The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 7, page 2 of 10)


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Chapter 7

Behind the terrace is a promontory, three or four hundred feet above the
waters. Upon the crest is a cultivated forest of all known evergreens.
There are ten miles of cool and fragrant paths, well trodden by the
devoteés of Eros. The call of love is heard here; the echoes to-day
reverberate with the impassioned declarations of yesterday. The
Englishman's reserve melts, the American forgets his coupons, the German
puts his arm around the robust waist of his frau or fräulein. (This is
nothing for him; he does it unconcernedly up and down the great urban
highways of the world.) Again, between the terrace ledge and the forest lies a square of velvet
green, abounding in four-leaf clover. Buona fortuna! In the center there
is a fountain. The water tinkles in drops. One hears its soft music at all
times. Along the terrace parapet are tea-tables; a monster oak protects
one from the sun. If one (or two) lingers over tea and cakes, one may
witness the fiery lances of the setting sun burn across one arm of water
while the silver spars of the rising moon shimmer across the other. Nature
is whole-souled here; she gives often and freely and all she has.

Seated on one of the rustic benches, his white tennis shoes resting
against the lower iron of the railing, a Bavarian dachel snoozing
comfortably across his knees, was a man of fifty. He was broad of
shoulder, deep of chest, and clean-shaven. He had laid aside his Panama
hat, and his hair was clipped closely, and was pleasantly and honorably
sprinkled with gray. His face was broad and tanned; the nose was tilted,
and the wide mouth was both kindly and humorous. One knew, from the tint
of his blue eyes and the quirk of his lips, that when he spoke there would
be a bit of brogue. He was James Harrigan, one time celebrated in the ring
for his gameness, his squareness, his endurance; "Battling Jimmie"
Harrigan, who, when he encountered his first knock-out, retired from the
ring. He had to his credit sixty-one battles, of which he had easily won
forty. He had been outpointed in some and had broken even in others; but
only once had he been "railroaded into dreamland," to use the parlance of
the game. That was enough. He understood. Youth would be served, and he
was no longer young. He had, unlike the many in his peculiar service,
lived cleanly and with wisdom and foresight: he had saved both his money
and his health. To-day he was at peace with the world, with three sound
appetites the day and the wherewithal to gratify them.

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