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The Street of Seven Stars

Chapter 7
For three days Byrne hardly saw Harmony. He was off early in the morning, hurried back
to the midday meal and was gone again the moment it was over. He had lectures in the
evenings, too, and although he lingered for an hour or so after supper it was to find
Harmony taken possession of by the little Bulgarian, seized with a sudden thirst for
things American.
On the evening of the second day he had left Harmony, enmeshed and helpless in a tangle
of language, trying to explain to the little Bulgarian the reason American women wished
to vote. Byrne flung down the stairs and out into the street, almost colliding with Stewart.
They walked on together, Stewart with the comfortably rolling gait of the man who has
just dined well, Byrne with his heavy, rather solid tread. The two men were not
congenial, and the frequent intervals without speech between them were rather for lack of
understanding than for that completeness of it which often fathers long silences. Byrne
was the first to speak after their greeting.
"Marie all right?"
"Fine. Said if I saw you to ask you to supper some night this week."
"Thanks. Does it matter which night?"
"Any but Thursday. We're hearing 'La Boheme.'"
"Say Friday, then."
Byrne's tone lacked enthusiasm, but Stewart in his after-dinner mood failed to notice it.
"Have you thought any more about our conversation of the other night?"
"What was that?"
Stewart poked him playfully in the ribs.
"Wake up, Byrne !" he said. "You remember well enough. Neither the Days nor any one
else is going to have the benefit of your assistance if you go on living the way you have
been. I was at Schwarz's. It is the double drain there that tells on one--eating little and
being eaten much. Those old walls are full of vermin. Why don't you take our
apartment?"
"Yours?"
 
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