A Brightness From Afar by Lord Bolskine
An account of his celebrated voyage to New England
Following a splendid journey, the sunny harbour came into sight. The locals were much impressed with one’s arrival in their midst. One had time to sketch several of them and notice signs of degeneracy. Some children showed one their queer hands that would inspire uneasiness.
Upon the promise of a few coins, a child had undertaken to reveal to one a most “prodigious phenomenon” of a natural order. One admits to being sceptical as to the prodigiousness of the marvel, whatever it may be; indeed, one suspects it to be little more than an evening stroll to some charming wooden hut situated in the forest hereabouts. One will nonetheless go, for it is always well to submit to such local enthusiasms.
One admits to being somewhat flabbergasted! The Milky Way shone like the fires of the Apocalypse from the inky celestial vault. Certain distant stars, normally invisible to the naked eye, were clearly visible, glittering indeed with a strange intensity. The heavy clouds that had settled above the village had no hold over that place.
It would be pointless to offer here the names of the constellations one perceived in utter clarity; apart from the interminable length of such a list, one might conceivably risk being charged with exaggeration!
The cross cast its shadow on the ground. The sea, in the distance, was dead calm. Tonight one will return to that spot and draw those stars. Tomorrow night, one will at last see Halley’s comet in all its brilliance. The youngster will carry torches. Despite one’s developed sense of direction, honed by years of travel, one feels incapable of finding one’s way through the dark forest unaided.
The drawings will, one is convinced, set light to the souls of men!
Such a moon! One lost count of the craters, so sharply was their definition. Loath as one is to seem excessive in one’s appraisal, one cannot but feel that the forest clearing is indeed a place outside the common laws of time and space. Surely it is not an hallucination!
How strange to consider that idle conversation, some research in the British Museum and a voyage to this backward village should culminate in so astounding a discovery. It may be that others have noticed the extraordinary nature of that place; how else may one explain the presence of that cross?