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him, "that such practice is somewhat dangerous for me. It might annoy
you before I had done. I will postpone my happiness until we are in
"I thought so," she answered; "but look now, you must play the part, or
I shall suffer, who am bearing much for you."
"I think that I may suffer also," he murmured, but not so low that she
did not catch his words.
"No, friend Pedro," she said, turning on him, "it is the woman who
suffers in this kind of farce. She pays; the man rides away to play
another," and without more ado she opened the door, which proved to be
unlocked and unguarded.
Beyond the foot of some steps lay a most lovely garden. Great, tapering
cypresses grew about it, with many orange-trees and flowering shrubs
that filled the soft, southern air with odours. Also there were marble
fountains into which water splashed from the mouths of carven lions, and
here and there arbours with stone seats, whereon were laid soft cushions
of many colours. It was a veritable place of Eastern delight and
dreams, such as Peter had never known before he looked upon it on that
languorous eve--he who had not seen the sky or flowers for so many weary
weeks of sickness. It was secluded also, being surrounded by a high
wall, but at one place the tall, windowless tower of some other building
of red stone soared up between and beyond two lofty cypress-trees.
"This is the harem garden," Inez whispered, "where many a painted
favourite has flitted for a few happy, summer hours, till winter came
and the butterfly was broken," and, as she spoke, she dropped her veil
over her face and began to descend the stairs.
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