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Chapter IV
"Oh, but the STORY of it!" exclaimed Condy as he and Travis regained the wharf--"the
story of it! Isn't it a ripper. Isn't it a corker! His leaving her that way, and never caring for
any other girl afterward."
"And so original," she commented, quite as enthusiastic as he.
"Original?--why, it's new as paint! It's--it's--Travis, I'll make a story out of this that will be
copied in every paper between the two oceans."
They were so interested in the mate's story that they forgot to take a car, and walked up
Clay Street talking it over, suggesting, rearranging, and embellishing; and Condy was
astonished and delighted to note that she "caught on" to the idea as quickly as he, and
knew the telling points and what details to leave out.
"And I'll make a bang-up article out of the whaleback herself," declared Condy. The
"idea" of the article had returned to him, and all his enthusiasm with it.
"And look here, he said, showing her the letter from the Centennial Company. "They
turned down my book, but see what they say.
"Quite an unusual order of merit!" cried Travis. "Why, that's fine! Why didn't you show
this to me before?--and asking you like this to write them a novel of adventure! What
MORE can you want? Oh!" she exclaimed impatiently, "that's so like you; you would tell
everybody about your reverses, and carry on about them yourself, but never say a word
when you get a little boom. Have you an idea for a thirty-thousand-word novel? Wouldn't
that diver's story do?"
"No, there's not enough in that for thirty thousand words. I haven't any idea at all--never
wrote a story of adventure--never wrote anything longer than six thousand words. But I'll
keep my eye open for something that will do. By the way--by Jove! Travis, where are
They looked briskly around them, and the bustling, breezy water- front faded from their
recollections. They were in a world of narrow streets, of galleries and overhanging
balconies. Craziest structures, riddled and honeycombed with stairways and passages,
shut out the sky, though here and there rose a building of extraordinary richness and
most elaborate ornamentation. Color was everywhere. A thousand little notes of green
and yellow, of vermilion and sky blue, assaulted the eye. Here it was a doorway, here a
vivid glint of cloth or hanging, here a huge scarlet sign lettered with gold, and here a
kaleidoscopic effect in the garments of a passer-by. Directly opposite, and two stories
above their heads, a sort of huge "loggia," one blaze of gilding and crude vermilions,
opened in the gray cement of a crumbling facade, like a sudden burst of flame. Gigantic