The Street of Seven Stars HTML version

Chapter 8
So far Harmony's small world in the old city had consisted of Scatchy and the Big
Soprano, Peter, and Anna Gates, with far off in the firmament the master. Scatchy and the
Big Soprano had gone, weeping anxious postcards from every way station it is true, but
never theless gone. Peter and Anna Gates remained, and the master as long as her funds
held out. To them now she was about to add Jimmy.
The bathrobe was finished. Out of the little doctor's chaos of pink flannel Harmony had
brought order. The result, masculine and complete even to its tassels and cord of pink
yarn, was ready to be presented. It was with mingled emotions that Anna Gates wrapped
it up and gave it to Harmony the next morning.
"He hasn't been so well the last day or two," she said. "He doesn't sleep much--that's the
worst of those heart conditions. Sometimes, while I've been working on this thing, I've
wondered--Well, we're making a fight anyhow. And better take the letter, too, Harry. I
might forget and make lecture notes on it, and if I spoil that envelope--"
Harmony had arranged to carry the bathrobe to the hospital, meeting the doctor there
after her early clinic. She knew Jimmy's little story quite well. Anna Gates had told it to
her in detail.
"Just one of the tragedies of the world, my dear," she had finished. "You think you have a
tragedy, but you have youth and hope; I think I have my own little tragedy, because I
have to go through the rest of life alone, when taken in time I'd have been a good wife
and mother. Still I have my work. But this little chap, brought over here by a father who
hoped to see him cured, and spent all he had to bring him here, and then--died. It gets me
by the throat."
"And the boy does not know?" Harmony had asked, her eyes wide.
"No, thanks to Peter. He thinks his father is still in the mountains. When we heard about
it Peter went up and saw that he was buried. It took about all the money there was. He
wrote home about it, too, to the place they came from. There has never been any reply.
Then ever since Peter has written these letters. Jimmy lives for them."
Peter! It was always Peter. Peter did this. Peter said that. Peter thought thus. A very large
part of Harmony's life was Peter in those days.
She was thinking of him as she waited at the gate of the hospital for Anna Gates, thinking
of his shabby gray suit and unkempt hair, of his letter that she carried to Jimmy Conroy,
of his quixotic proposal of the night before. Of the proposal, most of all--it was so
eminently characteristic of Peter, from the conception of the plan to its execution.
Harmony's thought of Peter was very tender that morning as she stood in the arched
gateway out of reach of the wind from the Schneeberg. The tenderness and the bright