"There is Saboba," he said, "at foot of the San Jacinto Mountain; I had thought of that. Some of my people went there from Temecula; but it is a poor little village, Majella. Majella would not like to live in it. Neither do I believe it will long be any safer than San Pasquale. There was a kind, good old man who owned all that valley,-- Senor Ravallo; he found the village of Saboba there when he came to the country. It is one of the very oldest of all; he was good to all Indians, and he said they should never be disturbed, never. He is dead; but his three sons have the estate yet, and I think they would keep their father's promise to the Indians. But you see, to-morrow, Majella, they may die, or go back to Mexico, as Senor Valdez did, and then the Americans will get it, as they did Temecula. And there are already white men living in the valley. We will go that way, Majella. Majella shall see. If she says stay, we will stay."
It was in the early afternoon that they entered the broad valley of San Jacinto. They entered it from the west. As they came in, though the sky over their heads was overcast and gray, the eastern and northeastern part of the valley was flooded with a strange light, at once ruddy and golden. It was a glorious sight. The jagged top and spurs of San Jacinto Mountain shone like the turrets and posterns of a citadel built of rubies. The glow seemed preternatural.
"Behold San Jacinto!" cried Alessandro.
Ramona exclaimed in delight. "It is an omen!" she said. "We are going into the sunlight, out of the shadow;" and she glanced back at the west, which was of a slaty blackness.
"I like it not!" said Alessandro. "The shadow follows too fast!"
Indeed it did. Even as he spoke, a fierce wind blew from the north, and tearing off fleeces from the black cloud, sent them in scurrying masses across the sky. In a moment more, snow-flakes began to fall.
"Holy Virgin!" cried Alessandro. Too well he knew what it meant. He urged the horses, running fast beside them. It was of no use. Too much even for Baba and Benito to make any haste, with the heavily loaded wagon.
"There is an old sheep-corral and a hut not over a mile farther, if we could but reach it!" groaned Alessandro. "Majella, you and the child will freeze."