Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/176

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From Saturday Evening Post

HARDTACK and Wally lolled on the deck of a cargo boat in the crowded harbour of Piræus, wondering what they would do with the night. The sun was setting, and hills and city lay bathed in a mellow golden glow. Behind them some Moslem deck passengers were at their devotions—bearded patriarchs, making obeisance on their prayer mats before bedding down on the hatch. “Time and money, and no place to spend it,” grumbled Hardtack. “I knowed all the while this trip would be a bust.”

Wally turned on him angrily.

“You wanted to sight-see, didn’t you? Well, whose idea was this, anyhow—yours or mine?”

“Any time there’s a idea, it’s like to be mine,” Hardtack admitted; “but I never meant to do nothin’ else except ruins—I like a li’l’ action now and ag’in. We ain’t even caught up to Noah’s ark yet, have we?”

“That’s right! Go on and beef!”

“I ain’t beefin’. Only let’s do something.”

“Then let’s go ashore.”

“What for? There’s nothin’ to do.”

“I promised my sister I’d go see the Acropolis,” said Wally, stubbornly.

Hardtack let out a yowl.

“More ruins, I bet!”

“These,” retorted Wally, “are the wonders of the world. The pinnacle of art was reached by them, my sister says. My sister says the Parthenon by moonlight is majestic.”

“What does she know about it? I never even knowed you had a sister!”