The air was indeed very still, but those stately white garments looked, as the priest moved beneath the shadow of the avenue, as if no earthly breeze could stir them. His step had the same equable character. He moved, but it seemed scarcely as though he walked in the fashion that other and impetuous mortals walk. His eyes were bent on the ground, so that I could not see them; and, indeed, I dreaded the raising of those drooping lids. His complexion was fair, and his hair of a dull gold color. His beard was long and full, but it had the same strangely immovable, almost carven look, to my fancy.
I could not imagine it blown aside.
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It seemed as though cut in gold, and made firm for eternity. The whole man impressed me thus -- as a being altogether removed from the ordinary life of man.
The novice looked around, his notice attracted probably by my intense gaze, for no sound reached my ears from the priest's footfall. Closing the gate behind him, he drew back, and we saw him speak to the priest, who bowed his head slightly. The man returned, and taking the water flasks from the woman carried them to the priest, who laid his hand for a second upon them.
I was soon left alone with the black-robed novice. I was not sorry though considerably awed. I had never cared much for my old task of tending my father's sheep, and of course I was already filled with the idea that I was about to become something different from the common herd of men. This idea will carry poor human nature through severer trials even than that of leaving one's home forever and entering finally upon a new and untried course of life.
The gate swung to behind me, and the black-robed man locked it with a great key that hung to his waist. But the action gave me no sense of imprisonment, -- only a consciousness of seclusion and separateness. Who could associate imprisonment with a scene such as that which lay before me? The temple doors were facing the gate, at the other end of a broad and beautiful avenue.
It was not a natural avenue formed by trees planted in the ground, and luxuriating in a growth of their own choosing. It was formed by great tubs of stone, in which were planted shrubs of enormous size, but evidently trimmed and guided most carefully into the strange shapes they formed. Between each shrub was a square block of stone, upon which was a carven figure. Those figures nearest the gate I saw to be sphinxes and great animals with human heads but afterwards I did not dare raise my eyes to gaze curiously upon them; for I saw again approaching us, in the course of his regular walk to and fro, the golden-bearded priest Agmahd.
Walking on by the side of my guide, I kept my eyes upon the ground. When he paused I paused, and found that my eyes fell upon the hem of the priest's white robe. That hem was delicately embroidered with golden characters: it was enough to absorb my attention and fill me with wonder for a while. Look up, boy; do not fear. I looked up, thus encouraged, and encountered the gaze of the priest. His eyes, I saw, even then in my embarrassment, were of changing color -- blue and gray. But, soft-hued though they were, they did not give me the encouragement which I had heard in his voice.
They were calm indeed: full of knowledge: but they made me tremble. He dismissed us with a movement of his hand, and pursued his even walk down the grand avenue; while I, more disposed to tremble than I had been before, followed silently my silent guide.
We entered the great central doorway of the temple, the sides of which were formed of immense blocks of uncut stone. I suppose a fit of something like fear must have come upon me, after the inquisition of the holy priest's eyes; for I regarded these blocks of stone with a vague sense of terror. Within I saw that from the central doorway, a passage proceeded in a long direct line with the avenue through the building. But that was not our way. We turned aside and entered upon a network of smaller corridors, and passed through some small bare rooms upon our way.
We entered at last a large and beautiful room. I say beautiful, though it was entirely bare and unfurnished, save for a table at one corner. But its proportions were so grand, and its structure so elegant, that even my eye, unaccustomed to discern architectural beauties, was strangely impressed, with a sense of satisfaction. At the table in the corner sat two other youths, copying or drawing, I could not quite see what.
IDYLL OF THE WHITE LOTUS.
At all events I saw they were very busy, and I wondered that they scarcely raised their heads to observe our entrance. But, advancing, I perceived that behind one of the great stone projections of the wall, there sat an aged white-robed priest, looking at a book which lay upon his knee. He had best work in the garden. Have you ever learned to draw or copy writing? I had been taught these things as far as might be, but such accomplishments were rare, except in the priestly schools and among the small cultivated classes outside the priesthood.
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I want more to help me in my work; but with these sacred writings that have to be closed now, I cannot stay to instruct the ignorant. Take him to the garden for a while at least, and I will see about him by-and-by. My guide turned away and walked out of the room. With a last look around, at its beautiful appearance, I followed him. I followed him down a long, long passage, which was cool and refreshing in its darkness. At the end was a gate instead of a door, and here my guide rang a loud bell. We waited in silence after the bell had rung. No one came, and presently my guide rang the bell again.
But I was in no hurry. With my face pressed against the bars of the gate, I looked forth into a world so logical, that I thought to myself, "It will be no ill to me if the blear-eyed priest does not want to take me from the garden yet a while! It had been a dusty hot walk from our home to the city, and there the paved streets had seemed to my country-bred feet infinitely wearisome.
Within the gates of the temple I had as yet only passed down the grand avenue, where everything filled me so deeply, with awe, that I scarce dared look upon it. But here was a world of delicate and refreshing glory. Never had I seen a garden like this. There was greenness, deep greenness; there was a sound of water, the murmuring of gentle water under control, ready to do service for man and refresh in the midst of the burning heat which called the magnificence of color and grand development of form into the garden.
A third time the bell rang -- and then I saw, coming from among the great green leaves, a black-robed figure. How strangely out of place did the black dress look here! The figure approached, brushing, with its coarse. I gazed with a sudden awakening of interest upon the face of the man who drew near, and into whose charge I supposed I was to be committed.
And well I might; for it was a face to awake interest in any human breast. And I can give you no more flowers to-day; all I have to pluck will be wanted for the procession to-morrow. He unlocked the gate, motioned me to pass through, and shutting it behind me, walked away down the long corridor which now, looking back from the garden seemed so dark without another word.
White Lotus Restaurant, Hua Hin
And what am I to teach you, child of the country? How could I tell what he was to teach me? Nay, child, look not so upon me, but ponder my words and you will by-and-by understand them. Now, come with me, and fear not. He took my hand and led me under the tall-leaved plants towards the sound of water. How exquisite it seemed to my ears, that soft, bright, musical rhythm! Nothing loth, indeed, was I to sink upon the green grass and only look -- look in amazement -- in wonder -- in awe! That water -- that delicate-voiced water -- lived only to feed the queen of flowers. I said to myself, thou art indeed the Queen of all flowers imaginable.
And as I gazed dreamingly in my youthful enthusiasm upon this white bloom which seemed to me, with its soft, gold-dusted heart, the very emblem of pure, romantic love -- as I gazed the flower seemed to change in shape -- to expand -- to rise towards me. And lo, drinking at the stream of sweet sounding water, stooping to take its refreshing drops upon her lips, I beheld a woman of fair skin with hair like the dust of gold.
Amazed, I looked and strove to move towards her, but ere I could make any effort my whole consciousness left me, and, I suppose, I must have swooned away. For, indeed, the next that I can recall I lay upon the grass, with the sense of cool water upon my face, and opening my eyes, I beheld the black-robed, strange faced gardener leaning over me.
But no -- I am hasty in supposing it. What have you seen boy? The gentleness of his expression helped my scattered and startled senses to collect themselves. I told him what I had seen and, as I spoke, I looked towards the lily bed, hoping, indeed, that the fair woman might again stoop to slake her thirst at the streamlet. The manner of my strange teacher gradually changed as I spoke to him.
When I ceased describing the beautiful woman with the enthusiasm of a boy who has never seen any but his own dusky-skinned race, he fell upon his knees beside me. Bewildered by his words, I only looked upon him in silence. After a moment I grew terrified, for I began to think he must be mad. I looked around, wondering whether I could return to the temple and escape from him. But even as I debated within myself whether to venture upon this, he rose and turned upon me with the singular sweet smile, which appeared to cover and hide the ugliness of his strongly marked features.
We passed through the garden which was so full of attractions for my wandering eyes that I loitered on my path behind him. Ah, such sweet flowers; such rich purples and deep-hearted crimson. Difficult I found it not to pause and inhale the sweetness of each fair-faced blossom, though still they seemed to me, in my so recent adoration of its beauty, to but reflect the supreme exquisiteness of the white lotus flower.
We went towards a gate in the temple: a different one from that by which I had entered the garden. As we approached it, there issued forth two priests clad in the same white linen robes as I had seen worn by the golden-bearded priest Agmahd. These men were dark; and though they moved with a similar stateliness and equilibrium, as though indeed, they were the most firmly rooted growth of the earth, yet to my eyes they lacked a something which the priest Agmahd possessed -- a certain perfection of calm and assuredness.
They were younger than he, I soon saw; perhaps therein lay the difference. My dark-visaged teacher drew them aside, leaving me to stand in the pleasant shadow of the deep-arched doorway. He spoke to them excitedly, though evidently with reverence; while they, listening with quick interest, glanced ever and anon towards me. Presently they came to me, and the black-robed man turned and moved over the grass, as though returning on the way we had come together.
The white-clad priests, advancing under the doorway, spoke together in low whispers. When they reached me they motioned me to follow them, and I did so: passing through cool, high-roofed corridors and gazing idly, as was always a foolish habit of mine, upon everything I passed; while they, still whispering together as they preceded me, would now and then cast looks upon me, the meaning of which I could not understand.
Presently they turned out of the corridors, and entered into a large room similar to the one I had already seen where the old priest was instructing his copyists. This was divided by an embroidered curtain which fell in majestic folds from the lofty roof to the ground. I always loved beautiful things, and I noticed how, as it touched the ground, it stood firm with the stiffness of the rich gold work upon it.
One of the priests advanced, and drawing back one side of the curtain a little, I heard him say And now I began to tremble a little again. They had not looked unkindly upon me, yet how could I tell what ordeal awaited me? I looked in fear upon the beautiful curtain and wondered, in some natural fear, who sat behind it. I had not overlong in which to tremble and be afraid of I knew not what. Before long the priest who had entered returned, and accompanying him I saw was the golden-bearded priest Agmahd. My fears returned trebly upon me.
Had but the stately priest given me a glance which held kindness in it, I had not so yielded to them, but now I was again plunged in vague terrors of what next should come upon me; and I was weakened also by the swoon which had but so recently prostrated me. Trembling, I sank upon a stone bench, which ran around the wall; while the two dark-haired priests talked together. I think the suspense would soon hove brought another lapse into unconsciousness upon me, but suddenly I was again awakened to the doubts and possibilities of my position by the entrance of Agmahd, accompanied by another priest of most noble appearance.
He was fair-skinned and fair-haired, though not so fair in either as Agmahd; he shared with him the stately immobility of appearance which made Agmahd an object of the deepest awe to me; and in his dark eyes there was a benevolence which I had not yet seen in any of the priests' countenances. I felt less fearful as I looked upon him. Why, I wondered, was I thus spoken of? I was but a new novice, and had already been handed over to my teacher.
Take him to the baths; let him bathe and be anointed. Then will I and Agmahd my brother put upon him the white robe. We will then leave him to repose, while we report to the company of the high priests. Bring him back here when he has bathed. The two younger priests led me from the room. I began to see that they belonged to an inferior order in the priesthood, and, looking on them now, I saw that their white robes had not the beautiful golden embroidery upon them, but were marked with black lines and stitchings around the edges.
How delicious, after all my weariness, was the scented bath which they led me to! It soothed and eased my very spirit. When I left it I was rubbed with a soft and sweet oil, and then they wrapped me in a linen sheet, and brought me refreshment -- fruits, oiled cakes, and a fragrant draught that seemed to both strengthen and stimulate me. Then I was led forth again to the chamber in which the two priests awaited me. They were there, with another priest of the inferior order, who held in his hands a fine linen garment of pure white. The two priests took this, and, as the others drew away the sheet from my form, they together put it upon me.
And when they had done so, they joined their hands upon my head, while the other priests knelt down where they stood. I knew not what all this meant -- I was again becoming alarmed. But the bodily refreshment had done much to soothe my soul, and when without further ceremony, they sent me away again with the two inferior priests, with whom I felt a little familiarized, my spirits arose, and my step became light. They took me to a small room, in which was a long, low divan covered with a linen sheet.
There was nothing else in the room, and indeed I felt as if my eyes and brain might well remain without interest for a while; for how much had I not seen since I entered the temple in the morning! How long it seemed since I had let go my mother's hand at the gate! I lay upon my couch, which was soft enough to make it very welcome to my weary limbs, and before long I was buried in profound sleep, notwithstanding the strangeness of my surroundings.
The health and faith of youth enabled me to forget all the newness of my position in the temporary luxury of complete rest. Not long afterwards I have entered that cell to gaze upon that couch, and marvel where the peace of mind had flown that had been mine in my ignorant boyhood. When I awoke it was quite dark, and I started suddenly to a sitting posture, vividly conscious of a human presence in the room.
My wits were scattered by my sudden awakening. I thought myself to be at home, and that it was my mother who was silently watching beside me. Why are you here? Are you ill? Are the sheep astray? For a moment there was no answer, and my heart began to beat rapidly as I realized in the midst of the blank darkness that I was not at home -- that I was indeed in a new place -- that I knew not who it might be that thus silently watched in my room. For the first time I longed for my little homely chamber -- for the sound of my mother's voice. And, though I think I was a brave lad, and one not given to womanish weakness, I lay down again and wept aloud.
I heard sounds, and then a strong fragrance crept to my nostrils. Immediately afterwards two young novices entered at the door, bearing silver lamps, which threw a sudden and vivid light into the room. Then I saw -- and the sight so startled me that I ceased to weep and, forgot my home-sickness -- I saw that my room was quite full of white-robed priests, all standing motionless. No wonder, indeed, that I had been overpowered by the sense of a human presence in my room.
I was surrounded by a silent and statuesque crowd of men whose eyes were bent upon the ground, whose hands were crossed upon their breasts. I sank back again upon my couch and covered my face; the lights, the crowd of faces, overpowered me; and I felt strongly disposed, when I had recovered from my astonishment, to begin weeping again from sheer bewilderment of ideas. The fragrance grew stronger and more intense, the room seemed filled with burning incense; and, opening my eyes, I saw that a young priest on each side of me held the vases which contained it. The room, as I have said, was full of priests; but there was an inner circle close about my couch.
Upon the faces of these men I gazed with awe. Among them were Agmahd and Kamen and the others shared with them the strange immobility of expression which had affected me so deeply. I glanced from face to face and covered my eyes again trembling. I felt as though walled in by an impenetrable barrier; I was imprisoned, with these men around me, by something infinitely more impassable than stone walls.
The silence was broken at last. Agmahd spoke. But I had no choice save silent compliance when I encountered the cold, impenetrable blue eyes which Agmahd turned upon me. I arose, and found that when I moved I was enclosed by the same inner circle. Before, behind, and at the side of me they walked, the others moving in orderly fashion outside the centre. We passed down a long corridor until we reached the great entrance door of the temple. It stood open and I felt refreshed as by the face of an old friend by the glimpse I got of the starlit dome without.
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But the glimpse was brief. We halted just inside the great doors, and some of the priests closed and barred them; we then turned towards the great central corridor which I had observed on my first entrance. I noticed now that, though so spacious and beautiful, no doors opened into it, save one deep arched one right at the end, facing the great temple avenue. I wondered idly where this solitary door would lead. They brought a little chair, and placed it in the midst of the corridor.
On this I was told to sit, facing the door at the far end. I did so, silent and alarmed; -- what meant this strange thing? Why was I to sit thus, with the high priests standing around me? What ordeal was before me? But I resolved to be brave, to have no fear. Was not I already clothed in a pure white linen garment? Truly it was not embroidered in gold; but yet it was not stitched with black, like that of the younger priests.
It was pure white; and priding myself that this must mean some sort of distinction. I tried to sustain my failing courage by this idea. The incense grew so strong that it made my head confused. I was unaccustomed to the scents which the priests so lavishly scattered. Suddenly -- without word or any sign of preparation -- the lights were extinguished, and I found myself once more in the dark, surrounded by a strange and silent crowd. I tried to collect myself and realize where I was.
I remembered that the mass of the crowd was behind me, that in front of me the priests had parted, so that, though the inner circle still separated me from the others, I was looking, when the lights were put out, straight down the corridor towards the deep-arched door way. I was alarmed and miserable. I curled myself together on my seat, intending to be brave, if need be, but in the meantime to remain as silent and unobtrusive as possible.
Much did I check the calm faces of those high priests whom I knew to be standing immovably beside me. The absolute silence of the crowd behind filled me with terror and awe. I was at some moments so full of alarm that I wondered whether, if I arose and moved straight down the corridor, I could escape from between the priests unnoticed. Thanks for your review tricky We are very happy to learn that you had such an enjoyable and delicious experience recently at White Lotus on the 17th floor. We are especially pleased that you enjoyed our signature dish of Peking Duck.
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Ratings and reviews 4. Certificate of Excellence Winner. Food and ambience Chinese, Asian. The duck skin was beautifully crisp and the pancakes , sauce, cucumber and spr Special occasions, Romantic, Scenic view, Business meetings. Great service, amazing pano view from the 17th floor and large variety of dis Location and contact. Does this restaurant offer free wifi? Yes No Unsure. Does this restaurant offer highchairs for toddlers? Is this a Japanese restaurant? Does this place accept credit cards? Does this restaurant serve Shanghai food? Does this restaurant specialize in Szechuan food?
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Does this restaurant serve Hong Kong food? Is this restaurant good for special occasions? Thanks for helping! Share another experience before you go. Details Improve this listing Manage this business? Reviews Write a Review. Filter reviews. Traveler rating. Excellent Very good Average Poor Terrible 8. Traveler type. Time of year. Language English.
All languages. English German Thai More languages. French 9. Danish 7. Swedish 6. Dutch 5. Norwegian 5. Japanese 2. Russian 2. Finnish 1. Italian 1. Korean 1. Spanish 1. Show reviews that mention. All reviews dim sum peking duck pancakes pork prawns chilli sky bar hilton hotel all you can eat food menu cha am food was amazing sit outside hua baht cucumber sea. Selected filters. Updating list Date of visit: June Thank RajuS Reviewed May 23, via mobile Just the view is nice , the rest is so so.
Date of visit: May Thank sornsiam.