There was no lack of bombazet gowns and large white pocket-handkerchiefs, perfumed with oil of cinnamon; and as they took their places in long rows on the puncheon floor, they were a merry and a happy company. But the city gentlemen grew more and more gallant the girls more and more delighted with their attentions the country swains, alas! more and more scowling and jealous.
All the sullen drums and whining flutes would sink to silence, and I would hear the little yellow-headed cousin of the vicar's singing in the twilight, singing, 'There is a lady, sweet and kind' and 'Weep you no more, sad fountains' and 'Hark, hark, the lark. And the small painted yellow faces and the little wicked hands and perfumed fans would vanish and I would see again the gay beauty of the lady who hung above the mantel in the long drawing-room, the lady who laughed across the centuries in her white muslin frock, with eyes that matched the blue ribbon in her wind-blown curls the lady who was as young and lovely as England, for all the years!
And from the young, carefully groomed and perfumed priest, to the old one in a dirty cassock and shoes down at heel, the entire species had its representative in the throng there were corpulent ones, others but moderately fat, thin ones, tall ones and short ones, some whom faith had brought and whom ardour was consuming, some also who simply plied their calling like worthy men, and some, moreover, who were fond of intriguing, and who were only present in order that they might help the good cause.
Siddhartha had learned to trade, to use his power over people, to enjoy himself with a woman, he had learned to wear beautiful clothes, to give orders to servants, to bathe in perfumed waters. He had learned to eat tenderly and carefully prepared food, even fish, even meat and poultry, spices and sweets, and to drink wine, which causes sloth and forgetfulness.
Bigotry in all ages has been the same. Christianity simply transferred the brutality of the Colosseum to the Inquisition. For the murderous combat of the gladiators, the saints substituted the auto de fe. What has been called religion is, after all, but the organization of the wild beast in man. The perfumed blossom of arrogance is Heaven. Hell is the consummation of revenge.
There came hours when she could sit on the great chest under her window and look out, or kneel there and pray, without danger of catching her death of cold; and instead of that, the balmy perfumed spring breeze coming into her window, and the trees budding, and the grass on the fields and hills beginning to look green, and the sunlight soft and vapoury.
"And when I hear people talk of the gilded youth, of the officers, of the Parisians, and all these gentlemen, and myself, living wild lives at the age of thirty, and who have on our consciences hundreds of crimes toward women, terrible and varied, when we enter a parlor or a ball-room, washed, shaven, and perfumed, with very white linen, in dress coats or in uniform, as emblems of purity, oh, the disgust!
Had seen young leaves and delicate blossoms bud out from naked stems, had noted their rich luxuriance as the summer heat came on their mature beauty; and when the first breath of autumn sighed through the land she saw them flush and decline, and gradually die and rustle down to their graves. Now, where green boughs and perfumed petals had gayly looked up in the sunlight, all was desolate.
Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
On the front seat are two small hampers of white satin filled with violets, and on the bearskin by which their knees are covered there is a mass of roses, mimosas, pinks, daisies, tuberoses and orange blossoms, interwoven with silk ribbons; the two frail bodies seem buried under this beautiful perfumed bed, which hides everything but the shoulders and arms and a little of the dainty waists.