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The collectors

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Pages: 76

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Frank Jewett Mather

Excerpt from book: THE LOMBARD RUNES ROFESSOR HAUPTMANN dropped wearily into his chair at the noisy Milanese table d'hote and snarled out a surly "Mahlzeit" to the assembled feasters. It was echoed sweetly from his left with a languishing "Mahlzeit, Herr Professor." The advance disconcerted him. Resolving upon a policy of complete indifference to the fluffy and amiable vision beside him, he devoted himself singly to the food. The risotto diminished as his knife travelled rhythmically between the plate and his bearded lips. Conceding only the inevitable, nay the exacted courtesies to his neighbour, he performed still greater prodigies with the green peas, and it was not until he leaned back for a deft operation with a pocket comb, that the vivacious, blue-eyed one got her chance to ask if it were not the Herr Professor Hauptmann, the great authority on the Lombard tongue. The query floored him: he could not deny that it was, and as curlylocks began to evince an intelligent interest in Lombard matters, his stiffness melted like wax under a burning glass. He was soon if not the protagonist at least the object of an animated, yes fairly intimate conversation. To non-German eyes the pair were worth looking at. He was clad in tightfitting sage-green felt, so it appeared, with a superfluity of straps, buttons, lacings, and harness of all sorts. A conical Tyrol hat garnished with a cock's plume and faded violets was crushed between his back and that of the chair. As his large nervous feet reached for the chairlegs below, one could see an expanse of moss-green stockings, only half concealed at the extremities by resplendent yellow sandals. Bearded and moustached after the military fashion, nothing betrayed the professor except the myopic droop of the head. As for Fraiilein Linda Goritz, no mere man ...  

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