I returned the salute, thanked Cephalus for his attentions, and entered the carriage. A brass band of a hundred and twenty pieces struck up an inspiring march, and, preceded and followed by the Amazons, I was conveyed in state to the palatial quarters of Zeus himself.
It suggested comic opera with a large number of pretty chorus girls, but I could not help being impressed in spite of this thought with the fact that Jupiter knew how to do a thing up in style. I was indeed so awed with it all that I did not dare wink at a single Amazon while en route, although strongly tempted to do so several times.
Some Account of the Palace of Jupiter
So dazzled was I by all that went on about me, by the gorgeousness of my equipage and by the extraordinary richness of the costumes worn by my escort, that for the moment I forgot that I was not myself clad in suitable garments for so ultra-royal a function. The streets, the houses, even the throngs that peopled the way, seemed to be of the most lustrous gold, and it became necessary for me from time to time as we progressed to close my eyes and shut out the too brilliant vision. Fancy a bake-shop built of solid gold nuggets, its large plate windows composed each of one huge, flashing diamond; imagine an exquisitely wrought golden drug-store, whose colored jars in the windows are made of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires; conjure up in your mind’s eye a sequence of city blocks whose sides are lined by massive and exquisitely proportioned buildings, every inch of whose facade was fashioned, not by stone-cutters and sculptors, but by goldsmiths, whose genius a Cellini might envy; picture to yourself a street paved with golden asphalt, and a sidewalk built from huge slabs of rolled silver, the curb and gutters being of burnished copper, and you’ll gain some idea of the thoroughfare along which I passed. And oh, the music that the band gave forth to which the populace timed their huzzas—I nearly went mad with the seductiveness of it all. If it hadn’t been for the ache the brilliance of it gave to my eyes, I really think I should have swooned.
And then we came to the palace grounds. These, I must confess, I found far from pleasing, for even as the avenue along which I had passed was all gold and silver and gems, so too was the park, in the heart of which stood Jupiter’s own apartments made of similar stuff. The trees were golden, and the leaves rustling in the breeze, catching and reflecting the light of the sun, were blinding. The soft greenness of the earthly grass was superseded by the glistening yellow of golden spears, and here and there, where a drop of dew would have fallen, were diamonds of purest ray. The paths were of silken rugs of richest texture, and the palace, as it burst upon my vision, fashioned out of undreamed-of blocks of onyx, resembled more a massive opal filled with flashing, living, fire, than the mere home of a splendid royalty.