The Lighted Match (Chapter 20)

 
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Chapter 20 : Page 1 of 6

"And yet," declared young Harcourt, "if there still survives, anywhere
in the world, a vestige of Romance, this should be her refuge; her last
stand against the encroachments of the commonplace."

He spoke animatedly, with the double eagerness of a boy and an artist,
sweeping one hand outward in an argumentative gesture. It was a gesture
which seemed to submit in evidence all the palpitating colors of Capri
sunning herself among her rocks: all the sparkle and glitter of the Bay
of Naples spreading away to the nebulous line where Ischia bulked
herself in mist against the horizon: all the majesty of the cone where
the fires of Vesuvius lay sleeping.

Across the table Sir Manuel Blanco shrugged his broad shoulders.

Benton lighted a cigarette, and a smile, scarcely indicative of frank
amusement, flickered in his eyes.

"Do you hold that Romance is on the run?" he queried.

"Where do you find it nowadays?" demanded the boy in flannels. "There!"
With the violence of disgust he slammed a Baedeker of Southern Italy
down upon the table. "That is the way we see the world in these days! We
go back with souvenir postcards instead of experiences, and when we get
home we have just been to a lot of tramped-over places. I'll wager that
a handful of this copper junk they call money over here, would buy in a
bull market all the real adventure any of us will ever know."

The three had been lunching out-doors in a Capri hotel with flagstones
for a floor and overhanging vine-trellises for a roof. Chance had thrown
this young stranger across their path, and luncheon had cemented an
acquaintanceship.

 
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