The Lighted Match (Chapter 18)

 
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Chapter 18 : Page 1 of 11

Left alone, Benton spent ten minutes in the room, then passed through
the window to the balcony and went down into the miniature garden. His
face was hot and his pulses heightened. The garden was gratefully cool
and quiet.

From the window, through which he had come, a broad shaft of tempered
luminance fell across the fountain and laid a zone of soft light athwart
the low stone benches surrounding it. Then it caught, and faintly edged
with its glow, the granite balustrade at the shoulder of the cliff.
Elsewhere the little garden was enveloped in the velvet blackness of the
night, against which the points of town and harbor lights, far below,
were splinters of emerald and ruby. The moon would not rise until late.

The American strolled over to the shaded margin which was unspoiled by
the light. He brushed back the hair from his forehead and let the sea
breeze play on his face.

Finally a light sound behind him called his attention inward. The King
and Von Ritz stood together in the doorway. Both were in dress uniform.
Karyl, even at the side of the soldierly Von Ritz, was striking in the
white and silver of Galavia's commanding general. Across his breast
glinted the decorations of all the orders to which Royalty entitled him.

The King, with a deep breath not unlike a sigh, came forward to the
fountain. There he halted with one booted foot on the margin of the
basin and his white-gauntleted hands clasped at his back. He had not yet
seen Benton, who now stepped out of the shadow to present himself. As he
came into view Karyl raised his eyes and nodded with a smile.

 
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