Dangerous Days HTML version

Chapter 32
For a week after Anna's escape Herman Klein had sat alone and brooded.
Entirely alone now, for following a stormy scene on his discovery of Anna's
disappearance, Katie had gone too.
"I don't know where she is," she had said, angrily, "and if I did know I wouldn't tell
you. If I was her I'd have the law on you. Don't you look at that strap. You lay a
hand on me and I'll kill you. If you think I'm afraid of you, you can think again."
"She is my daughter, and not yet of age," Herman said heavily. "You tell her for
me that she comes back, or I go and bring her."
"Yah!" Katie jeered. "You try it! She's got marks on her that'll jail you." And on his
failure to reply her courage mounted. "This ain't Germany, you know. They know
how to treat women over here. And you ask me" - her voice rose - "and I'll just
say that there's queer comings and goings here with that Rudolph. I've heard him
say some things that'll lock him up good and tight."
For all his rage, Teutonic caution warned him not to lay hands on the girl. But his
anger against her almost strangled him. Indeed, when she came down stairs,
dragging her heavy suitcase, he took a tep or two toward her, with his fists
clenched. She stopped, terrified.
"You old bully!" she said, between white lips. "You touch me, and I'll scream till I
bring in every neighbor in the block. There's a good lamp-post outside that's just
waiting for your sort of German."
He had refused to pay her for the last week, also. But that she knew well enough
was because he was out of money. As fast as Anna's salary had come in, he had
taken out of it the small allowance that was to cover the week's expenses, and
had banked the remainder. But Anna had carried her last pay envelope away
with her, and added to his anger at her going was his fear that he would have to
draw on his savings.
With Katie gone, he set heavily about preparing his Sunday dinner. Long years of
service done for him, however, had made him clumsy. He cooked a wretched
meal, and then, leaving the dishes as they were, he sat by the fire and brooded.
When Rudolph came in, later, he found him there, in his stocking-feet, a morose
and untidy figure.
Rudolph's reception of the news roused him, however. He looked up, after the
telling, to find the younger man standing over him and staring down at him with
blood-shot eyes.
"You beat her!" he was saying. "What with?"
"What does that matter - She had bought herself a watch - "
"What did you beat her with?" Rudolph was licking his lips. Receiving no reply,
he called "Katie!"
"Katie has gone."
"Maybe you beat her, too."
"She wasn't my daughter."
"No by God! You wouldn't dare to touch her. She didn't belong to you. You - "
"Get out," said Herman, somberly. He stood up menacingly. "You go, now."