“Six months,” he said, “and you will go back to your America and show them how over here we teach violin. I will a letter—letters— give you, and you shall put on the programme, of your concerts that you are my pupil, is it not so?”
Harmony was drawing on her worn gloves; her hands trembled a little with the praise and excitement.
“If I can stay so long,” she answered unsteadily.
“You must stay. Have I so long labored, and now before it is finished you talk of going! Gott im Himmel!”
“It is a matter of money. My father is dead. And unless I find something to do I shall have to go back.”
The master had heard many such statements. They never ceased to rouse his ire against a world that had money for everything but music. He spent five minutes in indignant protest, then:—
“But you are clever and young, child. You will find a way to stay. Perhaps I can now and then find a concert for you.” It was a lure he had thrown out before, a hook without a bait. It needed no bait, being always eagerly swallowed. “And no more talk of going away. I refuse to allow. You shall not go.”
Harmony paid the lady secretary on her way out. The master was interested. He liked Harmony and he believed in her. But fifty Kronen is fifty Kronen, and South American beef is high of price. He followed Harmony into the outer room and bowed her out of his studio.
“The Fraulein has paid?” he demanded, turning sharply to the lady secretary.
“After the lesson?”
“Ja, Herr Professor.”
“It is better,” said the master, “that she pay hereafter before the lesson.”
“Ja, Herr Professor.”
Whereupon the lady secretary put a red-ink cross before Harmony’s name. There were many such crosses on the ledger.
For three days Byrne hardly saw Harmony. He was off early in the morning, hurried back to the midday meal and was gone again the moment it was over. He had lectures in the evenings, too, and although he lingered for an hour or so after supper it was to find Harmony taken possession of by the little Bulgarian, seized with a sudden thirst for things American.
On the evening of the second day he had left Harmony, enmeshed and helpless in a tangle of language, trying to explain to the little Bulgarian the reason American women wished to vote. Byrne flung down the stairs and out into the street, almost colliding with Stewart.
They walked on together, Stewart with the comfortably rolling gait of the man who has just dined well, Byrne with his heavy, rather solid tread. The two men were not congenial, and the frequent intervals without speech between them were rather for lack of understanding than for that completeness of it which often fathers long silences. Byrne was the first to speak after their greeting.