Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/31

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depict the glories of a tropical sunset. The paint sufficiently brilliant to do justice to the scene before us that evening has yet to be made. A smooth blue sea for a base, a soft blue sky above; along the western horizon a row of solid purple clouds standing up like jagged volcanic rocks from the bosom of the ocean, for which, indeed, they would have been unhesitatingly taken but for the constant alteration in their outlines.

Every moment they

"Suffered a sea change
Into something new and strange."

A sea-lion, a land-lion, a sphynx, a castle, a walled city, a mighty volcano, an Orizaba or a Shasta, grew each in turn, before our wondering eyes. Soon the whole long line was cut off from its base, as if by a knife, and lifted high into air, and from the bosom of the sea rose up another, almost a duplicate of the first. Then the intervening sky, from brilliant orange, took on the hue of the inner surface of the sea-shell, deepened into the brightest vermilion, which glowed like a flame, and seemed to give off light and heat of its own, filling all the air. As the shadow of evening fell, the horizon grew by contrast brighter and brighter, the clouds became inky black, while the vermilion sky spread out like a valley between the two great Sierras—mountains of iron in a land of fire. We stood like the wondering denizens of another planet in the hour of this earth's last agony, and saw "the elements dissolve with fervent heat," and mountains undermined go crashing down into the hungry sea of flame. Then the black curtain of night fell over all, and, almost in the twinkling of an eye, that strange, wild, weird, enchanting scene, passed like a dream away.