The Dark, Rotten Soil Between The Tussocks Is Cracked And
Granulated By The Drying Up Of The Annual Flood.
The character of the
vegetation is inhospitable.
Thorn-bushes, bristling like hedgehogs and
thriving arrogantly, everywhere predominate and with their prickly
tangles obstruct or forbid the path. Only the palms by the brink are
kindly, and men journeying along the Nile must look often towards their
bushy tops, where among the spreading foliage the red and yellow glint
of date clusters proclaims the ripening of a generous crop, and protests
that Nature is not always mischievous and cruel.
The banks of the Nile, except by contrast with the desert, display an
abundance of barrenness. Their characteristic is monotony. Their
attraction is their sadness. Yet there is one hour when all is changed.
Just before the sun sets towards the western cliffs a delicious flush
brightens and enlivens the landscape. It is as though some Titanic
artist in an hour of inspiration were retouching the picture, painting
in dark purple shadows among the rocks, strengthening the lights on the
sands, gilding and beautifying everything, and making the whole scene
live. The river, whose windings make it look like a lake, turns from
muddy brown to silver-grey. The sky from a dull blue deepens into violet
in the west. Everything under that magic touch becomes vivid and alive.
And then the sun sinks altogether behind the rocks, the colors fade out
of the sky, the flush off the sands, and gradually everything darkens
and grows grey - like a man's cheek when he is bleeding to death.
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