"The valley, too," replied Juan. "The San Jacinto Valley is a fine, broad valley, though the river is not much to be counted on. It is mostly dry sand a good part of the year. But there is good grazing. There is one village of Indians I know in the valley; some of the San Luis Rey Indians came from there; and up on the mountain is a big village; the wildest Indians in all the country live there. Oh, they are fierce, Senor!"
The next morning Felipe set out for San Jacinto. Why had no one mentioned, why had he not himself known, of these villages? Perhaps there were yet others he had not heard of. Hope sprang in Felipe's impressionable nature as easily as it died. An hour, a moment, might see him both lifted up and cast down. When he rode into the sleepy little village street of San Bernardino, and saw, in the near horizon, against the southern sky, a superb mountain-peak, changing in the sunset lights from turquoise to ruby, and from ruby to turquoise again, he said to himself, "She is there! I have found her!"
The sight of the mountain affected him, as it had always affected Aunt Ri, with an indefinable, solemn sense of something revealed, yet hidden. "San Jacinto?" he said to a bystander, pointing to it with his whip.
"Yes, Senor," replied the man. As he spoke, a pair of black horses came whirling round the corner, and he sprang to one side, narrowly escaping being knocked down. "That Tennessee fellow'll run over somebody yet, with those black devils of his, if he don't look out," he muttered, as he recovered his balance.
Felipe glanced at the horses, then driving his spurs deep into his horse's sides, galloped after them. "Baba! by God!" he cried aloud in his excitement and forgetful of everything, he urged his horse faster, shouting as he rode, "Stop that man! Stop that man with the black horses!"
Jos, hearing his name called on all sides, reined in Benito and Baba as soon as he could, and looked around in bewilderment to see what had happened. Before he had time to ask any questions, Felipe had overtaken him, and riding straight to Baba's head, had flung himself from his own horse and taken Baba by the rein, crying, "Baba! Baba!" Baba knew his voice, and began to whinny and plunge. Felipe was nearly unmanned. For the second, he forgot everything. A crowd was gathering around them. It had never been quite clear to the San Bernardino mind that Jos's title to Benito and Baba would bear looking into; and it was no surprise, therefore, to some of the on-lookers, to hear Felipe cry in a loud voice, looking suspiciously at Jos, "How did you get him?"
Jos was a wag, and Jos was never hurried. The man did not live, nor could the occasion arrive, which would quicken his constitutional drawl. Before even beginning his answer he crossed one leg over the other and took a long, observant look at Felipe; then in a pleasant voice he said: "Wall, Senor,-- I allow yer air a Senor by yer color,-- it would take right smart uv time tew tell yeow haow I cum by thet hoss, 'n' by the other one tew. They ain't mine, neither one on 'em."
Jos's speech was as unintelligible to Felipe as it had been to Ramona, Jos saw it, and chuckled.