They spent about fifteen minutes over their drinks, talking about the collection. Rand and Gladys did most of the talking, in spite of Nelda’s best efforts to monopolize the conversation. Geraldine, after a few minutes, retired into her private world and only roused herself when her sister and stepmother were about to leave. When they went out, Gladys promised to send Walters up directly; Rand heard her speaking to him at the foot of the main stairway.
When Walters entered, Rand had his pipe lit and was walking slowly around the room, laying out the work ahead of him. Roughly, the earliest pieces were on the extreme left, on the short north wall of the room, and the most recent ones on the right, at the south end. This was, of course, only relatively true; the pistols seemed to have been classified by type in vertical rows, and chronologically from top to bottom in each row. The collection seemed to consist of a number of intensely specialized small groups, with a large number of pistols of general types added. For instance, about midway on the long east wall, there were some thirty-odd all-metal pistols, from wheel lock to percussion. There was a collection of U.S. Martials, with two rows of the regulation pistols, flintlock and percussion, of foreign governments, placed on the left, and the collection of Colts on the right. After them came the other types of percussion revolvers, and the later metallic-cartridge types.
It was an arrangement which made sense, from the arms student’s point of view, and Rand decided that it would make sense to the dealers and museums to whom he intended sending lists. He would save time by listing them as they were hung on the walls. Then, there were the cases between the windows on the west wall, containing the ammunition collection—examples of every type of fixed-pistol ammunition—and the collection of bullet-molds and powder flasks and wheel lock spanners and assorted cleaning and loading accessories. All that stuff would have to be listed, too.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” Walters broke in, behind him. “Mrs. Fleming said that you wanted me.”
“Oh, yes.” Rand turned. “Is this the whole thing? What’s on the walls, here?”
“Yes, sir. There is also a wall-case containing a number of modern pistols and revolvers, and several rifles and shotguns, in the room formerly occupied by Mr. Fleming, but they are not part of the collection, and they are now the personal property of Mrs. Fleming. I understand that she intends selling at least some of them, on her own account. Then, there is a quantity of ammunition and ammunition-components in that closet under the workbench—cartridges, primed cartridge-shells, black and smokeless powder, cartridge-primers, percussion caps—but they are not part of the collection, either. I believe Mrs. Fleming wants to sell most of that, too.”