The Lighted Match (Chapter 10, page 1 of 5)

Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 10

Benton's eyes seemed hypnotically drawn to the table pointed out, but he
kept them tensely riveted on his coffee cup.

"Yes?" he impatiently prompted.

"Of course," continued Blanco absently, "no one could regret more
profoundly than the Grand Duke any accident or fatality which might
befall his royal kinsman, yet even the holy saints cannot prevent evil
chances!" He paused to sip his coffee. "At the right of 'Louis, the
Dreamer,' as he is called, sits the Count Borttorff, who is not greatly
in favor with Prince Karyl. He, too, is a Galavian of noble birth, but
Paris knows him better than Puntal. He on the left, the man with the
puffed eyes and the dissipated mouth--you will notice also a scar over
the left temple--" Blanco was regarding his cigarette tip as he flecked
an ash to the floor--"is Monsieur Jusseret supposed to be high in the
affairs of the French Cabinet Noir."

"There is one more--and a vacant chair," suggested Benton.

The toreador nodded. "True, I had not forgotten the other. Tall,
black-haired, not unlike yourself in appearance, Señor, save for a
heavier jaw and the mustache which points upward. He is an Englishman by
birth, a native of the world by adoption. Once he bore a British army
commission. Now he is seen in distinguished society"--Blanco
laughed--"when distinguished society wants something done which clean
men will not do. His name, just now, is Martin. In many quarters he is
better known as the English Jackal. Where one sees him one may scent

In all the life and color compassed between the four walls of Moorish
tiles and arches, Benton felt the magnet of the group irresistibly
drawing his eyes to itself.

"And this gathering about a table for a cup of coffee, in Cadiz--what of
it?" argued Benton. He tried to speak as if his curiosity were dilute
and his thoughts west of the Atlantic. "Are they not all known here?"

Again Blanco gave the expressive Spanish shrug.

"Few people here know any of them. I only said, Señor, that if any
chance should cause Galavia to mourn her new King that same chance would
elevate the tall, pale gentleman from a café table to a throne. I did
not say that the chance would occur."

"And yet?" urged Benton, his eyes narrowing, "your words seem to hint
more than they express. What is it, Manuel?"

The Spaniard took a handful of matches from a porcelain receptacle on
the table. He laid one down.

Previous Page
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.6/5 (272 votes cast)

Review This Book or Post a Comment