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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 278

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PATRIARCHAL HOSPITALITY 275 palm. With a pleasant smile, however, and a gesture of real dignity, he gave me to understand that he expected and wished for nothing. I believed him, and believe him still ; and it went to my heart that I had eaten his lamb so thanklessly. Just as I was starting a woman made her appearance, who I think was his wife ; but I had no means of approaching her ; and I could not then, with her husband's eye upon me, offer her publicly what he had just refused. I therefore went away, paying them with nothing but thanks, which pleased one of them better than money, and I could only hope, though I had some doubts about it, did not please the other very much less. Thinking the matter over as I went along, I called to Scotty, to make myself quite sure, and asked which the old man's wife was. ' Sir,' said Scotty, ' he has several woman there. I not know which his wife.' By-and-by, in the middle of the lonely plain, we passed a solitary chapel, standing close to the roadside. I had not noticed it as I came, so I stopped for a minute or two and examined it. Inside it was smirched and blackened with smoke. Shepherds must have used it for a shelter and lit their fires in it ; but here and there were visible glimpses of brilliant colour, especially blue and carmine, which seemed to have hardly faded ; and I saw that the whole walls had been originally covered with frescoes which once must have made this nameless forlorn building glow like a bed of flowers. It was dusk and nearly τ 2

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