Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/109

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FRANCE.

ladies used to ride straight into the hall," continued the sage Amanda, who yearned to enlighten the darkness of her careless friends.

A brisk old woman did the honors of the castle, showing them mouldy chapels, sepulchral halls, rickety stairs, grubby cells, and pitch-dark passages, till even the romantic Matilda was glad to see the light of day, and repose in the pleasant gardens while removing the cobwebs from her countenance and the dust from her raiment.

A lovely view gladdened their eyes as they stood on the balcony whence the amiable Catherine surveyed the walls hung thick, and the river choked up with the dead. Below, the broad Loire rolled slowly by, between its green banks. Little boys, in the costume of Cupid, were riding great horses in to bathe after the day's work. The gray roofs of the town nestled to the hillside, and far away stretched the summer landscape, full of vague suggestions of new scenes and pleasures to the pilgrims.

"We start for Chenonceaux at seven in the morning; so, ladies, I beg that you will be ready punctually," was the command issued by Amanda, as they went to their rooms, after a festive dinner of