"Senora," he replied. "It only means the same as lady."
"Shaw, Jos! You tell her I ain't any lady. Tell her everybody round where we live calls me 'Aunt Ri,' or 'Mis Hyer;' she kin call me whichever she's a mind to. She's reel sweet-spoken."
With some difficulty Jos explained his mother's disclaimer of the title of Senora, and the choice of names she offered to Ramona.
Ramona, with smiles which won both mother and son, repeated after him both names, getting neither exactly right at first trial, and finally said, "I like 'Aunt Ri' best; she is so kind, like aunt, to every one."
"Naow, ain't thet queer, Jos," said Aunt Ri, "aout here 'n thes wilderness to ketch sumbody sayin' thet,-- jest what they all say ter hum? I donno's I'm enny kinder'n ennybody else. I don't want ter see ennybody put upon, nor noways sufferin', ef so be's I kin help; but thet ain't ennythin' stronary, ez I know. I donno how ennybody could feel enny different."
"There's lots doos, mammy," replied Jos, affectionately. "Yer'd find out fast enuf, ef yer went raound more. There's mighty few's good's you air ter everybody."
Ramona was crouching in the corner by the fire, her baby held close to her breast. The place which at first had seemed a haven of warmth, she now saw was indeed but a poor shelter against the fearful storm which raged outside. It was only a hut of rough boards, carelessly knocked together for a shepherd's temporary home. It had been long unused, and many of the boards were loose and broken. Through these crevices, at every blast of the wind, the fine snow swirled. On the hearth were burning a few sticks of wood, dead cottonwood branches, which Jef Hyer had hastily collected before the storm reached its height. A few more sticks lay by the hearth. Aunt Ri glanced at them anxiously. A poor provision for a night in the snow. "Be ye warm, Jos?" she asked.
"Not very, mammy," he said; "but I ain't cold, nuther; an' thet's somethin'."