My eyes never quitted Antinéa.

From where I lay concealed inside the wall-niche, I could see she was no longer the haughty and teasing princess of our first interview.[*] The gold uraeus no longer curled around her forehead. Not a bracelet, not a ring. Only a large embroidered robe hung about her. Her black hair, freed from all constraints, descended in waves of ebony over her slim shoulders, her slight arms.

Those beautiful eyelids were blue and swollen. The corner of her divine mouth creased up a little. Was it a joy or a distress for me to see this new Cleopatra so torn by doubts? I wasn’t sure.

An immense mirror of >oricalchum, framed in gold, was set into an alcove to her right. Suddenly, slipping off her one garment, Antinéa turned to look at herself in it. I saw her nude.

Bitter and splendid sight! How does a woman who believes herself to be alone look at herself in the mirror, while waiting for a man she hopes to overawe?[+]

Six incense-burners scattered though the room sent up invisible columns of perfumed smoke.[#] The sweet balsamic incense of Arabia wove itself into my dreams and desires until my reeling senses threatened to lose themselves altogether[~] ... and, still with her back to me, slim as a lily, before her mirror, Antinéa smiled.

[P. Benoit, L’Atlantide, p. 185]

[~] See >Hy Brasil.

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