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[147] fantasy. A portico, too big for the villa, opens into sunny rooms, with inlaid floors and gaily decorated walls. Much wicker-work is used in chairs and ottomans. Bright curtains hang from gilded poles. Pianos, tables, shelves are all of yellow satin wood, veined with crimson streaks, a wood of Californian growth. An open gallery, lighted from above, serves for a public room. A glazed arcade runs round the villa, flooding it with sunshine, which is teased and petted through Venetian blinds. The wealth of colour is enhanced by Roman photographs in broad black frames. Nothing could be lighter than our chambers, nothing could be sweeter than the gardens on which they give. Vineries and conservatories lie in rear, and run on either flank below the limbs of ancient oaks. The lawns and shrubberies are perfect, and the country round the villa wears the aspect of a park.

Our host has made himself an earthly paradise at Belmont, but an earthly paradise in which calmer mortals than himself will bask. I like the man and hope the best for him ; yet noticing his restless eye and paling brow, I cannot help feeling that with all his jollity and briskness William C. Ralston

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