They divided half a yard of tobacco among the men present and gave each of the women a small handful of various-colored beads. They ate sparingly of a stew made of fish, the gift of their hosts. In turn the officers had added to the menu a large piece of fat moose which was devoured with voracity.
Young Indian girls, with garlands of various-colored poppies about their necks, like the natives of Hawaii, offered us for a trifle tiny bouquets made of rosebuds, pansies, violets, tube-roses, and scarlet geraniums, all grown close at hand on these misnamed floating islands.
Some wore red tunics, or various-colored prints which the chief had bought from Fleming; the common men carried burdens; the gentlemen walked with a small club of rhinoceros-horn in their hands, and had servants to carry their shields; while the "Machaka", battle-axe men, carried their own, and were liable at any time to be sent off a hundred miles on an errand, and expected to run all the way.
The pavement of the church was one star of various-colored marble, and in the centre was a mosaic, covering, I believe, the tomb of the founder. I have not seen, nor expect to see, anything else so entirely and satisfactorily finished as this small oval church; and I only wish I could pack it in a large box, and send it home.
The drawing-room was festooned with evergreens and winter ferns, wound here and there with streamers of various-colored ribbons. Two large lamps, one in the window, and the other on a table near the dining-room door, sent forth their light through red shades. Glass dishes filled with apples and golden oranges decorated the top of the piano and surrounded the lamps.
In one corner stood a huge bag of wool ready to be spun; in another a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of Indian corn and strings of dried apples and peaches hung in gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers; and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best parlor, where the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-oranges and conch-shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of various-colored birds' eggs were suspended above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a corner cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old silver and well-mended china.
The only attempts at ornament, unless the arrangement of various-colored bottles behind the bar came under that head, were the circles and festoons of dirty cut paper hanging from the ceiling. About the room, some at the tables, some at the bar, were numbers of stout, rough-looking men, with a few Greek fishermen and two or three sailors.
Nefert followed her royal friend, found them packing in one case the golden dates of the oasis of Amon, and in another the dark dates of Nubia, the king's favorite sort. "Let me pack them!" cried Nefert; she made the servants empty the box again, and re-arranged the various-colored dates in graceful patterns, with other fruits preserved in sugar.
On every side, whether in large or small cages, one beheld balls of various-colored feathers standing on one leg and breathing peacefully.
The hot sun had cleared away the lingering mist, and the cloudless sky was like one large perfect opal, while the earth beneath shone and glistened as if it were a jewel set with various-colored gems. There was not a mean or sordid thing about. Touched by the splendid alchemy of the sun, the smallest circumstance was noble, the poorest color glorious.