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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 213

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by any uncle's tenderness, consigned him without mercy to the sort of quarters which he ought to have occupied seven years before. And yet, poor devil, I could not help liking him, and he looked as if butter would hardly melt in his mouth. For the moment, however, as soon as I left the castle I forgot him with a heartless celerity, which I did not then know he deserved. He was completely put out of my mind by an exquisite Corinthian capi-tal and a marble slab covered with Greek inscrip-tions, which as I passed out over the bridge at once caught my eye, shining forlorn on a rubbish heap and facing the Gothic fortress. I lunched with the commissioner of the district, a Scotch gentleman, who occupied a Turkish house overlooking the harbour. I washed off the dust of antiquity in a quaint Oriental bedroom, with a ceil-ing painted like those in the palace of Mr. Matthews. My entertainer received me in a large hall, spanned by pointed arches and strewn with light-coloured car-pets. We looked out of the window at the pillars of the Temple of Venus, and then we quenched imagi-nation in a dish of excellent curry. When I re-turned to Mr. St. John's, however, my imagination was once more craving. He and I made a second excursion to St. Hilarion. I drank the romance of the past like a glass of mental absinthe, and I ar-ranged to go next day to seek for a yet deeper draught of it at the ruin of ruins, the wonderful Abbey of Bella Pais. 210 · IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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