Friday, August 12, 2011


"'Regardez la pluche!' he said before the pictures, making no secret of it that his mouth was watering. 'Le satin! La fourrure! Les bel-les fem-mes!' And before the faded photographs he mouthed the titles, 'Son altessse le Prince, sa majesté la Reine Impératrice,' and made each of them a sultan or a sultana, reclining on silken cushions under golden domes. 

Being Western and therefore obsessed with the secondary meaning, we wondered, 'What dreams have these substances and ranks evoked in this Turk that he is so enraptured?' But we were wrong. He was enraptured simply because plush has a deep pile, because satin gives back the light, because fur is soft and warm, because jewels flash coloured fires, because beautiful women are beautiful and women, and it is better to be a prince or an empress than to be a slave; and it was proof of his amiability that he was putting forth a special effort to feel such raptures in this room, because it had once been dedicated to pomp and elegance..."

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