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Thread: fancy-goods

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    Default fancy-goods

    What kind of fancy goods are we talking about in this excerpt from Edith Wharton's novel Summer?

    Even the shops that were closed offered, through wide expanses of
    plate-glass, hints of hidden riches. In some, waves of silk and ribbon
    broke over shores of imitation moss from which ravishing hats rose like
    tropical orchids. In others, the pink throats of gramophones opened
    their giant convolutions in a soundless chorus; or bicycles shining in
    neat ranks seemed to await the signal of an invisible starter; or tiers
    of fancy-goods in leatherette and paste and celluloid dangled their
    insidious graces ...

    I think that leatherette is some kind of simulated leather, but I can't think of something that's made of leatherette and paste and celluloid, and to top it all, also dangles their insiduos graces. Or am I reading it the wrong way? Any ideas?

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    Default Re: fancy-goods

    .
    The dictionaries have a couple of definitions of fancy goods:

    1-- fabrics of various colors, patterns, etc., as ribbons, silks, laces, etc., in distinction from those of a simple or plain color or make.

    2-- goods that are chiefly ornamental


    In your passage, the phrase seems to indicate further products of kinds similar to the specific ones mentioned in earlier sentences.

    'Dangled their insidious graces' simply means that they were displayed in an alluring fashion. 'Insidious' because fancy goods are not necessities, but attract the shopper to spend hard-earned money that would be better spent for staples.
    .

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    Default Re: fancy-goods

    So in this case fancy-goods could either be knick-knacks, and/or what we nowadays call accessories? And is paste the same kind of 'material' used for some types of ceramics?

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    Default Re: fancy-goods

    These fancy goods sound like what the Doris Day song (in Calamity Jane) called 'silks and satins and linens that show[s]'. As for dangling insidious graces, consider the next line of the song: 'And I'm all yours in buttons and bows'.

    b

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    Default Re: fancy-goods

    .
    I think 'paste' may refer to paste jewelry:

    a. a brilliant, heavy glass, as strass (a complex borosilicate of lead and potassium), used for making artificial gems.
    b. an artificial gem of this material.

    .

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