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.