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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1815

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


And Dominica draws nearer,-sharply massing her hills against the vast light in purple nodes and gibbosities and denticulations. Closer and closer it comes, until the green of its heights breaks through the purple here and there,-in flashings and ribbings of color. Then it remains as if motionless a while;-then the green lights go out again,-and all the shape begins to recede sideward towards the south.

... And what had appeared a pearl-grey cloud in the north slowly reveals itself as another island of mountains,-hunched and horned and mammiform: Guadeloupe begins to show her double profile. But Martinique is still visible;-Pelée still peers high over the rim of the south.... Day wanes;-the shadow of the ship lengthens over the flower-blue water. Pelée changes aspect at last,-turns pale as a ghost,-but will not fade away....

... The sun begins to sink as he always sinks to his death in the

tropics,-swiftly,-too swiftly!-and the glory of him makes golden all the hollow west,-and bronzes all the flickering wave-backs. But still the gracious phantom of the island will not go,-softly haunting us through the splendid haze. And always the tropic wind blows soft and warm;-there is an indescribable caress in it! Perhaps some such breeze, blowing from Indian waters, might have inspired that prophecy of Islam concerning the Wind of the Last Day,-that "Yellow Wind, softer than silk, balmier than musk,"-which is to sweep the spirits of the just to God in the great Winnowing of Souls....

Then into the indigo night vanishes forever from my eyes the ghost of Pelée; and the moon swings up,-a young and lazy moon, drowsing upon her back, as in a hammock.... Yet a few nights more, and we shall see this slim young moon erect,-gliding upright on her way,-coldly beautiful like a fair Northern girl.

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