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C hapt er 11

The house of Monsieur Stanislas Rosing in the quai des Augustins had attracted him from the first because it represented, with its wide entrance and courtyard upon which its inner windows look down, the finest, most dignified type of Flemish architecture. There, ten years ago, he had come to rest after much wandering on the face of the globe, and there he had brought with him a curious assembly of treasures collected by him in his younger days.

Inside, the house was a strange mixture of the conventional and the exotic. The pretty Watteau-esque ballets so popular in his prime had not unnaturally made him feel at home among the delicate ornate furniture of this period, which furthermore provided a suitable background for two large portraits, one of Camargo and one of Noverre, the famous maitre de ballet of the Duke of Wurttemberg. He collected fans, Dresden china, and Amsterdam toys in silver, of which he had about five hundred. In another cabinet were a dozen worn pink ballet shoes, souvenirs of the great ballerinas with whom he had danced so many years ago.

But Rosing was not content either with personal souvenirs or with the pretty fragilities of the eighteenth century. He had flung rich somber Flemish tapestries upon his walls to glow there with a dark bloom that made the rooms seem warm in the dampest weather, he had collected three or four fine austere Dutch pictures, and the Russian in him had encouraged the gradual acquisition of one exotic ikon after another.

They hung, these ikons, like a blaze of rich jewels