Lieutenant Worthington's leave had nearly expired. He must rejoin his ship, but he waited till the last possible moment in order to help his sister through the move to Albano, where it had been decided that Amy should go for a few days of hill air before undertaking the longer journey to Florence.

It was a perfect morning in late March when the pale little invalid was carried in her uncle's strong arms, and placed in the carriage which was to take them to the old town on the mountain slopes which they had seen shining from far away for so many weeks past. Spring had come in her fairest shape to Italy. The Campagna had lost its brown and tawny hues and taken on a tinge of fresh colour. The olive orchards were budding thickly. Almond boughs extended their dazzling shapes across the blue sky. Arums and acanthus and ivy filled every hollow, and roses nodded from over every gate, while a carpet of violets and cyclamen and primroses stretched over the fields and freighted every wandering wind with fragrance.

When once the Campagna with its long line of aqueducts, arches, and hoary tombs, was left behind, and the carriage slowly began to mount the gradual rises of the hill, Amy revived. With every breath of the fresher air her eyes seemed to brighten and her voice to grow stronger. She held Mabel up to look at the view, and the sound of her laugh, faint and feeble as it was, was like music to her mother's ears.

Amy wore a droll little silk-lined cap on her head, over which a downy growth of pale-brown fuzz was gradually thickening. Already it showed a tendency to form into tiny rings, which to Amy, who had always hankered for curls, was an extreme satisfaction. Strange to say, the same thing exactly had happened to Mabel. Her hair had grown out into soft little round curls also; Uncle Ned and Katy had ransacked Rome for this baby wig, which filled and realized all Amy's hopes for her child. On the same excursion they had bought the materials for the pretty spring suit which Mabel wore, for it had been deemed necessary to sacrifice most of her wardrobe as a concession to possible fever germs. Amy admired the pearl- coloured dress and hat, the fringed jacket and little lace-trimmed parasol so much that she was quite consoled for the loss of the blue velvet costume and ermine muff which had been the pride of her heart ever since they left Paris, and whose destruction they had scarcely dared to confess to her.

So up, up, up they climbed till the gateway of the old town was passed, and the carriage stopped before a quaint building, once the residence of the Bishop of Albano, but now known as the Hôtel de la Poste. Here they alighted, and were shown up a wide and lofty staircase to their rooms, which were on the sunny side of the house, and looked across a walled garden, where roses and lemon trees grew beside old fountains guarded by sculptured lions and heathen divinities with broken noses and a scant supply of fingers and toes, to the Campagna, purple with distance, and stretching miles and miles away to where Rome sat on her seven hills, lifting high the dome of St Peter's into the illuminated air.

Nurse Swift said that Amy must go to bed at once and have a long rest. But Amy nearly wept at the proposal, and declared that she was not a bit tired, and couldn't sleep if she went to bed ever so much. The change of air had done her good already, and she looked more like herself than for many weeks past. They compromised their dispute on a sofa, where Amy, well wrapped up, was laid, and where, in spite of her protestations, she presently fell asleep, leaving the others free to examine and arrange their new quarters.

Such enormous rooms as they were! It was quite a journey to go from one side of them to another. The floors were of stone, with squares of carpet laid down over them, which looked absurdly small for the great spaces they were supposed to cover. The beds and tables were of the usual size, but they seemed almost like doll furniture because the chambers were so big. A quaint old paper, with an enormous pattern of banyan trees and pagodas, covered the walls, and every now and then betrayed, by an oblong of regular cracks, the existence of a hidden door, papered to look exactly like the rest of the wall.

These mysterious doors made Katy nervous, and she never rested till she had opened every one of them and explored the places they led to. One gave access to a queer little bathroom. Another led, through a narrow dark passage, to a sort of balcony or loggia overhanging the garden. A third ended in a dusty closet with an artful chink in it from which you could peep into what had been the bishop's

  By PanEris using Melati.

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