“Now, thou bad one!” she said. “Awake, when the Herr Doktor orders sleep! Shall I use the slipper?”
The boy replied in German with a strong English accent.
“I cannot sleep. Yesterday the Fraulein Elisabet said that in the mountains there are accidents, and that sometimes—”
“The Fraulein Elisabet is a great fool. Tomorrow comes thy letter of a certainty. The post has been delayed with great snows. Thy father has perhaps captured a great boar, or a—a chamois, and he writes of it.”
“Do chamois have horns?”
“Ja. Great horns—so.”
“He will send them to me! And there are no accidents?”
“None. Now sleep, or—the slipper.”
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 nevertheless 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.”