"Do not tell me now, mother dear. Wait till you are stronger," he said. As he spoke, he turned, and saw, with alarm, his mother sitting upright in the bed, her right arm outstretched, her hand pointing to the door, her eyes in a glassy stare, her face convulsed. Before a cry could pass his lips, she had fallen back. The Senora Moreno was dead.
At Felipe's cry, the women waiting in the hall hurried in, wailing aloud as their first glance showed them all was over. In the confusion, Felipe, with a pale, set face, pushed the statue back into its place. Even then a premonition of horror swept over him. What was he, the son, to find behind that secret door, at sight of which his mother had died with that look of anguished terror in her eyes? All through the sad duties of the next four days Felipe was conscious of the undercurrent of this premonition. The funeral ceremonies were impressive. The little chapel could not hold the quarter part of those who came, from far and near. Everybody wished to do honor to the Senora Moreno. A priest from Ventura and one from San Luis Obispo were there. When all was done, they bore the Senora to the little graveyard on the hillside, and laid her by the side of her husband and her children; silent and still at last, the restless, passionate, proud, sad heart! When, the night after the funeral, the servants saw Senor Felipe going into his mother's room, they shuddered, and whispered, "Oh, he must not! He will break his heart, Senor Felipe! How he loved her!"
Old Marda ventured to follow him, and at the threshold said: "Dear Senor Felipe, do not! It is not good to go there! Come away!"
But he put her gently by, saying, "I would rather be here, good Marda;" and went in and locked the door.
It was past midnight when he came out. His face was stern. He had buried his mother again. Well might the Senora have dreaded to tell to Felipe the tale of the Ortegna treasure. Until he reached the bottom of the jewel-box, and found the Senora Ortegna's letter to his mother, he was in entire bewilderment at all he saw. After he had read this letter, he sat motionless for a long time, his head buried in his hands. His soul was wrung.
"And she thought that shame, and not this!" he said bitterly.
But one thing remained for Felipe now, If Ramona lived, he would find her, and restore to her this her rightful property. If she were dead, it must go to the Santa Barbara College.
"Surely my mother must have intended to give it to the Church," he said. "But why keep it all this time? It is this that has killed her. Oh, shame! oh, disgrace!" From the grave in which Felipe had buried his mother now, was no resurrection.