His studio was a confusion of silks, cut velvets, tapestries, embroideries, carpets of the East, lay figures glittering with replicas of priceless armour. Delicate fabrics trailed over chair and floor almost under foot; inlaid and gem-hilted weapons, illuminated missals, glass-cased papyri, gilded zones, filets, girdles, robes of fur, hoods, wallets, helmets, hats, lay piled up, everywhere in methodical disorder. And into and out of the studio passed male models of all statures, all ages, venerable, bearded men, men in their prime, men with the hard-hammered features and thick, sinewy necks of gladiators, men slender and pallid as dreaming scholars, youths that might have worn the gold-red elf-locks and the shoulder cloak of Venice, youth chiselled in a beauty as dark and fierce as David wore when the mailed giant went crashing earthward under the smooth round pebble from his sling.
Valerie's turn in this splendid panoply was soon over. Even had she been so inclined there was, of course, no place for her to visit now, no place to sit and watch him among all these men. After hours, once or twice, she came in to tea—to gossip a little with the old-time ease, and barter with him epigram for jest, nonsense for inconsequence. Yet, subtly—after she had gone home—she felt the effort. Either he or she had imperceptibly changed; she knew not which was guilty; but she knew.