The story begins as the narrator fails out of college. His father offers to send him to Europe to learn languages he could use to help his business. While in Vienna, the narrator meets a Jewish girl named Leah who attempts to give him lessons in German as he introduces her to pieces of Americana. He frequently stumbles over his new language while ingratiating himself with her and her family. They both spend time in his apartment, which is above hers. Some time passes before the narrator transfers to Paris, and then goes back to college in America where he receives a letter from Leah informing him she is married. News begins to spread that the Nazis have invaded Vienna, and he enlists as an infantryman. Since he is in Intelligence, he uses some of the skills acquired while studying the various languages. The story closes as he is in Vienna, after the war, and hears that Leah is dead, presumably sent to Buchenwald.
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