On the right the summer dawn awakes the
leaves and vapors and noises of this part of the park, and the
embankments left hold in their violet shade the thousand rapid
ruts of the damp road. Procession of fairylike visions! Indeed:
cars charged with animals of gilded wood, masts and canvases of
many colors, to the grand gallop of twenty dappled circus horses,
and children, and men, on their most astounding
beaststwenty vehicles, labored, decked out and beflowered
like coaches of old or in stories, filled with children dolled up
for a suburban pastoraleven coffins on their night dais
hoisting their ebony plumes, flying to the trot of black and blue
These are cities! This is a people for whom are risen these
Alleghenies and Lebanons of dream! Chalets of crystal and wood
move on invisible rails and pulleys. Old craters ringed with
colossi and copper palm trees roar melodiously in the fires.
Amorous feasts knell over the canals suspended behind the
chalets. The carillon hunting ground shouts in the gorges.
Corporations of giant singers run along in vestments and
oriflammes as dazzling as the light of peaks. On the platforms,
amidst gulfs, Rolands sound their bravura. On the gangways of the
abyss and the innroofs, the ardor of the sky flags the masts. The
crumbling of apotheoses unites with fields of heights where
seraphic centauresses evolve among avalanches. Above the level of
the high aretes, a sea troubled by the eternal birth of Venus,
laden with orpheonic fleets and the rumor of precious pearls and
conches, the sea darkens at times with mortal flashes. On the
slopes, harvests of flowers as big as our weapons and cups
bellow. Corteges of Mabs in dresses russet, opaline, climb the
ravines. Higher, feet in the cascade and the brambles, stags
suckle at Diana. Suburban Bacchantes sob and the moon burns and
yells. Venus goes into the caverns of blacksmiths and hermits.
Groups of belfries sing the ideas of peoples. From castles built
of bone comes unknown music. All legends evolve and elk charge
through the streets. The storm paradise breaks down. Savages
dance unceasingly the night feast. And, one hour, I descended
into the stir of a Baghdad boulevard where companies sang the joy
of new work, under a thick breeze, circulating powerless to elude
the fabulous phantoms of mountains where one was to meet again.
What good arms, what fair hour will return me that region whence
come my slumbers and my least movements?
Pitiful brother! what atrocious evenings I owed him! "I did
not take hold of this enterprise fervently. I have toyed with his
infirmity. Because of me we might return to exile, to
slavery." He imagined me a very bizarre jinx and innocence,
and added disturbing reasons.
I answered by laughing at this satanic doctor, and ended by
gaining the window. I created, beyond the countryside traversed
by bands of rare music, the phantoms of future nocturnal luxury.
After this vaguely hygienic distraction, I stretched out on
straw. And, almost every night, as soon as he was asleep, the
poor brother arose, mouth rotten, eyes torn outjust as he
had dreamed! and drew me into the hall roaring his dream of
I had indeed, in all sincerity of mind, undertaken to return him
to his primitive state of son of the Sunand we wandered
nourished by the wine of the caverns and the biscuit of the road,
I driven to find the place and the formula.
The official acropolis outdoes the colossalest conceptions of
modern barbarity. Impossible to express the flat daylight
produced by this sky, immutably gray, the buildings' imperial
éclat, and the ground's eternal snow. There is reproduced, in
singular taste for enormity, all the classic marvels of
architecture, and I visit painting exhibitions in premises twenty
times more vast than Hampton Court. What paintings! A Norwegian
Nebuchadnezzar had the Ministries' staircases built; the
subalterns I've been able to see are already prouder than
Brahmins, and I shook at the sight of the colossi watchmen and
the building officials. By grouping edifices in squares, courts
and terraces, coachmen have been ousted. The parks represent
primitive nature worked by a superb art, the old quarter has
inexplicable parts, an arm of the sea, with no boats, rolls its
sheet of blue hail amidst quays laden with giant candelabra. A
small bridge leads to a postern immediately below the Holy
Chapel's dome. That dome is an artistic steel armature about
fifteen thousand feet in diameter.
On several points of the copper gangways, the platforms, the
stairways that wind around markets and pillars, I thought I could
judge the depth of the city! The prodigy I can't account for:
what are the levels of the other quarters above or below the
acropolis? For the stranger of our time, reconnaissance is
impossible. The business quarter is a circus in just one style,
with galleries of arcades. You see no shops, but the snow on the
roadways is dwarfed; some nabobs, as rare as Sunday promenaders
in London, dive for a diamond diligence. Some red velvet divans:
polar drinks are served whose price varies from eight hundred to
eight thousand rupees. At the idea of seeking out theaters on
this circus, I tell myself the shops must contain somber enough
dramas. I think there is a police; but the law must be so
strange, that I renounce conceiving the adventurers here.
The suburb, as elegant as a fine Paris street, is favored with an
air of light; the democratic element numbers a few hundred souls.
There again, the houses don't go on; the suburb disappears
bizarrely in the country, the "County" that fills the
eternal occident of forests and prodigious plantations where wild
gentlemen hunt their chronicles beneath the created light.