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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 17

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of a Japanese cabinet a number of gems, and began telling me their histories. This, I confess, I did not find specially entertaining ; and I was not sorry when, pausing, he pulled open a drawer, and proceeded to rummage in it for some new subject of conversation. ' Here,' he said at last, ' is another curious speci-men.' And he produced and handed me a small tri-angular something, heavy, rough in surface, and in colour a dusky green. 'That,' he went on, 'is a fragment of Verd Antique, the famous marble which was so much prized by the ancients, and the quarries of which have for so long been unknown to the modern world.' I asked him where he found it. ' I found it,' he said, ' in Cyprus, in a remote part of the island ; and all about the spot the same priceless stone was to right and left of me in enormous detached masses. More than that, too,' he added ; ' close beside them are other masses of a beautiful clouded yellow. There they lie ! Nobody knows of them ; nobody but a peasant comes near them. I myself found them only by accident.' I asked him if it might not be practicable to work these quarries profitably. lie replied, though without much enthusiasm, that it very possibly might be, provided a man with sufficient knowledge and enterprise should be found willing to undertake the experiment. His tone was not encouraging, and the matter accordingly dropped ; but there was a mixture of romance and speculation in the train 14 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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