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Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson
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by Helen Hunt Jackson


IT was sheep-shearing time in Southern California, but
sheep-shearing was late at the Senora Moreno's. The Fates had
seemed to combine to put it off. In the first place, Felipe Moreno
had been ill. He was the Senora's eldest son, and since his father's
death had been at the head of his mother's house. Without him,
nothing could be done on the ranch, the Senora thought. It had
been always, "Ask Senor Felipe," "Go to Senor Felipe," "Senor
Felipe will attend to it," ever since Felipe had had the dawning of a
beard on his handsome face.

In truth, it was not Felipe, but the Senora, who really decided all
questions from greatest to least, and managed everything on the
place, from the sheep-pastures to the artichoke-patch; but nobody
except the Senora herself knew this. An exceedingly clever woman
for her day and generation was Senora Gonzaga Moreno,-- as for
that matter, exceedingly clever for any day and generation; but
exceptionally clever for the day and generation to which she
belonged. Her life, the mere surface of it, if it had been written,
would have made a romance, to grow hot and cold over: sixty
years of the best of old Spain, and the wildest of New Spain, Bay
of Biscay, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean,-- the waves of them all