The Lighted Match (Chapter 11)

 
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Chapter 11 : Page 1 of 8

With the sapphire bay of Puntal at his back, his knees clasped between
interlacing fingers, Benton sat on the stone sea-wall and affected to
whistle up a lightness of heart. Near at hand sprawled a picturesque
city, its houses tinted in pea-greens, pinks and soft blues, or as white
and decorative as though fashioned in icing on a cake.

Clinging steeply to higher levels and leaning on buttressing walls, lay
outspread vineyards and cane fields and gardens. Splotching the whole
with imperial and gorgeous purple, hung masses of bougonvillea between
trellis and masonry. At a more lofty line, where the sub-tropical
profusion halted in the warning breath of a keener atmosphere, came the
scrub growth and beyond that, in succeeding altitudes, the pine belt,
the snow line and the film of trailing cloud on the white peaks.

Out of the center of the color-splashed town rose the square tower of
the ancient cathedral, white in a coat of plaster for two-thirds of its
height, but gray at its top in the nakedness of mossy stone.

To its dilapidated clock Benton's eyes traveled repeatedly and anxiously
while he waited.

From the clock they wandered in turn to the road circling the bay, and
the cliff at his left, where the jail-like walls of the King's Palace
rose sheer from the rock, fifty feet above him.

From the direction of the Cathedral drifted fragments of band music, and
the bugle calls of marching platoons. Everywhere festivity reigned,
working great profits to the keepers of the wine-shops.

 
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