Lance’s voice was quivering, and Gerald’s face worked. Lance gave his hand a squeeze, and found voice to say-
“‘Hold thee still in the Lord, and abide patiently upon Him.’ And meantime be a man over it. It can be done. I have often had to forget.”
CHAPTER XIX. SHOP-DRESSING
But I can’t conceive, in this very hot weather,
How I’m ever to bring all these people together.
It was not a day when any one could afford to be upset. It was chiefly spent in welcoming arrivals or in rushing about: on the part of Lance and Gerald in freshly rehearsing each performer, in superintending their stage arrangements, reviewing the dresses, and preparing for one grand final rehearsal; and in the multifarious occupations and anxieties, and above all in the music, Gerald did really forget, or only now and then recollect, that a nightmare was hanging on him, and that his little Mona need not shrink from him in maidenly shyness, but that he might well return her pretty appealing look of confidence.
The only quiet place in the town apparently was Clement Underwood’s room, for even Cherry had been whirled off, at first to arrange her own pictures and drawings; and then her wonderful touch made such a difference in the whole appearance of the stall, and her dainty devices were so graceful and effective, that Gillian and Mysie implored her to come and tell them what to do with theirs, where they were struggling with cushions, shawls, and bags, with the somewhat futile assistance of Mr. Armine Brownlow and Captain Armytage, whenever the latter could be spared from the theatrical arrangements, where, as he said, it was a case of parmi les borgnes-for his small experience with the Wills-of-the-Wisp made him valuable.
The stalls were each in what was supposed to represent by turns a Highland bothie or a cave. The art stall was a cave, that the back (really a tool-house) might serve the photographers, and the front was decorated with handsome bits of rock and spar, even ammonites. Poor Fergus could not recover his horror and contempt when his collection of specimens, named and arranged, was very nearly seized upon to fill up interstices, and he was infinitely indebted to Mrs. Grinstead for finding a place where their scientific merits could be appreciated without letting his dirty stones, as Valetta called them, disturb the general effect.
“And my fern-gardens! Oh, Mrs. Grinstead,” cried Mysie, “please don’t send them away to the flower place which Miss Simmonds and the gardeners are making like a nursery garden! They’ll snub my poor dear pterises.”
“Certainly we’ll make the most of your pterises. Look here. There’s an elegant doll, let her lead the family party to survey them. That’s right. Oh no, not that giantess! There’s a dainty little Dutch lady.”