The Arrow of Gold HTML version

Chapter III.3
On our return from that expedition we came gliding into the old harbour so late that
Dominic and I, making for the cafe kept by Madame Leonore, found it empty of
customers, except for two rather sinister fellows playing cards together at a corner table
near the door. The first thing done by Madame Leonore was to put her hands on
Dominic's shoulders and look at arm's length into the eyes of that man of audacious deeds
and wild stratagems who smiled straight at her from under his heavy and, at that time,
uncurled moustaches.
Indeed we didn't present a neat appearance, our faces unshaven, with the traces of dried
salt sprays on our smarting skins and the sleeplessness of full forty hours filming our
eyes. At least it was so with me who saw as through a mist Madame Leonore moving
with her mature nonchalant grace, setting before us wine and glasses with a faint swish of
her ample black skirt. Under the elaborate structure of black hair her jet-black eyes
sparkled like good- humoured stars and even I could see that she was tremendously
excited at having this lawless wanderer Dominic within her reach and as it were in her
power. Presently she sat down by us, touched lightly Dominic's curly head silvered on the
temples (she couldn't really help it), gazed at me for a while with a quizzical smile,
observed that I looked very tired, and asked Dominic whether for all that I was likely to
sleep soundly to-night.
"I don't know," said Dominic, "He's young. And there is always the chance of dreams."
"What do you men dream of in those little barques of yours tossing for months on the
"Mostly of nothing," said Dominic. "But it has happened to me to dream of furious
"And of furious loves, too, no doubt," she caught him up in a mocking voice.
"No, that's for the waking hours," Dominic drawled, basking sleepily with his head
between his hands in her ardent gaze. "The waking hours are longer."
"They must be, at sea," she said, never taking her eyes off him. "But I suppose you do
talk of your loves sometimes."
"You may be sure, Madame Leonore," I interjected, noticing the hoarseness of my voice,
"that you at any rate are talked about a lot at sea."
"I am not so sure of that now. There is that strange lady from the Prado that you took him
to see, Signorino. She went to his head like a glass of wine into a tender youngster's. He
is such a child, and I suppose that I am another. Shame to confess it, the other morning I
got a friend to look after the cafe for a couple of hours, wrapped up my head, and walked