But the novelist, even he who has the courage to write a dull book, can touch but here and there, on the little promontories of daily life, where it seems to him the spiritual lava boils up near the surface and betrays most poignantly the nature of the fire beneath.... It was a little over three years since the Falkners had moved into the Buena Vista Pleasance house.
Between the bare walls of a doleful fire-scarred tower in the Campagna of Rome, standing upon a knoll of dry brown grass, ringed with a few grim pines, blasted and black with smoke; there sat Raphael Aben-Ezra, working out the last formula of the great world problem 'Given Self; to find God. Through the doorless stone archway he could see a long vista of the plain below, covered with broken trees, trampled crops, smoking villas, and all the ugly scars of recent war, far onward to the quiet purple mountains and the silver sea, towards which struggled, far in the distance, long dark lines of moving specks, flowing together, breaking up, stopping short, recoiling back to surge forward by some fresh channel, while now and then a glitter of keen white sparks ran through the dense black masses.... The Count of Africa had thrown for the empire of the world and lost.
He looked back once, up that endless vista of autumn lane between the yellowing hedges. What an age ago! "I don't want to see her," he had said to Jolyon. Was that true? 'I may have to, he thought; and he shivered, seized by one of those queer shudderings that they say mean footsteps on one's grave. A chilly world! A queer world!
After threading all the sharp angles of this savage pass, some of which are chiseled out to admit the road, the eye is at length relieved by a vista of sky, and the sight of the little town of Ollioules close at hand, sheltered in a grove of orange trees and olives, and just filling up the entrance of the pass.
Though the poet does not admit this lapse of time into his exhibition immediately, in the midst of the characters, as in a mirror, he gives us as it were a perspective view of it. In this sort of perspective Shakspeare is the greatest master I know: a single word frequently opens to view an almost interminable vista of antecedent states of mind.
The desire of love or of fame scarcely moved him, in his days of health, more strongly than these generous aspirations move him now; and so life is carried forward beyond life, and a vista kept open for the eyes of hope, even when his hands grope already on the face of the impassable.
He walked his horse slowly, for the dun did not like the idea of the leather tied to its hoofs. In less than two miles the leather was worn through upon the hard rock, and he got down and removed the remnants. He straightened up and looked out over the vista of the desert. The western sky was a sea of gold. Far to southward a curl of smoke rose upward, marking the course of a railroad and a town.
'Surely, she thought, 'he cannot have been foolish enough to have walked over the downs such a day as this; then, raising her glasses again, she looked out at the smallest angle with the wall of the house, so that she should get sight of a vista through which any one coming from Shoreham would have to pass. At that moment a silhouette appeared on the sullen sky. Mrs.
She had begun to earn enough, and somehow a vista had been opened up a vista whose end she could not see, alluring, enticing.... In the dining-room, by the cleared table, her father was reading the Banner; her mother appeared in the kitchen door. "What in the world happened to you, Janet?" she exclaimed. "Nothing," said Janet. "Mr. Ditmar asked me to stay that was all. He'd been away."
At the threshold of an inquiry into the "prima tierra vista" or landfall of 1497, it is before all things necessary to distinguish sharply, in every recorded detail, between the first and second voyages. I venture to think that, if this had always been done, much confusion and controversy would have been avoided.