Likewise, while the medieval habit of elaborate
costuming was continued, there was every reason for adhering to the medieval simplicity of scenery.
He saw that there was no mood of the mind that had not its counterpart in the sensuous life, and set himself to discover their true relations, wondering what there was in frankincense that made one mystical, and in ambergris that stirred one's passions, and in violets that woke the memory of dead romances, and in musk that troubled the brain, and in champak that stained the imagination; and seeking often to elaborate a real psychology of perfumes, and to estimate the several influences of sweet-smelling roots and scented, pollen-laden flowers; of aromatic balms and of dark and fragrant woods; of spikenard, that sickens; of hovenia, that makes men mad; and of aloes, that are said to be able to expel melancholy from the soul.
And so, for a whole year, he sought to accumulate the most exquisite specimens that he could find of textile and embroidered work, getting the dainty Delhi muslins, finely wrought with gold-thread palmates and stitched over with iridescent beetles' wings; the Dacca gauzes, that from their transparency are known in the East as "woven air," and "running water," and "evening dew"; strange figured cloths from Java; elaborate yellow Chinese hangings; books bound in tawny satins or fair blue silks and wrought with fleurs-de-lis, birds and images; veils of lacis worked in Hungary point; Sicilian brocades and stiff Spanish velvets; Georgian work, with its gilt coins, and Japanese Foukousas, with their green-toned golds and their marvellously plumaged birds.
And Lacepede, the French naturalist, in his elaborate
history of whales, in the very beginning of his work (page 3), sets down the Right Whale at one hundred metres, three hundred and twenty-eight feet.
But suppose a literary artist ventured to go into a painstaking and elaborate
description of one of these grisly things--the critics would skin him alive.
So here, after all my elaborate
preparations for the siege of the White Sphinx, was a meek surrender.
All these he had taken and, with the help of the gilt rout chairs, light and easy to move, had made an elaborate
cave in which he could hide himself from the Red Indians who were lurking behind the curtains.
But on the third floor, to which one ascended by a fine stone stairway, broad and easy, with elaborate
iron railings, there was a more simple set of rooms, comfortably furnished, where the American family were pleasantly provided for, in a home of their own.