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The Street of Seven Stars

Chapter 17
Christmas-Day had had a softening effect on Mrs. Boyer. It had opened badly. It was the
first Christmas she had spent away from her children, and there had been little of the
holiday spirit in her attitude as she prepared the Christmas breakfast. After that, however,
things happened.
In the first place, under her plate she had found a frivolous chain and pendant which she
had admired. And when her eyes filled up, as they did whenever she was emotionally
moved, the doctor had come round the table and put both his arms about her.
"Too young for you? Not a bit!" he said heartily. "You're better-looking then you ever
were, Jennie; and if you weren't you're the only woman for me, anyhow. Don't you think
I realize what this exile means to you and that you're doing it for me?"
"I--I don't mind it."
"Yes, you do. To-night we'll go out and make a night of it, shall we? Supper at the Grand,
the theater, and then the Tabarin, eh?"
She loosened herself from his arms.
"What shall I wear? Those horrible things the children bought me--"
"Throw 'em away."
"They're not worn at all."
"Throw them out. Get rid of the things the children got you. Go out to-morrow and buy
something you like--not that I don't like you in anything or without--"
"Frank!"
"Be happy, that's the thing. It's the first Christmas without the family, and I miss them
too. But we're together, dear. That's the big thing. Merry Christmas."
An auspicious opening, that, to Christmas-Day. And they had carried out the program as
outlined. Mrs. Boyer had enjoyed it, albeit a bit horrified at the Christmas gayety at the
Tabarin.
The next morning, however, she awakened with a keen reaction. Her head ached. She had
a sense of taint over her. She was virtue rampant again, as on the day she had first visited
the old lodge in the Siebensternstrasse.
 
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