Visionaries eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 233 pages of information about Visionaries.

He did not seem to hear.  From out the bowl there was stealing a perfume which overmastered his will and led him captive to the lugubrious glade of the Druids....

III

THE CIRCUS OF CANDLES

    Comme d’autres esprits voguent sur la musique,
    Le mien, o mon amour! nage sur ton parfum.

    —­BAUDELAIRE.

He was not dreaming, for he saw the woman at the bowl, saw her apartment.  But the interior of his brain was as melancholy as a lighted cathedral.  A mortal sadness encompassed him, and his nerves were like taut violin strings.  It was within the walls of his skull, that he saw—­his mundane surroundings did not disturb his visions.  And the waves of dolour swept over his consciousness.  A mingling of tuberoses, narcissus, attar of roses, and ambergris he detected in the air—­as triste as a morbid nocturne of Chopin.  This was followed by a blending of heliotrope, moss-rose, and hyacinth, together with dainty touches of geranium.  He dreamed of Beethoven’s manly music when whiffs of apple-blossom, white rose, cedar, and balsam reached him.  Mozart passed roguishly by in strains of scarlet pimpernel, mignonette, syringa, and violets.  Then the sky was darkened with Schumann’s perverse harmonies as jasmine, lavender, and lime were sprayed over him.  Music, surely, was the art nearest akin to odour.  A superb and subtle chord floated about him; it was composed of vervain, opoponax, and frangipane.  He could not conceive of a more unearthly triad.  It was music from Parsifal.  Through the mists that were gathering he savoured a fulminating bouquet of patchouli, musk, bergamot, and he recalled the music of Mascagni.  Brahms strode stolidly on in company with new-mown hay, cologne, and sweet peas.  Liszt was interpreted as ylang-ylang, myrrh, and marechale; Richard Strauss, by wistaria, oil of cloves, chypre, poppy, and crab-apple.

Suddenly there developed a terrific orchestration of chromatic odours:  ambrosia, cassia, orange, peach-blossoms, and musk of Tonkin, magnolia, eglantine, hortensia, lilac, saffron, begonia, peau d’Espagne, acacia, carnation, liban, fleur de Takeoka, cypress, oil of almonds, benzoin, jacinth, rue, shrub, olea, clematis, the hediosma of Jamaica, olive, vanilla, cinnamon, petunia, lotus, frankincense, sorrel, neroli from Japan, jonquil, verbena, spikenard, thyme, hyssop, and decaying orchids.  This quintessential medley was as the sonorous blasts of Berlioz, repugnant and exquisite; it swayed the soul of Baldur as the wind sways the flame.  There were odours like winged dreams; odours as the plucked sounds of celestial harps; odours mystic and evil, corrupt and opulent; odours recalling the sweet, dense smell of chloroform; odours evil, angelic, and anonymous.  They painted—­painted by Satan!—­upon his cerebellum more than music—­music that merged into picture; and he was again in the glade of the Druids.  The

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Visionaries from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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