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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 beasts—twenty vehicles, labored, decked out and beflowered like coaches of old or in stories, filled with children dolled up for a suburban pastoral—even coffins on their night dais hoisting their ebony plumes, flying to the trot of black and blue mares.




Cities I

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 out—just as he had dreamed! and drew me into the hall roaring his dream of foolish grief.

I had indeed, in all sincerity of mind, undertaken to return him to his primitive state of son of the Sun—and we wandered nourished by the wine of the caverns and the biscuit of the road, I driven to find the place and the formula.




Cities II

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.