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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 159

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they knew could mean only to abolish it. They saw, therefore, that in this case there was nothing for them to do but to drop their opposition with as good a grace as possible. But how was this to be done with any grace at all? That was the question. They could not make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of their chief supporters by voting for a measure which they had been calling abominable yesterday. They accordingly hit at last on the following plan. When the day came on which the fate of the measure was to be decided, a number of those who opposed it were to keep away from the Council, just sufficient to allow of its being carried by a majority of one, the rest of the party declaiming against it as formerly. Everything was settled ; but on the morning of the eventful day the patriots discovered that somehow they were still one too many. It was necessary therefore that one more of them should absent him-self. Their choice fell on a gentleman whose name, if I recollect rightly, was Piérides, and he was told to suggest some pretext by which his absence might be accounted for. ' Come,' they said, ' you can easily pretend that you are ill.' ' No, no,' he said ; ' that will never satisfy my supporters. I live in Nicosia and I am known to be in robust health.' ' I have it,' said some one. ' Urgent business summons you, and in half an hour's time you must be on your way to Larnaca.' This suggestion met with universal approval, Mr. Piérides himself being as well satisfied with it as anybody. But presently recollecting him- 156 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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