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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 country."

"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 not 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

"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

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 rosary.


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

"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 relations."

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 while."

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 minute."

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

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

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

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

"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

Ramona shrieked aloud. She had not thought of this possibility.
Alessandro had thought of everything. "What could happen?" she cried.

"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,

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 back."

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

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