north-westward at our present level, which had been
selected on that account, carried us at a rate of
some twelve miles an hour; a rate much increased,
however, by the sails at the stern of the car, sails
of thin metal fixed on strong frames, and striking
with a screw-like motion. Their lack of expanse
was compensated by a rapidity of motion such that
they seemed to the eye not to move at all, presenting
the appearance of an uniform disc reflecting the rays
of the Sun, which was now almost immediately above
us. Towards evening the Residence of the Campta
became visible on the north-western horizon. It
was built on a plateau about 400 feet above the sea-level,
towards which the ground from all sides sloped up
almost imperceptibly. Around it was a garden
of great extent with a number of trees of every sort,
some of them masses of the darkest green, others of
bright yellow, contrasting similarly shaped masses
of almost equal size clothed from base to top in a
continuous sheet of pink, emerald, white or crimson
flowers. The turf presented almost as great a
variety of colours, arranged in. every conceivable
pattern, above which rose innumerable flower-beds,
uniform or varied, the smallest perhaps two, the largest
more than 200 feet in diameter; each circle of bloom
higher than that outside it, till in some cases the
centre rose even ten feet above the general level.
The building itself was low, having nowhere more than
two stories. One wing, pointed out to me by Ergimo,
was appropriated to the household of the Prince; the
centre standing out in front and rear, divided by
a court almost as wide as the wings; the further wing
accommodating the attendants and officials of the Court.
We landed, just before the evening mist began to gather,
at the foot of an inclined way of a concrete resembling
jasper, leading up to the main entrance of the Palace.
CHAPTER XVII — PRESENTED AT COURT.
Leading Eveena by the hand—for to hold
my arm after the European fashion was always an inconvenience
and fatigue to her—and preceded by Ergimo,
I walked unnoticed to the closed gate of pink crystal,
contrasting the emerald green of the outer walls.
Along the front of this central portion of the residence
was a species of verandah, supported by pillars overlaid
with a bright red metal, and wrought in the form of
smooth tree trunks closely clasped by creepers, the
silver flowers of the latter contrasting the dense
golden foliage and ruby-like stems. Under this,
and in front of the gate itself, were two sentries
armed with a spear, the shaft of which was about six
feet in length, hollow, and almost as light as the
cane or reed handle of an African assegai. The
blade more resembled the triangular bayonet.
Beside each, however, was the terrible asphyxiator,
fixed on its stand, with a bore about as great as
that of a nine-pounder, but incomparably lighter.
These two weapons might at one discharge have annihilated