"Holy Virgin!" cried Ramona, "never speak such a word. You would be struck dead if you laid your hand on her! I fear even the thought was a sin,"
"There was a small figure of her in the wall of our house," said Alessandro. "It was from San Luis Rey. I do not know what became of it,-- if it were left behind, or if they took it with my father's things to Pachanga. I did not see it there. When I go again, I will look."
"Again!" cried Ramona. "What say you? You go again to Pachanga? You will not leave me, Alessandro?"
At the bare mention of Alessandro's leaving her, Ramona's courage always vanished. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, she was transformed from the dauntless, confident, sunny woman, who bore him up as it were on wings of hope and faith, to a timid, shrinking, despondent child, crying out in alarm, and clinging to the hand.
"After a time, dear Majella, when you are wonted to the place, I must go, to fetch the wagon and the few things that were ours. There is the raw-hide bed which was Father Peyri's, and he gave to my father. Majella will like to lie on that. My father believed it had great virtue."
"Like that you made for Felipe?" she asked.
"Yes; but it is not so large. In those days the cattle were not so large as they are now: this is not so broad as Senor Felipe's. There are chairs, too, from the Mission, three of them, one almost as fine as those on your veranda at home. They were given to my father. And music-books,-- beautiful parchment books! Oh, I hope those are not lost, Majella! If Jose had lived, he would have looked after it all. But in the confusion, all the things belonging to the village were thrown into wagons together, and no one knew where anything was. But all the people knew my father's chairs and the books of the music. If the Americans did not steal them, everything will be safe. My people do not steal. There was never but one thief in our village, and my father had him so whipped, he ran away and never came back. I heard he was living in San Jacinto, and was a thief yet, spite of all that whipping he had. I think if it is in the blood to be a thief, not even whipping will take it out, Majella,"
"Like the Americans," she said, half laughing, but with tears in the voice. "Whipping would not cure them."
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