He had resolved that nothing should tempt him to disclose to her his passion and its dreams, until they had reached their new home. But there came a moment which mastered him, and he spoke.
It was in Monterey. They were to sail on the morrow; and had been on board the ship to complete the last arrangements. They were rowed back to shore in a little boat. A full moon shone. Ramona sat bareheaded in the end of the boat, and the silver radiance from the water seemed to float up around her, and invest her as with a myriad halos. Felipe gazed at her till his senses swam; and when, on stepping from the boat, she put her hand in his, and said, as she had said hundreds of times before, "Dear Felipe, how good you are!" he clasped her hands wildly, and cried, "Ramona, my love! Oh, can you not love me?"
The moonlight was bright as day. They were alone on the shore. Ramona gazed at him for one second, in surprise. Only for a second; then she knew all. "Felipe! My brother!" she cried, and stretched out her hands as if in warning.
"No! I am not your brother!" he cried. "I will not be your brother! I would rather die!"
"Felipe!" cried Ramona again. This time her voice recalled him to himself. It was a voice of terror and of pain.
"Forgive me, my sweet one!" he exclaimed. "I will never say it again. But I have loved you so long -- so long!"
Ramona's head had fallen forward on her breast, her eyes fixed on the shining sands; the waves rose and fell, rose and fell, at her feet gently as sighs. A great revelation had come to Ramona. In this supreme moment of Felipe's abandonment of all disguises, she saw his whole past life in a new light. Remorse smote her. "Dear Felipe," she said, clasping her hands, "I have been very selfish. I did not know --"
"Of course you did not, love," said Felipe. "How could you? But I have never loved any one else. I have always loved you. Can you not learn to love me? I did not mean to tell you for a long time yet. But now I have spoken; I cannot hide it any more."