The streets were dark because Hamburg has no coal for street lighting. In front of one house, shabby passers-by gaped up at the brightly lighted windows, listened to tinny dance music, shrill voices and the clink of glasses that drifted out into the summer night.

Inside, a British officer was throwing a party for some of his German friends; he called them "the cream of what is left of German society." The men in black & white, the bejewelled women in long backless gowns were busy dazzling each other and particularly their British host, with Almanack de Gotha chatter about...

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