"It must be the Virgin herself that is teaching Majella what to say," thought Alessandro, as he repeated this in the San Luiseno tongue.
Again the women murmured pleasure, but the old woman spoke not. "And say that you will be her son," added Ramona.
Alessandro said it. It was perhaps for this that the old woman had waited. Lifting up her arm, like a sibyl, she said: "It is well; I am your mother. The winds of the valley shall love you, and the grass shall dance when you come. The daughter looks on her mother's face each day. I will go;" and making a sign to her bearers, she was lifted, and carried to her house.
The scene affected Ramona deeply. The simplest acts of these people seemed to her marvellously profound in their meanings. She was not herself sufficiently educated or versed in life to know why she was so moved,-- to know that such utterances, such symbolisms as these, among primitive peoples, are thus impressive because they are truly and grandly dramatic; but she was none the less stirred by them, because she could not analyze or explain them.
"I will go and see her every day," she said; "she shall be like my mother, whom I never saw."
"We must both go each day," said Alessandro. "What we have said is a solemn promise among my people; it would not be possible to break it."
Ysidro's home was in the centre of the village, on a slightly rising ground; it was a picturesque group of four small houses, three of tule reeds and one of adobe,-- the latter a comfortable little house of two rooms, with a floor and a shingled roof, both luxuries in San Pasquale. The great fig-tree, whose luxuriance and size were noted far and near throughout the country, stood half-way down the slope; but its boughs shaded all three of the tule houses. On one of its lower branches was fastened a dove-cote, ingeniously made of willow wands, plastered with adobe, and containing so many rooms that the whole tree seemed sometimes a-flutter with doves and dovelings. Here and there, between the houses, were huge baskets, larger than barrels, woven of twigs, as the eagle weaves its nest, only tighter and thicker. These were the outdoor granaries; in these were kept acorns, barley, wheat, and corn. Ramona thought them, as well she might, the prettiest things she ever saw.
"Are they hard to make?" she asked. "Can you make them, Alessandro? I shall want many."
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