"Alone!" she said again, turning her eyes to the door.
"Leave the room," said Felipe; "all -- wait outside;" and he closed the door on them. Even then the Senora hesitated. Almost was she ready to go out of life leaving the hidden treasure to its chance of discovery, rather than with her own lips reveal to Felipe what she saw now, saw with the terrible, relentless clear-sightedness of death, would make him, even after she was in her grave, reproach her in his thoughts.
But she dared not withhold it. It must be said. Pointing to the statue of Saint Catharine, whose face seemed, she thought, to frown unforgiving upon her, she said, "Felipe -- behind that statue -- look!"
Felipe thought her delirious, and said tenderly, "Nothing is there, dearest mother. Be calm. I am here."
New terror seized the dying woman. Was she to be forced to carry the secret to the grave? to be denied this late avowal? "No! no! Felipe -- there is a door there -- secret door. Look! Open! I must tell you!"
Hastily Felipe moved the statue. There was indeed the door, as she had said.
"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!"