Edward Bellamy
Deserted, by Edward Bellamy

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Deserted, by Edward Bellamy This
eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no
restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
eBook or online at
Title: Deserted 1898
Author: Edward Bellamy
Release Date: September 21, 2007 [EBook #22714]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by David Widger

By Edward Bellamy
"What a glorious, all-satisfying country this Nevada desert would be, if

one were only all eyes, and had no need of food, drink, and shelter!
Would n't it, Miss Dwyer? Do you know, I 've no doubt that this is the
true location of heaven. You see, the lack of water and vegetation
would be no inconvenience to spirits, while the magnificent scenery
and the cloudless sky would be just the thing to make them thrive."
"But what I can't get over," responded the young lady addressed, "is
that these alkali plains, which have been described as so dreary and
uninteresting, should prove to be in reality one of the most wonderfully
impressive and beautiful regions in the world. What awful fibbers, or
what awfully dull people, they must have been whose descriptions have
so misled the public! It is perfectly unaccountable. Here I expected to
doze all the way across the desert, while in fact I 've grudged my eyes
time enough to wink ever since I left my berth this morning."
"The trouble is," replied her companion, "that persons in search of the
picturesque, or with much eye for it, are rare travelers along this route.
The people responsible for the descriptions you complain of are thrifty
businessmen, with no idea that there can be any possible attraction in a
country where crops can't be raised, timber cut, or ore dug up. For my
part, I thank the Lord for the beautiful barrenness that has consecrated
this great region to loneliness. Here there will always be a chance to get
out of sight and sound of the swarming millions who have already left
scarcely standing-room for a man in the East. I wouldn't give much for
a country where there are no wildernesses left."
"But I really think it is rather hard to say in just what the beauty of the
desert consists," said Miss Dwyer. "It is so simple. I scribbled two
pages of description in my note-book this morning, but when I read
them over, and then looked out of the window, I tore them up. I think
the wonderfully fine, clear, brilliant air transfigures the landscape and
makes it something that must be seen and can't be told. After seeing
how this air makes the ugly sagebrush and the patches of alkali and
brown earth a feast to the eye, one can understand how the light of
heaven may make the ugliest faces beautiful."
The pretty talker is sitting next the window of palace-car No. 30 of the
Central Pacific line, which has already been her flying home for two

days. The gentleman who sits beside her professes to be sharing the
view, but it is only fair I should tell the reader that under this pretense
he is nefariously delighting in the rounded contour of his companion's
half-averted face, as she, in unfeigned engrossment, scans the
panorama unrolled before them by the swift motion of the car. How
sweet and fresh is the bright tint of her cheek against the ghastly white
background of the alkali-patches as they flit by! Still, it can't be said
that he is n't enjoying the scenery too, for surely there is no such
Claude-Lorraine glass to reflect and enhance the beauty of a landscape
as the face of a spirituelle girl.
With a profound sigh, summing up both her admiration and that despair
of attaining the perfect insight and sympathy imagined and longed for
which is always a part of intense appreciation of natural beauty, Miss
Dwyer threw herself back in her seat, and fixed her eyes on the
car-ceiling with an expression as if she were looking at something at
least as far away as the moon.
"I 'm going to make a statue when I get home," she said,--"a statue
which will personify Nevada, and represent the tameless, desolate,
changeless, magnificent beauty and the self-sufficient loneliness of the
desert. I can see it in my mind's eye now. It will probably be the finest
statue in the world."
"If you 'd as lief put your ideal into a painting, I will give you a
suggestion that will be original if nothing else," he observed.
"What's that?"
"Why, having in view these
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 12
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.