But the Senora's power was shaken now. More changed than all else in the changed Moreno household, was the relation between the Senora Moreno and her son Felipe. On the morning after Ramona's disappearance, words had been spoken by each which neither would ever forget. In fact, the Senora believed that it was of them she was dying, and perhaps that was not far from the truth; the reason that forces could no longer rally in her to repel disease, lying no doubt largely in the fact that to live seemed no longer to her desirable.
Felipe had found the note Ramona had laid on his bed. Before it was yet dawn he had waked, and tossing uneasily under the light covering had heard the rustle of the paper, and knowing instinctively that it was from Ramona, had risen instantly to make sure of it. Before his mother opened her window, he had read it. He felt like one bereft of his senses as he read. Gone! Gone with Alessandro! Stolen away like a thief in the night, his dear, sweet little sister! Ah, what a cruel shame! Scales seemed to drop from Felipe's eyes as he lay motionless, thinking of it. A shame! a cruel shame! And he and his mother were the ones who had brought it on Ramona's head, and on the house of Moreno. Felipe felt as if he had been under a spell all along, not to have realized this. "That's what I told my mother!" he groaned,-- "that it drove her to running away! Oh, my sweet Ramona! what will become of her? I will go after them, and bring them back;" and Felipe rose, and hastily dressing himself, ran down the veranda steps, to gain a little more time to think. He returned shortly, to meet his mother standing in the doorway, with pale, affrighted face.
"Felipe!" she cried, "Ramona is not here."
"I know it," he replied in an angry tone. "That is what I told you we should do,-- drive her to running away with Alessandro!"
"With Alessandro!" interrupted the Senora.
"Yes," continued Felipe,-- "with Alessandro, the Indian! Perhaps you think it is less disgrace to the names of Ortegna and Moreno to have her run away with him, than to be married to him here under our roof! I do not! Curse the day, I say, when I ever lent myself to breaking the girl's heart! I am going after them, to fetch them back!"
If the skies had opened and rained fire, the Senora had hardly less quailed and wondered than she did at these words; but even for fire from the skies she would not surrender till she must.
"How know you that it is with Alessandro?" she said.
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