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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1717

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


... Night: steaming for British Guiana;-we shall touch at no port before reaching Demerara.... A strong warm gale, that compels the taking in of every awning and wind-sail. Driving tepid rain; and an intense darkness, broken only by the phosphorescence of the sea, which to-night displays extraordinary radiance.

The steamer's wake is a great broad, seething river of fire,-white like strong moonshine: the glow is bright enough to read by. At its centre the trail is brightest;-towards either edge it pales off cloudily,-curling like smoke of phosphorus. Great sharp lights burst up momentarily through it like meteors. Weirder than this strange wake are the long slow fires that keep burning at a distance, out in the dark. Nebulous incandescences mount up from the depths, change form, and pass;-serpentine flames wriggle by;-there are long billowing c

rests of fire. These seem to be formed of millions of tiny sparks, that light up all at the same time, glow for a while, disappear, reappear, and swirl away in a prolonged smouldering.

There are warm gales and heavy rain each night,-it is the hurricane season;-and it seems these become more violent the farther south we sail. But we are nearing those equinoctial regions where the calm of nature is never disturbed by storms.

... Morning: still steaming south, through a vast blue day. The azure of the heaven always seems to be growing deeper. There is a bluish-white glow in the horizon,-almost too bright to look at. An indigo sea.... There are no clouds; and the splendor endures until sunset.

Then another night, very luminous and calm. The Southern constellations burn whitely.... We are nearing the great shallows of the South American coast.

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