and the innumerable barrows which dot the hills near the

It had happened more than once that he had found Ramona at the willows by the brook, and had talked with her there. The first time it happened, it was a chance; after that never a chance again, for Alessandro went often seeking the spot, hoping to find her. In Ramona's mind too, not avowed, but half consciously, there was, if not the hope of seeing him there, at least the memory that it was there they had met. It was a pleasant spot,-- cool and shady even at noon, and the running water always full of music. Ramona often knelt there of a morning, washing out a bit of lace or a handkerchief; and when Alessandro saw her, it went hard with him to stay away. At such moments the vision returned to him vividly of that first night when, for the first second, seeing her face in the sunset glow, he had thought her scarce mortal. It was not that he even now thought her less a saint; but ah, how well he knew her to be human! He had gone alone in the dark to this spot many a time, and, lying on the grass, put his hands into the running water, and played with it dreamily, thinking, in his poetic Indian fashion, thoughts like these: "Whither have gone the drops that passed beneath her hands, just here? These drops will never find those in the sea; but I love this water!"

and the innumerable barrows which dot the hills near the

Margarita had seen him thus lying, and without dreaming of the refined sentiment which prompted his action, had yet groped blindly towards it, thinking to herself: "He hopes his Senorita will come down to him there. A nice place it is for a lady to meet her lover, at the washing-stones! It will take swifter water than any in that brook, Senorita Ramona, to wash you white in the Senora's eyes, if ever she come upon you there with the head shepherd, making free with him, may be! Oh, but if that could only happen, I'd die content!" And the more Margarita watched, the more she thought it not unlikely that it might turn out so. It was oftener at the willows than anywhere else that Ramona and Alessandro met; and, as Margarita noticed with malicious satisfaction, they talked each time longer, each time parted more lingeringly. Several times it had happened to be near supper-time; and Margarita, with one eye on the garden-walk, had hovered restlessly near the Senora, hoping to be ordered to call the Senorita to supper.

and the innumerable barrows which dot the hills near the

"If but I could come on them of a sudden, and say to her as she did to me, 'You are wanted in the house'! Oh, but it would do my soul good! I'd say it so it would sting like a lash laid on both their faces! It will come! It will come! It will be there that she'll be caught one of these fine times she's having! I'll wait! It will come!"

and the innumerable barrows which dot the hills near the

IT came. And when it came, it fell out worse for Ramona than Margarita's most malicious hopes had pictured; but Margarita had no hand in it. It was the Senora herself.

Since Felipe had so far gained as to be able to be dressed, sit in his chair on the veranda, and walk about the house and garden a little, the Senora, at ease in her mind about him, had resumed her old habit of long, lonely walks on the place. It had been well said by her servants, that there was not a blade of grass on the estate that the Senora had not seen. She knew every inch of her land. She had a special purpose in walking over it now. She was carefully examining to see whether she could afford to sell to the Ortegas a piece of pasture-land which they greatly desired to buy, as it joined a pasturage tract of theirs. This bit of land lay farther from the house than the Senora realized, and it had taken more time than she thought it would, to go over it; and it was already sunset on this eventful day, when, hurrying home, she turned off from the highway into the same shortcut path in which Father Salvierderra had met Ramona in the spring. There was no difficulty now in getting through the mustard tangle. It was parched and dry, and had been trampled by cattle. The Senora walked rapidly, but it was dusky twilight when she reached the willows; so dusky that she saw nothing -- and she stepped so lightly on the smooth brown path that she made no sound -- until suddenly, face to face with a man and a woman standing locked in each other's arms, she halted, stepped back a pace, gave a cry of surprise, and, in the same second, recognized the faces of the two, who, stricken dumb, stood apart, each gazing into her face with terror.

Strangely enough, it was Ramona who spoke first. Terror for herself had stricken her dumb; terror for Alessandro gave her a voice.

"Silence! Shameful creature!" cried the Senora. "Do not dare to speak! Go to your room!"

"As for you," the Senora continued, turning to Alessandro, "you," -- she was about to say, "You are discharged from my service from this hour," but recollecting herself in time, said,-- "you will answer to Senor Felipe. Out of my sight!" And the Senora Moreno actually, for once in her life beside herself with rage, stamped her foot on the ground. "Out of my sight!" she repeated.

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