looked straight across the shoulder of a slope, ribbed with olive trees, to the sea.
The indecency of the whole place struck Mrs. Chailey forcibly. There were no blinds to shut out the sun, nor was there any furniture to speak of for the sun to spoil. Standing in the bare stone hall, and surveying a staircase of superb breadth, but cracked and carpetless, she further ventured the opinion that there were rats, as large as terriers at home, and that if one put one's foot down with any force one would come through the floor. As for hot water—at this point her investigations left her speechless.
"Poor creature!" she murmured to the sallow Spanish servant-girl who came out with the pigs and hens to receive them, "no wonder you hardly look like a human being!" Maria accepted the compliment with an exquisite Spanish grace. In Chailey's opinion they would have done well to stay on board an English ship, but none knew better than she that her duty commanded her to stay.
When they were settled in, and in train to find daily occupation, there was some speculation as to the reasons which induced Mr. Pepper to stay, taking up his lodging in the Ambrose's house. Efforts had been made for some days before landing to impress upon him the advantages of the Amazons.
"That great stream!" Helen would begin, gazing as if she saw a visionary cascade, "I've a good mind to go with you myself, Willoughby—only I can't. Think of the sunsets and the moonrises—I believe the colours are unimaginable.
"There are wild peacocks," Rachel hazarded.
"And marvellous creatures in the water," Helen asserted.
"One might discover a new reptile," Rachel continued.
"There's certain to be a revolution, I'm told," Helen urged. The effect of these subterfuges was a little dashed by Ridley, who, after regarding Pepper for some moments, sighed aloud, "Poor fellow!" and inwardly speculated upon the unkindness of women.
Mr. Pepper stayed, however, in apparent contentment for six days, playing with a microscope and a notebook in one of the many sparsely furnished sitting-rooms, but on the evening of the seventh day, as they sat at dinner, he appeared more