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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 187

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Everything now wore quite a different look for me, and I felt that I was once more in a world of calculable circumstance. The ascent of my host's road was indeed an affair of climbing, and I shud-dered at the thought of a carriage coming down round its frightful corners. Some twenty paces or so brought us in sight of the house. It stood on a height above us, surrounded with gorse and myrtle ; a habitation absolutely solitary, in a scene of leaf and precipice. In appearance it was a cross between a white English villa and a brown Swiss cottage, having the solid core of the first and the surrounding bal-conies of the second. It was a strange object in such a place, but it was strange in a piquant and agree-able way, filling the air with a swarm of far-fetched and subtle associations, which made one feel bewil-dered as to where one was. The interior completed this peculiar mental effect. The white pavement of the passage, the walls, the chairs—everything, in-stantly suggested the daintiest civilisation of Eng-land, simplified and etherealised by the air of these lonely mountains. At home the simplicity would have been probably called bareness, but here it was exactly what the conditions demanded. The carpets, from Karamania and Smyrna, covered but half the floors ; the beautiful coloured matting in the bed-rooms might have seemed rough in London ; but here such asceticism of taste was the very refinement of luxury, and harmonised, as none of our more elaborate comforts could, with the flowers, the books, 184 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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