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I stepped out into the garden, a patch of sward with a fountain in the centre, and parterres, now more filled with weeds than flowers. At the left corner was a tall wooden summer-house or pavilion, its door wide open. "Oh, that's where Sir Philip used to study many a long summer's night," said the steward. "What! in that damp pavilion?"

A stately Georgian pile, with a facade sixteen windows wide; parterres in the foreground; huge, smooth lawns receding out of the picture to right and left. Ten years more of the hard times and Gobley, with all its peers, will be deserted and decaying. Fifty years, and the countryside will know the old landmarks no more. They will have vanished as the monasteries vanished before them.

Both sides of the way are lined with the country-houses and gardens of opulent citizens, as fine as gilt statues and clipped hedges can make them. Their number is quite astonishing: from Amsterdam to Utrecht, full thirty miles, we beheld no other objects than endless avenues and stiff parterres scrawled and flourished in patterns like the embroidery of an old maid's work- bag.

The Sardanapalian motto, "Laugh, sing, dance, and be merry," seems to be universally adopted in this "City of the Plague." The planters' and merchants' villas immediately in the vicinity are extremely tasteful, and are surrounded by large parterres filled with plantain, banana, palm, orange, and rose trees.

Now, links, as well as parterres and driveways, are lying under an even blanket of winter snow, and even the building, with its picturesque gables and rows of be-diamonded windows, is well-nigh indistinguishable in the shadows cast by the heavy pines, which soar above it and twist their limbs over its roof and about its forsaken corners, with a moan and a whisper always desolate to the sensitive ear, but from this night on, simply appalling.

On another occasion, when it was high summer and the sun burnt every leaf of the black Argan foliage to a yellow red, and whilst the arid earth opened her mouth in horrid gaps, crystal springs of water were seen to bubble forth from the bowels of the earth, and run in rills among parterres of roses and jessamines.

Deprived of this advantage, however, Isabel's visitors retained that of an extreme sweetness and shyness of demeanour, and of having, as she thought, eyes like the balanced basins, the circles of "ornamental water," set, in parterres, among the geraniums. The Misses Molyneux were not in their first youth, but they had bright, fresh complexions and something of the smile of childhood.

Pleasant was the garden where the two girls stood, shaded by great trees, laid out in exquisite parterres, with knots and figures, quaint flower-beds, shorn trees and hedges, covered alleys and arbours, terraces and mounds, in the taste of the time, and above all an admirably kept bowling-green.

In the blaze of it the boy saw the miracle run from ship to ship the timber bursting into leaf with the song of birds and the scent of tropical plants. Across the avenue of teak which had been the Nubian's bulwarks he saw the Dutchman's galley, now a summer-house set in parterres of tulips.

He is a little astonished upon entering the pleasure grounds to see one or more gardeners busy among the parterres and shrubberies, the rhododendrons, the cedar deodaras, the laurels, the pampas grass, the 'carpet gardening' beds, and the glass of distant hothouses glittering in the sun.