OUR LANDLORD ENTERTAINS
such as the andirons, candelabra, and curtains, might have been obtained in one of the antiquary shops of the day—if any such existed; and so could the china, silver, and glass. What I had in mind was, not a museum, but a room that would take you into its arms—a restful, warm, enticing room—one full of surprises, too”—and he pointed to his rarest possession, the Black Virgin, half hidden in the recess of the chimney breast. “You see, a very rare thing is always more effective when you come upon it suddenly than when you confront it in the blaze of a window or under a fixed light. Your curiosity is then aroused, and you must stoop to study it. I arrange these surprises for all my most precious things.
“Here, for instance”—and he crossed the room, opened a cabinet, and brought from its hiding-place a crystal chalice with a legend in Latin engraved in gold letters around the rim, placing it on the table so that the light from the candelabra could fall upon it—“here is something now you would not look at twice, perhaps, if it were put in the window and filled with flowers. It must be hidden away before you appreciate it. I found it in a convent outside of Salamanca some years ago. It is evi-