W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 199
aLEAVE OF ABSENCEa
very fact of being able to entertain a traveller with the best the house could produce, seemed to afford positive, undisguised pleasure. There was a heartiness about it unknown at home, where, what with the coldness of our climate and the still greater frigidity of our natures, the practice is not to accept hospitality unless in a position to return it.
Around the fascinating custom in the East, that blessed alike the giver and the recipient, there still lingers a halo of light in my recollection, standing out in bold relief from the wreck which was soon to follow.
The rapid spread of railroads, main trunks and ramifications, naturally lessened the opportunities for exercising such kindly sympathy, for the increase of hotels and refreshment rooms was simultaneous.
I once occupied a bungalow close to the main road, and travellers pulled up at it as a matter of course, as readily indeed as if there had been a signboard over the door. The sheep and poultry, too, may have lent the scene the additional charm of domesticity ; for, besides having charge of the Gynee (small oxen) Clubs, I had pigs, fowls, ducks and geese of my own, and cultivated moreover every foot of land around my house.
After a short row, followed by a still shorter drive, I found myself installed in a very comfortable house; and as my advent was unexpected, I had to be shunted to a corner, a very comfortable one, however, on which my hostess had evidently expended an amount of taste and ingenuity. .Two things only interfered with my nightas rest; the one consisting in a large and repulsive lizard crawling round my pillow.
It was quite harmless, no doubt, but it was the extraordinary size of the creatureait resembled a young alligatorathat attracted my attention, and made meIt was quite harmless, no doubt, but it was the extraordinary size of the creaturea it resembled a young alligatora that attracted my attention, and made me