St Peter's Church, a venerable edifice, occupies a prominent

Alessandro stared, no less astonished at Juan Can's unconscious revelation of his standard of measurement of years than Juan had been at his. "Faith, old man, what name dost give to yourself to-day!" he thought; but went on with the topic of the raw-hide bed. "I may not so soon get speech with Senor Felipe," he said. "It is usually when he is sleepy that I go to play for him or to sing. But it makes my heart heavy to see him thus languishing day by day, and all for lack of the air and the sun, I do believe, indeed, Juan."

St Peter's Church, a venerable edifice, occupies a prominent

"Ask the Senorita, then," said Juan. "She has his ear at all times."

St Peter's Church, a venerable edifice, occupies a prominent

Alessandro made no answer. Why was it that it did not please him,-- this suggestion of speaking to Ramona of his plan for Felipe's welfare? He could not have told; but he did not wish to speak of it to her.

St Peter's Church, a venerable edifice, occupies a prominent

"I will speak to the Senora," he said; and as luck would have it, at that moment the Senora stood in the doorway, come to ask after Juan Can's health.

The suggestion of the raw-hide bed struck her favorably. She herself had, in her youth, heard much of their virtues, and slept on them. "Yes," she said, "they are good. We will try it. It was only yesterday that Senor Felipe was complaining of the bed he lies on; and when he was well, he thought nothing could be so good; he brought it here, at a great price, for me, but I could not lie on it. It seemed as if it would throw me off as soon as I lay down; it is a cheating device, like all these innovations the Americans have brought into the country. But Senor Felipe till now thought it a luxury; now he tosses on it, and says it is throwing him all the time."

Alessandro smiled, in spite of his reverence for the Senora. "I once lay down on one myself, Senora," he said, "and that was what I said to my father. It was like a wild horse under me, making himself ready to buck. I thought perhaps the invention was of the saints, that men should not sleep too long."

"There is a pile of raw-hides," said Juan, "well cured, but not too stiff; Juan Jose was to have sent them off to-day to be sold; one of those will be just right. It must not be too dry."

"The fresher the better," said Alessandro, "so it have no dampness. Shall I make the bed, Senora?" he asked, "and will the Senora permit that I make it on the veranda? I was just asking Juan Can if he thought I might be so bold as to ask you to let me bring Senor Felipe into the outer air. With us, it is thought death to be shut up in walls, as he has been so long. Not till we are sure to die, do we go into the dark like that."

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