"No, Father," answered Ysidro. "But little more than two years. They were married by you, on their way from Temecula here."
"Ay, ay. I remember," said Father Gaspara. "I will come;" and it was with no small interest that he looked forward to meeting again the couple that had so strongly impressed him.
Ramona was full of eager interest in her preparations for entertaining the priest. This was like the olden time; and as she busied herself with her cooking and other arrangements, the thought of Father Salvierderra was much in her mind. She could, perhaps, hear news of him from Father Gaspara. It was she who had suggested the idea to Alessandro; and when he said, "But where will you sleep yourself, with the child, Majella, if we give our room to the Father? I can lie on the floor outside; but you?" -- "I will go to Ysidro's, and sleep with Juana," she replied. "For two nights, it is no matter; and it is such shame to have the Father sleep in the house of an American, when we have a good bed like this!"
Seldom in his life had Alessandro experienced such a sense of gratification as he did when he led Father Gaspara into his and Ramona's bedroom. The clean whitewashed walls, the bed neatly made, with broad lace on sheets and pillows, hung with curtains and a canopy of bright red calico, the old carved chairs, the Madonna shrine in its bower of green leaves, the shelves on the walls, the white-curtained window, -- all made up a picture such as Father Gaspara had never before seen in his pilgrimages among the Indian villages. He could not restrain an ejaculation of surprise. Then his eye falling on the golden rosary, he exclaimed, "Where got you that?"
"It is my wife's," replied Alessandro, proudly. "It was given to her by Father Salvierderra."
"Ah!" said the Father. "He died the other day."
"Dead! Father Salvierderra dead!" cried Alessandro. "That will be a terrible blow. Oh, Father, I implore you not to speak of it in her presence. She must not know it till after the christening. It will make her heart heavy, so that she will have no joy."
Father Gaspara was still scrutinizing the rosary and crucifix. "To be sure, to be sure," he said absently; "I will say nothing of it; but this is a work of art, this crucifix; do you know what you have here? And this,-- is this not an altar-cloth?" he added, lifting up the beautiful wrought altar-cloth, which Ramona, in honor of his coming, had pinned on the wall below the Madonna's shrine.
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