Under the Big Dipper

another meal to-day.”

Now that he was once again alone, the Count forgot the evening meal, forgot the steward and the man he just had met—he had weightier matters on his mind. This man of the world, trained to think while chatting and seemingly enjoying small talk—this old diplomat realized that he had arrived at a parting of the ways. The oppressive heat of earlier day had yielded somewhat to the gentle breeze rising from the ever-nearing mountainous shore. A brilliant crimson band silhouetted sharply the deep purple of Ras Séan, the bluish haze half hid the frowning abrupt cliffs of Perim Island; the first twinkle of the lighthouse shone like a firefly, coming and going in rhythmic flashes. To the north the broad dome of Disohebel Menghéli rose high, the towering guardian of the strait, the dread of the unwary skipper. Over the ultramarine hills rose the red moon of the silent East, mysterious and alluring, the

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