Close to the school are Napier's Almshouses, called Napper's

"I do not think she likes me," he said. "I cannot tell why; but I do not think she likes any one in the world. She is not like any one I ever saw, Senorita."

Close to the school are Napier's Almshouses, called Napper's

"No," replied Ramona, thoughtfully. "She is not. I am, oh, so afraid of her, Alessandro! I have always been, ever since I was a little girl. I used to think she hated me; but now I think she does not care one way or the other, if I keep out of her way."

Close to the school are Napier's Almshouses, called Napper's

While Ramona spoke these words, her eyes were fixed on the running water at her feet. If she had looked up, and seen the expression in Alessandro's eyes as he listened, the thing which was drawing near would have drawn near faster, would have arrived at that moment; but she did not look up. She went on, little dreaming how hard she was making it for Alessandro.

Close to the school are Napier's Almshouses, called Napper's

"Many's the time I've come down here, at night, to this brook, and looked at it, and wished it was a big river, so I could throw myself in, and be carried away out to the sea, dead. But it is a fearful sin, Father Salvierderra says, to take one's own life; and always the next morning, when the sun came out, and the birds sang, I've been glad enough I had not done it. Were you ever so unhappy as that, Alessandro?"

"No, Senorita, never," replied Alessandro; "and it is thought a great disgrace, among us, to kill one's self. I think I could never do it. But, oh, Senorita, it is a grief to think of your being unhappy. Will you always be so? Must you always stay here?"

"Oh, but I am not always unhappy!" said Ramona, with her sunny little laugh. "Indeed, I am generally very happy. Father Salvierderra says that if one does no sin, one will be always happy, and that it is a sin not to rejoice every hour of the day in the sun and the sky and the work there is to do; and there is always plenty of that." Then, her face clouding, she continued: "I suppose I shall always stay here. I have no other home; you know I was the Senora's sister's adopted child. She died when I was little, and the Senora kindly took me. Father Salvierderra says I must never forget to be grateful to her for all she has done for me, and I try not to."

Alessandro eyed her closely. The whole story, as Juan Can had told it to him, of the girl's birth, was burning in his thoughts. How he longed to cry out, "O my loved one, they have made you homeless in your home. They despise you. The blood of my race is in your veins; come to me; come to me! be surrounded with love!" But he dared not. How could he dare?

Some strange spell seemed to have unloosed Ramona's tongue to-night. She had never before spoken to Alessandro of her own personal history or burdens; but she went on: "The worst thing is, Alessandro, that she will not tell me who my mother was; and I do not know if she is alive or not, or anything about her. Once I asked the Senora, but she forbade me ever to ask her again. She said she herself would tell me when it was proper for me to know. But she never has."

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