What we do see depends mainly on what we look for... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.
Characters may lend the action a certain colouring, but it is what happens that comes first. To overlook this while watching a tragedy would be like treating a football game simply as the acts of a set of solitary individuals, or as chance for each of them to display 'personality'. The fact that some players behave as though this is precisely what football games are about should not distract us from this point.
You once said to me that I talk like a man in a book. I not only talk, but think and feel like one. I have spent my life in books; literature has deeply dyed my brain its own colour. This literary colouring is a protective one--like the brown of the rabbit or the checks of the quail--making it impossible for me to tell where literature ends and I begin.
I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen.
I feel sorry for novelists when they have to mention women's eyes: there's so little choice, and whatever colouring is decided upon inevitably carries banal implications. Her eyes are blue: innocence and honesty. Her eyes are black: passion and depth. Her eyes are green: wildness and jealousy. Her eyes are violet: the novel is by Raymond Chandler.
The clouds that gather round the setting sun do take a sober colouring from an eye that hath kept watch o'er man's mortality; another race hath been, and other palms are won. Thanks to the human heart by which we live, thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, to me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
What more delightsome than an infinite varietie of sweet smelling flowers? decking with sundry colours the greene mantle of the Earth, the universall Mother of us all, so by them bespotted, so dyed, that all the world cannot sample them, and wherein it is more fit to admire the Dyer, than imitate his workemanship. Colouring not onely the earth, but decking the ayre, and sweetning every breath and spirit.
... the most fiendish plant I know of, the sort of thing Beelzebub might pluck to make a bouquet for his mother-in-law ... it looks as if it had been made out of a sow's ear for the spathe, and the tail of a rat that died of Elephantiasis for the spadix. The whole thing is mingling of unwholesome greens, livid purples, and pallid pinks, the livery of putrescence in fact, and it possesses and odour to match the colouring.
Edward Augustus Bowles
Its, the gum tree, main appeal to me has been its combination of mightiness and delicacy - mighty in its strength of limb and delicate in the colouring of its covering. Then it has distinctive qualities; in fact I know of no other tree which is more decorative, both as regards the flow of its limbs and the patterns the bark makes on its main trunk. In all its stages the gum tree is extremely beautiful.
My life's long radiant Summer halts at last, And lo! beside my path way I behold Pursuing Autumn glide: nor frost nor cold Has heralded her presence; but a vast Sweet calm that comes not till the year has passed Its fevered solstice, and a tinge of gold Subdues the vivid colouring of bold And passion-hued emotions. I will cast My August days behind me with my May, Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place, Nor swear I hope when I do but remember. Now violet and rose have had their day, I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace And call September nothing but September.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
What constitutes the character of a nation is the character of many individual human beings; every national character is in essence, simply human nature. All the worlds nations, therefore, have a great deal in common with one another. The foundation of any national character is human nature. The foundation of national character is simply a particular colouring taken on by human nature, a particular crystallisation of it.
The dawn came - not the flaming sky that promises storm, but a golden dawn of infinite promise. The birds came flying up out of the east in wedge-shaped formation, and the mist lifted in soft wreaths of sun-shot silver. Colour came back to the world. The grass glowed with a green so vivid that it seemed pulsing, like flame, from some hidden fire in the earth, the distant woods took on all the amazing deep crimsons and purples of their winter colouring, the banks were studded with their jewels of lichens and bright moss, and above the wet hedges shone with sun-shot orbs of light.
When she had arranged her household affairs, she came to the library and bade me follow her. Then, with the mirror still swinging against her knees, she led me through the garden and the wilderness down to a misty wood. It being autumn, the trees were tinted gloriously in dusky bars of colouring. The rowan, with his amber leaves and scarlet berries, stood before the brown black-spotted sycamore; the silver beech flaunted his golden coins against my poverty; firs, green and fawn-hued, slumbered in hazy gossamer. No bird carolled, although the sun was hot. Marina noted the absence of sound, and without prelude of any kind began to sing from the ballad of the Witch Mother: about the nine enchanted knots, and the trouble-comb in the lady's knotted hair, and the master-kid that ran beneath her couch. Every drop of my blood froze in dread, for whilst she sang her face took on the majesty of one who traffics with infernal powers. As the shade of the trees fell over her, and we passed intermittently out of the light, I saw that her eyes glittered like rings of sapphires. ("The Basilisk")
R. Murray Gilchrist
March 1898 What a strange dream I had last night! I wandered in the warm streets of a port, in the low quarter of some Barcelona or Marseille. The streets were noisome, with their freshly-heaped piles of ordure outside the doors, in the blue shadows of their high roofs. They all led down towards the sea. The gold-spangled sea, seeming as if it had been polished by the sun, could be seen at the end of each thoroughfare, bristling with yard-arms and luminous masts. The implacable blue of the sky shone brilliantly overhead as I wandered through the long, cool and sombre corridors in the emptiness of a deserted district: a quarter which might almost have been dead, abruptly abandoned by seamen and foreigners. I was alone, subjected to the stares of prostitutes seated at their windows or in the doorways, whose eyes seemed to ransack my very soul. They did not speak to me. Leaning on the sides of tall bay-windows or huddled in doorways, they were silent. Their breasts and arms were bare, bizarrely made up in pink, their eyebrows were darkened, they wore their hair in corkscrew-curls, decorated with paper flowers and metal birds. And they were all exactly alike! They might have been huge marionettes, or tall mannequin dolls left behind in panic - for I divined that some plague, some frightful epidemic brought from the Orient by sailors, had swept through the town and emptied it of its inhabitants. I was alone with these simulacra of love, abandoned by the men on the doorsteps of the brothels. I had already been wandering for hours without being able to find a way out of that miserable quarter, obsessed by the fixed and varnished eyes of all those automata, when I was seized by the sudden thought that all these girls were dead, plague-stricken and putrefied by cholera where they stood, in the solitude, beneath their carmine plaster masks... and my entrails were liquefied by cold. In spite of that harrowing chill, I was drawn closer to a motionless girl. I saw that she was indeed wearing a mask... and the girl in the next doorway was also masked... and all of them were horribly alike under their identical crude colouring... I was alone with the masks, with the masked corpses, worse than the masks... when, all of a sudden, I perceived that beneath the false faces of plaster and cardboard, the eyes of these dead women were alive. Their vitreous eyes were looking at me... I woke up with a cry, for in that moment I had recognised all the women. They all had the eyes of Kranile and Willie, of Willie the mime and Kranile the dancer. Every one of the dead women had Kranile's left eye and Willie's right eye... so that every one of them appeared to be squinting. Am I to be haunted by masks now?