158 JAVA: THE GARDEN OF THE EAST
and entertainment for an hour, while all the strange flying things filled the air and strewed the table beneath the lamps. The usual lizards chuck-chucked and called for a Beckya in the shadows, and thin wraiths of lizards ran over the great columns and walls; but a house-front that was not decorated with lizards would be the strangest night sight in Java. When we had laid ourselves out on the state catafalques in the great bedrooms, stealthy whisperings and rustlings of palm-trees beyond the latticed windows, other strange sounds, and startled bird-calls throughout the night suggested the great snakes we had expected to encounter daily and nightly in Java. The tiny light floating in a tumbler of cocoanut-oil threw weird shadows over the walls, and within the bed-cur-tains one had space to dance a quadrille or arrange a whole set of ordinary bedroom furniture, while the open construction of the upper partition-walls let one converse at will with the occupant of the farthest apartment.
In the first clear light of the dewy morning we saw that a beautiful garden surrounded the pas-sagrahan, and our vast Parthenon of the darkness did not seem so colossal when seen in the shadow of the magnificent kanari-trees that shaded the street before it. While lost in admiration of this splendid aisle of shade-trees, I saw a solitary pedestrian coming down the green avenue, just the pygmy touch of human life needed to complete the picture and give one measure for the soaring tree-trunks and vast canopy of leaves. The slender figure, advancing with the splendid, slow stride of these people, was visible now in a glorifying