Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/303

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The Ruby of Kishmoor

Melina, and Melina take you to pretty lady, who want you to eat supper wid her.”

Thereupon, and allowing our hero no opportunity to decline this extraordinary invitation, even had he been of a mind to do so, she took him by the hand, and led him toward the large and imposing house which commanded the garden. “Indeed,” says Jonathan to himself, as he followed his sable guide—himself followed in turn by the gigantic negro—“indeed, I am like to have my fill of adventure, if anything is to be judged from such a beginning as this.”

Nor did the interior sumptuousness of the mansion at all belie the imposing character of its exterior, for, entering by way of an illuminated veranda, and so coming into a brilliantly lighted hallway beyond, Jonathan beheld himself to be surrounded by such a wealth of exquisite and well-appointed tastefulness as it had never before been his good-fortune to behold.

Candles of clarified wax sparkled like stars in chandeliers of crystal. These in turn, catching the illumination, glittered in prismatic fragments with all the varied colors of the rainbow, so that a mellow yet brilliant radiance filled the entire apartment. Polished mirrors of a spotless clearness, framed in golden frames and built into the walls, reflected the waxed floors, the rich Oriental carpets, and the sumptuous paintings that hung against the ivory-tinted paneling, so that in appearance the beauties of the apartment were continued in bewildering vistas upon every side toward which the beholder directed his gaze.

Bidding our hero to be seated, which he did with no small degree of embarrassment and constraint, and upon the extreme edge of the gilt and satin-covered chair, the negress who had been his conductor left him for the time being to his own contemplation.

Almost before he had an opportunity to compose himself into anything more than a part of his ordinary sedateness of demeanor, the silken curtains at the doorway at the other end of the apartment were suddenly divided, and Jonathan beheld before him a female