"God bless them all! they are good lads." It was now close on eight o'clock and more than two hours ago since first the dawn broke over that low-lying horizon line which seems so far away, and tinged the vast immensity of the plain first with grey and then with mauve and pale-toned emerald, with rose and carmine and crimson and blood-red, until the sun-triumphant and glorious at last-woke the sunflowers from their sleep, gilded every tiny blade of grass and every sprig of rosemary, and caused every head of stately maize to quiver with delight at the warmth of his kiss. The plain stretched its limitless expanse as far as human eye can reach-a sea of tall straight stems, with waves of brilliant green and plume-crowned crests shimmering like foam in the sunlight. As far as human eye can see!-and further, much further still!-the sea of maize, countless upright stems, hundreds of thousands of emerald green sheaths crowned with flaxen tendrils like a maiden's hair; down on the ground-a carpet for the feet of the majestic corn-hundreds and thousands of orange-coloured pumpkins turning their huge shiny carcases to the ripening rays of the sun, and all around in fantastic lines, rows of tall sunflowers, a blaze of amber, with thick velvety hearts laden with seed. And all of it stretching out apparently to infinity beyond that horizon line which is still hidden by a silvery haze, impalpable womb that cradles the life-giving heat.
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