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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 73

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we began our return home. As we descended to the plain, faintly from every quarter came to our ears a tinkling of sheep-bells and of goat-bells. As the earth grew darker, a wild orange glare answered in the east to the fading embers of the sunset ; and against this Ave saw nameless shaggy figures, home-going men and women, in unfamiliar clothing, journeying, like phantoms, we none of us knew whither. Who were they—what were they—these nomads of the twilight ? To us they seemed like figures out of a poem or Eastern story book ; and they suddenly deepened in our minds the sense that we were in a strange land. Of experiences such as this one thinks less at the time than afterwards. Their meaning unfolds itself as one looks quietly back on them. Then one sees sometimes how foreign places have dyed the mind for ever with foreign colours—how Eastern sui.sets and the blue of Mediterranean bays have entered into the blood, and become part of one's life ; and I knew, as I walked home, that thoughts of that purple evening would come back to me hereafter, with many others that go tinkling like sheep-bells across the waste places of memory. 70 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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