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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 255

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tinuous company of colours ; and as I tried to follow the details of limb and drapery, and to decipher the expressions and features of the half-obliterated faces, the light fell on a scroll, still as distinct as ever, letting me see that it was held in the Saviour's hands, and that on it was written, Ί will give you bread from heaven.' It had only taken a single glance to show me that the whole of the building must have been gorgeous with painting once ; but except in the chancel I had at first detected nothing beyond stains of pigment, and here and there an aureole. Now, however, as I grew accustomed to the gloom, row upon row of figures became discernible, till I seemed to be surrounded by an army of saints and angels ; whilst, as if to connect all these-with the world of men still struggling, at the top of the pictures ran a curious and graceful border, consisting of flowers alternating, with coats of arms. As I lingered I felt that the walls were alive with worship, with the creed that men are rejecting ; and the naked sky stared in at the empty windows, and through them, unnoticed and unobstructed, the drifting sea-sand entered. I went from this into several smaller churches, all standing so near to each other that they might have been in one large field. The structures of these were somewhat more ruinous, but the frescoes in one of them at least were more distinct and brilliant. There was a perfect St. George plunging his spear into the dragon, and a Madonna whose robes were as blue as that morning's sky : and in all was the same sound- 252 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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