the great barns behind it and the fertile acres spreading

"That was what he said," replied Alessandro, nonchalantly.

the great barns behind it and the fertile acres spreading

"Easy enough, too!" cried Antonio, riding up on his little dun mare. "I'd go in less time than that, on this mare. Jose's is no match for her, and never was. Why did you not send me, Alessandro?"

the great barns behind it and the fertile acres spreading

"Is your horse really faster than Jose's?" said Alessandro. "Then I wish I had sent you. I'll send you next time."

the great barns behind it and the fertile acres spreading

IT was strange to see how quickly and naturally Alessandro fitted into his place in the household. How tangles straightened out, and rough places became smooth, as he quietly took matters in hand. Luckily, old Juan Can had always liked him, and felt a great sense of relief at the news of his staying on. Not a wholly unselfish relief, perhaps, for since his accident Juan had not been without fears that he might lose his place altogether; there was a Mexican he knew, who had long been scheming to get the situation, and had once openly boasted at a fandango, where he was dancing with Anita, that as soon as that superannuated old fool, Juan Canito, was out of the way, he meant to be the Senora Moreno's head shepherd himself. To have seen this man in authority on the place, would have driven Juan out of his mind.

But the gentle Alessandro, only an Indian,-- and of course the Senora would never think of putting an Indian permanently in so responsible a position on the estate,-- it was exactly as Juan would have wished; and he fraternized with Alessandro heartily from the outset; kept him in his room by the hour, giving him hundreds of long-winded directions and explanations about things which, if only he had known it, Alessandro understood far better than he did.

Alessandro's father had managed the Mission flocks and herds at San Luis Rey for twenty years; few were as skilful as he; he himself owned nearly as many sheep as the Senora Moreno; but this Juan did not know. Neither did he realize that Alessandro, as Chief Pablo's son, had a position of his own not without dignity and authority. To Juan, an Indian was an Indian, and that was the end of it. The gentle courteousness of Alessandro's manner, his quiet behavior, were all set down in Juan's mind to the score of the boy's native amiability and sweetness. If Juan had been told that the Senor Felipe himself had not been more carefully trained in all precepts of kindliness, honorable dealing, and polite usage, by the Senora, his mother, than had Alessandro by his father, he would have opened his eyes wide. The standards of the two parents were different, to be sure; but the advantage could not be shown to be entirely on the Senora's side. There were many things that Felipe knew, of which Alessandro was profoundly ignorant; but there were others in which Alessandro could have taught Felipe; and when it came to the things of the soul, and of honor, Alessandro's plane was the higher of the two. Felipe was a fair-minded, honorable man, as men go; but circumstances and opportunity would have a hold on him they could never get on Alessandro. Alessandro would not lie; Felipe might. Alessandro was by nature full of veneration and the religious instinct; Felipe had been trained into being a good Catholic. But they were both singularly pure-minded, open-hearted, generous-souled young men, and destined, by the strange chance which had thus brought them into familiar relations, to become strongly attached to each other. After the day on which the madness of Felipe's fever had been so miraculously soothed and controlled by Alessandro's singing, he was never again wildly delirious. When he waked in the night from that first long sleep, he was, as Father Salvierderra had predicted, in his right mind; knew every one, and asked rational questions. But the over-heated and excited brain did not for some time wholly resume normal action. At intervals he wandered, especially when just arousing from sleep; and, strangely enough, it was always for Alessandro that he called at these times, and it seemed always to be music that he craved. He recollected Alessandro's having sung to him that first night. "I was not so crazy as you all thought," he said. "I knew a great many of the things I said, but I couldn't help saying them; and I heard Ramona ask Alessandro to sing; and when he began, I remember I thought the Virgin had reached down and put her hand on my head and cooled it."

On the second evening, the first after the shearers had left, Alessandro, seeing Ramona in the veranda, went to the foot of the steps, and said, "Senorita, would Senor Felipe like to have me play on the violin to him tonight?"

"Why, whose violin have you got?" exclaimed Ramona, astonished.

Original article by {website name}. If reprinted, please indicate the source:

zan ( 6891)
next 2023-11-30