news of her husband's death. From the diary of a landowner

"Senora, you hurt my arm," said Ramona, still in the same calm voice. "You need not hold me. I will go with you. I am not afraid."

news of her husband's death. From the diary of a landowner

Was this Ramona? The Senora, already ashamed, let go the arm, and stared in the girl's face. Even in the twilight she could see upon it an expression of transcendent peace, and a resolve of which no one would have thought it capable. "What does this mean?" thought the Senora, still weak, and trembling all over, from rage. "The hussy, the hypocrite!" and she seized the arm again.

news of her husband's death. From the diary of a landowner

This time Ramona did not remonstrate, but submitted to being led like a prisoner, pushed into her own room, the door slammed violently and locked on the outside.

news of her husband's death. From the diary of a landowner

All of which Margarita saw. She had known for an hour that Ramona and Alessandro were at the willows, and she had been consumed with impatience at the Senora's prolonged absence. More than once she had gone to Felipe, and asked with assumed interest if he were not hungry, and if he and the Senorita would not have their supper.

"No, no, not till the Senora returns," Felipe had answered. He, too, happened this time to know where Ramona and Alessandro were. He knew also where the Senora had gone, and that she would be late home; but he did not know that there would be any chance of her returning by way of the willows at the brook; if he had known it, he would have contrived to summon Ramona.

When Margarita saw Ramona shoved into her room by the pale and trembling Senora, saw the key turned, taken out, and dropped into the Senora's pocket, she threw her apron over her head, and ran into the back porch. Almost a remorse seized her. She remembered in a flash how often Ramona had helped her in times gone by,-- sheltered her from the Senora's displeasure. She recollected the torn altar-cloth. "Holy Virgin! what will be done to her now?" she exclaimed, under her breath. Margarita had never conceived of such an extremity as this. Disgrace, and a sharp reprimand, and a sundering of all relations with Alessandro, -- this was all Margarita had meant to draw down on Ramona's head. But the Senora looked as if she might kill her.

"She always did hate her, in her heart," reflected Margarita; "she shan't starve her to death, anyhow. I'll never stand by and see that. But it must have been something shameful the Senora saw, to have brought her to such a pass as this;" and Margarita's jealousy again got the better of her sympathy. "Good enough for her. No more than she deserved. An honest fellow like Alessandro, that would make a good husband for any girl!" Margarita's short-lived remorse was over. She was an enemy again.

It was an odd thing, how identical were Margarita's and the Senora's view and interpretation of the situation. The Senora looking at it from above, and Margarita looking at it from below, each was sure, and they were both equally sure, that it could be nothing more nor less than a disgraceful intrigue. Mistress and maid were alike incapable either of conjecturing or of believing the truth.

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