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 Señora 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 Señora 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 did.
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 Señora Moreno; but this Juan did not know. Neither did he realize that Alessandro, 99 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 Señor Felipe himself had not been more carefully trained in all precepts of kindliness, honorable dealing, and polite usage, by the Señora, 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 Señora’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 circumstance 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 100 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, “Señorita, would Señor Felipe like to have me play on the violin to him to-night?”
“Why, whose violin have you got?” exclaimed Ramona, astonished.
“My own, Señorita.”
“Your own! I thought you said you did not bring it.”
“Yes, Señorita, that is true; but I sent for it last night, and it is here.”
“Sent to Temecula and back already!” cried Ramona.
“Yes, Señorita. Our ponies are swift and strong. They can go a hundred miles in a day, and not suffer. It was José 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, Señorita; 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 more.101
“But it was for us that you sent for it, Alessandro; the Señora would rather pay the messenger herself.”
“It is paid, Señorita. It is nothing. If the Señor 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, Señorita?” 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, Señorita, 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 Señora 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 102 away, trying to dismiss the harsh speech from her mind. “Alessandro must have vexed the Señorita,” 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 Señora 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 Señora,” 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 Señora shook her head. “My place is here,” she answered, speaking in a dry, hard tone. Sympathy was hateful to the Señora 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 Señora 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?”103
“No, Señora,” replied Ramona, meekly; and she glanced involuntarily at the saucer of musk which the Señora kept on the table close to Felipe’s pillow.
“The musk is different,” said the Señora, 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 Señora; and if they had, she would have thought it all a fancy.
“Shall I stay?” asked Ramona, gently.
“As you please,” replied the Señora. 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 saints!”
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 Señora 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 Señora, 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 Señora’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, 104 or have slain Ramona, one or the other. But no such knowledge was possible; no such idea could have found entrance into the Señora’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 companions.
At twilight of this day Felipe was restless and feverish again. He had dozed at intervals all day long, but had had no refreshing sleep.
“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.”105
“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 Señora’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 Señora, “Indeed, Señora, 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 washing-stones.106
“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! 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, Señorita. Does Señor 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 Señorita 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 Señora 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 107 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 Señor Felipe. And Juan José said the other day he’d make enough better head shepherd than old Juan Can, if Señor 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 Señora. “And the Señorita will perhaps marry Señor 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 Señora would not let him. Anyhow, Señor 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 goodnight 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 108 the sheep, and Señor 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 Señora 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 Señora’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 Señora’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 109 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 110 Margarita there. Ramona’s cheeks blazed with a disproportionate indignation. But she bethought herself, “Ah, the Señora may have sent her to call Alessandro!” She rose, went to the door of Felipe’s room, and looked in. The Señora was sitting in the chair by Felipe’s bed, with her eyes closed. Felipe was dozing. The Señora 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 Señora, 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 111 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, felt 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 Señorita thought me making love to that girl. May the fiends get her! The Señorita 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 112 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 Señorita 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 Señorita 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 Señorita, 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 Señorita’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 Señorita want me?”113
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 Señora.”
“There is no harm,” muttered Margarita, sullenly. “I don’t know what the Señorita means.”
“You know very well, Margarita,” retorted Ramona. “You know that the 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 Señora’s and also the Señorita’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 Señor 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, 114 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 Señorita? 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.
“Señorita,” he began again, “I would never be unfaithful to my duty to the Señora, 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.115
“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.”
Notes and Corrections: Chapter VII
the Señora permits nothing of the kind
text has Sñeora
A bad beginning did not make a good ending of the Señora Moreno’s sheep-shearing
Felipe gained but slowly. The relapse was . . . worse than the original attack.
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.