"We will hide forever," he said.
"It makes no difference," she replied.
The Saboba women did not know what to think of Ramona now. She had never come into sympathetic relations with them, as she had with the women of San Pasquale. Her intimacy with the Hyers had been a barrier the Saboba people could not surmount. No one could be on such terms with whites, and be at heart an Indian, they thought; so they held aloof from Ramona. But now in her bereavement they gathered round her. They wept at sight of the dead baby's face, lying in its tiny white coffin. Ramona had covered the box with white cloth, and the lace altar-cloth thrown over it fell in folds to the floor. "Why does not this mother weep? Is she like the whites, who have no heart?" said the Saboba mothers among themselves; and they were embarrassed before her, and knew not what to say. Ramona perceived it, but had no life in her to speak to them. Benumbing terrors, which were worse than her grief, were crowding Ramona's heart now. She had offended the Virgin; she had committed a blasphemy: in one short hour the Virgin had punished her, had smitten her child dead before her eyes. And now Alessandro was going mad; hour by hour Ramona fancied she saw changes in him. What form would the Virgin's vengeance take next? Would she let Alessandro become a raging madman, and finally kill both himself and her? That seemed to Ramona the most probable fate in store for them. When the funeral was over, and they returned to their desolate home, at the sight of the empty cradle Ramona broke down.
"Oh, take me away, Alessandro! Anywhere! I don't care where! anywhere, so it is not here!" she cried.
"Would Majella be afraid, now, on the high mountain, the place I told her of?" he said.
"No!" she replied earnestly. "No! I am afraid of nothing! Only take me away!"
A gleam of wild delight flitted across Alessandro's face. "It is well," he said. "My Majella, we will go to the mountain; we will be safe there."
The same fierce restlessness which took possession of him at San Pasquale again showed itself in his every act. His mind was unceasingly at work, planning the details of their move and of the new life. He mentioned them one after another to Ramona. They could not take both horses; feed would be scanty there, and there would be no need of two horses. The cow also they must give up. Alessandro would kill her, and the meat, dried, would last them for a long time. The wagon he hoped he could sell; and he would buy a few sheep; sheep and goats could live well in these heights to which they were going. Safe at last! Oh, yes, very safe; not only against whites, who, because the little valley was so small and bare, would not desire it, but against Indians also. For the Indians, silly things, had a terror of the upper heights of San Jacinto; they believed the Devil lived there, and money would not hire one of the Saboba Indians to go so high as this valley which Alessandro had discovered. Fiercely he gloated over each one of these features of safety in their hiding-place. "The first time I saw it, Majella,-- I believe the saints led me there,-- I said, it is a hiding-place. And then I never thought I would be in want of such,-- of a place to keep my Majella safe! safe! Oh, my Majel!" And he clasped her to his breast with a terrifying passion.