Page:Yule Logs.djvu/425

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409
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

wards from Don Ramon, saying that he deeply regretted my daughter's decision, but that, as I was unwilling to use my authority as her father, he could but acquiesce in it. Three days ago I received a manly letter from his son, saying that deeply as he regretted the destruction of his fondest hopes, he trusted that the circumstance would not lead to any breach in the friendship between the two families, and he hoped to be allowed to pay me a visit in order to assure me of his undiminished regard. Nothing could be more excellent than the tone of his letter, and of course I have answered it in the same spirit."

Harry Denham made no remark, but when alone that evening in the hut he thought deeply over it. The style of letter was in such entire contradiction to what he had heard of Don Pedro's character, that it filled him with distrust. The man was probably fond of Donna Isabella; that he could easily understand; but he doubtless had reckoned upon the dowry he would receive with her to repair his own fortune, and perhaps to silence pressing creditors, until at the death of Don Garcia he would come into a noble inheritance. It was therefore certain that his decisive rejection would not only humiliate him, but rouse him to fury. This letter, then, could only be a cloak to hide his real sentiments, and his proposed visit certainly foreboded no good to Isabella.

Harry Denham was perfectly conscious that he loved the Spanish girl. Her kindness to him when ill, her bright companionship during his convalescence, and the frank welcome that she gave him whenever he went to the hacienda, completely won his heart. He did not for a moment dream that anything could come of it. She and her father were grateful to him for the service that he had rendered them. They were good enough to treat him as a friend rather than as an inferior, and the position that they had given him was a substantial proof of their gratitude; but that he, her father's overseer, could aspire