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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 2343

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


Brrrrrrrrrrr!... The steam-winch is lifting the anchor; and the Guadeloupe trembles through every plank as the iron torrent of her chain-cable rumbles through the hawse-holes.... At last the quivering ceases;-there is a moment's silence; and Violet-Eyes seems trying to catch a last glimpse of her faithful bonne among the ever-thickening crowd upon the quay.... Ah! there she is-waving her foulard. Mademoiselle Lys is waving a handkerchief in reply....

Suddenly the shock of the farewell gun shakes heavily through our hearts, and over the bay,-where the tall mornes catch the flapping thunder, and buffet it through all their circle in tremendous mockery. Then there is a great whirling and whispering of whitened water behind the steamer-another,-another; and the whirl becomes a foaming stream: the mighty propeller is playing!.... All the blue harbor swings slowly round;-and the green limbs of the land are pushed out further on the left, shrink back upon the right;-and the mountains are moving their shoulders. And then the many-tinted fa?ades,-and the tamarinds of the Place Bertin,-and the light-house,-and the long wharves with their throng of turbaned wome

n,-and the cathedral towers,-and the fair palms,-and the statues of the hills,-all veer, change place, and begin to float away... steadily, very swiftly.

Farewell, fair city,-sun-kissed city,-many-fountained city!-dear yellow-glimmering streets,-white pavements learned by heart,-and faces ever looked for,-and voices ever loved! Farewell, white towers with your golden-throated bells!-farewell, green steeps, bathed in the light of summer everlasting!-craters with your coronets of forest!-bright mountain paths upwinding 'neath pomp of fern and angelin and feathery bamboo!-and gracious palms that drowse above the dead! Farewell, soft-shadowing majesty of valleys unfolding to the sun,-green golden cane-fields ripening to the sea!...

... The town vanishes. The island slowly becomes a green silhouette. So might Columbus first have seen it from the deck of his caravel,-nearly four hundred years ago. At this distance there are no more signs of life upon it than when it first became visible to his eyes: yet there are cities there,-and toiling,-and suffering,-and gentle hearts that knew me.... Now it is turning blue,-the beautiful shape!-becoming a dream....

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