The Festivities, Beginning At Noon, I
First Entered The Apartment Where The Bride Was Sitting In State.
was elevated on a radiant throne of gold and crimson cushions amidst a
group of women, her hired flatterers, who kept singing and bawling out
"As beautiful as the moon is Rachel!" said one. "Fairer
than the jessamine!" exclaimed another. "Sweeter than honey in the
honey-comb!" ejaculated a third. Her eyes were shut, it being deemed
immodest to look on the company, and the features of her face motionless
as death, which made her look like a painted corpse.
To describe the dresses of the bride would be tedious, as she was
carried away every hour and redressed, going through and exhibiting to
public view, with the greatest patience, the whole of her bridal
wardrobe. Her face was artistically painted; cheeks vermillion; lips
browned, with an odoriferous composition; eye-lashes blackened with
antimony; and on the forehead and tips of the chin little blue stars.
The palms of the hands and nails were stained with henna, or brown-red,
and her feet were naked, with the toe-nails and soles henna-stained. She
was very young, perhaps not more than thirteen, and hugely corpulent,
having been fed on paste and oil these last six months for the occasion.
The bridegroom, on the contrary, was a man of three times her age, tall,
lank and bony, very thin, and of sinister aspect. The woman was a little
lump of fat and flesh, apparently without intelligence, whilst the man
was a Barbary type of Dickens' Fagan.
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