The Street of Seven Stars (Chapter 6, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 6

A very pale and dispirited Harmony it was who bathed her eyes in cold water that evening and obeyed little Olga's "Bitte sum speisen." The chairs round the dining-table were only half occupied--a free concert had taken some, Sunday excursions others. The little Bulgarian, secretly considered to be a political spy, was never about on this one evening of the week. Rumor had it that on these evenings, secreted in an attic room far off in the sixteenth district, he wrote and sent off reports of what he had learned during the week--his gleanings from near-by tables in coffee-houses or from the indiscreet hours after midnight in the cafe, where the Austrian military was wont to gather and drink.

Into the empty chair beside Harmony Peter slid his long figure, and met a tremulous bow and silence. From the head of the table Frau Schwarz was talking volubly--as if, by mere sound, to distract attention from the scantiness of the meal. Under cover of the Babel Peter spoke to the girl. Having had his warning his tone was friendly, without a hint of the intimacy of the day before.

"Better?"

"Not entirely. Somewhat."

"I wish you had sent Olga to me for some tablets. No one needs to suffer from headache, when five grains or so of powder will help them."

"I am afraid of headache tablets."

"Not when your physician prescribes them, I hope!"

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