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The Street of Seven Stars

Chapter 13
Peter took the polished horns to the hospital the next morning and approached Jimmy
with his hands behind him and an atmosphere of mystery that enshrouded him like a
cloak. Jimmy, having had a good night and having taken the morning's medicine without
argument, had been allowed up in a roller chair. It struck Peter with a pang that the boy
looked more frail day by day, more transparent.
"I have brought you," said Peter gravely, "the cod-liver oil."
"I've had it!"
"Then guess."
"Dad's letter?"
"You've just had one. Don't be a piggy."
"Animal, vegetable, or mineral?"
"Vegetable," said Peter shamelessly.
"Soft or hard!"
"Soft."
This was plainly a disappointment. A pair of horns might be vegetable; they could hardly
be soft.
"A kitten?"
"A kitten is not vegetable, James."
"I know. A bowl of gelatin from Harry!" For by this time Harmony was his very good
friend, admitted to the Jimmy club, which consisted of Nurse Elisabet, the Dozent with
the red beard, Anna and Peter, and of course the sentry, who did not know that he
belonged.
"Gelatin, to be sure," replied Peter, and produced the horns.
It was a joyous moment in the long low ward, with its triple row of beds, its barred
windows, its clean, uneven old floor. As if to add a touch of completeness the sentry
outside, peering in, saw the wheeled chair with its occupant, and celebrated this advance
along the road to recovery by placing on the window-ledge a wooden replica of himself,
bayonet and all, carved from a bit of cigar box.
 
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