From all the landings that lined either shore brilliant boats glided to the rendezvous; some hung with luminous globes of blue and silver, some with lanterns fiery-red, flower-shaped, golden, green, or variegated, as if a rainbow were festooned about the viewless masts. Up and down they flashed, stealing out from dusky nooks and floating in their own radiance, as they went to join the procession that wound about the island like a splendid sea-serpent uncoiling itself from sleep and darkness.
"Isn't it beautiful?" cried even the soberest of the townsfolk, as all turned their backs on the shining bridge and bursting rockets to admire the new spectacle, which was finer than its most enthusiastic advocate expected. All felt proud of their success as they looked, and even the children forgot to shout while watching the pretty pageant that presently came floating by, with music, light, and half-seen figures so charming, grotesque, or romantic that the illusion was complete.
First, a boat so covered with green boughs and twinkling yellow sparks that it looked like a floating island by starlight or a cage of singing-birds, for