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The Gold of the Gods

6. The Curse Of Mansiche
We entered the Prince Edward Albert a few minutes later, one of the new and beautiful
family hotels uptown.
Before making any inquiries, Craig gave a hasty look about the lobby. Suddenly I felt
him take my arm and draw me over to a little alcove on one side. I followed the direction
of his eyes. There I could see young Alfonso de Moche talking to a woman much older
than himself.
"That must be his mother," whispered Craig. "You can see the resemblance. Let's sit here
awhile behind these palms and watch."
They seemed to be engaged in an earnest conversation about something. Even as they
talked, though we could not guess what it was about, it was evident that Alfonso was
dearer than life to the woman and that the young man was a model son. Though I felt that
I must admire them each for it, still, I reflected, that was no reason why we should not
suspect them--perhaps rather a reason for suspecting.
Senora de Moche was a woman of well-preserved middle age, a large woman, with dark
hair and contrasting full, red lips. Her face, in marked contradiction to her Parisian
costume and refined manners, had a slight copper swarthiness about it which spoke
eloquently of her ancestry.
But it was her eyes that arrested and held one's attention most. Whether it was in the eyes
themselves or in the way that she used them, there could be no mistake about the almost
hypnotic power that their owner possessed. I could not help wondering whether she might
not have exercised it on Don Luis, perhaps was using it in some way to influence
Whitney. Was that the reason why the Senorita so evidently feared her?
Fortunately, from our vantage point, we could see without being in any danger of being
seen.
"There's Whitney," I heard Craig mutter under his breath.
I looked up and saw the promoter enter from his car. At almost the same instant the
roving eyes of the Senora seemed to catch sight of him. He came over and spoke to the de
Moches, standing with them several minutes. I fancied that not for an instant did she
allow the gaze of any one else to distract her in the projection of whatever weird ocular
power nature had endowed her with. If it were a battle of eyes, I recollected the strange
look that I had noted about those of both Whitney and Lockwood. That, however, was
different from the impression one got of the Senora's. I felt that she would have to be
pretty clever to match the subtlety of Whitney.
 
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