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slipped off a magnificent diamond ring from one of the fingers. Then he slipped the ring on his own finger and tossed the hand aside. “Keep the carrion," he said.
They hate the memory of Napoleon in Malta to this day.
The ceiling of the church is a mass of gold and color, and there are chapels along the sides, each trying to outdo the next in splendor. I am going to stop description right here, for I could do nothing with the details.
I have mentioned that services were in progress, but it did not seem to interfere with our sight-seeing. It would in America, but it doesn't in Malta. There was chanting around the altar, and there were worshippers kneeling all about, but our guide led us among them and over them as if they had not existed. It seemed curious to us that he could do this, that we could follow him unmolested. We tried to get up some feeling of delicacy in the matter, and to make some show of reluctance, but he led us and drove us along relentlessly, and did not seem to fear the consequences.
We got outside at last and were nailed by a frowsy man who wanted to sell one grimy postal card of the Chapel of Bones. We didn't want the card, but we said he might take us to the chapel if he knew the way. Nothing so good as that ever came into his life before. From a mendicant seller of one wretched card, worth a penny at most, he had suddenly blossomed into the guide of two American tourists. The card disappeared. With head erect he led the way as one having received knighthood.
Our crowd was waiting admission outside the chapel and we did not need our guide any more. But that didn't matter—he needed us. He accepted his salary to date, but he did not accept his discharge. We went into the Chapel of Bones, which is a rather grewsome place, with a lot of decorations made out of bleached human remnants-not a pleasant spot in which to linger-and when we came out again there was our guide, ready to take us in hand. We resisted feebly, but surrendered. We didn't care for the regular programme and wanted to wander away, anyhow. He suggested that we go to the Governor's palace and armory, so we went there.
The armory was worth while. It was full of armor of the departed knights and of old arms of every sort. We think breech-loading guns are modern, but we saw them there from the sixteenth century-long, deadly-looking weapons—and there were rope guns; also little mortars not more than three or four inches deep-mere toys—a stout man with a pile of rocks would be more effective, I should think.
We saw the trumpet, too, that led La Valette to victory in 1565, and some precious documents-among them the Grant of Malta made by Charles V. to the knights, 1530. These were interesting things and we lingered there until within a minute of noon, when we went out into the grounds to see the great bronze clock on the Governor's palace strike twelve.
And all the rest of our party had collected in the grounds of the Governor's palace, and pretty soon the Governor came out and made us a little speech of welcome and invited us to luncheon on the lawn,
with cold chicken and ices and nice fizzy drinks. No, that was not what happened—not exactly. Our crowd was not there, and we did not see the Governor and we were not invited to picnic on the lawn. Otherwise the statement is correct. We did go out into the grounds, and we did see the clock strike. The other things are what we thought should happen, and they would have happened if we had received our just deserts.
Well, then, those things did not materialize, but our guide did. He would always materialize, so long as we stayed in Malta. So we re-engaged him and signified that we wanted food. He led us away to what seemed to be a hotel, but the clerk, who did not speak English, regarded us doubtfully. Then the landlord came. He had a supply of English but no food. No one is fed at a hotel in Malta who has not ordered in advance. At least, that is what he said, and we went away, sorrowing.
We were not alone. A crowd had collected while we were inside—a crowd of the would be guides and already beggars, with sellers and torments of various kinds. We were assailed as soon as we touched the street, and our guide, who was not very robust, was not entirely able to protect us from them. He did steer us to a restaurant, however, a decent enough little place, and on the steps outside they disputed for us and wrangled over us and divided us up while we ate. It was like the powers getting ready to dismember China.
We laid out our programme for the afternoon. We wanted to get some Maltese lace, and to make a little
side trip by rail to Citta Vecchia (the old city) which two native gentlemen at our table told us would give us a good idea of the country. Then we paid our bill, had a battle with a bootblack who had surreptitiously been polishing my shoes, fought our way through the barbarians without, and finally escaped by sheer flight, our guide at our heels.
We told him that we wanted lace. Ah, a smile that was like morning overspread his face. He took us to a large shop, where we found some of our friends already negotiating, but we did not linger. We said we wanted to find a little shopa place where it was made. He led us to another bazaar. Again we said, “No, a little shop-a very little shop, on a back street."
Clearly he was disappointed. He did find one for us, however, a tiny place in an alley, with two bent, wrinkled women weaving lace outside the door.
How their deft fingers made those little bobbins fly, and what beautiful stuff it was, creamy white silk in the most wonderful patterns and stitches. They showed us their stock eagerly, and they had masses of it. Then we bargained and cheapened and haggled, in the approved fashion we have picked up along the way, and went off at last with our purchases, everybody happy—they because they would have taken less, we because we would have given more. Only our guide was a bit solemn. I suppose his commission was modest enough in a place like that.
He took us to the railway-station—the only railway in Malta. Then I made a discovery: we had no current coin of the realm and the railway would take
only English money. No matter. We had discharged our guide three times and paid him each separate time. He was a capitalist now, and he promptly advanced the needed funds. We were
grateful, and invited him to go along. But he said "No," that he would remain at the station until our return.
He was faithful, you see, and he trusted us. Besides, we couldn't escape. There was only that one road and train. We took our seats in an open car, on account of the scenery. We didn't know it was thirdclass till later, but we didn't mind that. What we did mind was plunging into a thick, black, choking