There were tenants at last in Malory; and the curiosity of the honestresidents of Cardyllian, the small and antique town close by, was at oncepiqued and mortified by the unaccountable reserve of these people.
For four years, except from onetwisted chimney in the far corner of the old house, no smoke had risen fromits flues. Tufts of grass had grown up between the paving-stones of thesilent stable-yard, grass had crept over the dark avenue, which, making acurve near the gate, is soon lost among the sombre trees that throw aperpetual shadow upon it; the groves of nettles had spread and thickenedamong their trunks; and in the signs of neglect and decay, the monastic oldplace grew more than ever triste.
The pretty little Welsh town ofCardyllian stands near the shingle of a broad estuary, beyond which tower thenoble Cambrian mountains. High and dim, tier above tier, undulating hills,broken by misty glens, and clothed with woods, rise from the opposite shore,and are backed, range behind range, by the dim outlines of Alpine peaks andslopes, and flanked by purple and gold-tinted headlands, rising dome-likefrom the sea.
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