a winter with the swallows

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: At CHRISTMAS DAY IN AFRICA. HOW WE KEPT HOLIDAY.— T1IE HILLS AND HEDGE-ROWS. THE ORPHANS HOME IN THE ATLAS. BIBLICAL ASSOCIATIONS. THE OLD MAN AMONG THE RUINS. |T is Christmas Day—and what a day ! The warm blue sea hardly makes a murmur as it flows inwards ; the sky has not a cloud; the air is scented with violets ; all the windows stand wide open. The temperature is, in fact, that of a sunny, old- fashioned May-day, and we join the stream of happy holiday-makers bound to the country. Carriages and omnibuses are rattling in every direction, filled with French ladies in pretty toilettes; officers in their uniforms; and poor workmen with their families, all trim and in tune for a day's pleasure. Who could help putting on one's best gown, pinning a flower to one's girdle, and feeling as glad as any child? Nothing can be more perfect than the drive from Algiers to the suburban heights of Mustapha Superieure, whither we are bound. The carriage winds amid verdant hills all the way. On the one hand, you see the dome of a Moorish palace glittering among the olive-trees, or the white walls of a French villa peeping from orange and lemon gardens ; on the other, you look straight across a line of cypress-trees to the blue bay, sprinkled with a thousand sails, and the bluer mountains beyond. One longed to copy the picture with jewels as some skilful mosaicist has copied Da Vinci's Last Supper in Vienna. The hills are clothed with foliage on all sides. There is the ever-graceful olive, the brilliant banana, the glossy palma - Christi, the arrowy cypress, black and green like a duck's wing, the silvery green aloe, the wild cactus, the fan-like palmetto, the caroubier with its grateful shade, and, lastly, though that is rare, the palm. The palm is the king of trees; ...
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