In the rare intervals when he was partially sober, he sold all he possessed,-- ship after ship sold for a song, and the proceeds squandered in drinking or worse. He never had a sight of his lost bride. He did not seek it; and she, terrified, took every precaution to avoid it, and soon returned with her husband to Monterey,
Finally Angus disappeared, and after a time the news came up from Los Angeles that he was there, had gone out to the San Gabriel Mission, and was living with the Indians. Some years later came the still more surprising news that he had married a squaw,-- a squaw with several Indian children, -- had been legally married by the priest in the San Gabriel Mission Church. And that was the last that the faithless Ramona Gonzaga ever heard of her lover, until twenty-five years after her marriage, when one day he suddenly appeared in her presence. How he had gained admittance to the house was never known; but there he stood before her, bearing in his arms a beautiful babe, asleep. Drawing himself up to the utmost of his six feet of height, and looking at her sternly, with eyes blue like steel, he said: "Senora Ortegna, you once did me a great wrong. You sinned, and the Lord has punished you. He has denied you children. I also have done a wrong; I have sinned, and the Lord has punished me. He has given me a child. I ask once more at your hands a boon. Will you take this child of mine, and bring it up as a child of yours, or of mine, ought to be brought up?"
The tears were rolling down the Senora Ortegna's cheeks. The Lord had indeed punished her in more ways than Angus Phail knew. Her childlessness, bitter as that had been, was the least of them. Speechless, she rose, and stretched out her arms for the child. He placed it in them. Still the child slept on, undisturbed.
"I do not know if I will be permitted," she said falteringly; "my husband --"
"Father Salvierderra will command it. I have seen him," replied Angus.
The Senora's face brightened. "If that be so, I hope it can be as you wish," she said. Then a strange embarrassment came upon her, and looking down upon the infant, she said inquiringly, "But the child's mother?"
Angus's face turned swarthy red. Perhaps, face to face with this gentle and still lovely woman he had once so loved, he first realized to the full how wickedly he had thrown away his life. With a quick wave of his hand, which spoke volumes, he said: "That is nothing. She has other children, of her own blood. This is mine, my only one, my daughter. I wish her to be yours; otherwise, she will be taken by the Church."
With each second that she felt the little warm body's tender weight in her arms, Ramona Ortegna's heart had more and more yearned towards the infant. At these words she bent her face down and kissed its cheek. "Oh, no! not to the Church! I will love it as my own," she said.
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