At that the rooms took on a more charming aspect than ever; never had they appeared cheerier, sunnier, more comfortable; never had the oak mantel and the tiled stove with the flamboyant ornaments been more desirable; never had a window-seat seemed more luxurious, never a pipe-rack more delectable, while at the same time, the other rooms, the rooms of the big studio, presented themselves to his imagination more sombre, uncomfortable, and forbidding than ever. It was out of the question to think of living there; he was angry with himself for having hesitated so long. But suddenly he remembered the deposit he had already made; it was ten dollars; for a moment he paused, then dismissed the matter with an impatient shrug of the shoulders. “So much the worse,” he said. “What’s ten dollars?” He made up his mind then and there and went downstairs, walking on his heels, to tell the clerk that after all he would engage the rooms from that date.
Vandover took formal possession of his rooms on Sutter Street during the first few days of February. For a week previous they had been in the greatest confusion: the studio filled with a great number of trunks, crates, packing cases, and furniture still in its sacking. In the bedroom was stored the furniture that had been moved out of the sitting-room, while the sitting-room itself was given over to the paperhangers and carpenters. Vandover himself appeared from time to time, inquiring anxiously as to the arrival of his “stuff,” or sitting on a packing-case, his hands in his pockets, his hat pushed back, and a cigarette between his lips.
He had passed a delightful week selecting the wall paper and the pattern for the frieze, buying rugs, screens, Assyrian bas-reliefs, photogravures of Renaissance portraits, and the famous tiled stove with its flamboyant ornaments. Just after renting his home he had had a talk with the English gentleman of the fruit syndicate and had spoken about certain ornaments and bits of furniture, valuable chiefly to himself, which he wished to keep. The president of the fruit syndicate had been very gracious in the matter, and as soon as Vandover had taken his rooms he had removed two great cases of such articles from the California Street house and had stored them in the studio.
After the workmen were gone away Vandover began the labour of arrangement, aided by one of the paperhangers he had retained for that purpose. It was a work of three days, but at last everything was in its place, and one evening toward the middle of the month Vandover stood in the middle of the sitting-room in his shirt-sleeves, holding the tweezers and a length of picture-wire in his hand, and looked around him in his new home.