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Unformatted text preview: heaven in itself. No finger-pointing or cursing. No people staring at them as she was sworn
at for holding the bag wrong. Nothing but serenity.
She came to like the people, too:
• The Pfaffelhürvers, inspecting the clothes and saying, “Ja, ja, sehr gut, sehr gut.” Liesel imagined that they
did everything twice.
• Gentle Helena Schmidt, handing the money over with an arthritic curl of the hand.
• The Weingartners, whose bent-whiskered cat always answered the door with them. Little Goebbels, that’s
what they called him, after Hitler’s right-hand man.
• And Frau Hermann, the mayor’s wife, standing fluffy-haired and shivery in her enormous, cold-aired
doorway. Always silent. Always alone. No words, not once.
Sometimes Rudy came along.
“How much money do you have there?” he asked one afternoon. It was nearly dark and they were walking onto
Himmel Street, past the shop. “You’ve heard about Frau Diller, haven’t you? They say she’s got candy hidden
somewhere, and for the right price . . .” “Don’t even think about it.” Liesel, as always, was gripping the money hard. “It’s not so bad for you—you
don’t have to face my mama.”
Rudy shrugged. “It was worth a try.”
In the middle of January, schoolwork turned its attention to letter writing. After learning the basics, each student
was to write two letters, one to a friend and one to somebody in another class.
Liesel’s letter from Rudy went like this:
Are you still as useless at soccer as you were the last time we
played? I hope so. That means I can run past you again just like
Jesse Owens at the Olympics. . . .
When Sister Maria found it, she asked him a question, very amiably.
SISTER MARIA’S OFFER
“Do you feel like visiting the corridor, Mr. Steiner?”
Needless to say, Rudy answered in the negative, and the paper was torn up and he started again. The second
attempt was written to someone named Liesel and inquired as to what her hobbies might be.
At home, while completing a letter for homework, Liesel decided that writing to Rudy or some other Saukerl
was actually ridiculous. It meant nothing. As she wrote...
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- Winter '13