“Just leave it all to me, Mr. Kling. And give yourself no concern. I am going to use everything we have: all our cups and saucers, no matter whether they are Spode, Lowestoft, or Worcester; all the platters, German beer mugs, candlesticks—even that rare old tablecloth trimmed with church lace. This is an entertainment to be given by a distinguished antiquary in honor of his lovely daughter”—and he bowed to each in turn—“the whole conducted under the management of his junior clerk, Mr. F. O’Day, who is very much at your service, sir.”
Bright and early the following morning Felix began work, and for the next two days took entire charge of the room, walking up and down its length, an absolute dictator, brooking no interference from any one. When Mike’s frowsy head or Hans’s grimy hands appeared above the level of the landing from the floor below, steadying with their chins some new possession, it was either, “here, in the middle of the room, men!” or, if it were big and cumbersome, “up-stairs, out of the way!” This had gone on until the banquet hall was one conglomerate mass of mixed chattels from the Jersey shop, Kling’s old stock being stowed in some other part of the building. Then began the picking out. First the doubtful, but rich in color, tapestries, then the rugs—some fairly good ones—stuffs, old and new, and every available rag which would hold together were spread over the four walls and the front windows. The heavier and more decorative pieces of furniture came next—among them a huge wooden altar which had never been put together and which was now backed close against the tapestries and hanging rugs in the centre of the long wall. Two Venetian wedding-chests, low enough to sit upon, were next placed in position, and between them three Spanish armchairs in faded velvet and one in crinkly leather, held together by big Moorish nails of brass. Above these chests and chairs were hung gilt brackets holding church candles, Spanish mirrors so placed that the shortest woman in the party could see her face, and big Italian disks of dull metal. The walls were wonderful in their rich simplicity, and so was the disposition of the furniture, Felix’s skilful eye having preserved the architectural proportions in both the selection and placing of the several articles.
More wonderful than all else, however, was the great gold throne at the end of the room, on which Masie was to sit and receive her guests and which was none other than the big cardinal’s chair, incrusted with mouldy gilt, that had first inspired her with the idea of the party. This was hoisted up bodily and placed on an auctioneer’s platform which Mike had found tilted back against the wall in the cellar. To hide its dirt and cracks, rugs were laid, pieced out by a green drugget which extended half across the floor, now swept of everything except two refreshment tables.