She struck down his hand with a sharp blow of her closed fan, darting at him a look from the brilliant eyes which was a living flame.
Resting one hand upon her hip, she stood with her right foot thrust forward from beneath the yellow robe and pivoting upon the heel of its little slipper. Her head tilted, she watched him through lowered lashes.
“It was not so with you in Moulmein,” she said, her silvery voice lowered caressingly. “Do you remember with me a night beside the Irawaddi?—where was that I wonder? Was it in Prome?—Perhaps, yes?... you threatened me to leap in, if... and I think to believe you!—I believing you!”
“Mahara!” cried Gianapolis, and sought to seize her in his arms.
Again she struck down his hand with the little fan, watching him continuously and with no change of expression. But the smoldering fire in those eyes told of a greater flame which consumed her slender body and was potent enough to consume many a victim upon its altar. Gianapolis’ yellow skin assumed a faintly mottled appearance.
“Whatever is the matter?” he inquired plaintively.
“So you must be off—yes? I hear you say it; I asking you who to meet?”
“Why do you speak in English?” said Gianapolis with a faint irritation. “Let us talk...”
She struck him lightly on the face with her fan; but he clenched his teeth and suppressed an ugly exclamation.
“Who was it?” she asked, musically, “that say to me, ’to hear you speaking English—like rippling water’?”
“You are mad!” muttered Gianapolis, beginning to drill the points of his mustache as was his manner in moments of agitation. His crooked eyes were fixed upon the face of the girl. “You go too far.”
“Be watching, my friend, that you also go not too far.”
The tones were silvery as ever, but the menace unmistakable. Gianapolis forced a harsh laugh and brushed up his mustache furiously.
“What are you driving at?” he demanded, with some return of self-confidence. “Am I to be treated to another exhibition of your insane jealousies?"...
“Ah!” The girl’s eyes opened widely; she darted another venomous glance at him. “I am sure now, I am sure!”
“My dear Mahara, you talk nonsense!”
She glided sinuously toward him, still with one hand resting upon her hip, stood almost touching his shoulder and raised her beautiful wicked face to his, peering at him through half-closed eyes, and resting the hand which grasped the fan lightly upon his arm.
“You think I do not see? You think I do not watch?”—softer and softer grew the silvery voice—“at Olaf van Noord’s studio you think I do not hear? Perhaps you not thinking to care if I see and hear—for it seem you not seeing nor hearing me. I watch and I see. Is it her so soft brown hair? That color of hair is so more prettier than ugly black! Is it her English eyes? Eyes that born in the dark forests of Burma so hideous and so like the eyes of the apes! Is it her white skin and her red cheeks? A brown skin—though someone, there was, that say it is satin of heaven—is so tiresome; when no more it is a new toy it does not interest"...