The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 8, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 8

When he had fought what he considered two rattling rounds, Harrigan
conceded that his cravat had once more got the decision over him on
points. And the cravat was only a second-rater, too, a black-silk affair.
He tossed up the sponge and went down to the dining-room, the ends of the
conqueror straggling like the four points of a battered weather-vane. His
wife and daughter and Mademoiselle Fournier were already at their table by
the casement window, from which they could see the changing granite mask
of Napoleon across Lecco.

At the villa there were seldom more than ten or twelve guests, this being
quite the capacity of the little hotel. These generally took refuge here
in order to escape the noise and confusion of a large hotel, to avoid the
necessity of dining in state every night. Few of the men wore evening
dress, save on occasions when they were entertaining. The villa wasn't at
all fashionable, and the run of American tourists fought shy of it,
preferring the music and dancing and card-playing of the famous hostelries
along the water-front. Of course, everybody came up for the view, just as
everybody went up the Corner Grat (by cable) at Zermatt to see the
Matterhorn. But for all its apparent dulness, there, was always an English
duchess, a Russian princess, or a lady from the Faubourg St.-Germain
somewhere about, resting after a strenuous winter along the Riviera. Nora
Harrigan sought it not only because she loved the spot, but because it
sheltered her from idle curiosity. It was almost as if the villa were
hers, and the other people her guests.

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