The Lighted Match (Chapter 7)

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Chapter 7 : Page 1 of 9

When Cara, waiting at the bridge, had seen the car flash up, a bearded
Bedouin at the wheel, she had leaped lightly to the seat beside him,
without waiting for the machine to come to a full stop; then she had
thrown herself back luxuriously on the cushions with a sigh of
satisfaction, and had only said: "Drive me fast."

For a long time she lay back, drinking, in long draughts, the spiced
night air, frosted only enough to give it flavor. There was no necessity
for speech, and above, the stars glittered lavishly, despite the white
light of the moon.

At last she murmured half-aloud and almost contentedly: "'Who knows but
the world may end to-night?'"

Above the throbbing purr of the engine which had already done ten miles,
the man beside her caught the voice, but missed the words. He bent
forward.

"I beg your pardon?" he politely inquired.

At the question she started violently, and both hands came to her heart
with a spasmodic movement. Von Ritz carried the car around an ugly rut.

"Don't be alarmed, Your Highness," he said, in a cold, evenly modulated
voice which, though pitched low, carried clearly above the noise of the
cylinders. "I may call you 'Your Highness' now, may I not? We are quite
alone. Or do you still prefer that I respect your incognita?"

The girl's eyes blazed upon him until he could feel their intense
focusing, though he kept his own fixed unbendingly on the road ahead.
Finally she mastered her anger enough to speak.


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