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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, piteously.

"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

"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 house."

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


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 preternatural.

"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 fall.

"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

"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!"

"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 dialect.

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 tropicks."

"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 minnit."

"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

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

"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 one."

"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

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 them.

"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

"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 sky.

"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

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