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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 165

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pelled my prospect of rambling over the precincts as I pleased. There was a good deal of military saluting, and then an unlocking of gates, and we passed into an open court, even more picturesque than I had anticipated. It was surrounded by two stories of cloisters, with the usual pointed arches, and in the middle was a miniature mosque with a cupola. The upper cloisters were reached by several graceful staircases ; against the wall of the mosque was a fountain, grey with age ; and quaint stone shoots for discharging the rain water protruded all round from the top of the walls like cannon. The ground floor on one side was occupied by vaulted stables opening into the external arcades, which had originally caught my attention. The imagination peopled the place with antique Oriental travellers ; but I had soon seen enough of it, and I thought we were all departing when I found that, besides the prison, we were going to be shown the prisoners. I had myself no wish whatever to see them, but the others were more curious ; and Captain O'Flanagan, whose hilarity rose with the occasion, seemed as anxious to show them to us as if they were pet monkeys. Accordingly a gate was unlocked at the foot of one of the staircases, and we mounted to the upper cloisters. I had expected to find a few poor crea-tures in corners, far apart from each other and looking more like hermits than prisoners. To my astonishment the cloisters, from end to end, were 162 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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