windows in sentences

“Its windows never sparked so much as on the days when the sun hardly appeared, so that, if it was gray outside, we were sure it would be beautiful inside the church; one was filled to its very top by a single figure like a king in a game of cards, who lived up there, under an architectural canopy, between heaven and earth (and in whose slanting blue light, on weekdays sometimes, at noon, when there is no service—at one of those rare times when the church, airy, vacant, more human, luxurious, with some sun on its rich furniture, looked almost habitable, like the hall of a medieval-style mansion, of sculpted stone and stained glass—one would see Mm. Sazerat kneel for a moment, setting down on the next prayer stool a packet of petits fours tied with string that she had just picked up from the pastry shop across the street and was going to take back home for lunch); in another, a mountain of pink snow, at whose foot a battle was being fought, seemed to have frosted onto the glass itself, blistering it with its cloudy sleet like a windowpane on which a few snowflakes remained, but snowflakes lit by some aurora (the same, no doubt, that flushed the reredos of the altar with tints so fresh they seemed set there for a moment by a gleam from outside about to vanish, rather than by colors attached forever to stone); and all were so old that here and there one saw their silvery age sparkle with the dust of the centuries and show, shimmering and worn down to the thread, the weft of their soft tapestry of glass. One of them, a tall compartment, was divided into a hundred or so small rectangular panes in which blue predominated, like a great deck of cards resembling those meant to entertain King Charles VI; but either because a beam of sunlight was shining, or because my gaze, as it moved, carried across the glass, snuffed and lit again by turns, a precious moving conflagration, the next moment it had assumed the changing luster of a peacock’s train, then trembled and undulated in a flaming chimerical rain that dripped from the top of the vault, along the damp walls, as if this were the nave of some grotto iridescent with sinuous stalactites into which I was following my parents, who were carrying their prayer books; a moment later the little lozenge-shaped panes had assumed the deep transparency, the infrangible hardness of sapphires which had been juxtaposed on some immense breastplate, but behind which one felt, more beloved than all these riches, a momentary smile of sunlight; it was as recognizable in the soft blue billow with which it bathed the precious stones as on the pavement of the square or the straw of the marketplace; and even on our first Sundays when we had arrived before Easter, it consoled me for the earth still being bare and black, by bringing into bloom, as in a historical springtime dating from the age of Saint Louis’s successors, this dazzling gilded carpet of glass forget-me-nots.” 

Proust, Swann’s Way, translated by Lydia Davis
+++