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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 2644

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


... Sunrise: a morning of supernal beauty,-the sky of a fairy tale,-the sea of a love-poem.

Under a heaven of exquisitely tender blue, the whole smooth sea has a perfect luminous dove-color,-the horizon being filled to a great height with greenish-golden haze,-a mist of unspeakably sweet tint, a hue that, imitated in any aquarelle, would be cried out against as an impossiblity. As yet the hills are nearly all gray, the forests also inwrapping them are gray and ghostly, for the sun has but just risen above them, and vapors hang like a veil between. Then, over the glassy level of the flood, winds of purple and violet and pale blue and fluid gold begin to shoot and quiver and broaden; these are the currents of the morning, catching varying color with the deepening of the day and the lifting of the tide.

Then, as the sun rises higher, green masses begin to glimmer among the grays; the outlines of the forest summits commence to define themselves through the vapory light, to left and right of the great glow. Only the city still remains invisible; it lies exactly between us and the downpour of solar splendor, and the mists there have caught such radiance that the place seems hidden by a fog of fire. Gradually the gold-green of the horizon changes to a pure yellow; the hills take soft, rich, sensuous co

lors. One of the more remote has turned a marvellous tone-a seemingly diaphanous aureate color, the very ghost of gold. But at last all of them sharpen bluely, show bright folds and ribbings of green through their haze. The valleys remain awhile clouded, as if filled with something like blue smoke; but the projecting masses of cliff and slope swiftly change their misty green to a warmer hue. All these tints and colors have a spectral charm, a preternatural loveliness; everything seems subdued, softened, semi-vaporized,-the only very sharply defined silhouettes being those of the little becalmed ships sprinkling the western water, all spreading colored wings to catch the morning breeze.

The more the sun ascends, the more rapid the development of the landscape out of vapory blue; the hills all become green-faced, reveal the details of frondage. The wind fills the waiting sails-white, red, yellow,-ripples the water, and turns it green. Little fish begin to leap; they spring and fall in glittering showers like opalescent blown spray. And at last, through the fading vapor, dew-glittering red-tiled roofs reveal themselves: the city is unveiled-a city full of color, somewhat quaint, somewhat Spanish-looking-a little like St. Pierre, a little like New Orleans in the old quarter; everywhere fine tall palms.

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