The other suite was in a great apartment house, a hotel in fact, but very expensive, with electric bulbs and bells, and with a tiled bathroom connecting with the bedroom. The room which he would be obliged to use as his studio was small, dark, the light coming from the west. But the sitting-room was perfect. It had the sun all day long through a huge bay window that seemed to have been made for a window-seat; there were admirable, well-lighted spaces on the walls for casts and pictures, and the mantelpiece was charming, extremely high, and made of oak; in a word, the exact sitting-room that Vandover had in mind. Already he saw himself settled there as comfortably and snugly as a kernel in a nutshell. It was true that upon investigation he found that the grate had been plastered up and the flue arranged for a stove. But for that matter there were open-grate stoves to be had that would permit the fire to be seen and that would look just as cheerful as a grate. He had even seen such a stove in the window of a hardware store downtown, a tiled stove with a brass fender and with curious flamboyant ornaments of cast-iron—a jewel of a stove.
For two days Vandover hesitated between these two suites, undecided whether he should sacrifice his studio for his sitting-room, or his sitting-room for his studio. At length he came to the conclusion that as he was now to be an artist a good studio ought to be the first consideration, and that since he was to settle down to hard, serious work at last he owed it to himself to have a fitting place in which to paint; yes, decidedly he would take the suite with the studio. He went to the agent, told him of his decision, and put up a deposit to secure the rooms.
The same day upon which he took this decided step he had occasion to pass by both places in question. As he approached the apartment house in which the rejected suite was situated it occurred to him to tell the clerk in the office that he had decided against the rooms; he could take a last look at them at the same time.
He was shown up to the rooms again, and walked about in the sitting-room, asking the same questions about the heat, the plumbing, and the baths. He even went to the window and looked out into the street. It was a first-rate berth just the same, and how jolly it would be to lounge in the window-seat of a morning, with a paper, a cigarette, and a cup of coffee, watching the people on their way downtown; the women going to their shopping and morning’s marketing. Then all at once he remembered that at most he would only have these rooms for five months, and reflected that if his whole life was to be devoted to painting he might easily put up with an inconvenient studio for a few months. Once at Paris all would be different.