Mrs. Leigh remonstrated, and was answered by floods of tears. “They only come to stare at a poor wild Indian girl, and she would not be made a show of. She was like a queen once, and every one obeyed her; but here every one looked down upon her.” But when Mrs. Leigh asked her, whether she would sooner go back to the forests, the poor girl clung to her like a baby, and entreated not to be sent away, “She would sooner be a slave in the kitchen here, than go back to the bad people.”

And so on, month after month of foolish storm and foolish sunshine; but she was under the shadow of one in whom was neither storm nor sunshine, but a perpetual genial calm of soft gray weather, which tempered down to its own peacefulness all who entered its charmed influence; and the outbursts grew more and more rare, and Ayacanora more and more rational, though no more happy, day by day.

And one by one small hints came out which made her identity certain, at least in the eyes of Mrs. Leigh and Yeo. After she had become familiar with the sight of houses, she gave them to understand that she had seen such things before. The red cattle, too, seemed not unknown to her; the sheep puzzled her for some time, and at last she gave Mrs. Leigh to understand that they were too small.

“Ah, madam,” quoth Yeo, who caught at every straw, “it is because she has been accustomed to those great camel sheep (llamas they call them) in Peru.”

But Ayacanora’s delight was a horse. The use of tame animals at all was a daily wonder to her; but that a horse could be ridden was the crowning miracle of all; and a horse she would ride, and after plaguing Amyas for one in vain (for he did not want to break her pretty neck), she proposed confidentially to Yeo to steal one, and foiled in that, went to the vicar and offered to barter all her finery for his broken-kneed pony. But the vicar was too honest to drive so good a bargain, and the matter ended, in Amyas buying her a jennet, which she learned in a fortnight to ride like a very Gaucho.

And now awoke another curious slumbering reminiscence. For one day, at Lady Grenville’s invitation, the whole family went over to Stow; Mrs. Leigh soberly on a pillion behind the groom, Ayacanora cantering round and round upon the moors like a hound let loose, and trying to make Amyas ride races with her. But that night, sleeping in the same room with Mrs. Leigh, she awoke shrieking, and sobbed out a long story how the “Old ape of Panama,” her especial abomination, had come to her bedside and dragged her forth into the courtyard, and how she had mounted a horse and ridden with an Indian over great moors and high mountains down into a dark wood, and there the Indian and the horses vanished, and she found herself suddenly changed once more into a little savage child. So strong was the impression, that she could not be persuaded that the thing had not happened, if not that night, at least some night or other. So Mrs. Leigh at last believed the same, and told the company next morning in her pious way how the Lord had revealed in a vision to the poor child who she was, and how she had been exposed in the forests by her jealous step-father, and neither Sir Richard nor his wife could doubt but that hers was the true solution. It was probable that Don Xararte, though his home was Panama, had been often at Quito, for Yeo had seen him come on board the Lima ship at Guayaquil, one of the nearest ports. This would explain her having been found by the Indians beyond Cotopaxi, the nearest peak of the Eastern Andes, if, as was but too likely, the old man, believing her to be Oxenham’s child, had conceived the fearful vengeance of exposing her in the forests.

Other little facts came to light one by one. They were all connected (as was natural in a savage) with some animal or other natural object. Whatever impressions her morals or affections had received, had been erased by the long spiritual death of that forest sojourn; and Mrs. Leigh could not elicit from her a trace of feeling about her mother, or recollection of any early religious teaching. This link, however, was supplied at last, and in this way.

Sir Richard had brought home an Indian with him from Virginia. Of his original name I am not sure, but he was probably the “Wanchese” whose name occurs with that of “Manteo.”

This man was to be baptized in the church at Bideford by the name of Raleigh, his sponsors being most probably Raleigh himself, who may have been there on Virginian business, and Sir Richard Grenville.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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