The Lighted Match (Chapter 17)

 
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Chapter 17 : Page 1 of 9

There were several things to harrow Benton's thoughts aside from the
ingenious tortures of memory. Blanco should have arrived at Monte Carlo
on the day of their separation. Benton himself had proceeded slowly to
Puntal and had now been an isolated guest at the Grand Palace Hotel for
two days, yet he had heard nothing from Manuel. Still the man from Cadiz
had not been idly cruising. The Isis had duly dropped her anchor in
the ultramarine waters where the rock of Monaco juts out like a
beckoning finger, and Monte Carlo spreads the marble display of its
rococo façades at the feet of the Maritime Alps.

That night, in the most detailed perfection of evening dress, he
wandered good-humoredly, yet aloof, through the crowds. He haunted the
groups that swarmed about the busy wheels in the casino. He mingled with
the diners upon the terraces of the principal hotels. He brushed elbows
with the strollers along the promenade and about the Cercle des
Etrangers, and all the while his studiously alert eyes wandered with
seeming vacancy of expression over the faces of the men and women whom
he passed.

Safe in the surety of being himself unknown, he trained his countenance
into the ennui of one who has no object beyond killing the hour and
contributing his quota to the income of the syndicate.

The evening was wasted, together with a few louis, and the next
morning found the Spaniard scrutinizing every face along the Promenade
des Anglais at Nice. Then he searched Cannes and Mentone, but by
evening he was back again in the sacred City of Black and Red.

 
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