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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 3034

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


And the fourth day. One awakens unspeakably lazy;-this must be the West Indian languor. Same sky, with a few more bright clouds than yesterday;-always the warm wind blowing. There is a long swell. Under this trade-breeze, warm like a human breath, the ocean seems to pulse,-to rise and fall as with a vast inspiration and expiration. Alternately its blue circle lifts and falls before us and behind us-we rise very high; we sink very low,-but always with a slow long motion. Nevertheless, the water looks smooth, perfectly smooth; the billowings which lift us cannot be seen;-it is because the summits of these swells are mile-broad,-too broad to be discerned from the level of our deck.

... Ten A.M.-Under the sun the sea is a flaming, dazzling lazulite. My French friend from Guadeloupe kindly confesses this is almost the color of tropical water.... Weeds floating by, a little below the surface, are azured. But the Guadeloupe gentleman says he has seen water still more blue. I am sorry,-I cannot believe him.

Mid-day.-The splendor of the sky is weird! No clouds above-only blue fire! Up from the warm deep color of the sea-circle the edge of the heaven glows as if bathed in greenish flame. The swaying circle of the resplendent sea seems to flash its jewel-color to the zenith. Clothing feels now almost too heavy to endure; and the warm wind brings a languor with it as of temptation.... One feels an irresistible desire to drowse on deck-the rushing speech of waves, the long rocking of the ship, the l

ukewarm caress of the wind, urge to slumber-but the light is too vast to permit of sleep. Its blue power compels wakefulness. And the brain is wearied at last by this duplicated azure splendor of sky and sea. How gratefully comes the evening to us,-with its violet glooms and promises of coolness!

All this sensuous blending of warmth and force in winds and waters more and more suggests an idea of the spiritualism of elements,-a sense of world-life. In all these soft sleepy swayings, these caresses of wind and sobbing of waters, Nature seems to confess some passional mood. Passengers converse of pleasant tempting things,-tropical fruits, tropical beverages, tropical mountain-breezes, tropical women It is a time for dreams-those day-dreams that come gently as a mist, with ghostly realization of hopes, desires, ambitions.... Men sailing to the mines of Guiana dream of gold.

The wind seems to grow continually warmer; the spray feels warm like blood. Awnings have to be clewed up, and wind-sails taken in;-still, there are no white-caps,-only the enormous swells, too broad to see, as the ocean falls and rises like a dreamer's breast....

The sunset comes with a great burning yellow glow, fading up through faint greens to lose itself in violet light;-there is no gloaming. The days have already become shorter.... Through the open ports, as we lie down to sleep, comes a great whispering,-the whispering of the seas: sounds as of articulate speech under the breath,-as, of women telling secrets....

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