THE STORY OF THE YARA 91
Such talk was very unlike Julia; but before he could collect his senses the girl spoke again :
' That is the reason why I implore you never to go there again ; at any rate till after we are married.'
' And what difference will our marriage make ? '
' Oh, there will be no danger then ; you can go to bathe as often as you like !'
' But tell me why you are so afraid ?'
' Because the voice you heard—I know you will laugh, but it is quite true—it was the voice of the Yara.'
At these words Alonzo burst into a shout of laughter; but it sounded so harsh and loud that Julia shrank away shuddering. It seemed as if he could not stop himself, and the more he laughed the paler the poor girl became, murmuring to herself as she watched him :
' Oh, heaven ! you have seen her ! you have seen her ! what shall I do ?'
Faint as was her whisper, it reached the ears of Alonzo, who, though he still could not speak for laughing, shook his head.
' You may not know it, but it is true. Nobody who has not seen the Yara laughs like that.' And Julia flung herself on the ground weeping bitterly.
At this sight Alonzo became suddenly grave, and kneeling by her side, gently raised her up.
'Do not cry so, my angel,' he said,'I will promise anything you please. Only let me see you smile again.'
With a great effort Julia checked her sobs, and rose to her feet.
' Thank you,' she answered. ' My heart grows lighter as you say that! I know you will try to keep your word and to stay away from the forest. But—the power of the Yara is very strong, and the sound of her voice is apt to make men forget everything else in the world. Oh, I have seen it, and more than one betrothed maiden lives alone, broken-hearted. If ever you should return to the pool where you first heard the voice, promise me that you