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  The cleanness of Lisbon is dazzling. In January, the steep stone streets are washed several times daily by sudden tropical showers, and Nature is assisted by street-cleaners with brooms made of twigs. The Portuguese have a green thumb. Lisbon, in winter, is brilliant with orange calendulas, blooming everywhere, together with geraniums and succulents; oranges and lemons dangle form trees in the walled gardens like bright Christmas balls, the orange matching the orange sails of the little fishing boats on the blue Tagus. The seasons at this time of year are all awry. Autumn is present in the calendulas and oranges; spring in the first wicker baskets of camellias that come down form the nearby mountains to the florist shops; summer lingers in a few exhausted petunias; winter-last January, at least-came for a day in a fall of snow, which brought the population, marveling, out into the streets to touch it. As the new year gets under way, everything is growing, all at once; even the old tile roofs have windfall crops of grass and yellow mustard, which, if you look down from a window, over the rooftops to the Tagus, make the whole city seem fertile - a sort of semitropical paradise that combines the exuberance of the south, with the huge palms in the public squares, the oranges and the monumental statuary, and the neatness and precision of the north, seen in the absence of dirt and litter, the perfectly kept public gardens and belvederes, the black-and-white mosaic patterns (ships and ropes and anchors) of the sidewalks, and the bright tiles of so many house fronts, painted in green-and-white diamond or pink roses or solid Dutch blues and yellows.

    Lisbon is a city built on hills, like San Francisco, and it is full of beautiful prospects, of which every advantage has been taken. It is designed, so to speak, for a strolling tourist, at sunset, to ensconce himself in a belvedere and gaze out over the Tagus, down to the pink-and-white dome of the Basilica of Estrela, or across a ravine of buff and pink and gold building to the old fortress of Sao Jorge.

  

    (from On the Contrary by Mary McCarthy) Oxford Street after Bombing

    calendula 金盏花

    geranium 天竺葵花

    succulent 肉质植物

    dangle 悬垂

    awry 歪曲的,不对头的

    wicker 柳条编制的

    camellia 山茶花

    florist 花商

    petunia 矮牵牛花

    windfall 被风吹落的

    exuberance 繁茂,茂盛

    statuary 雕像,塑像

    belvedere 观景台,了望台

    mosaic 马赛克的

    ensconce 隐蔽,置身于

    ravine 沟壑,深谷

    buff 暗黄色的,米色的

    fortress 堡垒,要塞

  

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