The Street of Seven Stars HTML version

Chapter 27
Peter was going back to America and still he had not told Harmony he loved her. It was
necessary that he go back. His money had about given out, and there was no way to get
more save by earning it. The drain of Jimmy's illness, the inevitable expense of the small
grave and the tiny stone Peter had insisted on buying, had made retreat his only course.
True, Le Grande had wished to defray all expenses, but Peter was inexorable. No money
earned as the dancer earned hers should purchase peaceful rest for the loved little body.
And after seeing Peter's eyes the dancer had not insisted.
A week had seen many changes. Marie was gone. After a conference between Stewart
and Peter that had been decided on. Stewart raised the money somehow, and Peter saw
her off, palpitant and eager, with the pin he had sent her to Semmering at her throat. She
kissed Peter on the cheek in the station, rather to his embarrassment. From the lowered
window, as the train pulled out, she waved a moist handkerchief.
"I shall be very good," she promised him. The last words he heard above the grinding of
the train were her cheery: "To America!"
Peter was living alone in the Street of Seven Stars, getting food where he might happen to
be, buying a little now and then from the delicatessen shop across the street. For
Harmony had gone back to the house in the Wollbadgasse. She had stayed until all was
over and until Marie's small preparations for departure were over. Then, while Peter was
at the station, she slipped away again. But this time she left her address. She wrote:--
"You will come to visit me, dear Peter, because I was so lonely before and that is
unnecessary now. But you must know that I cannot stay in the Siebensternstrasse. We
have each our own fight to make, and you have been trying to fight for us all, for Marie,
for dear little Jimmy, for me. You must get back to work now; you have lost so much
time. And I am managing well. The Frau Professor is back and will take an evening
lesson, and soon I shall have more money from Fraulein Reiff. You can see how things
are looking up for me. In a few months I shall be able to renew my music lessons. And
then, Peter,--the career!
Her address was beneath.
Peter had suffered much. He was thinner, grayer, and as he stood with the letter in his
hand he felt that Harmony was right. He could offer her nothing but his shabby self, his
problematic future. Perhaps, surely, everything would have been settled, without reason,
had he only once taken the girl in his arms, told her she was the breath of life itself to
him. But adversity, while it had roused his fighting spirit in everything else, had sapped
his confidence.