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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 29

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By nine next morning we were already far into Italy, and I soon was conscious of a distinct and surprising change. I call it surprising because it was the very opposite of the change I had expected. The sky last night had been clear. I counted on its being blue this morning. But instead of being blue it was livid with leaden grey ; the winter seemed far more savage than that we had left behind us, and we entered Bologna through snow-drifts ten feet high. We hurried on southward ; but no change came, except that the white desolation seemed to grow more desolate. The green shutters of villas built for sunshine, the gaudy paintings on the Avails—Madonnas on blue clouds, or vistas of impossible gardens— looked haggard and piteous in this unnatural weather, like rouged cheeks at five o'clock in the morning. We skirted the Adriatic ; its colour was a cold menacing purple ; and Ancona stood out in it, squalid like unwashed linen. We seemed to be passing through an extinct or forsaken world. That evening we stopped at a wayside station, and dined in a cold restaurant, under a ceiling daubed with flowers, having had previously all our meals in the train. We were to reach Brindisi by an hour or two past mid-night ; so we turned to our berths early, and slept without undressing. At length we were roused by the intimation, half welcome, half odious, that we should, as the conductor put it, ' be there in half an hour.' In a minute or two the car was alive witli the folding and the strapping of rugs, a search 2G IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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