The Lighted Match (Chapter 5, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 5

He rose and stood back of the log.

She leaned back so that she might look into his eyes. "I wish you
could," she mused with infinite weariness.

He stooped suddenly and kissed the drooping lips with a resentful sense
of the monstrous injustice of a scheme of things wherein such lips could

"No, no, no!" she cried. "You must not! I've got to be Queen of
Galavia--I've got to be his wife." Then, in a quick, half-frightened
tone: "Yet when you are with me I can't help it. It's wicked to love
you--and I do."

He smiled through the misery of his own frown. "Am I so bad as that?" he

"You are so bad"--she suddenly caught his hands in hers and slowly
shook her head--"that I don't trust myself on the same side of the road
with you. You must go across and sit on that opposite side." She lightly
kissed his forehead. "That's a kiss before exile--now go."

He measured the distance with disapproving eyes. "That must be fifteen
feet away," he protested, "and my arms are not a yard long." He
stretched them out, viewing them ruefully.

"Go!" she repeated with sternness.

He obeyed slowly, his face growing sullen.

"If I am to stay here until I recant what I said about your odious
kingdom and your miserable throne, I'll--I'll--" He cast about for a
sufficiently rebellious sentiment, then resolutely asserted: "I'll stay
here until I rot in my chains." He raised his hands and shook imaginary
manacles. "Clink! Clink! Clink!" he added dramatically.

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