For the Soul of Rafael - novelonlinefull.com
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Keith Bryton never came back. Letters concerning the child of Dona Angela were exchanged with Don Eduardo, who remained her guardian, and after that there were long years of silence. Only one man, far down the coast of South America, guessed what Raquel Arteaga lived through. Even to Ana, who had left her own land to join him, there were some things known to him of the old Mission days, and never told.
[Music: _Al Fin_]
Raquel knelt no more at the shrine of the Madalena, but she went there nightly as the afterglow flooded the valley. Sometimes she rode her horse alone up the dusk shadows of Trabuco, past the portal of the aliso tree and into the inner court of memory. But always she kept the tryst of the first star of nightfall.
When the years of the great war of the East came, she knew he was there.
And when, after a battle called "Chickamauga," there came a tiny package from that far-away place, she stood in the dusk of the old temple, and slipped the ring of the Aztec eagle again on her finger. Then she knew that the end of the separation had come.
"If it were any other woman than you, Raquel Arteaga, men would say you rode to meet a lover, when you gallop like that in the night, and come back looking as if you had just been kissed," said Teresa, with watchful malice. "The old Indios say that you bathe in the night dews as a charm to keep young always. But why do you ride alone?"
"Alone?" The woman who the old courtier had said held the opal fires of Mexico in her heart smiled on her sister-in-law at that question, and the dusk shadows of night and mystery were in her violet eyes. "I am never alone now, Teresa. It is a long time since I felt alone, a very long time."