"Your people are my people, dearest; and the saints never forsake any one who does not forsake them. You will be glad all our lives long, Alessandro," cried Ramona; and she laid her head on his breast in solemn silence for a moment, as if registering a vow.
Well might Felipe have said that he would hold himself fortunate if any woman ever loved him as Ramona loved Alessandro.
When she lifted her head, she said timidly, now that she was sure, "Then you will take your Ramona with you, Alessandro?"
"I will take you with me till I die; and may the Madonna guard you, my Ramona," replied Alessandro, clasping her to his breast, and bowing his head upon hers. But there were tears in his eyes, and they were not tears of joy; and in his heart he said, as in his rapturous delight when he first saw Ramona bending over the brook under the willows he had said aloud, "My God! what shall I do!"
It was not easy to decide on the best plan of procedure now. Alessandro wished to go boldly to the house, see Senor Felipe, and if need be the Senora. Ramona quivered with terror at the bare mention of it. "You do not know the Senora, Alessandro," she cried, "or you would never think of it. She has been terrible all this time. She hates me so that she would kill me if she dared. She pretends that she will do nothing to prevent my going away; but I believe at the last minute she would throw me in the well in the court-yard, rather than have me go with you."
"I would never let her harm you," said Alessandro. "Neither would Senor Felipe."
"She turns Felipe round her finger as if he were soft wax," answered Ramona. "She makes him of a hundred minds in a minute, and he can't help himself. Oh, I think she is in league with the fiends, Alessandro! Don't dare to come near the house; I will come here as soon as every one is asleep. We must go at once."
Ramona's terrors overruled Alessandro's judgment, and he consented to wait for her at the spot where they now stood. She turned back twice to embrace him again. "Oh, my Alessandro, promise me that you will not stir from this place till I come," she said.
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