Letters From Japan
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We were in the great bay when I came up on deck in the early morning. The sea was smooth like the brilliant blank paper of the prints; a vast surface of water reflecting the light of the sky as if it were thicker air. Far-off streaks of blue light, like finest washes of the brush, determined distances. Beyond, in a white haze, the square white sails spotted the white horizon and floated above it.
The slackened beat of the engine made a great noise in the quiet waters. Distant high hills of foggy green marked the new land; nearer us, junks of the shapes you know, in violet transparency of shadow, and five or six war-ships and steamers, red and black, or white, looking barbarous and out of place, but still as if they were part of us; and spread all around us a fleet of small boats, manned by rowers standing in robes flapping about them, or tucked in above their waists. There were so many that the crowd looked blue and white-the color of their dresses repeating the sky in prose. Still, the larger part were mostly naked, and their legs and arms and backs made a great novelty to our eyes, accustomed to nothing but our ship, and the enormous space, empty of life, which had surrounded us for days.
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