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Padre Ignacio - Owen Wister

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PADRE IGNACIO
Or The Song of Temptation

BY OWEN WISTER

I

At Santa Ysabel del Mar the season was at one of those moments when the
air rests quiet over land and sea. The old breezes were gone; the new
ones were not yet risen. The flowers in the mission garden opened wide;
no wind came by day or night to shake the loose petals from their stems.
Along the basking, silent, many-colored shore gathered and lingered the
crisp odors of the mountains. The dust hung golden and motionless long
after the rider was behind the hill, and the Pacific lay like a floor of
sapphire, whereon to walk beyond the setting sun into the East. One white
sail shone there. Instead of an hour, it had been from dawn till
afternoon in sight between the short headlands; and the Padre had hoped
that it might be the ship his homesick heart awaited. But it had slowly
passed. From an arch in his garden cloisters he was now watching the last
of it. Presently it was gone, and the great ocean lay empty. The Padre
put his glasses in his lap. For a short while he read in his breviary,
but soon forgot it again. He looked at the flowers and sunny ridges, then
at the huge blue triangle of sea which the opening of the hills let into
sight. "Paradise," he murmured, "need not hold more beauty and peace. But
I think I would exchange all my remaining years of this for one sight
again of Paris or Seville. May God forgive me such a thought!"
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