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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 47

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sionally into fortresses of natural crag, and which here and there, where they receded, enclosed morass-like levels. In a northern climate it would all have formed a picture of dreariness ; but I found, to my surprise, that it did not do so here. The sunlight and the air lay on it, like a love philter endowing it with fascination. Everything—shrub and boulder, brown soil, and naked rocky ridge—was softly lumi-nous, as if it were seen through water ; and every breath which I drew into my lungs excited me as if it had been drugged with some strange stimulant. The landscape itself, however, I soon felt, was monotonous ; so I gave up staring at it, and betaking myself to a map and to a guide-book, I tried to identify the road on which I was travelling, and I re-read a meagre description of Nicosia. The description told me of gardens, palaces, and minarets, Venetian forti-fications, and mediaeval Christian churches, of the palaces of crusading kings and the tombs of Turkish warriors. The whole was comprised in a few me-chanical paragraphs, and when I read it before it had conveyed very little to me ; but now the words seemed to become alive, and their very inability to satisfy my curiosity made them all the more powerful in exciting it. Occasionally my attention was called again to the road, by our passing some travelling group, or else some solitary figure. So far as I could see they were shepherds or peasants mostly, with scarlet caps and long shaggy capotes ; and once or twice came a rude cart drawn by bullocks. 44 XV AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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