A fierce torrent of words sprang to Alessandro's lips, but he choked them back. "I do not know where I shall go, but I will not stay here," he said; and that ended the interview.
"I don't know as I blame him a mite for feeling that way," thought the man from the States, as he walked slowly back to his pile of lumber. "I expect I should feel just so myself."
Almost before Alessandro had finished this tale, he began to move about the room, taking down, folding up, opening and shutting lids; his restlessness was terrible to see. "By sunrise, I would like to be off," he said. "It is like death, to be in the house which is no longer ours." Ramona had spoken no words since her first cry on hearing that terrible laugh. She was like one stricken dumb. The shock was greater to her than to Alessandro. He had lived with it ever present in his thoughts for a year. She had always hoped. But far more dreadful than the loss of her home, was the anguish of seeing, hearing, the changed face, changed voice, of Alessandro. Almost this swallowed up the other. She obeyed him mechanically, working faster and faster as he grew more and more feverish in his haste. Before sundown the little house was dismantled; everything, except the bed and the stove, packed in the big wagon.
"Now, we must cook food for the journey," said Alessandro.
"Where are we going?" said the weeping Ramona.
"Where?" ejaculated Alessandro, so scornfully that it sounded like impatience with Ramona, and made her tears flow afresh. "Where? I know not, Majella! Into the mountains, where the white men come not! At sunrise we will start."
Ramona wished to say good-by to their friends. There were women in the village that she tenderly loved. But Alessandro was unwilling. "There will be weeping and crying, Majella; I pray you do not speak to one. Why should we have more tears? Let us disappear. I will say all to Ysidro. He will tell them."
This was a sore grief to Ramona. In her heart she rebelled against it, as she had never yet rebelled against an act of Alessandro's; but she could not distress him. Was not his burden heavy enough now?
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