The supper was spread on the table, with the pitcher of beer in the center. There were Swiss cheese and cold ham and rolls, and above all sausages and mustard. Peter drank a great deal of beer, as did the others, and sang German songs with a frightful accent and much vigor and sentiment, as also did the others.
Then he went back to the cold room in the Pension Schwarz, and told himself he was a fool to live alone when one could live like a prince for the same sum properly laid out. He dropped into the hollow center of his bed, where his big figure fitted as comfortably as though it lay in a washtub, and before his eyes there came a vision of Stewart’s flat and the slippers by the fire—which was eminently human.
However, a moment later he yawned, and said aloud, with considerable vigor, that he’d be damned if he would—which was eminently Peter Byrne. Almost immediately, with the bed coverings, augmented by his overcoat, drawn snug to his chin, and the better necktie swinging from the gasjet in the air from the opened window, Peter was asleep. For four hours he had entirely forgotten Harmony.
The peace of a gray Sunday morning hung like a cloud over the little Pension Schwarz. In the kitchen the elderly maid, with a shawl over her shoulders and stiffened fingers, made the fire, while in the dining-room the little chambermaid cut butter and divided it sparingly among a dozen breakfast trays—on each tray two hard rolls, a butter pat, a plate, a cup. On two trays Olga, with a glance over her shoulder, placed two butter pats. The mistress yet slept, but in the kitchen Katrina had a keen eye for butter—and a hard heart.
Katrina came to the door.
“The hot water is ready,” she announced. “And the coffee also. Hast thou been to mass?”
“That is a lie.” This quite on general principle, it being one of the cook’s small tyrannies to exact religious observance from her underling, and one of Olga’s Sunday morning’s indulgences to oversleep and avoid the mass. Olga took the accusation meekly and without reply, being occupied at that moment in standing between Katrina and the extra pats of butter.
“For the lie,” said Katrina calmly, “thou shalt have no butter this morning. There, the Herr Doktor rings for water. Get it, wicked one!”
Katrina turned slowly in the doorway.
“The new Fraulein is American?”
Katrina shrugged her shoulders.
“Then I shall put more water to heat,” she said resignedly. “The Americans use much water. God knows it cannot be healthy!”
Olga filled her pitcher from the great copper kettle and stood with it poised in her thin young arms.
“The new Fraulein is very beautiful,” she continued aloud. “Thinkest thou it is the hot water?”
“Is an egg more beautiful for being boiled?” demanded Katrina. “Go, and be less foolish. See, it is not the Herr Doktor who rings, but the new American.”