The Street of Seven Stars HTML version

Chapter 18
Mrs. Boyer, bursting with indignation, went to the Doctors' Club. It was typical of the
way things were going with Peter that Dr. Boyer was not there, and that the only woman
in the clubrooms should be Dr. Jennings. Young McLean was in the reading room, eating
his heart out with jealousy of Peter, vacillating between the desire to see Harmony that
night and fear lest Peter forbid him the house permanently if he made the attempt. He had
found a picture of the Fraulein Engel, from the opera, in a magazine, and was sitting with
it open before him. Very deeply and really in love was McLean that afternoon, and the
Fraulein Engel and Harmony were not unlike. The double doors between the reading
room and the reception room adjoining were open. McLean, lost in a rosy future in which
he and Harmony sat together for indefinite periods, with no Peter to scowl over his books
at them, a future in which life was one long piano-violin duo, with the candles in the
chandelier going out one by one, leaving them at last alone in scented darkness together--
McLean heard nothing until the mention of the Siebensternstrasse roused him.
After that he listened. He heard that Dr. Jennings was contemplating taking Anna's place
at the lodge, and he comprehended after a moment that Anna was already gone. Even
then the significance of the situation was a little time in dawning on him. When it did,
however, he rose with a stifled oath.
Mrs. Boyer was speaking.
"It is exactly as I tell you," she was saying. "If Peter Byrne is trying to protect her
reputation he is late doing it. Personally I have been there twice. I never saw Anna Gates.
And she is registered here at the club as living in the Pension Schwarz. Whatever the
facts may be, one thing remains, she is not there now."
McLean waited to hear no more. He was beside himself with rage. He found a
"comfortable" at the curb. The driver was asleep inside the carriage. McLean dragged
him out by the shoulder and shouted an address to him. The cab bumped along over the
rough streets to an accompaniment of protests from its frantic passenger.
The boy was white-lipped with wrath and fear. Peter's silence that afternoon as to the
state of affairs loomed large and significant. He had thought once or twice that Peter was
in love with Harmony; he knew it now in the clearer vision of the moment. He recalled
things that maddened him: the dozen intimacies of the little menage, the caress in Peter's
voice when he spoke to the girl, Peter's steady eyes in the semi-gloom of the salon while
Harmony played.
At a corner they must pause for the inevitable regiment. McLean cursed, bending out to
see how long the delay would be. Peter had been gone for half an hour, perhaps, but Peter
would walk. If he could only see the girl first, talk to her, tell her what she would be
doing by remaining--