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Unformatted text preview: tween her knees, in the long legs of daylight. She wanted none of
those days to end, and it was always with disappointment that she watched the darkness stride forward.
As far as the painting itself was concerned, probably the most interesting aspect for Liesel was the mixing. Like
most people, she assumed her papa simply took his cart to the paint shop or hardware store and asked for the
right color and away he went. She didn’t realize that most of the paint was in lumps, in the shape of a brick. It
was then rolled out with an empty champagne bottle. (Champagne bottles, Hans explained, were ideal for the
job, as their glass was slightly thicker than that of an ordinary bottle of wine.) Once that was completed, there
was the addition of water, whiting, and glue, not to mention the complexities of matching the right color.
The science of Papa’s trade brought him an even greater level of respect. It was well and good to share bread
and music, but it was nice for Liesel to know that he was also more than capable in his occupation. Competence
One afternoon, a few days after Papa’s explanation of the mixing, they were working at one of the wealthier
houses just east of Munich Street. Papa called Liesel inside in the early afternoon. They were just about to move
on to another job when she heard the unusual volume in his voice.
Once inside, she was taken to the kitchen, where two older women and a man sat on delicate, highly civilized
chairs. The women were well dressed. The man had white hair and sideburns like hedges. Tall glasses stood on
the table. They were filled with crackling liquid.
“Well,” said the man, “here we go.”
He took up his glass and urged the others to do the same.
The afternoon had been warm. Liesel was slightly put off by the coolness of her glass. She looked at Papa for
approval. He grinned and said, “Prost, Mädel—cheers, girl.” Their glasses chimed together and the moment
Liesel raised it to her mouth, she was bitten by...
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- Winter '13