Fraulein Sonia raised her face to the sky, and half closed her eyes. "No, mamma, my face is quite warm. Oh, look, Herr Professor, there are swallows in flight; they are like a little flock of Japanese thoughts--nicht wahr?"
"Where?" cried the Herr Professor. "Oh yes, I see, by the kitchen chimney. But why do you say 'Japanese'? Could you not compare them with equal veracity to a little flock of German thoughts in flight?" He rounded on me. "Have you swallows in England?"
"I believe there are some at certain seasons. But doubtless they have not the same symbolical value for the English. In Germany--"
"I have never been to England," interrupted Fraulein Sonia, "but I have many English acquaintances. They are so cold!" She shivered.
"Fish-blooded," snapped Frau Godowska. "Without soul, without heart, without grace. But you cannot equal their dress materials. I spent a week in Brighton twenty years ago, and the travelling cape I bought there is not yet worn out--the one you wrap the hot-water bottle in, Sonia. My lamented husband, your father, Sonia, knew a great deal about England. But the more he knew about it the oftener he remarked to me, 'England is merely an island of beef flesh swimming in a warm gulf sea of gravy.' Such a brilliant way of putting things. Do you remember, Sonia?"
"I forget nothing, mamma," answered Sonia.
Said the Herr Professor: "That is the proof of your calling, gnadiges Fraulein. Now I wonder--and this is a very interesting speculation--is memory a blessing or--excuse the word--a curse?"
Frau Godowska looked into the distance, then the corners of her mouth dropped and her skin puckered. She began to shed tears.
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