The Actress in High Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 297 pages of information about The Actress in High Life.
her directions, he presently stopped an idiotic looking fellow, with a huge head, whom they met driving some milch goats toward the hovel, and questioned him.  The goatherd stood staring at the party with open mouth, and gave little heed to him.  But, at length, being pressed for an answer, he gave one in a harsh voice with great volubility, and much action, as if drawing in the air a map of the whole country around.  The muleteer seemed satisfied, and they again moved on over a waste of low, rolling hills, without a tree upon them.  Unlike the heaths of the north of Europe, it was covered with a false show of fertility, displaying a variety of plants; among them several species of heath, one six feet high, and entirely covered with large red flowers, another, smaller indeed, but with flowers of a yet more lively red.  Here, too, were the yellow-flowered cisti, and many other plants with blossoms of many hues, perfuming the air while they delighted the eye.  But the stunted juniper bushes, and the myrtles, not luxuriant and beautiful, like those growing on the banks of the rivulets, but dwarfish to the humble size of weeds, told of a land of starvation under this wilderness of sweets.

Lady Mabel, much as she loved flowers, was sated here, and owned that no profusion of them could make a landscape.  “There is a dreary monotony in a scene like this, that words cannot express.  The sky of brass over our heads, and this treeless, lifeless sea of sandy hillocks around us, excite a feeling of desolation and solitude, which forces me to look round on our party to convince myself that I am not alone in the world.”

The muleteer, who was some way ahead, now stopped short.  Riding up, they saw that the path here divided into two, and heard him heaping curses on the huge head of the simpleton, who had forgotten to tell him which to follow.  But, on L’Isle’s asking what they should do now, he dismounted, and stepped up to consult his wisest mule, which he did by slipping the bridle from his head.  At once, sure instinct came to faltering reason’s aid; the beast turned complacently into the right hand path, and moving briskly on, jingled his bells more cheerily than before, as if he already saw the open stable door, and snuffed his evening meal.  Their path bending westward, they now saw clouds mustering on the heights before them, and one of April’s sudden showers drawing near.

Within less then a mile, they came upon a hedge of American aloes, which, with their close array of massive leaves, each ending in a sharp point, protected an orchard.  Following its course a few rods, they came to a rude gateway, which admitted them into a small cattle-yard, and a low, unpretending farm-house stood before them.

CHAPTER XII.

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The Actress in High Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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