MANUELITA had been nearly three months a happy wife in her home at the presidio when the reply to the letter written by Captain Carillo to his father, announcing his intended marriage, was received. It was short and stern, commanding him to break off all such connection and return at once to Spain, under pain of his everlasting displeasure and disinheritance. He tried hard to soften its severity to Manuelita, but her great absorbing love for him made her at last realize all he had sacrificed for her.
‘‘We must not waste the few precious days that remain to us now before my departure, in sorrowful anticipations,’’ he said, folding her in his arms very tenderly. ‘‘The heavens are still bright and beautiful above us,’’ he
‘‘Then together we will wait for time to soften his heart towards us. Well did the Egyptians of old make love the highest and greatest blessing the gods could bestow upon man. I have been very happy in your love, Manuelita. I wish you could go with me: surely if my father saw you he would understand and forgive us.’’
‘‘No, my husband,’’ she said gently, ‘‘I think with Brother Ramirez, that it would be best for you to go alone. Your father might resent it, and it would be so unhappy for you. But return very soon; love is so apprehensive, it fears every ill, and I shall be so unhappy until you are with me again.’’
Fearful, terrible, is the nearness of Death to Life,—the happy love, in which the bride of a couple of months lovingly, beautifully awaits the coming of her bridegroom, the broad, deep storm-beaten ocean, beneath whose angry waves, in all the pride and beauty of his early manhood, the bridegroom finds his lonely grave.
Two months later, when the young wife waited and longed for news of her husband's outward journey, news was brought that the sailing vessel upon which he had embarked had been lost with all on board, except the first mate and a couple of sailors, who had
For days and weeks Manuelita lay as one stunned under the pressure of her sorrow; for many long months they watched and nursed her, scarcely daring to hope that her life would be spared to them, or uncertain whether reason would not be dethroned. Little by little and very slowly came back consciousness, and with it remembrance, and she would lie for hours murmuring, ‘‘Oh, my love! my love! why did I sacrifice you!’’
But a day finally came, oh, blessed day for those who watched and loved her! and upon her breast lay a beautiful boy, a babe with large dark eyes, full of a sadness, a prescience, of his fatherless birth. Once more hope and prayer awoke in her bosom as the babe nestled there. The long months of doubt and anxiety were over, and those who loved her saw that she was saved.
As he grew older she seemed to see his father in every look and action; in his broken babyish murmurs she heard the tones of her husband's voice, in his beautiful dark eyes she saw the father's tenderness and love, and
She kept him as sweet and fresh as the newly-washed rose, she prayed for him, tended him and cherished him, and in him centered all her faith and hope and love. In the early months of his infancy he became her religion.
The warmth of the spring grew into the heat of the full summer, and Manuelita returned to the San Xavier mission to live; the little home which Father Kino had built for her and Catiche was now occupied for the first time. Brother Ramirez and Catiche had made it very pretty and pleasant in its simplicity. Catiche with her love for flowers had planted them in every available spot.
How hard life had been for him when Manuelita married and went to the presidio to live, no one but the faithful Catiche ever knew; the days grew so long and desolate that it was with great difficulty that he went through with the routine of his most important duties. Wherever he went, whatever he did the loved face and form seemed to come between him and his duty; every one had loved her, they spoke of her to him hourly and it seemed to him impossible to realize that she had passed out of his life, never to return to it again. She was the one living thing in all the universe that he had loved with a personal feeling, an absorbing love. He had never had any hope, any illusions that she had ever thought of him beyond the gentle,
As the months rolled slowly by, and Manuelita recovered her physical strength, and time, with "healing in his wings" began to soften her sorrow and bitterness, she recovered some of her old interest in her mission work. Louis Ramirez would remind her of her promise to Father Kino, that she would never lose her interest in his new church, so side by side she worked with him, a calmness, a content, even a happiness in her companionship, replacing his old turbulent love for her, and he was happier than he had ever thought it possible to be. He knew, of course, that she would never leave them now, and in the little Balthazar they found such a bond of union and interest as nothing else could have given them. As the child grew older he instructed him as he had done the mother years before, and the boy's mind expanded under the quieting, holy influence of the love and example which surrounded him; his
He grew to so love his mother that the very tones of her voice had in them a charm which vibrated to his heart, and soothed any boyish grief, and when her mind was silent and sad, he would creep to her side, put his little hand in hers, and look up to her with eyes in whose tender and beautiful soul she saw his father's face each time; he was serious and thoughtful far beyond the usual capacity of childhood, and his constant intercourse with his mother and Louis Ramirez gave him great precocity of mind and feeling.
Manuelita told him often of her own childhood's life here, of Father Kino's loving care and devotion to her, of his beautiful life and work here, and his great anxiety for the completion of this church, of which she had laid
‘‘I bequeath you this work, my boy, as a tender, loving offering to the memory of the best of men,’’ she would say to him, as side by side they knelt in prayer, the mother pleading, the child lisping those prayers which the angel on high recorded, in which they so earnestly besought the blessing of their lost ones.