Full text: The little review (8 (1922), 2)

T HE low country of the lakes with its flowing blue 
waters, its sunken gray and yellow earth and low 
skies, is beautiful; yet there have been thrown down 
in it cities so mean, so cold, so dingy, and so ugly 
that in them any beautiful object is a marvelous 
thing. The eyes strain away out of the cities over the waters and 
the still sandy marshes, or turn up into the fathomless heights of 
the sky; and again and again in springtime, when small clusters 
of fruit trees and rose vines bloom here and there in the smoke 
with robins singing in the new sticky foliage, one seeks such 
spectacles out to walk near them. As for the cities’ polyglot 
people, they are so harsh, so cold and silent, and so monotonous 
both in appearance and in their fierce activity, that among them 
any one only beautiful or charming becomes precious; a thrilling 
deed, a noble character, a great love, a deathless faith, or even 
a passionate hatred, or profound despair, is something to set 
apart, to cherish in the mind, to hoard and love. 
For they dream, the people of those gray and far-off cities by 
the azure floods, as all must do or die; but their dreams are not 
good or sweet or high or noble. 
Once it was evening in winter in the city and the great blue 
darkness had fallen upon the low plains, the waters, and the 
frozen marshes; the darkness had grown gray and misty; and 
after that, as usual within the city, it had become dead, cold, and 
dingy black. The long misty streets with their feeble pale-blue 
lamps were dingy; and though many hurrying people, rattling 
black gasoline motor vehicles, and broken dirty tramcars passed 
in them, yet they remained dreary. One of the half dozen very 
long streets which lie across the others and meet like the spokes 
of a half-wheel, was dark and cold when I walked into it. It 
had large furniture shops full of coloured lamps; tobacco and 
shoe shops well lighted up; and Jews’ shops with every sort of 
cheap glittering merchandise to catch the eyes of the crowd of 
stupid whites and Negroes who occupied this quarter; yet it

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