Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/34

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canopy of heaven above, all formed a very charming picture.

About the centre of the curve of the bay stood the house of the Instructor, to which my guide now led me. It was entirely overgrown with creeping plants, so that it was unrecognisable as a human habitation from the outside.

Separating the depending branches of a beautiful broad-leaved creeper covered with large bell-shaped mauve-coloured flowers, we entered the house or grotto of the Instructor.

As there was no one within, I had time to look about me. The house consisted of a single room, built entirely of specimens of coral of the most beautiful shapes and delicate colours. The obscurity of the interior, when we entered from the dazzling glare outside, would have prevented me seeing anything, had not Billy touched a knob projecting from the wall, whereupon a light immediately appeared in the ceiling, which, from its brilliancy, I conjectured must be owing to electricity.

The purity of the light and its excessive brightness showed off the colours of the coral-built grotto in the greatest perfection. There were no windows, and the door by which we had entered was closed by nothing but the thick curtain formed by the hanging creeper. The furniture of the room consisted of two tables and some particularly comfortable easy chairs. A large bookcase, containing many volumes, occupied the entire of the far end of the room. I had the curiosity to look what kind of books formed the library of the important official I was about to see. I was surprised and pleased to observe that they consisted of some of our most recent English works