The man, confused and embarrassed, astonished beyond expression at being met in this way by an Indian, did not find words come ready to his tongue. "Of course, I know it does seem a little rough on fellows like you, that are industrious, and have done some work on the land. But you see the land's in the market; I've paid my money for it."
"The Senor is going to build a house?" asked Alessandro.
"Yes," the man answered. "I've got my family in San Diego, and I want to get them settled as soon as I can. My wife won't feel comfortable till she's in her own house. We're from the States, and she's been used to having everything comfortable."
"I have a wife and child, Senor," said Alessandro, still in the same calm, deliberate tone; "and we have a very good house of two rooms. It would save the Senor's building, if he would buy mine."
"How far is it?" said the man. "I can't tell exactly where the boundaries of my land are, for the stakes we set have been pulled up."
"Yes, Senor, I pulled them up and burned them. They were on my land," replied Alessandro. "My house is farther west than your stakes; and I have large wheat-fields there, too,-- many acres, Senor, all planted."
Here was a chance, indeed. The man's eyes gleamed. He would do the handsome thing. He would give this fellow something for his house and wheat-crops. First he would see the house, however; and it was for that purpose he had walked back with Alessandro, When he saw the neat whitewashed adobe, with its broad veranda, the sheds and corrals all in good order, he instantly resolved to get possession of them by fair means or foul.
"There will be three hundred dollars' worth of wheat in July, Senor, you can see for yourself; and a house so good as that, you cannot build for less than one hundred dollars. What will you give me for them?"
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