merged in the vast tract of a non-resident landlord, which

"Oh, but I am glad Father Salvierderra has gone!" said the girl, bitterly. "He'd have had this out of me, spite of everything. I haven't got to confess for a year, maybe; and much can happen in that time."

merged in the vast tract of a non-resident landlord, which

FELIPE gained but slowly. The relapse was indeed, as Father Salvierderra had said, worse than the original attack. Day after day he lay with little apparent change; no pain, but a weakness so great that it was almost harder to bear than sharp suffering would have been. Nearly every day Alessandro was sent for to play or sing to him. It seemed to be the only thing that roused him from his half lethargic state. Sometimes he would talk with Alessandro on matters relative to the estate, and show for a few moments something like his old animation; but he was soon tired, and would close his eyes, saying: "I will speak with you again about this, Alessandro; I am going to sleep now. Sing."

merged in the vast tract of a non-resident landlord, which

The Senora, seeing Felipe's enjoyment of Alessandro's presence, soon came to have a warm feeling towards him herself; moreover, she greatly liked his quiet reticence. There was hardly a surer road to the Senora's favor, for man or woman, than to be chary of speech and reserved in demeanor. She had an instinct of kinship to all that was silent, self-contained, mysterious, in human nature. The more she observed Alessandro, the more she trusted and approved him. Luckily for Juan Can, he did not know how matters were working in his mistress's mind. If he had, he would have been in a fever of apprehension, and would have got at swords' points with Alessandro immediately. On the contrary, all unaware of the real situation of affairs, and never quite sure that the Mexican he dreaded might not any day hear of his misfortune, and appear, asking for the place, he took every opportunity to praise Alessandro to the Senora. She never visited his bedside that he had not something to say in favor of the lad, as he called him.

merged in the vast tract of a non-resident landlord, which

"Truly, Senora," he said again and again, "I do marvel where the lad got so much knowledge, at his age. He is like an old hand at the sheep business. He knows more than any shepherd I have,-- a deal more; and it is not only of sheep. He has had experience, too, in the handling of cattle. Juan Jose has been beholden to him more than once, already, for a remedy of which he knew not. And such modesty, withal. I knew not that there were such Indians; surely there cannot be many such."

"No, I fancy not," the Senora would reply, absently. "His father is a man of intelligence, and has trained his son well."

"There is nothing he is not ready to do," continued Alessandro's eulogist. "He is as handy with tools as if he had been 'prenticed to a carpenter. He has made me a new splint for my leg, which was a relief like salve to a wound, so much easier was it than before. He is a good lad,-- a good lad."

None of these sayings of Juan's were thrown away on the Senora. More and more closely she watched Alessandro; and the very thing which Juan had feared, and which he had thought to avert by having Alessandro his temporary substitute, was slowly coming to pass. The idea was working in the Senora's mind, that she might do a worse thing than engage this young, strong, active, willing man to remain permanently in her employ. The possibility of an Indian's being so born and placed that he would hesitate about becoming permanently a servant even to the Senora Moreno, did not occur to her. However, she would do nothing hastily. There would be plenty of time before Juan Can's leg was well. She would study the young man more. In the mean time, she would cause Felipe to think of the idea, and propose it.

So one day she said to Felipe: "What a voice that Alessandro has, Felipe. We shall miss his music sorely when he goes, shall we not?"

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