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Ramona

80

view of mission courtyard showing cell doors and windows

VI.

A bad beginning did not make a good ending of the Señora 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 Señora 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 Señora, 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 Señor Felipe’s place at the packing, fell from the cross-beam to the ground, and broke his right leg,—a bad break neat 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 Señora with terror, had she known that such blasphemies were being committed under her roof.

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“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 82 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 Señora 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! Capitan!—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 if you were to sing, then,” said Ramona. “He was speaking of your voice also.”

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“Oh, try, try!” said the Señora, 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 masses.

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 astonishment.

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

“It was what he wanted!” whispered Ramona.

The Señora 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 Señora 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 windows; 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 Señora, impatiently. “He may wake any minute.”

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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 Señora 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 Señora’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, Señorita. 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 Señora 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 85 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 Señora did not enter into her imaginations of the future which so smote her with terror. In the Señora’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 86 monk standing in the window, tears running down his cheeks. “God be praised,” he said, “the Señor 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 Señora 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. 87 The Señora 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, Señorita,” answered Alessandro, gravely. “I will stay so long as you need me.”

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

“It is not for the wages, Señorita,” 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 Señorita 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 Señora 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 Señor 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 88 in most rebellious frame of mind, and blasphemes impiously.”

“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 forever?”

Father Salvierderra was silent a long time before replying, and Alessandro watched his face anxiously. 89 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 land?”

“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 danger.”

“But, Father,” persisted Alessandro, “how could there be a law to take away from us the land which the Señor Valdez gave us forever?”

“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 José Ramirez, of Los Angeles, when they marked all the boundaries of Señor 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,—Señor 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 José 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 José Ramirez and Señor 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; 90 “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 hands.”

“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 another.

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 91 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 Señor 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 fête, in midsummer,—no doing anything without Alessandro 92 then. What was he thinking of? Not of the midsummer fête, that was certain, when he promised to stay as long as the Señorita Ramona should need him. Alessandro had remembered nothing except the Señorita’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 fête, 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 fête, and disorderly whites took advantage of the occasion to sell whiskey and encourage all sorts of license and disturbance. Yes, Alessandro’s clear path of duty lay at Temecula when that fête 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 fête. 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 Señora Moreno, he reminded them, had always 93 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 need.

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 Señorita 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, Señorita, before they are off,” he said; “but it shall be as you wish, and many thanks to you, Señorita, 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 94 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, Señorita,” 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 supper.”

“Will the Señorita 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 95 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 José! 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. Señor 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 Señor Felipe got well, which he seemed like 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.”

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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. “José,” he said, “whose horse is the faster, yours or Antonio’s?”

“Mine,” promptly replied José. “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 José’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 José for his messenger, he went thus to work to make sure that he would urge his horse to its utmost speed.

Whispering in José’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 José, elated. “You will see me back to-morrow by sundown.”

“Not earlier?” asked Alessandro. “I thought by noon.”

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“Well, by noon be it, then,” said José. “The horse can do it.”

“Have great care!” said Alessandro.

“That will I,” replied José; and giving his horse’s sides a sharp punch with his knees, set off at full gallop westward.

“I have sent José with a message to Temecula,” said Alessandro, walking up to Fernando. “He will be back here to-morrow 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. José’s is no match for her, and never was. Why did you not send me, Alessandro?”

“Is your horse really faster than José’s?” said Alessandro. “Then I wish I had sent you. I’ll send you next time.”

Notes and Corrections: Chapter VI

all the boundaries of Señor Valdez’s estate
text has Senor without tilde


The room in which Father Salvierderra always slept when at the Señora Moreno’s house


It was strange to see how quickly and naturally Alessandro fitted into his place in the household.

Ramona:
Introduction and Contents

 

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.