Ramona stared. In the little English she knew, that word was not included. "Ah, Senora," she said regretfully, "I cannot talk in the English speech; only in Spanish."
"Spanish, eh? Yer mean Mexican? Jos, hyar, he kin talk thet. He can't talk much, though; 'tain't good fur him; his lungs is out er kilter. Thet's what we're bringin' him hyar fur,-- fur warm climate! 'pears like it, don't it?" and she chuckled grimly, but with a side glance of ineffable tenderness at the sick man. "Ask her who they be, Jos," she added.
Jos lifted himself on his elbow, and fixing his shining eyes on Ramona, said in Spanish, "My mother asks if you are travellers?"
"Yes," said Ramona. "We have come all the way from San Diego. We are Indians."
"Injuns!" ejaculated Jos's mother. "Lord save us, Jos! Hev we reelly took in Injuns? What on airth -- Well, well, she's fond uv her baby's enny white woman! I kin see thet; an', Injun or no Injun, they've got to stay naow. Yer couldn't turn a dog out 'n sech weather's this. I bet thet baby's father wuz white, then. Look at them blue eyes."
Ramona listened and looked intently, but could understand nothing. Almost she doubted if the woman were really speaking English. She had never before heard so many English sentences without being able to understand one word. The Tennessee drawl so altered even the commonest words, that she did not recognize them. Turning to Jos, she said gently, "I know very little English. I am so sorry I cannot understand. Will it tire you to interpret to me what your mother said?"
Jos was as full of humor as his mother. "She wants me to tell her what you wuz sayin'," he said, "I allow, I'll only tell her the part on't she'll like best.-- My mother says you can stay here with us till the storm is over," he said to Ramona.
Swifter than lightning, Ramona had seized the woman's hand and carried it to her heart, with an expressive gesture of gratitude and emotion. "Thanks! thanks! Senora!" she cried.