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Vandover and the Brute

Chapter Twelve
Vandover took formal possession of his rooms on Sutter Street during the first few days
of February. For a week previous they had been in the greatest confusion: the studio filled
with a great number of trunks, crates, packing cases, and furniture still in its sacking. In
the bedroom was stored the furniture that had been moved out of the sitting-room, while
the sitting-room itself was given over to the paperhangers and carpenters. Vandover
himself appeared from time to time, inquiring anxiously as to the arrival of his "stuff," or
sitting on a packing-case, his hands in his pockets, his hat pushed back, and a cigarette
between his lips.
He had passed a delightful week selecting the wall paper and the pattern for the frieze,
buying rugs, screens, Assyrian bas-reliefs, photogravures of Renaissance portraits, and
the famous tiled stove with its flamboyant ornaments. Just after renting his home he had
had a talk with the English gentleman of the fruit syndicate and had spoken about certain
ornaments and bits of furniture, valuable chiefly to himself, which he wished to keep.
The president of the fruit syndicate had been very gracious in the matter, and as soon as
Vandover had taken his rooms he had removed two great cases of such articles from the
California Street house and had stored them in the studio.
After the workmen were gone away Vandover began the labour of arrangement, aided by
one of the paperhangers he had retained for that purpose. It was a work of three days, but
at last everything was in its place, and one evening toward the middle of the month
Vandover stood in the middle of the sitting-room in his shirt-sleeves, holding the
tweezers and a length of picture-wire in his hand, and looked around him in his new
home.
The walls were hung with dull blue paper of a very rough texture set off by a narrow
picture moulding of ivory white. A dark red carpet covered with rugs and skins lay on the
floor. Upon the left-hand wall, reaching to the floor, hung a huge rug of sombre colours
against which were fixed a fencing trophy, a pair of antlers, a little water colour sketch of
a Norwegian fjord, and Vandover's banjo; underneath it was a low but very broad divan
covered with corduroy. To the right and left of this divan stood breast-high bookcases
with olive green curtains, their tops serving as shelves for a multitude of small ornaments,
casts of animals by Fremiet and Barye, Donatello's lovely femme inconnue, beer steins, a
little bronze clock, a calendar, and a yellow satin slipper of Flossie's in which Vandover
kept Turkish cigarettes. The writing-desk with the huge blue blotter in a silver frame, the
paper-cutter, and the enormous brass inkstand filled the corner to the right of the divan,
while drawn up to it was the huge leather chair, the chair in which the Old Gentleman had
died. In the drawer of the desk Vandover kept his father's revolver; he never thought of
loading it; of late he had only used it to drive tacks with, when he could not find the
hammer. Opposite the divan, on the other side of the room, was the famous tiled stove
with the flamboyant ornaments; back of this the mantel, and over the mantel a row of
twelve grotesque heads in plaster, with a space between each for a pipe. To the left in the
 
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