"They are going to stay with them, help them to earn money, try to make them happier, are they not?"
"Yes, Senorita." Alessandro began to see whither these questions tended. It was not unlike the Senora's tactics, the way in which Ramona narrowed in her lines of interrogation.
"Do the women of your people love their husbands very much?"
"Very much, Senorita." A pause. It was very dark now. Alessandro could not see the hot currents running swift and red over Ramona's face; even her neck changed color as she asked her last question. "Do you think any one of them loves her husband more than I love you, Alessandro?"
Alessandro's arms were again around her, before the words were done. Were not such words enough to make a dead man live? Almost; but not enough to make such a love as Alessandro's selfish. Alessandro was silent.
"You know there is not one!" said Ramona, impetuously.
"Oh, it is too much!" cried Alessandro, throwing his arms up wildly. Then, drawing her to him again, he said, the words pouring out breathless: "My Senorita, you take me to the door of heaven, but I dare not go in. I know it would kill you, Senorita, to live the life we must live. Let me go, dearest Senorita; let me go! It had been better if you had never seen me."
"Do you know what I was going to do, Alessandro, if you had not come?" said Ramona. "I was going to run away from the Senora's house, all alone, and walk all the way to Santa Barbara, to Father Salvierderra, and ask him to put me in the convent at San Juan Bautista; and that is what I will do now if you leave me!"
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