Purple Prose and Victorian Gothic
Posted by Caroline on September 28, 1997 at 19:14:07:
From Jane Eyre, chapter 11
"…She was in a room the folding doors of which stood open. I went in when she addressed me. It was a large, stately apartment, with purple chairs and curtains, a Turkey carpet, walnut-panelled walls, one vast window rich in stained glass, and a lofty ceiling, nobly moulded. Mrs. Fairfax was dusting some vases of fine, purple spar, which stood on a sideboard.
"What a beautiful room!" I exclaimed, as I looked around; for I had never before seen any half so imposing.
"Yes; this is the dining-room. I have just opened the window, to let in a little air and sunshine; for everything gets so damp in apartments that are seldom inhabited: the drawing - room yonder feels like a vault."
She pointed to a wide arch corresponding to a window, and hung like it with a Tyrian- dyed curtain, now looped up. Mounting to it by two broad steps, and looking through, I thought I caught a glimpse of a fairy-place, so bright to my novice eyes appeared the window beyond. Yet it was merely a very pretty drawing- room, and within it a boudoir, both spread with white carpets, on which seemed laid brilliant garlands of flowers; both ceiled with snowy mouldings of white grapes and vine-leaves, beneath which glowed in rich contrast crimson couches and ottomans: while the ornaments on the pale Parian mantlepiece were of sparkling Bohemian glass, ruby red; and between the windows large mirrors repeated the general blending of snow and fire
Sheesh! That décor is enough to drive anyone crazy. No wonder reading Bronte makes me feel all washed out!
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