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must have had English or Irish pigment in that red hair of his. His English was perfect, though he spoke the Maltese, too, of course.
He became our guide as we went along, willing and generous with his information, though more interested, I thought, in the questions he modestly asked us, now and then. His whole environment—all his traditions
-had been confined to that little sea-encircled space of old, old town, and older, much older country.
He would like to come to America, he confessed, and I wondered, if some day he should steam up New York harbor and look upon that piled architecture, and then should step ashore and find himself amidst its whirl of traffic, he would not be even more impressed by it than we were with his tiny forgotten island here to the south of Sicily.
We passed little stations, now and then, with pretty stone and marble station-houses, but with no villages of any consequence, and came to Citta Vecchia, which the Arabs called Medina, formerly the capital of the island. It is a very ancient place, set upon a hill and bastioned round with walls that are too high to scale, and were once impregnable. It has stood many an assault — many a long-protracted siege. To-day it is a place of crumbling ruins and deserted streets—a mediæval dream.
It was raining when we got back to Valetta, and our faithful guide hurried us toward the boat-landing by a short way, for we were anxious to get home now. Every few yards we were assailed by hackmen and beggars, and by boatmen as soon as we reached the pier. He kept us intact, however, and got us into
our own boat, received the rest of his fortune-enough to set him up for life, by Maltese standards—waved us good-bye, and we were being navigated across the wide, rainy waste toward our steamer, which seemed to fill one side of that little harbor.
What a joy to be on deck again and in the cosey cabin, drinking hot tea and talking over our adventures and purchases with our fellow-wanderers. The ship is home, rest, comfort-a world apart. We are weighing anchor now, and working our course out of the bottle-neck, to sea. It is a narrow opening-a native pilot directs us through it and leaves the ship only at the gateway. Then we sail through and out into the darkening sky where a storm is gatheringthe green billows catching the dusk purple on their tips, the gulls white as they breast the rising wind.
We gather on the after deck to say good-bye to Malta. Wall upon wall, terrace upon terrace it rises from the sea-heaped and piled back against the hills -as old, as quaint, as unchanged as it was a thousand years ago. Viewed in this spectral half-light it might be any one of the ancient cities. Ephesus, Antioch, Tyre-it suggests all those names, and we speak of these things in low voices, awed by the spectacle of gathering night and storm.
Then, as the picture fades, we return to the lighted cabins, where it is gay and cheerful and modern, while there in the dark behind, that old curious island life still goes on; those curious shut-in people are gathering in their houses; the day, with its cares, its worries, and its hopes is closing in on that tiny speck, set in that dark and lonely sea.
A SUNDAY AT SEA
W E are in classic waters now. All this bleak Sun
VV day we have been steaming over the Ionian Sea, crossed so long ago by Ulysses when he went exploring; crossed and recrossed a hundred times by the galleyed fleets of Rome. We have followed the exact course, perhaps, of those old triremes with their piled - up banks of oars, when they sailed away to conquer the East, also when they returned loaded down with captives and piled high with treasure.
A little while ago Cythera was on our port bow, the island where Aphrodite was born of wind and wave, and presently set out to make trouble among the human family. She and her son Cupid, who has always been too busy to grow up, have a good deal to answer for, and they are still at their mischief, and will be, no doubt, so long as men are brave and women fair.
However, they seemed to have overlooked this ship. There is only one love-affair discoverable, and even that is of such a mild academic variety that it is doubtful whether that tricksy jade Venus and her dimpled son had any concern in the matter. It is rather a case of Diana's hunting, I suspect, and not a love-affair at all. I have mentioned that this is Sunday, but I acquired this knowledge from the calendar. One would never guess it from the aspect of this ship and its company. We made a pretty good attempt at Sabbath observance the first Sunday out, and we did something in that line a week later. But then we struck Genoa, where we lost the Promoter and took on this European influx of languages, and now Sunday is the same as Friday or Tuesday or any other day, and it would take an expert to tell the difference.
I do not blame it all to the Europeans. They are a good lot, I believe, some of them I am sure are, and we have taken to them amazingly. They did teach us a few new diversions, but we were ready for instruction and the Reprobates would have corrupted us anyhow, so it is no matter. The new-comers only stimulated our education and added variety to our progress. But they did make it bad for Sundaythe old-fashioned Sunday, such as we had the first week out.
Not that our “pilgrims" are a bad lot—not by any means. They do whoop it up pretty lively in the booze-bazaar now and then, and even a number of our American ladies have developed a weakness for that congenial corner of the ship. But everything is p. p., which is Kurfürst for perfectly proper, and on this particular Sunday you could not scrape up enough real sin on this ship to interest Satan five minutes.
Even the Reprobates are not entirely abandoned, and only three different parties have been removed from their table in the dining-saloon by requestrequest of the parties, that is said parties being accustomed to the simpler life pleasant diversions of the home circle, as it were—and not to the sparkle and the flow of good-fellowship on the high seas, with the bon mot of the Horse-Doctor, the repartee of the Colonel, and the placid expletive of the Apostle which the rest of us are depraved enough to adore.
The Apostle, by-the-way, is going to Jerusalem. He has been there before, which he does not offer as a reason for going again, for he found no comfort there, and he is unable to furnish the Doctor with a sane reason why any one should ever want to go there, even once. I suspect that when the sale of tickets for the side trips began the Apostle, in his innocence, feared that there might not be enough to go around, and thought that he had better secure one in case of accident. I suspect this from his manner of urging the Doctor to secure one for himself.
“You'll be too late, if you're not careful,” he said. “You'd better go right up and get your ticket now."
The Doctor was not alarmed. “Don't worry, Joe,” he said. “You're booked for Jerusalem, all right enough. I'll get mine when I decide to go.”
“But suppose you decide to go after the party is made up ?”
The Doctor stroked his chin. "Hell-of-a-note if I can't go ashore and buy a ticket for Jerusalem,” he said, which had not occurred to the Apostle, who immediately remembered that he didn't want to go to Jerusalem anyway, had never wanted to go, and had vowed, before, he would never go again.
However, he will go, because the Colonel is going; and the Colonel is going because, as the Doctor still