Being a region of quick growth, it was of correspondingly rapid decay, and the season of summer fruits had been entirely superseded by autumn flowers. The vale of melons was now a valley of chrysanthemums, and with a little specialisation in this branch of horticulture could easily have out-chrysanthemumed Japan. Without any care or cultivation they filled the little gardens on every side; children of all sizes were to be seen with bunches of them; while discarded blossoms lay in the streets, after the fashion of the superabundant melons and orchard fruits during their season.
About a mile from the station we halted before a ramshackle old two-storey house that was covered by roses and hidden among orange and fig trees. The approach led through an irregular plantation of cedar and pepper trees, pomegranates and other shrubs, and masses of chrysanthemums and cosmos that flourished in every available space.
The friendly 'busman directed me to a gable sheltered by a yellow jasmine-tree, wher
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