"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!"
"Oh, no, no, Senorita, my Senorita, you will not do that! My beautiful Senorita in the convent! No, no!" cried Alessandro, greatly agitated.
"Yes, if you do not let me come with you, I shall do it. I shall set out to-morrow."
Her words carried conviction to Alessandro's soul. He knew she would do as she said. "Even that would not be so dreadful as to be hunted like a wild beast, Senorita; as you may be, if you come with me."
"When I thought you were dead, Alessandro, I did not think the convent would be dreadful at all. I thought it would be peace; and I could do good, teaching the children. But if I knew you were alive, I could never have peace; not for one minute have peace, Alessandro! I would rather die, than not be where you are. Oh, Alessandro, take me with you!"
Alessandro was conquered. "I will take you, my most beloved Senorita," he said gravely,-- no lover's gladness in his tone, and his voice was hollow; "I will take you. Perhaps the saints will have mercy on you, even if they have forsaken me and my people!"
"Your people are my people, dearest; and the saints never forsake any one who does not forsake them. You will be glad all our lives long, Alessandro," cried Ramona; and she laid her head on his breast in solemn silence for a moment, as if registering a vow.
Well might Felipe have said that he would hold himself fortunate if any woman ever loved him as Ramona loved Alessandro.
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