Gilgi

Gilgi by Irmgard Keun Read Free Book Online

Book: Gilgi by Irmgard Keun Read Free Book Online
Authors: Irmgard Keun
only two weeks old, an’ I hadn’ sorted much out yet. An’ they organized all that, an’ from one day to the next the kid was gone. An’ suddenly I had a whole lot of money, which I never would’ve got by being legit. So I went back to the good suburb an’ had a good time, an’ I got engaged, too, but nothin’ came of it. He drank like a fish, an’ when he’d got a thousand marks out of me, bit by bit, then I thought, that’s not love, an’ broke it off. An’ when I only had five thousand or so left, then I came back to Thieboldstrasse an’ did dressmakin’ again an’ thought, you can save that money for your old age. But it all disappeared in the hipper—the hyperinflation, an’ I was as poor as before. Then I remembered the old girl, Frau Kreil, an’ asked around, but she’s been dead for ages, an’ the Frollein got married, just a year after the baby, to a very rich man, an’ they have a classy apartment in Kaiser Wilhelm Crescent. An’ that’s your mother, Frollein—Magdalene Greif is her name now. An’ if you go to see her sometime, make sure the husband doesn’ see you, an’ maybe she’ll give you some money, an’ then you should think of me, ’cos I told you everythin’ about it, an’ because I’m jus’ a poor old woman now, but don’ say anythin’ to her about me …” Gilgi is rushing through the streets, she has to get to Pit, to tell him what’s happening, to talk to him. Couldn’t Täschler be helped a little? She’s a pitiable creature, no doubt—and probably there’s not much more that can be done for her.Gilgi crosses the New Market with long strides. The great clock is showing eleven, Pit won’t be at home anymore, he’ll be playing piano in a thirteenth-rate bar in one of those little streets near the Rhine by now. You can go there and wait till he’s finished.
    Gilgi has reached the Haymarket, with the Rhine in front of her. She swings right into the side-streets. Swell area. Little alley-ways, narrow, precarious houses. Now she’s at the Old Market, with a magical little piece of the Middle Ages in front of her, but Gilgi has no particular love for the Middle Ages, today or any other day. She turns into an alley-way which leads down to the Rhine. Lintstrasse. This must be where Pit’s playing. She hardly knows this area. The alley-way narrows as it approaches the Rhine. If you stretched your arms out, you could touch the houses on both sides with your fingertips. A policeman is patrolling somewhere, a woman with peroxided hair is waving from a window, some youths are strolling up and down, clearly feeling at home. Gilgi runs to the end of the alley-way, confused, she must have missed the bar—Breakfast Room—that can’t be it. She turns around. Moves faster when a youth calls out something obscene to her. There it is—Wine Bar! She pushes the door open. Thank God—Pit’s red mop of hair is the first thing she sees.
    The marabou-bird said / The wise old marabou … she taps him on the shoulder with her index finger: “I’d like to talk to you, I’ll wait till you’ve finished.” Pit’s face betrays neither surprise nor pleasure … My dear girl, when you kiss / He does not need to look at … “might be two o’clock,” he grunts, without taking his fingers from the keys for so much as a second … The marabou-bird said / The … Gilgi sits down at a corner table.
    What a depressing joint! Red-and-white paper streamers are hanging down from the ceiling, a few lanterns with red paper shades are swaying back and forth over the piano. A fat bald man is stretched out at the bar, two traveling salesmen are sitting in the corner opposite to Gilgi, one with a girl on his lap … The marabou-bird … Both the traveling salesmen are shouting with laughter, probably because that’s part of the experience, and because tomorrow they’ll want to tell themselves and everyone else what a great time they had. Two battered sample-cases are lying

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