Felipe threw his arms around her. He was beside himself with joy. "You would not say that if you did not think you could be my wife," he cried. "Only give yourself to me, my love, I care not whether you call yourself dead or alive!"
Ramona stood quietly in his arms. Ah, well for Felipe that he did not know, never could know, the Ramona that Alessandro had known. This gentle, faithful, grateful Ramona, asking herself fervently now if she would do her brother a wrong, yielding up to him what seemed to her only the broken fragment of a life; weighing his words, not in the light of passion, but of calmest, most unselfish action,-- ah, how unlike was she to that Ramona who flung herself on Alessandro's breast, crying, "Take me with you! I would rather die than have you leave me!"
Ramona had spoken truth. Part of her was dead. But Ramona saw now, with infallible intuition, that even as she had loved Alessandro, so Felipe loved her. Could she refuse to give Felipe happiness, when he had saved her, saved her child? What else now remained for them, these words having been spoken? "I will be your wife, dear Felipe," she said, speaking solemnly, slowly, "if you are sure it will make you happy, and if you think it is right."
"Right!" ejaculated Felipe, mad with the joy unlooked for so soon. "Nothing else would be right! My Ramona, I will love you so, you will forget you ever said that part of you was dead!"
A strange look which startled Felipe swept across Ramona's face; it might have been a moonbeam. It passed. Felipe never saw it again.
General Moreno's name was still held in warm remembrance in the city of Mexico, and Felipe found himself at once among friends. On the day after their arrival he and Ramona were married in the cathedral, old Marda and Juan Can, with his crutches, kneeling in proud joy behind them. The story of the romance of their lives, being widely rumored, greatly enhanced the interest with which they were welcomed. The beautiful young Senora Moreno was the theme of the city; and Felipe's bosom thrilled with pride to see the gentle dignity of demeanor by which she was distinguished in all assemblages. It was indeed a new world, a new life. Ramona might well doubt her own identity. But undying memories stood like sentinels in her breast. When the notes of doves, calling to each other, fell on her ear, her eyes sought the sky, and she heard a voice saying, "Majella!" This was the only secret her loyal, loving heart had kept from Felipe. A loyal, loving heart indeed it was,-- loyal, loving, serene. Few husbands so blest as the Senor Felipe Moreno.
Sons and daughters came to bear his name. The daughters were all beautiful; but the most beautiful of them all, and, it was said, the most beloved by both father and mother, was the eldest one: the one who bore the mother's name, and was only step-daughter to the Senor,-- Ramona,-- Ramona, daughter of Alessandro the Indian.
CHAPTER I - DESCRIPTION OF A PALACE IN A VALLEY.