Pack your husband's lunch

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Eleventh chapter

Römerstraße 15, up two flights of stairs, lives Ms. Karoline Maier, the widow of the late Christian Maier family.

She is a very respectable woman in her prime and lives off her hands-on work and a small gratuity that was granted to her on the death of her husband, and since she rents a few rooms from her modest apartment to single masters, she manages without starving, getting by badly and rightly, as she herself says.

This can also be seen on the outside, because she has a strong, sturdy figure and has a tendency to be considerably rounded.

She was just about to clean her tenant's clothes. For this purpose she tied a dark-striped house apron over the dark-dotted kitchen apron, took the tenant's skirt, trousers and waistcoat in her left hand, a pair of boots and at the same time the cane beater in her right hand, and resolved to go straight to the point to see the hallway window.

She hung up the clothes on a suitable hook, opened the window to allow the dust to ventilate, took off her trousers for the time being and was already pulling out a strong blow with her strong, half-bared arm when she suddenly dropped the knocker in astonishment and subjected the trousers to a close inspection.

"That's where it all ends," she said, shaking her head.

To explain in more detail why everything stopped, she didn't get to that, because she heard footsteps tapping on the dark stairs, and since she was a pleasant woman and also curious, she opened the front door so that the light could better shine on her Stairs fell, and looked down.

Two figures appeared from below, first a short, fat, well-dressed man and behind him a long, lean man who was also well-dressed, only that there was something about him, just as if he were unfamiliar with these clothes.

Frau Karoline Maier looked at the newcomers without saying a word, because she assumed that they would have the first reason to open the conversation.

The man in front looked doubtfully at the door and the respectful woman in the doorway.

"Does a Doctor Romuald Lieberich live here?"

"Is not at home. What do you want? ”Was the counter-question, while the fat woman did not move a hair's breadth from the doorway.

The two men glanced at each other as if they were undecided.

The tall, gaunt man winked his eyes, but Frau Karoline Maier paid no attention, as she was busy examining the two gentlemen's clothes.

"Because I'm his uncle," said the short, fat man, "and would have liked to visit my nephew once."

Now the resolute lady was an idea more accessible.

"Oh my goodness! The gentlemen could have said that right away. But now there is nothing to be done, the doctor is in school and afterwards he goes to lunch and then back to school. He hardly comes home before five o'clock. "

Gradually she thought it would not be inappropriate to let the gentlemen come all the way up the stairs, because the pattern had turned out to be satisfactory, the short, fat man looked at least quite respectable.

"Perhaps the gentlemen want to come in, into his room?"

She says that with a certain self-confidence and she likes to show the room; it is the good room of the Blessed Famulus Maier and she is still proud of her beautiful furniture, the polished round table, the small flowered sofa and the glass case with all the porcelain.

"It's a shame," said the fat gentleman, "we would have liked to have seen him ..."

"Which would be fine," remarked Mrs. Karoline Maier.

"How so? Why? I hope he's doing well - my nephew? "

The two gentlemen have entered the hallway and are throwing curious glances around, but at Frau Maier's remark, the fat gentleman turned sharply to her. "I don't want to hope, do I, ladies visiting?"

Frau Maier straightened up. 'But what do you think? You can have a good rest there. That doesn't happen at Frau Karoline Maier's on Römerstrasse, and what happens outside of the house is none of my business. "

"Besides the house?"

"Hm! Hm! ... There is one like the other. You know, even if you don't find out anything specific, but the little letters that come almost every day - you know enough. "

The two visitors looked at each other.

"That is why it is good if someone looks after him," said Frau Maier eagerly. “And the doctor should take better care of his things, too. The young men should get married, that's my opinion. Everything goes to waste, it is sin and shame, it hurts the soul of a decent housewife. "

The two gentlemen do not pay attention to their chatter. It looks like they are having a silent conversation with each other, like asking questions and answers with their eyes.

But in the next second they both drive together, affected.

“You think I'm exaggerating? Look here, these new pants, expensive pants, and those stains he brought home with him. I'm all supposed to deceive me if it's not blood. I beg you, how does he get that to his pants, if he'd be just a little careful. "

Now all three put their heads together and looked at the pants.

"By God, it's blood," said the tall, gaunt man in an almost solemn voice.

The other gentleman's face clearly showed the reluctance with which he was careful not to touch the garment. "And this blood is a few days old!"

But Frau Karoline Maier had to take that as directed against her. “Whether one or more days old, it's all the same. What can I do if the doctor doesn't give me my pants to clean until this morning. That's not my fault. I'm a punctual woman, but the nephew should get used to more order. "

It takes an effort to calm them down. Now she really insists that the gentlemen also enter the doctor's apartment so that they can see that she, Mrs. Karoline Maier, is clean and tidy.

So she opened the door and invited the gentlemen to sit down until she had put on a better apron for herself, because you don't wear the best clothes to clean your clothes and boots.

It is indeed a very comfortable room, a bit old-fashioned, but clean and comfortable. Around the table, which is covered with a patched but clean carpet, are two upholstered chairs of the kind you can still see in old households. In the middle of the table carpet and on the flowered sofa, however, there are white, crocheted decorative doilies to protect the fabric, and the freshly made white bed can be seen through the open door of the adjacent alcove.

Ms. Karoline Maier has barely left the room when the two gentlemen jump up from their upholstered chairs and let their assumed calm fall.

"Terrible, really horrible!" Said the police officer. “Who would have thought this man could do it if I always displeased him? My feelings never deceive me ... The clothes are still stained with blood. What more do you want, Höhnerlein? "

"For my part," replied Höhnerlein, "I don't need any further evidence, Mr. Police Officer. My conviction is firm. But you shouldn't be able to blame the police for not doing everything. "

"That's right," said the police officer, and they hurriedly began to search the little room.

But nothing suspicious, nothing remarkable.

In one corner of the room was a bookcase, obviously the doctor's property. It contained quite a number of scientific works, the ancient Greeks and Romans, even the good old German classics, little modern.

There were a few pictures on the walls, including photographs.

But it is noticeable that there is no portrait of a woman among them. Not one. You rarely meet that in a bachelor's home, at least with the young people.

The police council could not suppress a remark, but Höhnerlein smiled darkly. All due respect for the opinion of the Police Council, but what Ms. Karoline Maier said in this regard is enough for him. It is more than enough for him and the police council must agree with his subordinate. The small desk next to the bookcase is also locked, and who knows what it contains. But the search of the papers can be made up for if the judge wants to inspect them.

For the time being, there is nothing left to do but try out the boot.

Höhnerlein carefully put the package he was carrying under his arm down on the table, and when he carefully loosened the cord, he revealed the well-made plaster cast that had been taken in the little island forest.

But neither in the room nor in the alcove were the doctor's boots; only a pair of felt slippers stood abandoned under the bed.

"Höhnerlein, you have to fetch the boots that are in the hallway outside," the police adviser ordered. 'Be careful not to be heard, because it is better if the woman does not notice anything for the time being. We may find out more from her. "

The police inspector crept out of the room like a thief, like a thief he walked on tiptoe down the creaking hallway and fetched the boots, like a learned thief he brought them in triumphantly while silently closing the door.

"It's the right man," said the police officer.

Immediately they went to the test.

For a short time there was a deep silence in the room, you could only hear the soft breathing of the two men who leaned over the table.

But suddenly, at the same time, they both broke the silence, without any consideration, in a loud voice.

"Identical!" Shouted the Police Council.

"Identical!" Said the police inspector.

“I've never seen a trace that fits exactly. You see, the heel has stepped down a little on the far right. Even this shows the trace, and you can see that the third pin on the left of the row of nails in the heel is missing. Compare the trail! There is no longer any more perfect proof. "

"I didn't expect it to be otherwise, Herr Police Adviser," replied Höhnerlein coolly.

“God's lightning! What are the gentlemen doing on my table? "

It is Frau Karoline Maier who is standing under the door after she has tied a very fresh, colorful apron over the other two.

She stands rigid with horror and at the first moment the thought flashes through her brain: They are burglars, thieves, robbers!

But she sees at once that she was mistaken when the gentlemen turn to look at her. Because burglars don't stay so calm, they don't look so serious and imperious either, so that one becomes very frightened.

Now there is no point in playing the uncle's mask any longer.

“Frau Maier,” said the police officer with dignity, “we stand here in the name of the law. I am the head of the local police office, Police advisor Lemberger ... Höhnerlein, show your identification badge! «

"For the sake of Jesus Christ, what happened?"

Mrs. Karoline Maier is scared to death. Never, and she is now fifty-two years old, has the criminal police been in her house, and now even the police adviser himself, and that something terrible has happened, you can tell from a hundred paces at the gentleman.

"Frau Maier, who do these boots belong to?"

"Herr Doktor Lieberich." She breathes it more than she says it.

"So I have to tell you that your tenant is urgently suspicious ..." But wait, she mustn't know, he interrupted himself at a warning glance from Höhnerlein. "Frau Maier," he continued gravely, "you are forbidden to say the slightest thing that you have seen here, especially that the police have been here ... I warn you urgently, keep silent about everyone, but especially to her tenant, in case he ever comes home. It is your best interest. At the slightest suspicion that Doctor Lieberich was warned by you, I would be obliged to obtain your immediate arrest for aiding the perpetrator. "- Frau Karoline Maier has to sit down because her knees are shaking. - “So you want to act on it ... Your tenant's clothes and boots have been confiscated. Höhnerlein, pack up your things. And then a cab as soon as possible so that we can notify the Chief Public Prosecutor. It is time to make sure of the perpetrator. "

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