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|Dawn O'Hara||Edna Ferber|
Kaffee And Kaffeekuchen
|Page 6 of 8||
"So you have discovered Baumbach's," he said. "May I have my coffee and cigar here with you? "
"Blackie here is responsible for my being initiated into the sticky mysteries of Baumbach's. I never should have discovered it if he had not offered to act as personal conductor. You know one another, I believe?"
The two men shook hands across the table. There was something forced and graceless about the act. Blackie eyed Von Gerhard through a misty curtain of cigarette smoke. Von Gerhard gazed at Blackie through narrowed lids as he lighted his cigar. "I'm th' gink you killed off two or three years back," Blackie explained.
"I remember you perfectly," Von Gerhard returned, courteously. "I rejoice to see that I was mistaken."
"Well," drawled Blackie, a wicked gleam in his black eyes, "I'm some rejoiced m'self, old top. Angel wings and a white kimono, worn bare-footy, would go some rotten with my Spanish style of beauty, what? Didn't know that you and m'dame friend here was acquainted. Known each other long?
I felt myself flushing again.
"I knew Dr. von Gerhard back home. I've scarcely seen him since I have been here. Famous specialists can't be bothered with middle-aged relatives of their college friends, can they, Herr Doktor?"
And now it was Von Gerhard's face that flushed a deep and painful crimson. He looked at me, in silence, and I felt very little, and insignificant, and much like an impudent child who has stuck out its tongue at its elders. Silent men always affect talkative women in that way.
"You know that what you say is not true," he said, slowly.
"Well, we won't quibble. We--we were just about to leave, weren't we Blackie?"
"Just," said Blackie, rising. "Sorry t' see you drinkin' Baumbach's coffee, Doc. It ain't fair t' your patients."
"Quite right," replied Von Gerhard; and rose with us. "I shall not drink it. I shall walk home with Mrs. Orme instead, if she will allow me. That will be more stimulating than coffee, and twice as dangerous, perhaps, but--"
"You know how I hate that sort of thing," I said, coldly, as we passed from the warmth of the little front shop where the plump girls were still filling pasteboard boxes with holiday cakes, to the brisk chill of the winter street. The little black-and-gilt sign swung and creaked in the wind. Whimsically, and with the memory of that last cream-filled cake fresh in my mind, I saluted the letters that spelled "Franz Baumbach."
Blackie chuckled impishly. "Just the, same, try a pinch of soda bicarb'nate when you get home, Dawn," he advised. "Well, I'm off to the factory again. Got t' make up for time wasted on m' lady friend. Auf wiedersehen!"
And the little figure in the checked top-coat trotted off.
"But he called you--Dawn," broke from Von Gerhard.
"Mhum," I agreed. "My name's Dawn."
"Surely not to him. You have known him but a few weeks. I would not have presumed--"
"Blackie never presumes," I laughed. "Blackie's just--Blackie. Imagine taking offense at him! He knows every one by their given name, from Jo, the boss of the pressroom, to the Chief, who imports his office coats from London. Besides, Blackie and I are newspaper men. And people don't scrape and bow in a newspaper office-- especially when they're fond of one another. You wouldn't understand."
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