invent graves in which their fellow-creatures may rot alive. Oh, if I were but—"
He broke off, and gnashed his teeth. Manuela understood her father's condition; she did not venture to calm him with conversation, but she summoned all the resources of her wit to lighten his melancholy. The innumerable small attentions which she paid him so unassumingly, the wealth of little anecdotes and favorite reminiscences of her father's that flowed from her lips, the lively songs which she sang to her guitar accompaniment with all the freshness of youth—all this done in such a manner could only be prompted by a richly gifted mind.
Perhaps I wronged Manuela, but my vanity flattered itself that in causing this joyous outpouring of her inner life my presence had some part, as well as filial affection. We loved each other ever more and more tenderly and consciously. Don Antonio grew better day by day; some slight power of sight returned to his eyes by which he could see the outlines of objects as if covered with a dark veil. "Manuela," I said one day to her, when we were alone during Don Antonio's siesta, "Manuela, may I at last take some steps towards our final union?"
"Please, please, do not speak to me of anything so serious; I am too young to think of such things," she said.