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The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image

The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image


The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 18 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 In the dining-room the glorious company assembles, so that he who eats therein, attends a feast on Olympus, even though the dyspeptic’s fast be his lot. If the eyes gaze on Coypel’s gracious ladies, under fruit and roses, with adolescent gods adoring, what matters if the palate is chastised? In a dining-room soft-hung with piquant scenes, even buttermilk and dog-biscuit, burnt canvasback and cold Burgundy lose half their bitterness. When night is well started in its flight, perhaps one only, one lover of the silence and the solitude, loath to give away to soft sleep the quiet hours, this one remains behind when all the others have flown bedward, and to him the neighbouring tapestries speak a various language. From the easy chair he sees the firelight play on the verdure with the effect of a summer breeze, the gracious foliage all astir. The figures in this enchanted wood are set in motion and imagination brings them into the life of the moment, makes of them sympathetic playmates coaxing one to love, as they do, the land of romance. Before their imperturbable jocundity what bad humour can exist? All the old songs of mock pastoral times come singing in the ears, “It happened on a day, in the merry month of May,” “Shepherds all and maidens fair,” “It was a lover and his lass,” “Phœbus arise, and paint the skies,” et cetera. Animated by the fire, in the silence of the winter night the loving horde gathers and ministers to the mind afflicted with much hard practicality and the strain of keeping up with modern inexorable times. This sweet procession on the walls, thanks be to lovely art, needs no keeping up with, merely asks to scatter joy and to soften the asperities of a too arduous day. All the way up the staircase in the house of tapestries are dainty bits of millefleurs, that Gothic invention for transferring a block of the spring woods from under the trees into a man-made edifice. It may have a deep indigo background or a dull red—like the shades of moss or like last year’s fallen leaves—but over it all is abundantly sprinkled dainty bluebells, anemones, daisies, all the spring beauties in joyous self-assertion and happy mingling. With such flowery guides to mark the way the path to slumberland is followed. Once within the bedroom, the poppies of the hangings spread drowsy influence, and the happy sleeper passes into unconsciousness, passes through the flowered border of the ancient square, into the scene beyond, becomes one of those storied persons in the enchanted land and lives with them in jousts and tourneys or in fêtes champêtres at lovely châteaux. The magic spell of the house of tapestries has fallen like the dew from heaven to bless the striver in our modern life of exigency and fatigue.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 19 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image CHINESE TAPESTRY Chien Lung Period See larger image COPTIC TAPESTRY

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