About the year 1830, there lived in a small village in Southern California, Papita, daughter of the widow Francesca. They were very poor and when Papita fell in love with Pedro, a handsome but equally poor young man, Francesca took matters into her own hands, and, without even consulting Papita, gave her consent to a marriage contract between her daughter and Alvarez, the wealthiest man in the village. Manuel, a crippled saddler, also loved Papita. He had loved her since she was a child when he had danced her on his knee. His love was that of an elder brother, and Papita, still scarcely more than a child, confided everything to him. To pacify her mother, Papita married Alvarez, and. before very long, his cruel nature asserted itself. Despairing for her child's future, Francesca realized, too late, the mistake she had made, and one night, after Alvarez had been particularly cruel to Papita, both Pedro and Manuel visited Francesca: and, as Papita entered her mother's house, she said, in...
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