The people on deck bent over, some until heads touched knees, others, more exactly calculating, just sufficiently to clear the beams. The canal-boat passed beneath the bridge, and all straightened themselves on their camp-stools. The gentlemen who were smoking put their cigars again between their lips. The two or three ladies resumed book or knitting. The sun was low, and the sycamores and willows fringing the banks cast long shadows across the canal. The northern bank was not so clothed with foliage, and one saw an expanse of bottom land, meadows and cornfields, and beyond, low mountains, purple in the evening light. The boat slipped from a stripe of gold into a stripe of shadow, and from a stripe of shadow into a stripe of gold. The negro and the mule on the towpath were now but a bit of dusk in motion, and now were lit and, so to speak, powdered with gold-dust. Now the rope between boat and towpath showed an arm-thick golden serpent, and now it did not show at all. Now a little cloud of gnats and flies, accompanying the boat, shone in burnished armour and now they put on a mantle of shade.