"Ah!" The Senora reflected. At first startled, her second thought was that this would be the best possible thing which could happen. "Father Salvierderra will counsel them what to do," she said. "He could no doubt establish them in Santa Barbara in some way. My son, when you reflect, you will see the impossibility of bringing them here. Help them in any way you like, but do not bring them here." She paused. "Not until I am dead, Felipe! It will not be long."
Felipe bowed his head in his mother's lap. She laid her hands on his hair, and stroked it with passionate tenderness. "My Felipe!" she said. "It was a cruel fate to rob me of you at the last!"
"Mother! mother!" he cried in anguish. "I am yours,-- wholly, devotedly yours! Why do you torture me thus?"
"I will not torture you more," she said wearily, in a feeble tone. "I ask only one thing of you; let me never hear again the name of that wretched girl, who has brought all this woe on our house; let her name never be spoken on this place by man, woman, or child. Like a thief in the night! Ay, a horse-thief!"
"Mother." he said, "Baba was Ramona's own; I myself gave him to her as soon as he was born!"
The Senora made no reply. She had fainted. Calling the maids, in terror and sorrow Felipe bore her to her bed, and she did not leave it for many days. She seemed hovering between life and death. Felipe watched over her as a lover might; her great mournful eyes followed his every motion. She spoke little, partly because of physical weakness, partly from despair. The Senora had got her death-blow. She would die hard. It would take long. Yet she was dying, and she knew it.
Felipe did not know it. When he saw her going about again, with a step only a little slower than before, and with a countenance not so much changed as he had feared, he thought she would be well again, after a time. And now he would go in search of Ramona. How he hoped he should find them in Santa Barbara! He must leave them there, or wherever he should find them; never again would he for a moment contemplate the possibility of bringing them home with him. But he would see them; help them, if need be. Ramona should not feel herself an outcast, so long as he lived.
When he said, agitatedly, to his mother, one night, "You are so strong now, mother, I think I will take a journey; I will not be away long,-- not over a week," she understood, and with a deep sigh replied: "I am not strong; but I am as strong as I shall ever be. If the journey must be taken, it is as well done now."
Reminder: Arrow keys left and right (← →) to turn pages forward and backward, up and down (↑ ↓) to scroll up and down, Enter key: return to the list