Here I saw the Church of England clergyman and the Dissenting

"Would it not be the Senorita?" asked Alessandro.

Here I saw the Church of England clergyman and the Dissenting

Juan Can laughed an ugly laugh. "Ha, ha! Let the Senora hear you say that!" he said. "Faith, it will be little the Senorita gets more than enough for her bread, may be, out of the Moreno estate. Hark ye, Alessandro; if you will not tell, I will tell you the story of the Senorita. You know she is not of the Moreno blood; is no relation of theirs."

Here I saw the Church of England clergyman and the Dissenting

"Yes," said Alessandro; "Margarita has said to me that the Senorita Ramona was only the foster-child of the Senora Moreno."

Here I saw the Church of England clergyman and the Dissenting

"Foster-child!" repeated Juan Can, contemptuously, "there is something to the tale I know not, nor ever could find out; for when I was in Monterey the Ortegna house was shut, and I could not get speech of any of their people. But this much I know, that it was the Senora Ortegna that had the girl first in keeping; and there was a scandalous tale about her birth."

If Juan Can's eyes had not been purblind with old age, he would have seen that in Alessandro's face which would have made him choose his words more carefully. But he went on: "It was after the Senora Ortegna was buried, that our Senora returned, bringing this child with her; and I do assure you, lad, I have seen the Senora look at her many a time as if she wished her dead. And it is a shame, for she was always as fair and good a child as the saints ever saw. But a stain on the blood, a stain on the blood, lad, is a bitter thing in a house. This much I know, her mother was an Indian. Once when I was in the chapel, behind the big Saint Joseph there, I overheard the Senora say as much. She was talking to Father Salvierderra, and she said, 'If the child had only the one blood in her veins, it would be different. I like not these crosses with Indians.'"

If Alessandro had been civilized, he would at this word "Indian" have bounded to his feet. Being Alessandro, he stood if possible stiller than before, and said in a low voice, "How know you it was the mother that was the Indian?"

Juan laughed again, maliciously: "Ha, it is the Ortegna face she has; and that Ortegna, why, he was the scandal byword of the whole coast. There was not a decent woman would have spoken to him, except for his wife's sake."

"But did you not say that it was in the Senora Ortegna's keeping that the child was?" asked Alessandro, breathing harder and faster each moment now; stupid old Juan Can so absorbed in relish of his gossip, that he noticed nothing.

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