we have seen, he had not known so very much about 
them. The furnishings in the first home in North Front 
Street were a slight development, mild as he now saw it, 
and based on a very moderate income. Later he had been 
coming by actual purchase into the understanding of 
so many things. Fletcher Gray, a partner in Cable & 
Gray, a local firm of importers of art objects, had called 
on him once in connection with a tapestry of the four- 
teenth century weaving which he had to sell. Mr. Gray, 
a young man of twenty-six, was not exactly an expert in 
the matter, but an enthusiastic student, and almost in- 
stantly he conveyed some of his suppressed and yet fiery 
love of the beautiful to Cowperwood. He was a compara- 
tively slender person, with fluffy chestnut hair that =- 
controllably insisted on falling wavily over his white 
forehead and shading his dark walnut-colored eyes. His 
face in its totality suggested a carefully modeled medallion 
of Hermes or Mercury. Cowperwood listened to him 
talk of an evening and thought what a splendid thing it 
would be, as Gray pointed out in speaking of great men's 
homes generally, to have a perfect collection of blue 
porcelains or Japanese netzkes or sword-hilts, or Oriental 
rugs, or Gobelin or Flemish tapestries. 
"There are fifty shades of one period of blue porcelain 
alone, Mr. Cowperwood," Gray had informed him, one 
night. " I'm a mere novice in these things. These 
periods are to be detected by the slight differences in 
the decorations, and you can trace the changes from 
period to period. There are at least seven distinct schools 
or periods of rugs—Persian, Armenian, Arabian, Flemish, 
Modern Polish, Hungarian, and so on. If you ever went 
into that, it would be a distinguished thing to get a com- 
plete—I mean a representative—collection of some one 
period, or of all these periods. They are beautiful. I 
have seen some of them, others I've read about." 
He stopped and looked at Cowperwood, who felt quite 
clearly that this youth for some reason expected him to