It was all as he said. In two minutes I had entered the room of Midas; in three minutes, my golf-coat having been removed, a flowing gown of silk, touched by his magic hand and turned to glittering gold, rested upon my shoulders. It was pretty heavy, but I bore up under it; the helmet and the necklace, the shoes and the girdle were adjusted; the staff was placed in my hand, and with beating heart I emerged once more into the corridor and stood before the door leading into the audience-chamber.
“Remove the goggles,” whispered the Major Domo.
“Never!” I cried. “I shall be blinded.”
“Nonsense!” said he, quickly. “Off with them,” and he flicked them from my nose himself.
A great blare of trumpets sounded, the door was thrown wide, and with a cry of amazement I stepped backward, awed and afraid; but one glance was reassuring, for truly a wonderful sight confronted me, and one that will prove as surprising to him who reads as it was to me upon that marvellous day.
An Extraordinary Interview
I had expected to witness a scene of grandeur, and my fancy had conjured up, as the central figure thereof, the majestic form of Jove himself, clad in imperial splendor. But it was the unexpected that happened, for, as the door closed behind me, I found myself in a plain sort of workshop, such as an ordinary man would have in his own house, at one end of which stood a rolling-top desk, and, instead of the dazzling throne I had expected to see, there stood in front of it an ordinary office-chair that twirled on a pivot. Books and papers were strewn about the floor and upon the tables; the pictures on the walls were made up largely of colored sporting prints of some rarity, and in a corner stood a commonplace globe such as is to be found in use in public schools to teach children geography. As I glanced about me my first impression was that by some odd mischance I had got into the wrong room, which idea was fortified by the fact that, instead of an imperial figure clad in splendid robes, a quiet-looking old gentleman, who, except for his dress, might have posed for a cartoon of the accepted American Populist, stood before me. He was dressed in a plain frock-coat, four-in-hand tie, high collar, dark-gray trousers, and patent-leather boots, and was brushing up a silk hat as I entered.
“Excuse me, sir,” I said, “but I—I fear I have stumbled into the wrong room. I—ah—I have had the wholly unexpected honor to be granted an audience with Jupiter, and I was told that this was the audience-chamber.”
“Don’t apologize. Sit down,” he replied, taking me by the hand and shaking it cordially. “You are all right; I’m glad to see you. How goes the world with you?”
“Very well indeed, sir,” I replied, rather embarrassed by the old fellow’s cordiality. “But I really can’t sit down, because, you know, I—I don’t want to keep his Majesty waiting, and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll—”