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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 253

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places where a portcullis once descended. Then the passage widened into an open cavern of masonry, as big as a baronial hall, and at the end of this was the interior of the town like a picture. Facing me in the foreground was. a poverty-stricken café, with a porch in front of it, supported on tottering columns and festooned with onions. To the left a lane, narrow, dirty, and tortuous, lost itself amongst a collection of hovels. To the right, built against the towers that reared their masses over me, was a little house in ruins, with the plaster of its rooms show-ing ; and beyond it I saw beginning the long lines of the ramparts. Between the ramparts and the café was a gap, littered with rubbish, which seemed to give access to some open space beyond. I passed through it. A paved incline led me up to a bastion, and from thence I saw something of what the town, as a whole, was. I saw that about a quarter of it was occupied by a drowsy village, rudely built of stones that had once been parts of palaces ; and above the sea of their miserable mud roofs rose two great churches, one of them evidently a cathedral. As for the rest of what I have called a town, so far as I could see from that spot, it was a desert. In all directions the grass was growing, on soil uneven and mounded with fallen and shapeless buildings ; hillocks of grey stones were scattered about like hay-cocks, and amongst them, here and there, was a palm tree, or group of palm trees, watching by the dead like their brothers in far Palmyra. But what 250 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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