Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Great Moments in Fabric Literature, Vol XIV
He walked up the spiral staircase to the first floor, where Diana lived: a little sitting-room with her bedroom opening out of it, the whole communicating with the rest of the house by a long corridor that opened into the main staircase. There was no one in the sitting-room. He sat down on the sofa and looked attentively at the gold-thread embroidery of a sari that was being turned into a European dress. Under the golden light of the lamp gold tigers tore a Company's officer lying on the ground with a brandy-bottle in his hand: sometimes in his right hand, sometimes in his left, for the pattern had many variations.
Patrick O'Brian, Post Captain, pg 77
This passage in Post Captain is particularly telling because Stephen Maturin is being torn apart by his love for Diana, but the author doesn't exactly say that; instead he shows you that with a description of the sari fabric that has an officer being torn by tigers. Diana is from India; tigers are from India. She is lovely and exotic and trying to make over her Indian life into life in England; thus the sari being made over into European dress.