"Not well," replied Alessandro. "He came seldom to Temecula when I was there; but he is a friend of Indians. I know he came with the men from San Diego at the time when there was fighting, and the whites were in great terror; and they said, except for Father Gaspara's words, there would not have been a white man left alive in Pala. My father had sent all his people away before that fight began. He knew it was coming, but he would have nothing to do with it. He said the Indians were all crazy. It was no use. They would only be killed themselves. That is the worst thing, my Majella. The stupid Indians fight and kill, and then what can we do? The white men think we are all the same. Father Gaspara has never been to Pala, I heard, since that time. There goes there now the San Juan Capistrano priest. He is a bad man. He takes money from the starving poor."
"A priest!" ejaculated Ramona, horror-stricken.
"Ay! a priest!" replied Alessandro. "They are not all good, -- not like Father Salvierderra."
"Oh, if we could but have gone to Father Salvierderra!" exclaimed Ramona, involuntarily.
Alessandro looked distressed. "It would have been much more danger, Majella," he said, "and I had no knowledge of work I could do there."
His look made Ramona remorseful at once. How cruel to lay one feather-weight of additional burden on this loving man. "Oh, this is much better, really," she said. "I did not mean what I said. It is only because I have always loved Father Salvierderra so. And the Senora will tell him what is not true. Could we not send him a letter, Alessandro?"
"There is a Santa Inez Indian I know," replied Alessandro, "who comes down with nets to sell, sometimes, to Temecula. I know not if he goes to San Diego. If I could get speech with him, he would go up from Santa Inez to Santa Barbara for me, I am sure; for once he lay in my father's house, sick for many weeks, and I nursed him, and since then he is always begging me to take a net from him, whenever he comes. It is not two days from Santa Inez to Santa Barbara."
"I wish it were the olden time now, Alessandro," sighed Ramona, "when the men like Father Salvierderra had all the country. Then there would be work for all, at the Missions. The Senora says the Missions were like palaces, and that there were thousands of Indians in every one of them; thousands and thousands, all working so happy and peaceful."
Reminder: Arrow keys left and right (← →) to turn pages forward and backward, up and down (↑ ↓) to scroll up and down, Enter key: return to the list