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Villa Rubein, and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 280 pages of information about Villa Rubein, and other stories.

“I thought I would get my money, but there was a policeman before my door.  They had us finely.  It was Paunitz; if I met him even now I should wring his neck.  I swore I wouldn’t be caught, but I had no idea where to go.  Then I thought of a little Italian barber who used to shave me when I had money for a shave; I knew he would help.  He belonged to some Italian Society; he often talked to me, under his breath, of course.  I went to him.  He was shaving himself before going to a ball.  I told him what had happened; it was funny to see him put his back against the door.  He was very frightened, understanding this sort of thing better than I did—­for I was only twenty then.  He shaved my head and moustache and put me on a fair wig.  Then he brought me macaroni, and some meat, to eat.  He gave me a big fair moustache, and a cap, and hid the moustache in the lining.  He brought me a cloak of his own, and four gulden.  All the time he was extremely frightened, and kept listening, and saying:  ‘Eat!’

“When I had done, he just said:  ’Go away, I refuse to know anything more of you.’

“I thanked him and went out.  I walked about all that night; for I couldn’t think of anything to do or anywhere to go.  In the morning I slept on a seat in one of the squares.  Then I thought I would go to the Gallerien; and I spent the whole day looking at the pictures.  When the Galleries were shut I was very tired, so I went into a cafe, and had some beer.  When I came out I sat on the same seat in the Square.  I meant to wait till dark and then walk out of the city and take the train at some little station, but while I was sitting there I went to sleep.  A policeman woke me.  He had my wig in his hand.

“‘Why do you wear a wig?’ he said.

“I answered:  ‘Because I am bald.’

“‘No,’ he said, ’you’re not bald, you’ve been shaved.  I can feel the hair coming.’

“He put his finger on my head.  I felt reckless and laughed.

“‘Ah!’ he said, ’you’ll come with me and explain all this; your nose and eyes are looked for.’

“I went with him quietly to the police-station....”

Harz seemed carried away by his story.  His quick dark face worked, his steel-grey eyes stared as though he were again passing through all these long-past emotions.

The hot sun struck down; Christian drew herself together, sitting with her hands clasped round her knees.

X

“I didn’t care by then what came of it.  I didn’t even think what I was going to say.  He led me down a passage to a room with bars across the windows and long seats, and maps on the walls.  We sat and waited.  He kept his eye on me all the time; and I saw no hope.  Presently the Inspector came.  ‘Bring him in here,’ he said; I remember feeling I could kill him for ordering me about!  We went into the next room.  It had a large clock, a writing-table, and a window, without

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