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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 119

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table. I now realised that I was in some Greek monastic establishment. Presently an old priest, hav-ing a long silvery beard and wearing a cassock and a high brimless hat, came towards me, and asked me by smiles and signs if I should like to visit the interior of the church. I assented. He took me to the door with the carvings over it, He pushed it open and I entered. I started, The incense-smelling twilight in which I found myself was a-glimmer with gold and paintings ! The actual structure was severely simple. It con-sisted of three aisles, of which the middle one was lit by a low dome, and the plain-cut stone-work was bare of all ornamentation. But the pulpit stood upon shafts of brilliant gilding, and blue and crimson saints looked down from its sides. There were rows of stalls, with fantastic gilded canopies ; and before the unseen altar was a great towering screen, gilt also, and gorgeous with the whole army of martyrs. Overhead from the roof depended antique crystal chandeliers, and on an illuminated reading-desk were the Gospels, bound in embossed silver. The priest had remained outside. There was a profound still-ness round me, and my first impression was that I was alone. Presently a faint sound called my atten-tion to the chancel, and I perceived that before the screen were innumerable hanging lamps, and that a silent acolyte was lighting them one by one. I felt a longing to linger ; an influence in the stillness de-tained me. The faint smell of incense, in the strange way peculiar to it, filled the air with a sense of con- 116 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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