The shore of the Pacific Ocean for many miles north of San Diego is a succession of rounding promontories, walling the mouths of canons, down many of which small streams make to the sea. These canons are green and rich at bottom, and filled with trees, chiefly oak. Beginning as little more than rifts in the ground, they deepen and widen, till at their mouths they have a beautiful crescent of shining beach from an eighth to a quarter of a mile long, The one which Alessandro hoped to reach before morning was not a dozen miles from the old town of San Diego, and commanded a fine view of the outer harbor. When he was last in it, he had found it a nearly impenetrable thicket of young oak-trees. Here, he believed, they could hide safely all day, and after nightfall ride into San Diego, be married at the priest's house, and push on to San Pasquale that same night. "All day, in that canon, Majella can look at the sea," he thought; "but I will not tell her now, for it may be the trees have been cut down, and we cannot be so close to the shore."
It was near sunrise when they reached the place. The trees had not been cut down. Their tops, seen from above, looked like a solid bed of moss filling in the canon bottom. The sky and the sea were both red. As Ramona looked down into this soft green pathway, it seemed, leading out to the wide and sparkling sea, she thought Alessandro had brought her into a fairy-land.
"What a beautiful world!" she cried; and riding up so close to Benito that she could lay her hand on Alessandro's, she said solemnly: "Do you not think we ought to be very happy, Alessandro, in such a beautiful world as this? Do you think we might sing our sunrise hymn here?"
Alessandro glanced around. They were alone on the breezy open; it was not yet full dawn; great masses of crimson vapor were floating upward from the hills behind San Diego. The light was still burning in the light-house on the promontory walling the inner harbor, but in a few moments more it would be day. "No, Majella, not here." he said. "We must not stay. As soon as the sun rises, a man or a horse may be seen on this upper coast-line as far as eye can reach. We must be among the trees with all the speed we can make."
It was like a house with a high, thick roof of oak tree-tops, the shelter they found. No sun penetrated it; a tiny trickle of water still remained, and some grass along its rims was still green, spite of the long drought,-- a scanty meal for Baba and Benito, but they ate it with relish in each other's company.
"They like each other, those two," said Ramona, laughing, as she watched them. "They will be friends."
"Ay," said Alessandro, also smiling. "Horses are friends, like men, and can hate each other, like men, too. Benito would never see Antonio's mare, the little yellow one, that he did not let fly his heels at her; and she was as afraid, at sight of him, as a cat is at a dog. Many a time I have laughed to see it."
"Know you the priest at San Diego?" asked Ramona.
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