Page:Yule Logs.djvu/421

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405
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

to a certain tract of land, but wandered indiscriminately, sometimes mixing with other herds, and being separated only once in six months, on the occasion of the great assemblage of all the cattle, known as the round up.

At the hacienda Denham was received most cordially by Don Garcia, who always insisted on his coming in and smoking a cigar with him, and who, after the usual report as to the state of the herd, asked many questions as to his own country. Isabella was generally present, or if out of the room when he first came, was sure to appear, shortly followed by a servant with a jug of cooling drink, which she would herself pour out and place before her father and Harry. Six months after he had commenced his duties as overseer, Don Garcia said to him, "I told you the errand from which we were returning when you rescued us from those brigands."

"Yes, señor, it was the question of the marriage of the señoretta."

"That affair is quite over now; the young man wrote very handsomely, saying that he would do everything in his power to curb his hasty temper, assuring her that he loved her passionately. I was touched by his letter, which my daughter showed me, and by one which I myself received from his father, and was in favour of giving the young man a chance; but as my daughter is even more determined than before to have nothing to say to him, I fear that it will cause a quarrel between the two families."

"I should say that that was of very slight consequence compared with the happiness of your daughter, señor. In our country a father may object to his daughter marrying a person of whom he does not approve, and may even, according to law, prevent her doing so before she comes of age; but he would never dream of compelling her to marry a man to whom she objected—he would have no shadow of right to do so."