“Someone here in our pueblo has the gold, and you don’t know who?” Alicia needed to discover who had the gold and beg them to pay Papa’s back taxes before he lost the land grant. After all, her papa was a hero.
“I should not have burdened you with my little secrets. You have your own mysteries to solve. Are you all ready for your Tío Salvador’s visit?”
“Should I be worried about that? I know he is coming to collect taxes. What else can you tell me about him?” Alicia said.
“Follow me to my desk; I’ll show you something.”
Alicia knew the Mission’s chapel and gardens, but Padre Romo led her into another corner of the building. It was dim and smelled musty. She expected the padre to have a much nicer space. They wedged into the small office and Padre Romo unrolled a cracked parchment on his desktop: a map.
“I love to look at maps. What does this show?” The map was faded, blotched with water spots and ink spills. “I see us here, Alta California. It’s so tiny.” She touched the spot, but Padre Romo brushed her hand away.
“Look, this is where Salvador Tenorio comes from.” Padre Romo held down the right edge of the map and pointed to a speck marked, “Cadíz.” His finger traced above the parchment map all the way to Refugio. “Your uncle was not much older than you when he arrived here with our Mission founder, a Franciscan named Padre Serra.”
“Was my tío a religious man, like you?”
“Your uncle’s pathway took many turns, but now he serves the governor of our territory, and he is due to arrive here any day.” Alicia wondered what turns in his passage the padre referred to, but she did not seek an explanation. “Remember, I told you some men from the wreckage were taken to Monterey? Salvador was in Monterey when those survivors arrived.”
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