"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: --
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