The Colour of Life; and other essays on things seen and heard by Alice Christiana Thompson Meynell


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Colour of Life, by Alice Meynell

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Colour of Life

Author: Alice Meynell

Release Date: March 14, 2005 [eBook #1205]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1897 John Lane edition by David Price, email



The Colour of Life
A Point Of Biography
Winds of the World
The Honours of Mortality
At Monastery Gates
Rushes and Reeds
Eleonora Duse
Donkey Races
A Woman in Grey
Symmetry and Incident
The Illusion of Historic Time


Red has been praised for its nobility as the colour of life. But the
true colour of life is not red. Red is the colour of violence, or of
life broken open, edited, and published. Or if red is indeed the colour
of life, it is so only on condition that it is not seen. Once fully
visible, red is the colour of life violated, and in the act of betrayal
and of waste. Red is the secret of life, and not the manifestation
thereof. It is one of the things the value of which is secrecy, one of
the talents that are to be hidden in a napkin. The true colour of life
is the colour of the body, the colour of the covered red, the implicit
and not explicit red of the living heart and the pulses. It is the
modest colour of the unpublished blood.

So bright, so light, so soft, so mingled, the gentle colour of life is
outdone by all the colours of the world. Its very beauty is that it is
white, but less white than milk; brown, but less brown than earth; red,
but less red than sunset or dawn. It is lucid, but less lucid than the
colour of lilies. It has the hint of gold that is in all fine colour;
but in our latitudes the hint is almost elusive. Under Sicilian skies,
indeed, it is deeper than old ivory; but under the misty blue of the
English zenith, and the warm grey of the London horizon, it is as
delicately flushed as the paler wild roses, out to their utmost, flat as
stars, in the hedges of the end of June.

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