The Street of Seven Stars HTML version
The card in the American Doctors' Club brought a response finally. It was just in time.
Harmony's funds were low, and the Frau Professor Bergmeister had gone to St. Moritz
for the winter. She regretted the English lessons, but there were always English at St.
Moritz and it cost nothing to talk with them. Before she left she made Harmony a present.
"For Christmas," she explained. It was a glass pin-tray, decorated beneath with labels
from the Herr Professor's cigars and in the center a picture of the Emperor.
The response came in this wise. Harmony struggling home against an east wind and
holding the pin-tray and her violin case, opened the old garden gate by the simple
expedient of leaning against it. It flew back violently, almost overthrowing a stout
woman in process of egress down the walk. The stout woman was Mrs. Boyer, clad as
usual in the best broadcloth and wearing her old sable cape, made over according to her
oldest daughter's ideas into a staid stole and muff. The muff lay on the path now and Mrs.
Boyer was gasping for breath.
"I'm so sorry!" Harmony exclaimed. "It was stupid of me; but the wind--Is this your
Mrs. Boyer took the muff coldly. From its depths she proceeded to extract a handkerchief
and with the handkerchief she brushed down the broadcloth. Harmony stood
apologetically by. It is explanatory of Mrs. Boyer's face, attitude, and costume that the
girl addressed her in English.
"I backed in," she explained. "So few people come, and no Americans."
Mrs. Boyer, having finished her brushing and responded to this humble apology in her
own tongue, condescended to look at Harmony.
"It really is no matter," she said, still coolly but with indications of thawing. "I am only
glad it did not strike my nose. I dare say it would have, but I was looking up to see if it
were going to snow." Here she saw the violin case and became almost affable.
"There was a card in the Doctors' Club, and I called--" She hesitated.
"I am Miss Wells. The card is mine."
"One of the women here has a small boy who wishes to take violin lessons and I offered
to come. The mother is very busy."
"I see. Will you come in? I can make you a cup of tea and we can talk about it."
Mrs. Boyer was very willing, although she had doubts about the tea. She had had no good
tea since she had left England, and was inclined to suspect all of it.