After every competitor had qualified, and was fully prepared to begin, a gong would be sounded. Exactly at the end of a half hour another gong would sound, when every one must cease at once, whether the work was finished or not.
As soon as the guests thoroughly understood what they were to do great interest was displayed and competitors were rapidly entered for the different contests.
Those who were artists took their places at a table provided with water colors, oil paints, pastels, and drawing materials. The clay modellers were at another table, with ample provision for their art.
Many ladies who declared they had no talents prepared to trim hats. All sorts of material, such as velvet, lace, flowers, feathers, and ribbons were provided, as well as the untrimmed shapes.
In another booth ladies prepared to make Japanese kimonos or dressing-jackets, and in another booth were materials for paper flowers.
There was a burnt-wood outfit and sets of woodcarvers’ tools, and Robert Van Ness declared that he knew he could take the prize for whittling.
Another booth held crepe paper for lampshades or other fancy work, and it was not long before every one had selected an occupation and was prepared to begin work.
Elise, of course, was going to draw a picture, and Patty concluded she would trim a hat.
As it neared the time, Patty threaded her needle and put on her thimble, but was not allowed to touch her material until the signal was given.
Henri Labesse was at the bazaar, and though his arm was still a little stiff, he entered the competition and was to model a figure of clay.
The gong struck, and everybody flew madly at their work, anxious to complete it within the half hour.
Elise, who was methodical, began her drawing as slowly and carefully as if she had the whole day for it, reasoning to herself that she would rather hurry the finishing than the beginning.
Patty, on the other hand, dashed impatiently at her hat-trimming, pinning things on here and there, thinking she would sew them if she had time, and if not they could stay pinned.
Both the Van Ness girls were making paper lamp-shades, and Rosamond was already well along on a picturesque Japanese kimono. She sewed up the breadths like a wind-mill, and whipped on the bordering rapidly, but with strong, firm stitches.
She would easily have taken the prize in her department, but the girls had agreed among themselves that they would accept no prizes, even if they won them.
When the gong struck at the close of the half hour some of the work was still unfinished, but most of the articles were completed. And it was indeed marvellous to see what could be done by people working at their utmost speed.
Elise’s picture was charming, and Patty’s hat was among the prettiest. Competent judges awarded the prizes, and then the articles, whether finished or unfinished, were sold at auction. And they brought large prices, for many of them were well worth having; and, too, the buyers were quite ready to give liberally in aid of the worthy charity.