- a heap more; but I
can't stand bein' Senory'd! Yeow tell him, Jos. I s'pose thar's a word
for 'aunt' in Mexican, ain't there? 'Pears like thar couldn't be no
langwedge 'thout sech a word! He'll know what it means! I'd go off
with him a heap easier ef he'd call me jest plain Aunt Ri, ez I'm
used ter, or Mis Hyer, either un on 'em; but Aunt Ri's the

Jos had some anxiety about his mother's memory of the way to San
Jacinto. She laughed.

"Don't yeow be a mite oneasy," she said. "I bet yeow I'd go clean
back ter the States ther way we cum. I allow I've got every mile on
't 'n my hed plain's a turnpike. Yeow nor yer dad, neiry one on yer,
couldn't begin to do 't. But what we air gwine ter do, fur gettin' up
the mounting, thet's another thing. Thet's more 'n I dew know. But
thar'll be a way pervided, Jos, sure's yeow're bawn. The Lawd ain't
gwine to get hisself hindered er holpin' Ramony this time; I ain't a
mite afeerd."

Felipe could not have found a better ally. The comparative silence
enforced between them by reason of lack of a common vehicle for
their thoughts was on the whole less of a disadvantage than would
have at first appeared. They understood each other well enough for
practical purposes, and their unity in aim, and in affection for
Ramona, made a bond so strong, it could not have been enhanced
by words.

It was past sundown when they left San Bernardino, but a full
moon made the night as good as day for their journey. When it first
shone out, Aunt Ri, pointing to it, said curtly, "Thet's lucky."

"Yes," replied Felipe, who did not know either of the words she
had spoken, "it is good. It shows to us the way."

"Thar, naow, say he can't understand English!" thought Aunt Ri.

Benito and Baba travelled as if they knew the errand on which they
were hurrying. Good forty miles they had gone without flagging
once, when Aunt Ri, pointing to a house on the right hand of the
road, the only one they had seen for many miles, said: "We'll hev
to sleep hyar. I donno the road beyant this. I allow they're gone ter
bed; but they'll hev to git up 'n' take us in. They're used ter doin' it.
They dew consid'able business keepin' movers. I know 'em. They're
reel friendly fur the kind o' people they air. They're druv to death.
It can't be far frum their time to git up, ennyhow. They're up every
mornin' uv thar lives long afore daylight, a feedin' their stock, an'
gittin' ready fur the day's work. I used ter hear 'em 'n' see 'em, when
we wuz campin' here. The fust I saw uv it, I thought somebody
wuz sick in the house, to git 'em up thet time o' night; but
arterwards we found out 't wan't nothin' but thar reggerlar way.
When I told dad, sez I, 'Dad, did ever yer hear sech a thing uz
gittin' up afore light to feed stock?' 'n' ter feed theirselves tew.
They'd their own breakfast all clared away, 'n' dishes washed, too,
afore light; 'n' prayers said beside; they're Methodys, terrible pious.
I used ter tell dad they talked a heap about believin' in God; I don't
allow but what they dew believe in God, tew, but they don't
worship Him so much's they worship work; not nigh so much.
Believin' 'n' worshippin' 's tew things. Yeow wouldn't see no sech
doin's in Tennessee. I allow the Lawd meant some time fur
sleepin'; 'n' I'm satisfied with his times o' lightin' up. But these
Merrills air reel nice folks, fur all this I've ben tellin' yer! -- Lawd!
I don't believe he's understood a word I've said, naow!" thought
Aunt Ri to herself, suddenly becoming aware of the hopeless
bewilderment on Felipe's face. "'Tain't much use sayin' anything
more'n plain yes 'n' no, between folks thet can't understand each
other's langwedge; 'n' s' fur's thet goes, I allow thar ain't any gret
use'n the biggest part o' what's sed between folks thet doos!"

When the Merrill family learned Felipe's purpose of going up the
mountain to the Cahuilla village, they attempted to dissuade him
from taking his own horses. He would kill them both, high-spirited
horses like those, they said, if he took them over that road. It was a
cruel road. They pointed out to him the line where it wound,
doubling and tacking on the sides of precipices, like a path for a
goat or chamois. Aunt Ri shuddered at the sight, but said nothing.

"I'm gwine whar he goes," she said grimly to herself. "I ain't a
gwine ter back daown naow; but I dew jest wish Jeff Hyer wuz

Felipe himself disliked what he saw and heard of the grade. The
road had been built for bringing down lumber, and for six miles it
was at perilous angles. After this it wound along on ridges and in
ravines till it reached the heart of a great pine forest, where stood a
saw-mill. Passing this, it plunged into still darker, denser woods,
some fifteen miles farther on, and then came out among vast
opens, meadows, and grassy foot-hills, still on the majestic
mountain's northern or eastern slopes. From these, another steep
road, little more than a trail, led south, and up to the Cahuilla
village. A day and a half's hard journey, at the shortest, it was from
Merrill's; and no one unfamiliar with the country could find the
last part of the way without a guide. Finally it was arranged that
one of the younger Merrills should go in this capacity, and should
also take two of his strongest horses, accustomed to the road. By
the help of these the terrible ascent was made without difficulty,
though Baba at first snorted, plunged, and resented the humiliation
of being harnessed with his head at another horse's tail.

Except for their sad errand, both Felipe and Aunt Ri would have
experienced a keen delight in this ascent. With each fresh lift on
the precipitous terraces, the view off to the south and west
broadened, until the whole San Jacinto Valley lay unrolled at their
feet. The pines were grand; standing, they seemed shapely
columns; fallen, the upper curve of their huge yellow disks came
above a man's head, so massive was their size. On many of them
the bark had been riddled from root to top, as by myriads of
bullet-holes. In each hole had been cunningly stored away an
acorn,-- the woodpeckers' granaries.

"Look at thet, naow!" exclaimed the observant Aunt Ri; "an' thar's
folk's thet sez dumb critters ain't got brains. They ain't noways
dumb to each other, I notice; an' we air dumb aourselves when we
air ketched with furriners. I allow I'm next door to dumb myself
with this hyar Mexican I'm er travellin' with."

"That's so!" replied Sam Merrill. "When we fust got here, I thought
I'd ha' gone clean out o' my head tryin' to make these Mexicans
sense my meanin'; my tongue was plaguy little use to me. But now
I can talk their lingo fust-rate; but pa, he can't talk to 'em nohow;
he hain't learned the fust word; 'n' he's ben here goin' on two years
longer'n we have."

The miles seemed leagues to Felipe. Aunt Ri's drawling tones, as
she chatted volubly with young Merrill, chafed him. How could
she chatter! But when he thought this, it would chance that in a
few moments more he would see her clandestinely wiping away
tears, and his heart would warm to her again.

They slept at a miserable cabin in one of the clearings, and at early
dawn pushed on, reaching the Cahuilla village before noon. As
their carriage came in sight, a great running to and fro of people
was to be seen. Such an event as the arrival of a comfortable
carriage drawn by four horses had never before taken place in the
village. The agitation into which the people had been thrown by
the murder of Alessandro had by no means subsided; they were all
on the alert, suspicious of each new occurrence. The news had
only just reached the village that Farrar had been set at liberty, and
would not be punished for his crime, and the flames of indignation
and desire for vengeance, which the aged Capitan had so much
difficulty in allaying in the outset, were bursting forth again this
morning. It was therefore a crowd of hostile and lowering faces
which gathered around the carriage as it stopped in front of the
Capitan's house.

Aunt Ri's face was a ludicrous study of mingled terror, defiance,
and contempt. "Uv all ther low-down, no-'count, beggarly trash
ever I laid eyes on," she said in a low tone to Merrill, "I allow
these yere air the wust! But I allow they'd flatten us all aout in jest
abaout a minnit, if they wuz to set aout tew! Ef she ain't hyar, we
air in a scrape, I allow."

"Oh, they're friendly enough," laughed Merrill. "They're all stirred
up, now, about the killin' o' that Injun; that's what makes 'em look
so fierce. I don't wonder! 'Twas a derned mean thing Jim Farrar
did, a firin' into the man after he was dead. I don't blame him for
killin' the cuss, not a bit; I'd have shot any man livin' that 'ad taken
a good horse o' mine up that trail. That's the only law we stock
men've got out in this country. We've got to protect ourselves. But
it was a mean, low-lived trick to blow the feller's face to pieces
after he was dead; but Jim's a rough feller, 'n' I expect he was so
mad, when he see his horse, that he didn't know what he did."

Aunt Ri was half paralyzed with astonishment at this speech.
Felipe had leaped out of the carriage, and after a few words with
the old Capitan, had hurried with him into his house. Felipe had
evidently forgotten that she was still in the carriage. His going into
the house looked as if Ramona was there. Aunt Ri, in all her
indignation and astonishment, was conscious of this train of
thought running through her mind; but not even the near prospect
of seeing Ramona could bridle her tongue now, or make her defer
replying to the extraordinary statements she had just heard. The
words seemed to choke her as she began. "Young man," she said,
"I donno much abaout yeour raisin'. I've heered yeour folks wuz
great on religion. Naow, we ain't, Jeff 'n' me; we warn't raised thet
way; but I allow ef I wuz ter hear my boy, Jos,-- he's jest abaout
yeour age, 'n' make tew, though he's narrerer chested,-- ef I should
hear him say what yeou've jest said, I allow I sh'd expect to see
him struck by lightnin'; 'n' I sh'dn't think he hed got more 'n his
deserts, I allow I sh'dn't!"

What more Aunt Ri would have said to the astounded Merrill was
never known, for at that instant the old Capitan, returning to the
door, beckoned to her; and springing from her seat to the ground,
sternly rejecting Sam's offered hand, she hastily entered the house.
As she crossed the threshold, Felipe turned an anguished face
toward her, and said, "Come, speak to her." He was on his knees
by a wretched pallet on the floor. Was that Ramona,-- that
prostrate form; hair dishevelled, eyes glittering, cheeks scarlet,
hands playing meaninglessly, like the hands of one crazed, with a
rosary of gold beads? Yes, it was Ramona; and it was like this she
had lain there now ten days; and the people had exhausted all their
simple skill for her in vain.

Aunt Ri burst into tears. "Oh, Lawd!" she said. "Ef I had some 'old
man' hyar, I'd bring her aout er thet fever! I dew bleeve I seed some
on 't growin' not more'n er mile back." And without a second look,
or another word, she ran out of the door, and springing into the
carriage, said, speaking faster than she had been heard to speak for
thirty years: "Yeow jest turn raound 'n' drive me back a piece, the
way we come. I allow I'll git a weed thet'll break thet fever. Faster,
faster! Run yer hosses. 'Tain't above er mile back, whar I seed it,"
she cried, leaning out, eagerly scrutinizing each inch of the barren
ground. "Stop! Here 'tis!" she cried. "I knowed I smelt the bitter on
't somewhars along hyar;" and in a few minutes more she had a
mass of the soft, shining, gray, feathery leaves in her hands, and
was urging the horses fiercely on their way back. "This'll cure her,
ef ennything will," she said, as she entered the room again; but her
heart sank as she saw Ramona's eyes roving restlessly over Felipe's
face, no sign of recognition in them. "She's bad," she said, her lips
trembling; "but, 'never say die!' ez allers our motto; 'tain't never
tew late fur ennything but oncet, 'n' yer can't tell when thet time's
come till it's past 'n' gone."

Steaming bowls of the bitterly odorous infusion she held at
Ramona's nostrils; with infinite patience she forced drop after drop
of it between the unconscious lips; she bathed the hands and head,
her own hands blistered by the heat. It was a fight with death; but
love and life won. Before night Ramona was asleep.

Felipe and Aunt Ri sat by her, strange but not uncongenial
watchers, each taking heart from the other's devotion. All night
long Ramona slept. As Felipe watched her, he remembered his
own fever, and how she had knelt by his bed and prayed there. He
glanced around the room. In a niche in the mud wall was a cheap
print of the Madonna, one candle just smouldering out before it.
The village people had drawn heavily on their poverty-stricken
stores, keeping candles burning for Alessandro and Ramona during
the past ten days. The rosary had slipped from Ramona's hold;
taking it cautiously in his hand, Felipe went to the Madonna's
picture, and falling on his knees, began to pray as simply as if he
were alone. The Indians, standing on the doorway, also fell on
their knees, and a low-whispered murmur was heard.

For a moment Aunt Ri looked at the kneeling figures with
contempt. "Oh, Lawd!" she thought, "the pore heathen, prayin' ter a
picter!" Then a sudden revulsion seized her. "I allow I ain't gwine
ter be the unly one out er the hull number thet don't seem to hev
nothin' ter pray ter; I allow I'll jine in prayer, tew, but I shan't say
mine ter no picter!" And Aunt Ri fell on her knees; and when a
young Indian woman by her side slipped a rosary into her hand,
Aunt Ri did not repulse it, but hid it in the folds of her gown till
the prayers were done. It was a moment and a lesson Aunt Ri
never forgot.


THE Capitan's house faced the east. Just as day broke, and the
light streamed in at the open door, Ramona's eyes unclosed. Felipe
and Aunt Ri were both by her side. With a look of bewildered
terror, she gazed at them.

"Thar, thar, naow! Yer jest shet yer eyes 'n' go right off ter sleep
agin, honey," said Aunt Ri, composedly, laying her hand on
Ramona's eyelids, and compelling them down. "We air hyar,
Feeleepy 'n' me, 'n' we air goin' ter stay. I allow yer needn't be
afeerd o' nothin'. Go ter sleep, honey."

The eyelids quivered beneath Aunt Ri's fingers. Tears forced their
way, and rolled slowly down the cheeks. The lips trembled; the
voice strove to speak, but it was only like the ghost of a whisper,
the faint question that came,-- "Felipe?"

"Yes, dear! I am here, too," breathed Felipe; "go to sleep. We will
not leave you!"

And again Ramona sank away into the merciful sleep which was
saving her life.

"Ther longer she kin sleep, ther better," said Aunt Ri, with a sigh,
deep-drawn like a groan. "I allow I dread ter see her reely come to.
'T'll be wus'n the fust; she'll hev ter live it all over again!"

But Aunt Ri did not know what forces of fortitude had been
gathering in Ramona's soul during these last bitter years. Out of
her gentle constancy had been woven the heroic fibre of which
martyrs are made; this, and her inextinguishable faith, had made
her strong, as were those of old, who "had trial of cruel mocking,
wandering about, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, wandered in
deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."

When she waked the second time, it was with a calm, almost
beatific smile that she gazed on Felipe, and whispered, "How did
you find me, dear Felipe?" It was rather by the motions of her lips
than by any sound that he knew the words. She had not yet strength
enough to make an audible sound. When they laid her baby on her
breast, she smiled again, and tried to embrace her, but was too
weak. Pointing to the baby's eyes, she whispered, gazing earnestly
at Felipe, "Alessandro." A convulsion passed over her face as she
spoke the word, and the tears flowed.

Felipe could not speak. He glanced helplessly at Aunt Ri, who
promptly responded: "Naow, honey, don't yeow talk. 'Tain't good
fur ye; 'n' Feeleepy 'n' me, we air in a powerful hurry ter git yer
strong 'n' well, 'n' tote ye out er this --" Aunt Ri stopped. No
substantive in her vocabulary answered her need at that moment. "I
allow ye kin go 'n a week, ef nothin' don't go agin ye more'n I see
naow; but ef yer git ter talkin', thar's no tellin' when yer'll git up.
Yeow jest shet up, honey. We'll look arter everythin'."

Feebly Ramona turned her grateful, inquiring eyes on Felipe. Her
lips framed the words, "With you?"

"Yes, dear, home with me," said Felipe, clasping her hand in his. "I
have been searching for you all this time."

An anxious look came into the sweet face. Felipe knew what it
meant. How often he had seen it in the olden time. He feared to
shock her by the sudden mention of the Senora's death; yet that
would harm her less than continued anxiety. "I am alone, dear
Ramona," he whispered. "There is no one now but you, my sister,
to take care of me. My mother has been dead a year."

The eyes dilated, then filled with sympathetic tears. "Dear Felipe!"
she sighed; but her heart took courage. Felipe's phrase was like one
inspired; another duty, another work, another loyalty, waiting for
Ramona. Not only her child to live for, but to "take care of Felipe"!
Ramona would not die! Youth, a mother's love, a sister's affection
and duty, on the side of life,-- the battle was won, and won
quickly, too.

To the simple Cahuillas it seemed like a miracle; and they looked
on Aunt Ri's weather-beaten face with something akin to a
superstitious reverence. They themselves were not ignorant of the
value of the herb by means of which she had wrought the
marvellous cure; but they had made repeated experiments with it
upon Ramona, without success. It must be that there had been
some potent spell in Aunt Ri's handling. They would hardly
believe her when, in answer to their persistent questioning, she
reiterated the assertion that she had used nothing except the hot
water and "old man," which was her name for the wild wormwood;
and which, when explained to them, impressed them greatly, as
having no doubt some significance in connection with the results
of her preparation of the leaves.

Rumors about Felipe ran swiftly throughout the region. The
presence in the Cahuilla village of a rich Mexican gentleman who
spent gold like water, and kept mounted men riding day and night,
after everything, anything, he wanted for his sick sister, was an
event which in the atmosphere of that lonely country loomed into
colossal proportions. He had travelled all over California, with
four horses, in search of her. He was only waiting till she was well,
to take her to his home in the south; and then he was going to
arrest the man who had murdered her husband, and have him
hanged, -- yes, hanged! Small doubt about that; or, if the law
cleared him, there was still the bullet. This rich Senor would see
him shot, if rope were not to be had. Jim Farrar heard these tales,
and quaked in his guilty soul. The rope he had small fear of, for
well he knew the temper of San Diego County juries and judges;
but the bullet, that was another thing; and these Mexicans were
like Indians in their vengeance. Time did not tire them, and their
memories were long. Farrar cursed the day he had let his temper
get the better of him on that lonely mountainside; how much the
better, nobody but he himself knew,-- nobody but he and Ramona:
and even Ramona did not know the bitter whole. She knew that
Alessandro had no knife, and had gone forward with no hostile
intent; but she knew nothing beyond that. Only the murderer
himself knew that the dialogue which he had reported to the judge
and jury, to justify his act, was an entire fabrication of his own,
and that, instead of it, had been spoken but four words by
Alessandro, and those were, "Senor, I will explain;" and that even
after the first shot had pierced his lungs, and the blood was
choking in his throat, he had still run a step or two farther, with his
hand uplifted deprecatingly, and made one more effort to speak
before he fell to the ground dead. Callous as Farrar was, and clear
as it was in his mind that killing an Indian was no harm, he had not
liked to recall the pleading anguish in Alessandro's tone and in his
face as he fell. He had not liked to recall this, even before he heard
of this rich Mexican brother-in-law who had appeared on the
scene; and now, he found the memories still more unpleasant. Fear
is a wonderful goad to remorse. There was another thing, too,
which to his great wonder had been apparently overlooked by
everybody; at least, nothing had been said about it; but the bearing
of it on his case, if the case were brought up a second time and
minutely investigated, would be most unfortunate. And this was,
that the only clew he had to the fact of Alessandro's having taken
his horse, was that the poor, half-crazed fellow had left his own
well-known gray pony in the corral in place of the horse he took. A
strange thing, surely, for a horse-thief to do! Cold sweat burst out
on Farrar's forehead, more than once, as he realized how this,
coupled with the well-known fact of Alessandro's liability to
attacks of insanity, might be made to tell against him, if he should
be brought to trial for the murder. He was as cowardly as he was
cruel: never yet were the two traits separate in human nature; and
after a few days of this torturing suspense and apprehension, he
suddenly resolved to leave the country, if not forever, at least for a
few years, till this brother-in-law should be out of the way. He lost
no time in carrying out his resolution; and it was well he did not,
for it was only three days after he had disappeared, that Felipe
walked into Judge Wells's office, one morning, to make inquiries
relative to the preliminary hearing which had been held there in
the matter of the murder of the Indian, Alessandro Assis, by James
Farrar. And when the judge, taking down his books, read to Felipe
his notes of the case, and went on to say, "If Farrar's testimony is
true, Ramona's, the wife's, must be false," and "at any rate, her
testimony would not be worth a straw with any jury," Felipe sprang
to his feet, and cried, "She of whom you speak is my foster-sister;
and, by God, Senor, if I can find that man, I will shoot him as I
would a dog! And I'll see, then, if a San Diego County jury will
hang me for ridding the country of such a brute!" and Felipe would
have been as good as his word. It was a wise thing Farrar had done
in making his escape.

When Aunt Ri heard that Farrar had fled the country, she pushed
up her spectacles and looked reflectively at her informant. It was
young Merrill. "Fled ther country, hez he?" she said. "Wall, he kin
flee ez many countries ez he likes, an' 't won't dew him no good. I
know yeow folks hyar don't seem ter think killin' an Injun's enny
murder, but I say 'tis; an' yeow'll all git it brung home ter yer afore
yer die: ef 'tain't brung one way, 't'll be anuther; yeow jest mind
what I say, 'n' don't yeow furgit it. Naow this miser'ble murderer,
this Farrar, thet's lighted out er hyar, he's nothin' more'n a skunk,
but he's got the Lawd arter him, naow. It's jest's well he's gawn; I
never did b'leeve in hangin'. I never could. It's jest tew men dead
'stead o' one. I don't want to see no man hung, no marter what he's
done, 'n' I don't want to see no man shot down, nuther, no marter
what he's done; 'n' this hyar Feeleepy, he's thet highstrung, he'd ha'
shot thet Farrar, any minnit, quicker'n lightnin', ef he'd ketched
him; so it's better all raound he's lit aout. But I tell yeow, naow, he
hain't made much by goin'! Thet Injun he murdered 'll foller him
night 'n' day, till he dies, 'n' long arter; he'll wish he wuz dead afore
he doos die, I allow he will, naow. He'll be jest like a man I
knowed back in Tennessee. I wa'n't but a mite then, but I never
forgot it. 'Tis a great country fur gourds, East Tennessee is, whar I
wuz raised; 'n' thar wuz two houses, 'n' a fence between 'em, 'n'
these gourds a runnin' all over the fence; 'n' one o' ther childun
picked one o' them gourds, an' they fit abaout it; 'n' then the women
took it up,-- ther childun's mothers, yer know, -- 'n' they got fightin'
abaout it; 'n' then 't the last the men took it up, 'n' they fit; 'n'
Rowell he got his butcher-knife, 'n' he ground it up, 'n' he picked a
querril with Claiborne, 'n' he cut him inter pieces. They hed him up
for 't, 'n' somehow they clared him. I don't see how they ever did,
but they put 't off, 'n' put 't off, 'n' 't last they got him free; 'n' he
lived on thar a spell, but he couldn't stan' it; 'peared like he never
hed no peace; 'n' he came over ter our 'us, 'n' sed he, 'Jake,' -- they
allers called daddy 'Jake,' or 'Uncle Jake,' -- 'Jake,' sed he, 'I can't
stan' it, livin' hyar.' 'Why,' sez daddy, 'the law o' the country's clar'd
ye.' 'Yes,' sez he, 'but the law o' God hain't; 'n' I've got Claiborne
allers with me. Thar ain't any path so narrer, but he's a walkin' in it,
by my side, all day; 'n' come night, I sleep with him ter one side, 'n'
my wife 't other; 'n' I can't stan' it.' Them's ther very words I heered
him say, 'n' I wuzn't ennythin' but a mite, but I didn't furgit it. Wall,
sir, he went West, way aout hyar to Californy, 'n' he couldn't stay
thar nuther, 'n' he came back hum agin; 'n' I wuz bigger then, a gal
grown, 'n' daddy sez to him,-- I heern him,-- 'Wal,' sez he, 'did
Claiborne foller yer?' 'Yes,' sez he, 'he follered me. I'll never git
shet o' him in this world. He's allers clost to me everywhar.' Yer
see, 'twas jest his conscience er whippin' him. Thet's all 't wuz. 'T
least, thet's all I think 't wuz; though thar wuz those thet said 't wuz
Claiborne's ghost. 'N' thet'll be the way 't 'll be with this miser'ble
Farrar. He'll live ter wish he'd let hisself be hanged er shot, er erry
which way, ter git out er his misery."

Young Merrill listened with unwonted gravity to Aunt Ri's earnest
words. They reached a depth in his nature which had been long
untouched; a stratum, so to speak, which lay far beneath the
surface. The character of the Western frontiersman is often a
singular accumulation of such strata, -- the training and beliefs of
his earliest days overlain by successions of unrelated and violent
experiences, like geological deposits. Underneath the exterior
crust of the most hardened and ruffianly nature often remains -- its
forms not yet quite fossilized -- a realm full of the devout customs,
doctrines, religious influences, which the boy knew, and the man
remembers, By sudden upheaval, in some great catastrophe or
struggle in his mature life, these all come again into the light.
Assembly Catechism definitions, which he learned in his
childhood, and has not thought of since, ring in his ears, and he is
thrown into all manner of confusions and inconsistencies of
feeling and speech by this clashing of the old and new man within
him. It was much in this way that Aunt Ri's words smote upon
young Merrill. He was not many years removed from the sound of
a preaching of the straitest New England Calvinism. The wild
frontier life had drawn him in and under, as in a whirlpool; but he
was New Englander yet at heart.

"That's so, Aunt Ri!" he exclaimed. "That's so! I don't s'pose a man
that's committed murder 'll ever have any peace in this world, nor
in the next nuther, without he repents; but ye see this horse-stealin'
business is different. 'Tain't murder to kill a hoss-thief, any way
you can fix it; everybody admits that. A feller that's caught
horse-stealin' had ought to be shot; and he will be, too, I tell you,
in this country!"

A look of impatient despair spread over Aunt Ri's face. "I hain't no
patience left with yer," she said, "er talkin' abaout stealin' hosses ez
ef hosses wuz more'n human bein's! But lettin' thet all go, this
Injun, he wuz crazy. Yer all knowed it. Thet Farrar knowed it.
D'yer think ef he'd ben stealin' the hoss, he'd er left his own hoss in
the corral, same ez, yer might say, leavin' his kyerd to say 't wuz he
done it; 'n' the hoss er tied in plain sight 'n front uv his house fur
ennybody ter see?"

"Left his own horse, so he did!" retorted Merrill. "A poor,
miserable, knock-kneed old pony, that wa'n't worth twenty dollars;
'n' Jim's horse was worth two hundred, 'n' cheap at that."

"Thet ain't nuther here nor thar in what we air sayin'," persisted
Aunt Ri. "I ain't a speakin' on 't ez a swap er hosses. What I say is,
he wa'n't tryin' to cover 't up thet he'd tuk the hoss. We air sum
used ter hoss-thieves in Tennessee; but I never heered o' one yit
thet left his name fur a refference berhind him, ter show which
road he tuk, 'n' fastened ther stolen critter ter his front gate when
he got hum! I allow me 'n' yeow hedn't better say anythin' much
more on ther subjeck, fur I allow we air bound to querril ef we
dew;" and nothing that Merrill said could draw another word out
of Aunt Ri in regard to Alessandro's death. But there was another
subject on which she was tireless, and her speech eloquent. It was
the kindness and goodness of the Cahuilla people. The last vestige
of her prejudice against Indians had melted and gone, in the
presence of their simple-hearted friendliness. "I'll never hear a
word said agin 'em, never, ter my longest day," she said. "The way
the pore things hed jest stripped theirselves, to git things fur
Ramony, beat all ever I see among white folks, 'n' I've ben raound
more'n most. 'N' they wa'n't lookin' fur no pay, nuther; fur they
didn't know, till Feeleepy 'n' me cum, thet she had any folks
ennywhar, 'n' they'd ha' taken care on her till she died, jest the
same. The sick allers ez took care on among them, they sed, 's long
uz enny on em hez got a thing left. Thet's ther way they air raised; I
allow white folks might take a lesson on 'em, in thet; 'n' in heaps
uv other things tew. Oh, I'm done talkin' again Injuns, naow, don't
yeow furgit it! But I know, fur all thet, 't won't make any
difference; 'pears like there cuddn't nobody b'leeve ennythin' 'n this
world 'thout seein' 't theirselves. I wuz thet way tew; I allow I hain't
got no call ter talk; but I jest wish the hull world could see what
I've seen! Thet's all!"

It was a sad day in the village when Ramona and her friends
departed. Heartily as the kindly people rejoiced in her having
found such a protector for herself and her child, and deeply as they
felt Felipe's and Aunt Ri's good-will and gratitude towards them,
they were yet conscious of a loss,-- of a void. The gulf between
them and the rest of the world seemed defined anew, their sense of
isolation deepened, their hopeless poverty emphasized. Ramona,
wife of Alessandro, had been as their sister,-- one of them; as such,
she would have had share in all their life had to offer. But its
utmost was nothing, was but hardship and deprivation; and she
was being borne away from it, like one rescued, not so much from
death, as from a life worse than death.

The tears streamed down Ramona's face as she bade them
farewell. She embraced again and again the young mother who had
for so many days suckled her child, even, it was said, depriving her
own hardier babe that Ramona's should not suffer. "Sister, you
have given me my child," she cried; "I can never thank you; I will
pray for you all my life."

She made no inquiries as to Felipe's plans. Unquestioningly, like a
little child, she resigned herself into his hands. A power greater
than hers was ordering her way; Felipe was its instrument. No
other voice spoke to guide her. The same old simplicity of
acceptance which had characterized her daily life in her girlhood,
and kept her serene and sunny then,-- serene under trials, sunny in
her routine of little duties,-- had kept her serene through all the
afflictions, and calm, if not sunny, under all the burdens of her
later life; and it did not desert her even now,

Aunt Ri gazed at her with a sentiment as near to veneration as her
dry, humorous, practical nature was capable of feeling. "I allow I
donno but I sh'd cum ter believin' in saints tew," she said, "ef I wuz
ter live 'long side er thet gal. 'Pears like she wuz suthin' more 'n
human. 'T beats me plum out, ther way she takes her troubles.
Thar's sum would say she hedn't no feelin'; but I allow she hez
more 'n most folks. I kin see, 'tain't thet. I allow I didn't never
expect ter think 's well uv prayin' to picters, 'n' strings er beads, 'n'
sech; but ef 't 's thet keeps her up ther way she's kept up, I allow
thar's more in it 'n it's hed credit fur. I ain't gwine ter say enny more
agin it' nor agin Injuns. 'Pears like I'm gittin' heaps er new idears
inter my head, these days. I'll turn Injun, mebbe, afore I git

The farewell to Aunt Ri was hardest of all. Ramona clung to her as
to a mother. At times she felt that she would rather stay by her side
than go home with Felipe; then she reproached herself for the
thought, as for a treason and ingratitude. Felipe saw the feeling,
and did not wonder at it. "Dear girl," he thought; "it is the nearest
she has ever come to knowing what a mother's love is like!" And
he lingered in San Bernardino week after week, on the pretence
that Ramona was not yet strong enough to bear the journey home,
when in reality his sole motive for staying was his reluctance to
deprive her of Aunt Ri's wholesome and cheering companionship.

Aunt Ri was busily at work on a rag carpet for the Indian Agent's
wife. She had just begun it, had woven only a few inches, on that
dreadful morning when the news of Alessandro's death reached
her. It was of her favorite pattern, the "hit-er-miss" pattern, as she
called it; no set stripes or regular alternation of colors, but ball
after ball of the indiscriminately mixed tints, woven back and
forth, on a warp of a single color. The constant variety in it, the
unexpectedly harmonious blending of the colors, gave her delight,
and afforded her a subject, too, of not unphilosophical reflection.

"Wall," she said, "it's called ther 'hit-er-miss' pattren; but it's 'hit'
oftener'n 'tis 'miss.' Thar ain't enny accountin' fur ther way ther
breadths'll come, sometimes; 'pears like 't wuz kind er magic, when
they air sewed tergether; 'n' I allow thet's ther way it's gwine ter be
with heaps er things in this life. It's jest a kind er 'hit-er-miss'
pattren we air all on us livin' on; 'tain't much use tryin' ter reckon
how 't 'll come aout; but the breadths doos fit heaps better 'n yer'd
think; come ter sew 'em, 'tain't never no sech colors ez yer thought
't wuz gwine ter be; but it's allers pooty, allers; never see a
'hit-er-miss' pattren 'n my life yit, thet wa'n't pooty. 'N' ther wa'n't
never nobody fetched me rags, 'n' hed 'em all planned aout, 'n' jest
ther way they wanted ther warp, 'n' jest haow ther stripes wuz ter
come, 'n' all, thet they wa'n't orful diserpynted when they cum ter
see 't done. It don't never look's they thought 't would, never! I
larned thet lesson airly; 'n' I allers make 'em write aout on a paper,
jest ther wedth er every stripe, 'n' each er ther colors, so's they kin
see it's what they ordered; 'r else they'd allers say I hedn't wove 't's I
wuz told ter. I got ketched thet way oncet! I allow ennybody's a
bawn fool gits ketched twice runnin' ther same way. But fur me, I'll
take ther 'hit-er-miss' pattren, every time, sir, straight along."

When the carpet was done, Aunt Ri took the roll in her own
independent arms, and strode with it to the Agent's house. She had
been biding the time when she should have this excuse for going
there. Her mind was burdened with questions she wished to ask,
information she wished to give, and she chose an hour when she
knew she would find the Agent himself at home.

"I allow yer heered why I wuz behind time with this yere carpet,"
she said; "I wuz up ter San Jacinto Mounting, where thet Injun wuz
murdered. We brung his widder 'n' ther baby daown with us, me 'n'
her brother. He's tuk her home ter his house ter live. He's reel well

Yes, the Agent had heard this; he had wondered why the widow
did not come to see him; he had expected to hear from her.

"Wall, I did hent ter her thet p'raps yer could dew something, ef
she wuz ter tell yer all abaout it; but she allowed thar wa'n't enny
use in talkin'. Ther jedge, he sed her witnessin' wouldn't be wuth
nuthin' to no jury; 'n' thet wuz what I wuz a wantin' to ask yeow, ef
thet wuz so."

"Yes, that is what the lawyers here told me," said the Agent. "I was
going to have the man arrested, but they said it would be folly to
bring the case to trial. The woman's testimony would not be

"Yeow've got power ter git a man punished fur sellin' whiskey to
Injuns, I notice," broke in Aunt Ri; "hain't yer? I see yeour man 'n'
the marshal here arrestin' 'em pooty lively last month; they sed
'twas yeour doin'; yeow was a gwine ter prossacute every livin' son
o' hell -- them wuz thar words -- thet sold whiskey ter Injuns."

"That's so!" said the Agent. "So I am; I am determined to break up
this vile business of selling whiskey to Indians. It is no use trying
to do anything for them while they are made drunk in this way; it's
a sin and a shame."

"Thet's so, I allow ter yeow," said Aunt Ri. "Thar ain't any
gainsayin' thet. But ef yeow've got power ter git a man put in jail
fur sellin' whiskey 't 'n Injun, 'n' hain't got power to git him
punished ef he goes 'n' kills thet Injun, 't sems ter me thar's suthin'
cur'us abaout thet."

"That is just the trouble in my position here, Aunt Ri," he said. "I
have no real power over my Indians, as I ought to have."

"What makes yer call 'em yeour Injuns?" broke in Aunt Ri.

The Agent colored. Aunt Ri was a privileged character, but her
logical method of questioning was inconvenient.

"I only mean that they are under my charge," he said. "I don't mean
that they belong to me in any way."

"Wall, I allow not," retorted Aunt Ri, "enny more 'n I dew. They air
airnin' their livin', sech 's 'tis, ef yer kin call it a livin'. I've been
'mongst 'em, naow, they hyar last tew weeks, 'n' I allow I've had my
eyes opened ter some things. What's thet docter er yourn, him thet
they call the Agency doctor,-- what's he got ter do?"

"To attend to the Indians of this Agency when they are sick,"
replied the Agent, promptly.

"Wall, thet's what I heern; thet's what yeow sed afore, 'n' thet's why
Alessandro, the Injun thet wuz murdered,-- thet's why he put his
name down 'n yeour books, though 't went agin him orful ter do it.
He wuz high-spereted, 'n' 'd allers took keer er hisself; but he'd ben
druv out er fust one place 'n' then another, tell he'd got clar down,
'n' pore; 'n' he jest begged thet doctor er yourn to go to see his little
gal, 'n' the docter wouldn't; 'n' more'n thet, he laughed at him fur
askin.' 'N' they set the little thing on the hoss ter bring her here, 'n'
she died afore they'd come a mile with her; 'n' 't wuz thet, on top er
all the rest druv Alessandro crazy. He never hed none er them
wandrin' spells till arter thet. Naow I allow thet wa'n't right eh thet
docter. I wouldn't hev no sech docter's thet raound my Agency, ef I
wuz yeow. Pr'aps yer never heered uv thet. I told Ramony I didn't
bleeve yer knowed it, or ye'd hev made him go."

"No, Aunt Ri," said the Agent; "I could not have done that; he is
only required to doctor such Indians as come here."

"I allow, then, thar ain't any gret use en hevin' him at all," said
Aunt Ri; "'pears like thar ain't more'n a harndful uv Injuns raound
here. I expect he gits well paid?" and she paused for an answer.
None came. The Agent did not feel himself obliged to reveal to
Aunt Ri what salary the Government paid the San Bernardino
doctor for sending haphazard prescriptions to Indians he never

After a pause Aunt Ri resumed: "Ef it ain't enny offence ter yeow, I
allow I'd like ter know jest what 'tis yeow air here ter dew fur these
Injuns. I've got my feelin's considdable stirred up, bein' among 'em
'n' knowing this hyar one, thet's ben murdered. Hev ye got enny
power to giv' 'em ennything,-- food or sech? They air powerful
pore, most on 'em."

"I have had a little fund for buying supplies for them in times of
special suffering;" replied the Agent, "a very little; and the
Department has appropriated some money for wagons and
ploughs; not enough, however, to supply every village; you see
these Indians are in the main self-supporting."

"Thet's jest it," persisted Aunt Ri. "Thet's what I've ben seein'; 'n'
thet's why I want so bad ter git at what 'tis the Guvvermunt means
ter hev yeow dew fur 'em. I allow ef yeow ain't ter feed 'em, an' ef
yer can't put folks inter jail fur robbin' 'n' cheatin' 'em, not ter say
killin' 'em,-- ef yer can't dew ennythin' more 'n keep 'em from
gettin' whiskey, wall, I'm free ter say --" Aunt Ri paused; she did
not wish to seem to reflect on the Agent's usefulness, and so
concluded her sentence very differently from her first impulse,--
"I'm free ter say I shouldn't like ter stan' in yer shoes."

"You may very well say that, Aunt Ri," laughed the Agent,
complacently. "It is the most troublesome Agency in the whole list,
and the least satisfactory."

"Wall, I allow it mought be the least satisfyin'," rejoined the
indefatigable Aunt Ri; "but I donno whar the trouble comes in, ef
so be's thar's no more kin be done than yer wuz er tellin'." And she
looked honestly puzzled.

"Look there, Aunt Ri!" said he, triumphantly, pointing to a pile of
books and papers. "All those to be gone through with, and a report
to be made out every month, and a voucher to be sent for every
lead-pencil I buy. I tell you I work harder than I ever did in my life
before, and for less pay."

"I allow yer hev hed easy times afore, then," retorted Aunt Ri,
good-naturedly satirical, "ef yeow air plum tired doin' thet!" And
she took her leave, not a whit clearer in her mind as to the real
nature and function of the Indian Agency than she was in the

Through all of Ramona's journey home she seemed to herself to be
in a dream. Her baby in her arms; the faithful creatures, Baba and
Benito, gayly trotting along at a pace so swift that the carriage
seemed gliding; Felipe by her side, -- the dear Felipe,-- his eyes
wearing the same bright and loving look as of old,-- what strange
thing was it which had happened to her to make it all seem unreal?
Even the little one in her arms,-- she too, seemed unreal! Ramona
did not know it, but her nerves were still partially paralyzed.
Nature sends merciful anaesthetics in the shocks which almost kill
us. In the very sharpness of the blow sometimes lies its own first
healing. It would be long before Ramona would fully realize that
Alessandro was dead. Her worst anguish was yet to come.

Felipe did not know and could not have understood this; and it was
with a marvelling gratitude that he saw Ramona, day after day,
placid, always ready with a smile when he spoke to her. Her
gratitude for each thoughtfulness of his smote him like a reproach;
all the more that he knew her gentle heart had never held a thought
of reproach in it towards him. "Grateful to me!" he thought. "To
me, who might have spared her all this woe if I had been strong!"

Never would Felipe forgive himself,-- no, not to the day of his
death. His whole life should be devoted to her and her child; but
what a pitiful thing was that to render!

As they drew near home, he saw Ramona often try to conceal from
him that she had shed tears. At last he said to her: "Dearest
Ramona, do not fear to weep before me. I would not be any
constraint on you. It is better for you to let the tears come freely,
my sister. They are healing to wounds."

"I do not think so, Felipe," replied Ramona. "Tears are only selfish
and weak. They are like a cry because we are hurt. It is not
possible always to keep them back; but I am ashamed when I have
wept, and think also that I have sinned, because I have given a sad
sight to others. Father Salvierderra always said that it was a duty to
look happy, no matter how much we might be suffering."

"That is more than human power can do!" said Felipe.

"I think not," replied Ramona. "If it were, Father Salvierderra
would not have commanded it. And do you not recollect, Felipe,
what a smile his face always wore? and his heart had been broken
for many, many years before he died. Alone, in the night, when he
prayed, he used to weep, from the great wrestling he had with God,
he told me; but we never saw him except with a smile. When one
thinks in the wilderness, alone, Felipe, many things become clear. I
have been learning, all these years in the wilderness, as if I had had
a teacher. Sometimes I almost thought that the spirit of Father
Salvierderra was by my side putting thoughts into my mind. I hope
I can tell them to my child when she is old enough. She will
understand them quicker than I did, for she has Alessandro's soul;
you can see that by her eyes. And all these things of which I speak
were in his heart from his childhood. They belong to the air and
the sky and the sun, and all trees know them."

When Ramona spoke thus of Alessandro, Felipe marvelled in
silence. He himself had been afraid to mention Alessandro's name;
but Ramona spoke it as if he were yet by her side. Felipe could not
fathom this. There were to be many things yet which Felipe could
not fathom in this lovely, sorrowing, sunny sister of his.

When they reached the house, the servants, who had been on the
watch for days, were all gathered in the court-yard, old Marda and
Juan Can heading the group; only two absent,-- Margarita and
Luigo. They had been married some months before, and were
living at the Ortegas ranch, where Luigo, to Juan Can's scornful
amusement, had been made head shepherd.

On all sides were beaming faces, smiles, and glad cries of greeting.
Underneath these were affectionate hearts quaking with fear lest
the home-coming be but a sad one after all. Vaguely they knew a
little of what their dear Senorita had been through since she left
them; it seemed that she must be sadly altered by so much sorrow,
and that it would be terrible to her to come back to the place so
full of painful associations. "And the Senora gone, too," said one
of the outdoor hands, as they were talking it over; "it's not the
same place at all that it was when the Senora was here."

"Humph!" muttered Juan Can, more consequential and overbearing
than ever, for this year of absolute control of the estate. "Humph!
that's all you know. A good thing the Senora died when she did, I
can tell you! We'd never have seen the Senorita back here else; I
can tell you that, my man! And for my part, I'd much rather be
under Senor Felipe and the Senorita than under the Senora, peace
to her ashes! She had her day. They can have theirs now."

When these loving and excited retainers saw Ramona -- pale, but
with her own old smile on her face -- coming towards them with
her babe in her arms, they broke into wild cheering, and there was
not a dry eye in the group.

Singling out old Marda by a glance, Ramona held out the baby
towards her, and said in her old gentle, affectionate voice, "I am
sure you will love my baby, Marda!"

"Senorita! Senorita! God bless you, Senorita!" they cried; and
closed up their ranks around the baby, touching her, praising her,
handing her from one to another.

Ramona stood for a few seconds watching them; then she said,
"Give her to me, Marda. I will myself carry her into the house;"
and she moved toward the inner door.

"This way, dear; this way," cried Felipe. "It is Father Salvierderra's
room I ordered to be prepared for you, because it is so sunny for
the baby!"

"Thanks, kind Felipe!" cried Ramona, and her eyes said more than
her words. She knew he had divined the one thing she had most
dreaded in returning,-- the crossing again the threshold of her own
room. It would be long now before she would enter that room.
Perhaps she would never enter it. How tender and wise of Felipe!

Yes; Felipe was both tender and wise, now. How long would the
wisdom hold the tenderness in leash, as he day after day looked
upon the face of this beautiful woman,-- so much more beautiful
now than she had been before her marriage, that Felipe sometimes,
as he gazed at her, thought her changed even in feature? But in this
very change lay a spell which would for a long time surround her,
and set her as apart from lover's thoughts as if she were guarded by
a cordon of viewless spirits. There was a rapt look of holy
communion on her face, which made itself felt by the dullest
perception, and sometimes overawed even where it attracted. It
was the same thing which Aunt Ri had felt, and formulated in her
own humorous fashion. But old Marda put it better, when, one day,
in reply to a half-terrified, low-whispered suggestion of Juan Can,
to the effect that it was "a great pity that Senor Felipe hadn't
married the Senorita years ago,-- what if he were to do it yet?" she
said, also under her breath. "It is my opinion he'd as soon think of
Saint Catharine herself! Not but that it would be a great thing if it
could be!"

And now the thing that the Senora had imagined to herself so often
had come about,-- the presence of a little child in her house, on the
veranda, in the garden, everywhere; the sunny, joyous, blest
presence. But how differently had it come! Not Felipe's child, as
she proudly had pictured, but the child of Ramona: the friendless,
banished Ramona returned now into full honor and peace as the
daughter of the house,-- Ramona, widow of Alessandro. If the
child had been Felipe's own, he could not have felt for it a greater
love. From the first, the little thing had clung to him as only
second to her mother. She slept hours in his arms, one little hand
hid in his dark beard, close to his lips, and kissed again and again
when no one saw. Next to Ramona herself in Felipe's heart came
Ramona's child; and on the child he could lavish the fondness he
felt that he could never dare to show to the mother, Month by
month it grew clearer to Felipe that the mainsprings of Ramona's
life were no longer of this earth; that she walked as one in constant
fellowship with one unseen. Her frequent and calm mention of
Alessandro did not deceive him. It did not mean a lessening grief:
it meant an unchanged relation.

One thing weighed heavily on Felipe's mind,-- the concealed
treasure. A sense of humiliation withheld him, day after day, from
speaking of it. But he could have no peace until Ramona knew it.
Each hour that he delayed the revelation he felt himself almost as
guilty as he had held his mother to be. At last he spoke. He had not
said many words, before Ramona interrupted him. "Oh, yes!" she
said. "I knew about those things; your mother told me. When we
were in such trouble, I used to wish sometimes we could have had
a few of the jewels. But they were all given to the Church. That
was what the Senora Ortegna said must be done with them if I
married against your mother's wishes."

It was with a shame-stricken voice that Felipe replied: "Dear
Ramona, they were not given to the Church. You know Father
Salvierderra died; and I suppose my mother did not know what to
do with them. She told me about them just as she was dying."

"But why did you not give them to the Church, dear?" asked
Ramona, simply.

"Why?" cried Felipe. "Because I hold them to be yours, and yours
only. I would never have given them to the Church, until I had sure
proof that you were dead and had left no children."

Ramona's eyes were fixed earnestly on Felipe's face. "You have not
read the Senora Ortegna's letter?" she said.

"Yes, I have," he replied, "every word of it."

"But that said I was not to have any of the things if I married
against the Senora Moreno's will."

Felipe groaned. Had his mother lied? "No, dear," he said, "that was
not the word. It was, if you married unworthily."

Ramona reflected. "I never recollected the words," she said. "I was
too frightened; but I thought that was what it meant. I did not
marry unworthily. Do you feel sure, Felipe, that it would be honest
for me to take them for my child?"

"Perfectly," said Felipe.

"Do you think Father Salvierderra would say I ought to keep

"I am sure of it, dear."

"I will think about it, Felipe. I cannot decide hastily. Your mother
did not think I had any right to them, if I married Alessandro. That
was why she showed them to me. I never knew of them till then. I
took one thing,-- a handkerchief of my father's. I was very glad to
have it; but it got lost when we went from San Pasquale.
Alessandro rode back a half-day's journey to find it for me; but it
had blown away. I grieved sorely for it."

The next day Ramona said to Felipe: "Dear Felipe, I have thought
it all over about those jewels. I believe it will be right for my
daughter to have them. Can there be some kind of a paper written
for me to sign, to say that if she dies they are all to be given to the
Church,-- to Father Salvierderra's College, in Santa Barbara? That
is where I would rather have them go."

"Yes, dear," said Felipe; "and then we will put them in some safer
place. I will take them to Los Angeles when I go. It is wonderful
no one has stolen them all these years!"

And so a second time the Ortegna jewels were passed on, by a
written bequest, into the keeping of that mysterious, certain,
uncertain thing we call the future, and delude our selves with the
fancy that we can have much to do with its shaping.


Life ran smoothly in the Moreno household,-- smoothly to the eye.
Nothing could be more peaceful, fairer to see, than the routine of
its days, with the simple pleasures, light tasks, and easy diligence
of all. Summer and winter were alike sunny, and had each its own
joys. There was not an antagonistic or jarring element; and, flitting
back and forth, from veranda to veranda, garden to garden, room
to room, equally at home and equally welcome everywhere, there
went perpetually, running, frisking, laughing, rejoicing, the little
child that had so strangely drifted into this happy shelter,-- the
little Ramona. As unconscious of aught sad or fateful in her
destiny as the blossoms with which it was her delight to play, she
sometimes seemed to her mother to have been from the first in
some mysterious way disconnected from it, removed, set free from
all that could ever by any possibility link her to sorrow.

Ramona herself bore no impress of sorrow; rather her face had
now an added radiance. There had been a period, soon after her
return, when she felt that she for the first time waked to the
realization of her bereavement; when every sight, sound, and place
seemed to cry out, mocking her with the name and the memory of
Alessandro. But she wrestled with this absorbing grief as with a
sin; setting her will steadfastly to the purposes of each day's duty,
and, most of all, to the duty of joyfulness. She repeated to herself
Father Salvierderra's sayings, till she more than knew them by
heart; and she spent long hours of the night in prayer, as it had
been his wont to do.

No one but Felipe dreamed of these vigils and wrestlings. He knew
them; and he knew, too, when they ceased, and the new light of a
new victory diffused itself over Ramona's face: but neither did the
first dishearten, nor the latter encourage him. Felipe was a
clearer-sighted lover now than he had been in his earlier youth. He
knew that into the world where Ramona really lived he did not so
much as enter; yet her every act, word, look, was full of loving
thoughtfulness of and for him, loving happiness in his
companionship. And while this was so, all Felipe's unrest could not
make him unhappy.

There were other causes entering into this unrest besides his
yearning desire to win Ramona for his wife. Year by year the
conditions of life in California were growing more distasteful to
him. The methods, aims, standards of the fast incoming Americans
were to him odious. Their boasted successes, the crowding of
colonies, schemes of settlement and development,-- all were
disagreeable and irritating. The passion for money and reckless
spending of it, the great fortunes made in one hour, thrown away in
another, savored to Felipe's mind more of brigandage and
gambling than of the occupations of gentlemen. He loathed them.
Life under the new government grew more and more intolerable to
him; both his hereditary instincts and prejudices, and his
temperament, revolted. He found himself more and more alone in
the country. Even the Spanish tongue was less and less spoken. He
was beginning to yearn for Mexico,-- for Mexico, which he had
never seen, yet yearned for like an exile. There he might yet live
among men of his own race and degree, and of congenial beliefs
and occupations. Whenever he thought of this change, always
came the quick memory of Ramona. Would she be willing to go?
Could it be that she felt a bond to this land, in which she had
known nothing but sufferings

At last he asked her. To his unutterable surprise, Ramona cried:
"Felipe! The saints be praised! I should never have told you. I did
not think that you could wish to leave this estate. But my most
beautiful dream for Ramona would be, that she should grow up in

And as she spoke, Felipe understood by a lightning intuition, and
wondered that he had not foreknown it, that she would spare her
daughter the burden she had gladly, heroically borne herself, in the
bond of race.

The question was settled. With gladness of heart almost more than
he could have believed possible, Felipe at once communicated
with some rich American proprietors who had desired to buy the
Moreno estate. Land in the valley had so greatly advanced in
value, that the sum he received for it was larger than he had dared
to hope; was ample for the realization of all his plans for the new
life in Mexico. From the hour that this was determined, and the
time for their sailing fixed, a new expression came into Ramona's
face. Her imagination was kindled. An untried future beckoned,-- a
future which she would embrace and conquer for her daughter.
Felipe saw the look, felt the change, and for the first time hoped. It
would be a new world, a new life; why not a new love? She could
not always be blind to his devotion; and when she saw it, could she
refuse to reward it? He would be very patient, and wait long, he
thought. Surely, since he had been patient so long without hope, he
could be still more patient now that hope had dawned! But
patience is not hope's province in breasts of lovers. From the day
when Felipe first thought to himself, "She will yet be mine," it
grew harder, and not easier, for him to refrain from pouring out his
love in words. Her tender sisterliness, which had been such balm
and comfort to him, grew at times intolerable; and again and again
her gentle spirit was deeply disquieted with the fear that she had
displeased him, so strangely did he conduct himself.

He had resolved that nothing should tempt him to disclose to her
his passion and its dreams, until they had reached their new home.
But there came a moment which mastered him, and he spoke.

It was in Monterey. They were to sail on the morrow; and had been
on board the ship to complete the last arrangements. They were
rowed back to shore in a little boat. A full moon shone. Ramona
sat bareheaded in the end of the boat, and the silver radiance from
the water seemed to float up around her, and invest her as with a
myriad halos. Felipe gazed at her till his senses swam; and when,
on stepping from the boat, she put her hand in his, and said, as she
had said hundreds of times before, "Dear Felipe, how good you
are!" he clasped her hands wildly, and cried, "Ramona, my love!
Oh, can you not love me?"

The moonlight was bright as day. They were alone on the shore.
Ramona gazed at him for one second, in surprise. Only for a
second; then she knew all. "Felipe! My brother!" she cried, and
stretched out her hands as if in warning.

"No! I am not your brother!" he cried. "I will not be your brother! I
would rather die!"

"Felipe!" cried Ramona again. This time her voice recalled him to
himself. It was a voice of terror and of pain.

"Forgive me, my sweet one!" he exclaimed. "I will never say it
again. But I have loved you so long -- so long!"

Ramona's head had fallen forward on her breast, her eyes fixed on
the shining sands; the waves rose and fell, rose and fell, at her feet
gently as sighs. A great revelation had come to Ramona. In this
supreme moment of Felipe's abandonment of all disguises, she saw
his whole past life in a new light. Remorse smote her. "Dear
Felipe," she said, clasping her hands, "I have been very selfish. I
did not know --"

"Of course you did not, love," said Felipe. "How could you? But I
have never loved any one else. I have always loved you. Can you
not learn to love me? I did not mean to tell you for a long time yet.
But now I have spoken; I cannot hide it any more."

Ramona drew nearer to him, still with her hands clasped. "I have
always loved you," she said. "I love no other living man; but,
Felipe," -- her voice sank to a solemn whisper,-- "do you not know,
Felipe, that part of me is dead,-- dead? can never live again? You
could not want me for your wife, Felipe, when part of me is dead!"

Felipe threw his arms around her. He was beside himself with joy.
"You would not say that if you did not think you could be my
wife," he cried. "Only give yourself to me, my love, I care not
whether you call yourself dead or alive!"

Ramona stood quietly in his arms. Ah, well for Felipe that he did
not know, never could know, the Ramona that Alessandro had
known. This gentle, faithful, grateful Ramona, asking herself
fervently now if she would do her brother a wrong, yielding up to
him what seemed to her only the broken fragment of a life;
weighing his words, not in the light of passion, but of calmest,
most unselfish action,-- ah, how unlike was she to that Ramona
who flung herself on Alessandro's breast, crying, "Take me with
you! I would rather die than have you leave me!"

Ramona had spoken truth. Part of her was dead. But Ramona saw
now, with infallible intuition, that even as she had loved
Alessandro, so Felipe loved her. Could she refuse to give Felipe
happiness, when he had saved her, saved her child? What else now
remained for them, these words having been spoken? "I will be
your wife, dear Felipe," she said, speaking solemnly, slowly, "if
you are sure it will make you happy, and if you think it is right."

"Right!" ejaculated Felipe, mad with the joy unlooked for so soon.
"Nothing else would be right! My Ramona, I will love you so, you
will forget you ever said that part of you was dead!"

A strange look which startled Felipe swept across Ramona's face;
it might have been a moonbeam. It passed. Felipe never saw it

General Moreno's name was still held in warm remembrance in the
city of Mexico, and Felipe found himself at once among friends.
On the day after their arrival he and Ramona were married in the
cathedral, old Marda and Juan Can, with his crutches, kneeling in
proud joy behind them. The story of the romance of their lives,
being widely rumored, greatly enhanced the interest with which
they were welcomed. The beautiful young Senora Moreno was the
theme of the city; and Felipe's bosom thrilled with pride to see the
gentle dignity of demeanor by which she was distinguished in all
assemblages. It was indeed a new world, a new life. Ramona might
well doubt her own identity. But undying memories stood like
sentinels in her breast. When the notes of doves, calling to each
other, fell on her ear, her eyes sought the sky, and she heard a
voice saying, "Majella!" This was the only secret her loyal, loving
heart had kept from Felipe. A loyal, loving heart indeed it was,--
loyal, loving, serene. Few husbands so blest as the Senor Felipe

Sons and daughters came to bear his name. The daughters were all
beautiful; but the most beautiful of them all, and, it was said, the
most beloved by both father and mother, was the eldest one: the
one who bore the mother's name, and was only step-daughter to the
Senor,-- Ramona,-- Ramona, daughter of Alessandro the Indian.