Istanbul Hints

A Terribly Strange Bed part 8

Written on 11/04/2019   By   in General

I
raised myself on my elbow, and looked about the room—which was brightened by a
lovely moonlight pouring straight through the window—to see if it contained any
pictures or ornaments that I could at all clearly distinguish. While my eyes
wandered from wall to wall, a remembrance of Le Maistre’s delightful little
book, “Voyage autour de ma Chambre,” occurred to me. I resolved to imitate the
French author, and find occupation and amusement enough to relieve the tedium
of my wakefulness, by making a mental inventory of every article of furniture I
could see, and by following up to their sources the multitude of associations
which even a chair, a table, or a wash-hand stand may be made to call forth.

Thinking at all

In
the nervous, unsettled state of my mind at that moment, I found it much easier
to make my inventory than to make my reflections, and thereupon soon gave up
all hope of thinking in Le Maistre’s fanciful track—or, indeed, of thinking at
all. I looked about the room at the different articles of furniture, and did
nothing more.

There
was, first, the bed I was lying in; a four-post bed, of all things in the world
to meet with in Paris—yes, a thorough clumsy British four-poster, with a
regular top lined with chintz—the regular fringed valance all round—the regular
stifling, unwholesome curtains, which I remembered having mechanically
drawnlback against the posts without particularly noticing the bed when I first
got into the room.

Then
there was the marble-topped wash-hand stand, from which the water I had
spilled, in my hurry to pour it out, was still dripping, slowly and more
slowly, on to the brick floor. Then two small chairs, with my coat, waistcoat,
and trousers flung on them. Then a large elbow- chair covered with dirty white
dimity, with my cravat and shirt collar thrown over the back. Then a chest of
drawers with two of the brass handles off, and a tawdry, broken china inkstand
placed on it by way of ornament for the top.

Then
the dressing-table, adorned by a very small looking-glass, and a very large
pincushion. Then the window—an unusually large window. Then a dark old picture,
which the feeble candle dimly showed me. It was the picture of a fellow in a
high Spanish hat, crowned with a plume of towering feathers. A swarthy,
sinister ruffian, looking upward, shading his eyes with his hand, and looking
intently upward—it might be at some tall gallows on which he was going to be
hanged. At any rate, he had the appearance of thoroughly deserving it.

 

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