Part 3 out of 5
"I should do the same if I had to sit in there like that child,
I can tell you; I doubt if you would then like to repeat what I
did, in good society! Go and fetch the child and bring her to my
room; I have some pretty books with me that I should like to
"That is just the misfortune," said Fraulein Rottenmeier with a
despairing gesture, "what use are books to her? She has not been
able to learn her A B C even, all the long time she has been
here; it is quite impossible to get the least idea of it into
her head, and that the tutor himself will tell you; if he had not
the patience of an angel he would have given up teaching her long
"That is very strange," said Frau Sesemann, "she does not look
to me like a child who would be unable to learn her alphabet.
However, bring her now to me, she can at least amuse herself
with the pictures in the books."
Fraulein Rottenmeier was prepared with some further remarks, but
the grandmother had turned away and gone quickly towards her own
room. She was surprised at what she had been told about Heidi's
incapacity for learning, and determined to find out more
concerning this matter, not by inquiries from the tutor,
however, although she esteemed him highly for his uprightness of
character; she had always a friendly greeting for him, but
always avoided being drawn into conversation with him, for she
found his style of talk somewhat wearisome.
Heidi now appeared and gazed with open-eyed delight and wonder
at the beautiful colored pictures in the books which the
grandmother gave her to look at. All of a sudden, as the latter
turned over one of the pages to a fresh picture, the child gave a
cry. For a moment or two she looked at it with brightening eyes,
then the tears began to fall, and at last she burst into sobs.
The grandmother looked at the picture--it represented a green
pasture, full of young animals, some grazing and others nibbling
at the shrubs. In the middle was a shepherd leaning upon his
staff and looking on at his happy flock. The whole scene was
bathed in golden light, for the sun was just sinking below the
The grandmother laid her hand kindly On Heidi's.
"Don't cry, dear child, don't cry," she said, "the picture has
reminded you perhaps of something. But see, there is a beautiful
tale to the picture which I will tell you this evening. And
there are other nice tales of all kinds to read and to tell
again. But now we must have a little talk together, so dry your
tears and come and stand in front of me, so that I may see you
well--there, now we are happy again."
But it was some little time before Heidi could overcome her
sobs. The grandmother gave her time to recover herself, saying
cheering words to her now and then, "There, it's all right now,
and we are quite happy again."
When at last she saw that Heidi was growing calmer, she said,
"Now I want you to tell me something. How are you getting on in
your school-time; do you like your lessons, and have you learnt
a great deal?"
"O no!" replied Heidi, sighing, "but I knew beforehand that it
was not possible to learn."
"What is it you think impossible to learn?"
"Why, to read, it is too difficult."
"You don't say so! and who told you that?"
"Peter told me, and he knew all about it, for he had tried and
tried and could not learn it."
"Peter must be a very odd boy then! But listen, Heidi, we must
not always go by what Peter says, we must try for ourselves. I
am certain that you did not give all your attention to the tutor
when he was trying to teach you your letters."
"It's of no use," said Heidi in the tone of one who was ready to
endure what could not be cured.
"Listen to what I have to say," continued the grandmother. "You
have not been able to learn your alphabet because you believed
what Peter said; but now you must believe what I tell you--and I
tell you that you can learn to read in a very little while, as
many other children do, who are made like you and not like
Peter. And now hear what comes after--you see that picture with
the shepherd and the animals--well, as soon as you are able to
read you shall have that book for your own, and then you will
know all about the sheep and the goats, and what the shepherd
did, and the wonderful things that happened to him, just as if
some one were telling you the whole tale. You will like to hear
about all that, won't you?"
Heidi had listened with eager attention to the grandmother's
words and now with a sigh exclaimed, "Oh, if only I could read
"It won't take you long now to learn, that I can see; and now we
must go down to Clara; bring the books with you." And hand in
hand the two returned to the study.
Since the day when Heidi had so longed to go home, and Fraulein
Rottenmeier had met her and scolded her on the steps, and told
her how wicked and ungrateful she was to try and run away, and
what a good thing it was that Herr Sesemann knew nothing about
it, a change had come over the child. She had at last understood
that day that she could not go home when she wished as Dete had
told her, but that she would have to stay on in Frankfurt for a
long, long time, perhaps for ever. She had also understood that
Herr Sesemann would think it ungrateful of her if she wished to
leave, and she believed that the grandmother and Clara would
think the same. So there was nobody to whom she dared confide
her longing to go home, for she would not for the world have
given the grandmother, who was so kind to her, any reason for
being as angry with her as Fraulein Rottenmeier had been. But the
weight of trouble on the little heart grew heavier and heavier;
she could no longer eat her food, and every day she grew a little
paler. She lay awake for long hours at night, for as soon as she
was alone and everything was still around her, the picture of
the mountain with its sunshine and flowers rose vividly before
her eyes; and when at last she fell asleep it was to dream of the
rocks and the snow-field turning crimson in the evening light,
and waking in the morning she would think herself back at the
hut and prepare to run joyfully out into--the sun--and then--
there was her large bed, and here she was in Frankfurt far, far
away from home. And Heidi would often lay her face down on the
pillow and weep long and quietly so that no one might hear her.
Heidi's unhappiness did not escape the grandmother's notice. She
let some days go by to see if the child grew brighter and lost
her down-cast appearance. But as matters did not mend, and she
saw that many mornings Heidi had evidently been crying before
she came downstairs, she took her again into her room one day,
and drawing the child to her said, "Now tell me, Heidi, what is
the matter; are you in trouble?"
But Heidi, afraid if she told the truth that the grandmother
would think her ungrateful, and would then leave off being so
kind to her, answered, "can't tell you."
"Well, could you tell Clara about it?"
"Oh, no, I cannot tell any one," said Heidi in so positive a
tone, and with a look of such trouble on her face, that the
grandmother felt full of pity for the child.
"Then, dear child, let me tell you what to do: you know that
when we are in great trouble, and cannot speak about it to
anybody, we must turn to God and pray Him to help, for He can
deliver us from every care, that oppresses us. You understand
that, do you not? You say your prayers every evening to the dear
God in Heaven, and thank Him for all He has done for you, and
pray Him to keep you from all evil, do you not?"
"No, I never say any prayers," answered Heidi.
"Have you never been taught to pray, Heidi; do you not know even
what it means?"
"I used to say prayers with the first grandmother, but that is a
long time ago, and I have forgotten them."
"That is the reason, Heidi, that you are so unhappy, because you
know no one who can help you. Think what a comfort it is when
the heart is heavy with grief to be able at any moment to go and
tell everything to God, and pray Him for the help that no one
else can give us. And He can help us and give us everything that
will make us happy again."
A sudden gleam of joy came into Heidi's eyes. "May I tell Him
"Yes, everything, Heidi, everything."
Heidi drew her hand away, which the grandmother was holding
affectionately between her own, and said quickly, "May I go?"
"Yes, of course," was the answer, and Heidi ran out of the room
into her own, and sitting herself on a stool, folded her hands
together and told God about everything that was making her so
sad and unhappy, and begged Him earnestly to help her and to let
her go home to her grandfather.
It was about a week after this that the tutor asked Frau
Sesemann's permission for an interview with her, as he wished to
inform her of a remarkable thing that had come to pass. So she
invited him to her room, and as he entered she held out her hand
in greeting, and pushing a chair towards him, "I am pleased to
see you," she said, "pray sit down and tell me what brings you
here; nothing bad, no complaints, I hope?"
"Quite the reverse," began the tutor. "Something has happened
that I had given up hoping for, and which no one, knowing what
has gone before, could have guessed, for, according to all
expectations, that which has taken place could only be looked
upon as a miracle, and yet it really has come to pass and in the
most extraordinary manner, quite contrary to all that one could
"Has the child Heidi really learnt to read at last?" put in Frau
The tutor looked at the lady in speechless astonishment. At last
he spoke again. "It is indeed truly marvellous, not only because
she never seemed able to learn her A B C even after all my full
explanations, and after spending unusual pains upon her, but
because now she has learnt it so rapidly, just after I had made
up my mind to make no further attempts at the impossible but to
put the letters as they were before her without any dissertation
on their origin and meaning, and now she has as you might say
learnt her letters over night, and started at once to read
correctly, quite unlike most beginners. And it is almost as
astonishing to me that you should have guessed such an unlikely
"Many unlikely things happen in life," said Frau Sesemann with a
pleased smile. "Two things coming together may produce a happy
result, as for instance, a fresh zeal for learning and a new
method of teaching, and neither does any harm. We can but
rejoice that the child has made such a good start and hope for
her future progress."
After parting with the tutor she went down to the study to make
sure of the good news. There sure enough was Heidi, sitting
beside Clara and reading aloud to her, evidently herself very
much surprised, and growing more and more delighted with the new
world that was now open to her as the black letters grew alive
and turned into men and things and exciting stories. That same
evening Heidi found the large book with the beautiful pictures
lying on her plate when she took her place at table, and when
she looked questioningly at the grandmother, the latter nodded
kindly to her and said, "Yes, it's yours now."
"Mine, to keep always? even when I go home?" said, Heidi,
blushing with pleasure.
"Yes, of course, yours for ever," the grandmother assured her.
"To-morrow we will begin to read it."
"But you are not going home yet, Heidi, not for years," put in
Clara. "When grandmother goes away, I shall want you to stay on
When, Heidi went to her room that night she had another look at
her book before going to bed, and from that day forth her chief
pleasure was to read the tales which belonged to the beautiful
pictures over and over again. If the grandmother said, as they
were sitting together in the evening, "Now Heidi will read aloud
to us," Heidi was delighted, for reading was no trouble to her
now, and when she read the tales aloud the scenes seemed to grow
more beautiful and distinct, and then grandmother would explain
and tell her more about them still.
Still the picture she liked best was the one of the shepherd
leaning on his staff with his flock around him in the midst of
the green pasture, for he was now at home and happy, following
his father's sheep and goats. Then came the picture where he was
seen far away from his father's house, obliged to look after the
swine, and he had grown pale and thin from the husks which were
all he had to eat. Even the sun seemed here to be less bright
and everything looked grey and misty. But there was the third
picture still to this tale: here was the old father with
outstretched arms running to meet and embrace his returning and
repentant son, who was advancing timidly, worn out and emaciated
and clad in a ragged coat. That was Heidi's favorite tale, which
she read over and over again, aloud and to herself, and she was
never tired of hearing the grandmother explain it to her and
Clara. But there were other tales in the book besides, and what
with reading and looking at the pictures the days passed quickly
away, and the time drew near for the grandmother to return home.
CHAPTER XI. HEIDI GAINS IN ONE WAY AND LOSES IN ANOTHER
Every afternoon during her visit the grandmother went and sat
down for a few minutes beside Clara after dinner, when the
latter was resting, and Fraulein Rottenmeier, probably for the
same reason, had disappeared inside her room; but five minutes
sufficed her, and then she was up again, and Heidi was sent for
to her room, and there she would talk to the child and employ
and amuse her in all sorts of ways. The grandmother had a lot of
pretty dolls, and she showed Heidi how to make dresses and
pinafores for them, so that Heidi learnt how to sew and to make
all sorts of beautiful clothes for the little people out of a
wonderful collection of pieces that grandmother had by her of
every describable and lovely color. And then grandmother liked
to hear her read aloud, and the oftener Heidi read her tales the
fonder she grew of them. She entered into the lives of all the
people she read about so that they became like dear friends to
her, and it delighted her more and more to be with them. But
still Heidi never looked really happy, and her bright eyes were
no longer to be seen. It was the last week of the grandmother's
visit. She called Heidi into her room as usual one day after
dinner, and the child came with her book under her arm. The
grandmother called her to come close, and then laying the book
aside, said, "Now, child, tell me why you are not happy? Have
you still the same trouble at heart?"
Heidi nodded in reply.
"Have you told God about it?"
"And do you pray every day that He will make things right and
that you may be happy again?"
"No, I have left off praying."
"Do not tell me that, Heidi! Why have you left off praying?"
"It is of no use, God does not listen," Heidi went on in an
agitated voice, "and I can understand that when there are so
many, many people in Frankfurt praying to Him every evening that
He cannot attend to them all, and He certainly has not heard
what I said to Him."
"And why are you so sure of that, Heidi?"
"Because I have prayed for the same thing every day for weeks,
and yet God has not done what I asked."
"You are wrong, Heidi; you must not think of Him like that. God
is a good father to us all, and knows better than we do what is
good for us. If we ask Him for something that is not good for
us, He does not give it, but something better still, if only we
will continue to pray earnestly and do not run away and lose our
trust in Him. God did not think what you have been praying for
was good for you just now; but be sure He heard you, for He can
hear and see every one at the same time, because He is a God and
not a human being like you and me. And because He thought it was
better for you not to have at once what you wanted, He said to
Himself: Yes, Heidi shall have what she asks for, but not until
the right time comes, so that she may be quite happy. If I do
what she wants now, and then one day she sees that it would have
been better for her not to have had her own way, she will cry and
say, 'If only God had not given me what I asked for! it is not so
good as I expected!' And while God is watching over you, and
looking to see if you will trust Him and go on praying to Him
every day, and turn to Him for everything you want, you run away
and leave off saying your prayers, and forget all about Him. And
when God no longer hears the voice of one He knew among those who
pray to Him, He lets that person go his own way, that he may
learn how foolish he is. And then this one gets into trouble, and
cries, 'Save me, God, for there is none other to help me,' and
God says, 'Why did you go from Me; I could not help you when you
ran away.' And you would not like to grieve God, would you Heidi,
when He only wants to be kind to you? So will you not go and ask
Him to forgive you, and continue to pray and to trust Him, for
you may be sure that He will make everything right and happy for
you, and then you will be glad and lighthearted again."
Heidi had perfect confidence in the grandmother, and every word
she said sunk into her heart.
"I will go at once and ask God to forgive me, and I will never
forget Him again," she replied repentantly.
"That is right, dear child," and anxious to cheer her, added,
"Don't be unhappy, for He will do everything you wish in good
And Heidi ran away and prayed that she might always remember
God, and that He would go on thinking about her.
The day came for grandmother's departure--a sad one for Clara
and Heidi. But the grandmother was determined to make it as much
like a holiday as possible and not to let them mope, and she kept
them so lively and amused that they had no time to think about
their sorrow at her going until she really drove away. Then the
house seemed so silent and empty that Heidi and Clara did not
know what to do with themselves, and sat during the remainder of
the day like two lost children.
The next day, when the hour came for Clara and Heidi to be
together, the latter walked in with her book and proposed that
she should go on reading aloud every afternoon to Clara, if the
latter liked it. Clara agreed, and thought anyhow it would be
nice for that day, so Heidi began with her usual enthusiasm. But
the reading did not last long, for Heidi had hardly begun a tale
about a dying grandmother before she cried out, "O! then
grandmother is dead!" and burst into tears; for everything she
read was so real to her that she quite thought it was the
grandmother at home who had died, and she kept on exclaiming as
her sobs increased, "She is dead, and I shall never see her
again, and she never had one of the white rolls!"
Clara did all she could to explain to Heidi that the story was
about quite a different grandmother; but even when at last she
had been able to convince Heidi of this, the latter continued to
weep inconsolably, for now she had awakened to the thought that
perhaps the grandmother, and even the grandfather also, might
die while she was so far away, and that if she did not go home
for a long time she would find everything there all silent and
dead, and there she would be all alone, and would never be able
to see the dear ones she loved any more.
Fraulein Rottenmeier had meanwhile come into the room, and Clara
explained to her what had happened. As Heidi continued her
weeping, the lady, who was evidently getting impatient with her,
went up to Heidi and said with decision, "Now, Adelaide, that is
enough of all this causeless lamentation. I will tell you once
for all, if there are any more scenes like this while you are
reading, I shall take the book away from you and shall not let
you have it again."
Her words had immediate effect on Heidi, who turned pale with
fear. The book was her one great treasure. She quickly dried her
tears and swallowed her sobs as best she could, so that no
further sound of them should be heard. The threat did its work,
for Heidi never cried aloud again whatever she might be reading,
but she had often to struggle hard to keep back her tears, so
that Clara would look at her and say,
"What faces you are making, Heidi, I never saw anything like
it!" But the faces made no noise and did not offend Fraulein
Rottenmeier, and Heidi, having overcome her fit of despairing
misery, would go quietly on for a while, and no one perceived
her sorrow. But she lost all her appetite, and looked so pale and
thin that Sebastian was quite unhappy when he looked at her, and
could not bear to see her refusing all the nice dishes he handed
her. He would whisper to her sometimes, in quite a kind,
fatherly manner, "Take a little; you don't know how nice it is!
There, a good spoonful, now another." But it was of no use, Heidi
hardly ate anything at all, and as soon as she laid her head down
at night the picture of home would rise before her eyes, and she
would weep, burying her face in the pillow that her crying might
not be heard.
And so many weeks passed away. Heidi did not know it is was
winter or summer, for the walls and windows she looked out upon
showed no change, and she never went beyond the house except on
rare occasions when Clara was well enough to drive out, and then
they only went a very little way, as Clara could not bear the
movement for long. So that on these occasions they generally
only saw more fine streets and large houses and crowds of people;
they seldom got anywhere beyond them, and grass and flowers, fir
trees and mountains, were still far away. Heidi's longing for the
old familiar and beautiful things grew daily stronger, so that
now only to read a word that recalled them to her remembrance
brought her to the verge of tears, which with difficulty she
suppressed. So the autumn and winter passed, and again the sun
came shining down on the white walls of the opposite houses, and
Heidi would think to herself that now the time had come for Peter
to go out again with the goats, to where the golden flowers of
the cistus were glowing in the sunlight, and all the rocks around
turned to fire at sunset. Heidi would go and sit in a corner of
her lonely room and put her hands up to her eyes that she might
not see the sun shining on the opposite wall; and then she would
remain without moving, battling silently with her terrible
homesickness until Clara sent for her again.
CHAPTER XII. A GHOST IN THE HOUSE
For some days past Fraulein Rottenmeier had gone about rather
silently and as if lost in thought. As twilight fell, and she
passed from room to room, or along the long corridors, she was
seen to look cautiously behind her, and into the dark corners,
as if she thought some one was coming silently behind her and
might unexpectedly give her dress a pull. Nor would she now go
alone into some parts of the house. If she visited the upper
floor where the grand guest-chambers were, or had to go down into
the large mysterious council-chamber, where every footstep
echoed, and the old senators with their big white collars looked
down so solemnly and immovably from their frames, she regularly
called Tinette to accompany her, in case, as she said, there
might be something to carry up or down. Tinette on her side did
exactly the same; if she had business upstairs or down, she
called Sebastian to accompany her, and there was always something
he must help her with which she could not carry alone. More
curious still, Sebastian, also, if sent into one of the more
distant rooms, always called John to go with him in case he
should want his assistance in bringing what was required. And
John readily obeyed, although there was never anything to carry,
and either might well have gone alone; but he did not know how
soon he might want to ask Sebastian to do the same service for
him. And while these things were going on upstairs, the cook, who
had been in the house for years, would stand shaking her head
over her pots and kettles, and sighing, "That ever I should live
to know such a thing."
For something very strange and mysterious was going on in Herr
Sesemann's house. Every morning, when the servants went
downstairs, they found the front door wide open, although nobody
could be seen far or near to account for it. During the first
few days that this happened every room and corner was searched in
great alarm, to see if anything had been stolen, for the general
idea was that a thief had been hiding in the house and had gone
off in the night with the stolen goods; but not a thing in the
house had been touched, everything was safe in its place. The
door was doubly locked at night, and for further security the
wooden bar was fastened across it; but it was no good--next
morning the door again stood open. The servants in their fear
and excitement got up extra early, but not so early but what the
door had been opened before they got downstairs, although
everything and everybody around were still wrapped in slumber,
and the doors and windows of the adjoining houses all fast shut.
At last, after a great deal of persuasion from Fraulein
Rottenmeier, Sebastian and John plucked up courage and agreed to
sit up one night in the room next to the large council-chamber
and to watch and see what would happen. Fraulein Rottenmeier
looked up several weapons belonging to the master, and gave these
and a bottle of spirits to Sebastian, so that their courage might
not faint if it came to a fight.
On the appointed night the two sat down and began at once to
take some of the strengthening cordial, which at first made them
very talkative and then very sleepy, so that they leant back in
their seats and became silent. As midnight struck, Sebastian
roused himself and called to his companion, who, however, was not
easy to wake, and kept rolling his head first to one side and
then the other and continuing to sleep. Sebastian began to listen
more attentively, for he was wide awake now. Everything was still
as a mouse, all sound had died away from the streets even. He did
not feel inclined to go to sleep again, for the stillness was
ghostly to him, and he was afraid now to raise his voice to rouse
John, so he shook him gently to make him stir. At last, as one
struck, John work up, and came back to the consciousness of why
he was sitting in a chair instead of lying in his bed. He now got
up with a great show of courage and said, "Come, Sebastian, we
must go outside and see what is going on; you need not be afraid,
just follow me."
Whereupon he opened the door wide and stepped into the hall.
Just as he did so a sudden gust of air blew through the open
front door and put out the light which John held in his hand. He
started back, almost overturning Sebastian, whom he clutched and
pulled back into the room, and then shutting the door quickly he
turned the key as far as he could make it go. Then he pulled out
his matches and lighted his candle again. Sebastian, in the
suddenness of the affair, did not know exactly what had
happened, for he had not seen the open door or felt the breeze
behind John's broad figure. But now, as he saw the latter in the
light, he gave a cry of alarm, for John was trembling all over
and as white as a ghost. "What's the matter? What did you see,
outside?" asked Sebastian sympathetically.
"The door partly open," gasped John, "and a white figure
standing at the top of the steps--there it stood, and then all in
a minute it disappeared."
Sebastian felt his blood run cold. The two sat down close to one
another and did not dare move again till the morning broke and
the streets began to be alive again. Then they left the room
together, shut the front door, and went upstairs to tell
Fraulein Rottenmeier of their experience. She was quite ready to
receive them, for she had not been able to sleep at all in the
anxiety of waiting to hear their report. They had no sooner given
her details of the night's experience than she sat down and wrote
straight off to Herr Sesemann, who had never received such a
letter before in his life. She could hardly write, she told him,
for her fingers were stiff with fear, and Herr Sesemann must
please arrange to come back at once, for dreadful and
unaccountable things were taking place at home. Then she entered
into particulars of all that had happened, of how the door was
found standing open every morning, and how nobody in the house
now felt sure of their life in this unprotected state of things,
and how it was impossible to tell what terrible results might
follow on these mysterious doings.
Herr Sesemann answered that it was quite impossible for him to
arrange to leave his business and return home at once. He was
very much astonished at this ghost tale, but hoped by this time
the ghost had disappeared. If, however, it still continued to
disturb the household, would Fraulein Rottenmeier write to the
grandmother and ask her if she could come and do something; she,
he was sure, would soon find out a way to deal with the ghost so
that it would not venture again to haunt his house. Fraulein
Rottenmeier was not pleased with the tone of this letter; she
did not think the matter was treated seriously enough. She wrote
off without delay to Frau Sesemann, but got no more satisfactory
reply from that quarter, and some remarks in the letter she
considered were quite offensive. Frau Sesemann wrote that she
did not feel inclined to take the journey again from Holstein to
Frankfurt because Rottenmeier fancied she saw ghosts. There had
never been a ghost in the house since she had known it, and if
there was one now it must be a live one, with which Rottenmeier
ought to be able to deal; if not she had better send for the
watchman to help her.
Fraulein Rottenmeier, however, was determined not to pass any
more days in a state of fear, and she knew the right course to
pursue. She had as yet said nothing to the children of the
ghostly apparitions, for she knew if she did that the children
would not remain alone for a single moment, and that might
entail discomfort for herself. But now she walked straight off
into the study, and there in a low mysterious voice told the two
children everything that had taken place. Clara immediately
screamed out that she could not remain another minute alone, her
father must come home, and Fraulein Rottenmeier must sleep in her
room at night, and Heidi too must not be left by herself, for the
ghost might do something to her. She insisted that they should
all sleep together in one room and keep a light burning all
night, and Tinette had better be in the next room, and Sebastian
and John come upstairs and spend the night in the hall, so that
they might call out and frighten the ghost the instant they saw
it appear on the steps. Clara, in short, grew very excited, and
Fraulein Rottenmeier had great difficulty in quieting her. She
promised to write at once to her father, and to have her bed put
in her room and not to be left alone for a moment. They could
not all sleep in the same room, but if Heidi was frightened, why
Tinette must go into her room. But Heidi was far more frightened
of Tinette than of ghosts, of which the child had never before
heard, so she assured the others she did not mind the ghost, and
would rather be alone at night.
Fraulein Rottenmeier now sat down to write another letter to
Herr Sesemann, stating that these unaccountable things that were
going on in the house had so affected his daughter's delicate
constitution that the worst consequences might be expected.
Epileptic fits and St. Vitus's dance often came on suddenly in
cases like this, and Clara was liable to be attacked by either
if the cause of the general alarm was not removed.
The letter was successful, and two days later Herr Sesemann
stood at his front door and rang the bell in such a manner that
everybody came rushing from all parts of the house and stood
looking affrighted at everybody else, convinced that the ghost
was impudently beginning its evil tricks in daylight. Sebastian
peeped cautiously through a half-closed shutter; as he did so
there came another violent ring at the bell, which it was
impossible to mistake for anything but a very hard pull from a
non-ghostly hand. And Sebastian recognised whose hand it was,
and rushing pell-mell out of the room, fell heels over head
downstairs, but picked himself up at the bottom and flung open
the street door. Herr Sesemann greeted him abruptly and went up
without a moment's delay into his daughter's room. Clara greeted
him with a cry of joy, and seeing her so lively and apparently
as well as ever, his face cleared, and the frown of anxiety
passed gradually away from it as he heard from his daughter's own
lips that she had nothing the matter with her, and moreover was
so delighted to see him that she was quite glad about the ghost,
as it was the cause of bringing him home again.
"And how is the ghost getting on?" he asked, turning to Fraulein
Rottenmeier, with a twinkle of amusement in his eye.
"It is no joke, I assure you," replied that lady. "You will not
laugh yourself to-morrow morning, Herr Sesemann; what is going
on in the house points to some terrible thing that has taken
place in the past and been concealed."
"Well, I know nothing about that," said the master of the house,
"but I must beg you not to bring suspicion on my worthy
ancestors. And now will you kindly call Sebastian into the dining-
room, as I wish to speak to him alone."
Herr Sesemann had been quite aware that Sebastian and Fraulein
Rottenmeier were not on the best of terms, and he had his ideas
about this scare.
"Come here, lad," he said as Sebastian appeared, "and tell me
frankly--have you been playing at ghosts to amuse yourself at
Fraulein Rottenmeier's expense?"
"No, on my honor, sir; pray, do not think it; I am very
uncomfortable about the matter myself," answered Sebastian with
"Well, if that is so, I will show you and John to-morrow morning
how ghosts look in the daylight. You ought to be ashamed of
yourself, Sebastian, a great strong lad like you, to run away
from a ghost! But now go and take a message to my old friend the
doctor; give him my kind regards, and ask him if he will come to
me to-night at nine o'clock without fail; I have come by express
from Paris to consult him. I shall want him to spend the night
here, so bad a case is it; so he will arrange accordingly. You
"Yes, sir," replied Sebastian, "I will see to the matter as you
wish." Then Herr Sesemann returned to Clara, and begged her to
have no more fear, as he would soon find out all about the ghost
and put an end to it.
Punctually at nine o'clock, after the children had gone to bed
and Fraulein Rottenmeier had retired, the doctor arrived. He was
a grey-haired man with a fresh face, and two bright, kindly
eyes. He looked anxious as he walked in, but, on catching sight
of his patient, burst out laughing and clapped him on the
shoulder. "Well," he said, "you look pretty bad for a person that
I am to sit up with all night."
"Patience, friend," answered Herr Sesemann, "the one you have to
sit up for will look a good deal worse when we have once caught
"So there is a sick person in the house, and one that has first
to be caught?"
"Much worse than that, doctor! a ghost in the house! My house is
The doctor laughed aloud.
"That's a nice way of showing sympathy, doctor!" continued Herr,
Sesemann. "It's a pity my friend Rottenmeier cannot hear you.
She is firmly convinced that some old member of the family is
wandering about the house doing penance for some awful crime he
"How did she become acquainted with him?" asked the doctor,
still very much amused.
So Herr Sesemann recounted to him how the front door was nightly
opened by somebody, according to the testimony of the combined
household, and he had therefore provided two loaded revolvers,
so as to be prepared for anything that happened; for either the
whole thing was a joke got up by some friend of the servants,
just to alarm the household while he was away--and in that case
a pistol fired into the air would procure him a wholesome fright--
or else it was a thief, who, by leading everybody at first to
think there was a ghost, made it safe for himself when he came
later to steal, as no one would venture to run out if they heard
him, and in that case too a good weapon would not be amiss.
The two took up their quarters for the night in the same room in
which Sebastian and John had kept watch. A bottle of wine was
placed on the table, for a little refreshment would be welcome
from time to time if the night was to be passed sitting up.
Beside it lay the two revolvers, and two good-sized candles had
also been lighted, for Herr Sesemann was determined not to wait
for ghosts in any half light.
The door was shut close to prevent the light being seen in the
hall outside, which might frighten away the ghost. And now the
two gentlemen sat comfortably back in the arm-chairs and began
talking of all sorts of things, now and then pausing to take a
good draught of wine, and so twelve o'clock struck before they
"The ghost has got scent of us and is keeping away to-night,"
said the doctor.
"Wait a bit, it does not generally appear before one o'clock,"
answered his friend.
They started talking again. One o'clock struck. There was not a
sound about the house, nor in the street outside. Suddenly the
doctor lifted his finger.
"Hush! Sesemann, don't you hear something?"
They both listened, and they distinctly heard the bar softly
pushed aside and then the key turned in the lock and the door
opened. Herr Sesemann put out his hand for his revolver.
"You are not afraid, are you?" said the doctor as he stood up.
"It is better to take precautions," whispered Herr Sesemann, and
seizing one of the lights in his other hand, he followed the
doctor, who, armed in like manner with a light and a revolver,
went softly on in front. They stepped into the hall. The
moonlight was shining in through the open door and fell on a
white figure standing motionless in the doorway.
"Who is there?" thundered the doctor in a voice that echoed
through the hall, as the two men advanced with lights and
weapons towards the figure.
It turned and gave a low cry. There in her little white
nightgown stood Heidi, with bare feet, staring with wild eyes at
the lights and the revolvers, and trembling from head to foot
like a leaf in the wind. The two men looked as one another in
"Why, I believe it is your little water-carrier, Sesemann," said
"Child, what does this mean?" said Herr Sesemann. "What did you
want? why did you come down here?"
White with terror, and hardly able to make her voice heard,
Heidi answered, "I don't know."
But now the doctor stepped forward. "This is a matter for me to
see to, Sesemann; go back to your chair. I must take the child
upstairs to her bed."
And with that he put down his revolver and gently taking the
child by the hand led her upstairs. "Don't be frightened," he
said as they went up side by side, "it's nothing to be
frightened about; it's all right, only just go quietly."
On reaching Heidi's room the doctor put the candle down on the
table, and taking Heidi up in his arms laid her on the bed and
carefully covered her over. Then he sat down beside her and
waited until Heidi had grown quieter and no longer trembled so
violently. He took her hand and said in a kind, soothing voice,
"There, now you feel better, and now tell me where you were
wanting to go to?"
"I did not want to go anywhere," said Heidi. "I did not know I
went downstairs, but all at once I was there."
"I see, and had you been dreaming, so that you seemed to see and
hear something very distinctly?"
"Yes, I dream every night, and always about the same things. I
think I am back with the grandfather and I hear the sound in the
fir trees outside, and I see the stars shining so brightly, and
then I open the door quickly and run out, and it is all so
beautiful! But when I wake I am still in Frankfurt." And Heidi
struggled as she spoke to keep back the sobs which seemed to
"And have you no pain anywhere? no pain in your head or back?"
"No, only a feeling as if there were a great stone weighing on
"As if you had eaten something that would not go down."
"No, not like that; something heavy as if I wanted to cry very
"I see, and then do you have a good cry?"
"Oh, no, I mustn't; Fraulein Rottenmeier forbade me to cry."
"So you swallow it all down, I suppose? Are you happy here in
"Yes," was the low answer; but it sounded more like "No."
"And where did you live with your grandfather?"
"Up on the mountain."
"That wasn't very amusing; rather dull at times, eh?"
"No, no, it was beautiful, beautiful!" Heidi could go no
further; the remembrance of the past, the excitement she had just
gone through, the long suppressed weeping, were too much for the
child's strength; the tears began to fall fast, and she broke
into violent weeping.
The doctor stood up and laid her head kindly down on the pillow.
"There, there, go on crying, it will do you good, and then go to
sleep; it will be all right to-morrow."
Then he left the room and went downstairs to Herr Sesemann; when
he was once more sitting in the armchair opposite his friend,
"Sesemann," he said, "let me first tell you that your little
charge is a sleep-walker; she is the ghost who has nightly
opened the front door and put your household into this fever of
alarm. Secondly, the child is consumed with homesickness, to such
an extent that she is nearly a skeleton already, and soon will be
quite one; something must be done at once. For the first
trouble, due to her over-excited nerves, there is but one remedy,
to send her back to her native mountain air; and for the second
trouble there is also but one cure, and that the same. So to-
morrow the child must start for home; there you have my
Herr Sesemann had arisen and now paced up and down the room in
the greatest state of concern.
"What!" he exclaimed, "the child a sleep-walker and ill! Home-
sick, and grown emaciated in my house! All this has taken place
in my house and no one seen or known anything about it! And you
mean, doctor, that the child who came here happy and healthy, I
am to send back to her grandfather a miserable little skeleton? I
can't do it; you cannot dream of my doing such a thing! Take the
child in hand, do with her what you will, and make her whole and
sound, and then she shall go home; but you must do something
"Sesemann," replied the doctor, "consider what you are doing!
This illness of the child's is not one to be cured with pills
and powders. The child has not a tough constitution, but if you
send her back at once she may recover in the mountain air,
if not--you would rather she went back ill than not at all?"
Herr Sesemann stood still; the doctor's words were a shock to
"If you put it so, doctor, there is assuredly only one way--and
the thing must be seen to at once." And then he and the doctor
walked up and down for a while arranging what to do, after which
the doctor said good-bye, for some time had passed since they
first sat down together, and as the master himself opened the
hall door this time the morning light shone down through it into
CHAPTER XIII. A SUMMER EVENING ON THE MOUNTAIN
Herr Sesemann, a good deal irritated and excited, went quickly
upstairs and along the passage to Fraulein Rottenmeier's room,
and there gave such an unusually loud knock at the door that the
lady awoke from sleep with a cry of alarm. She heard the master
of the house calling to her from the other side of the door,
"Please make haste and come down to me in the dining-room; we
must make ready for a journey at once." Fraulein Rottenmeier
looked at her clock: it was just half-past four; she had never
got up so early before in her life. What could have happened?
What with her curiosity and excitement she took hold of
everything the wrong way, and it was a case with her of more
haste less speed, for she kept on searching everywhere for
garments which she had already put on.
Meanwhile Herr Sesemann had gone on farther and rung the bells
in turn which communicated with the several servants' rooms,
causing frightened figures to leap out of bed, convinced that the
ghost had attacked the master and that he was calling for help.
One by one they made their appearance in the dining-room, each
with a more terrified face than the last, and were astonished to
see their master walking up and down, looking well and cheerful,
and with no appearance of having had an encounter with a ghost.
John was sent off without delay to get the horses and carriage
ready; Tinette was ordered to wake Heidi and get her dressed for
a journey; Sebastian was hurried off to the house where Dete was
in service to bring the latter round. Then Fraulein Rottenmeier,
having at last accomplished her toilet, came down, with
everything well adjusted about her except her cap, which was put
on hind side before. Herr Sesemann put down her flurried
appearance to the early awakening he had caused her, and began
without delay to give her directions. She was to get out a trunk
at once and pack up all the things belonging to the Swiss child--
for so he usually spoke of Heidi, being unaccustomed to her name--
and a good part of Clara's clothes as well, so that the child
might take home proper apparel; but everything was to be done
immediately, as there was no time for consideration.
Fraulein Rottenmeier stood as if rooted to the spot and stared
in astonishment at Herr Sesemann. She had quite expected a long
and private account of some terrible ghostly experience of his
during the night, which she would have enjoyed hearing about in
the broad daylight. Instead of this there were these prosaic and
troublesome directions, which were so unexpected that she took
some time to get over her surprise and disappointment, and
continued standing awaiting further explanation.
But Herr Sesemann had no thought or time for explanations and
left her standing there while he went to speak to Clara. As he
anticipated, the unusual commotion in the house had disturbed
her, and she was lying and listening and wondering what had
happened. So he sat down and told her everything that had
occurred during the past night, and explained that the doctor
had given his verdict and pronounced Heidi to be in a very highly
strung state, so that her nightly wanderings might gradually
lead her farther and farther, perhaps even on to the roof, which
of course would be very dangerous for her. And so they had
decided to send her home at once, as he did not like to take the
responsibility of her remaining, and Clara would see for herself
that it was the only thing to do. Clara was very much
distressed, and at first made all kinds of suggestions for
keeping Heidi with her; but her father was firm, and promised
her, if she would be reasonable and make no further fuss, that he
would take her to Switzerland next summer. So Clara gave in to
the inevitable, only stipulating that the box might be brought
into her room to be packed, so that she might add whatever she
liked, and her father was only too pleased to let her provide a
nice outfit for the child. Meanwhile Dete had arrived and was
waiting in the hall, wondering what extraordinary event had come
to pass for her to be sent for at such an unusual hour. Herr
Sesemann informed her of the state Heidi was in, and that he
wished her that very day to take her home. Dete was greatly
disappointed, for she had not expected such a piece of news. She
remembered Uncle's last words, that he never wished to set eyes
on her again, and it seemed to her that to take back the child to
him, after having left it with him once and then taken it away
again, was not a safe or wise thing for her to do. So she excused
herself to Herr Sesemann with her usual flow of words; to-day and
to-morrow it would be quite impossible for her to take the
journey, and there was so much to do that she doubted if she
could get off on any of the following days. Herr Sesemann
understood that she was unwilling to go at all, and so dismissed
her. Then he sent for Sebastian and told him to make ready to
start: he was to travel with the child as far as Basle that day,
and the next day take her home. He would give him a letter to
carry to the grandfather, which would explain everything, and he
himself could come back by return.
"But there is one thing in particular which I wish you to look
after," said Herr Sesemann in conclusion, "and be sure you
attend to what I say. I know the people of this hotel in Basle,
the name of which I give you on this card. They will see to
providing rooms for the child and you. When there, go at once
into the child's room and see that the windows are all firmly
fastened so that they cannot be easily opened. After the child is
in bed, lock the door of her room on the outside, for the child
walks in her sleep and might run into danger in a strange house
if she went wandering downstairs and tried to open the front
door; so you understand?"
"Oh! then that was it?" exclaimed Sebastian, for now a light was
thrown on the ghostly visitations.
"Yes, that was it! and you are a coward, and you may tell John
he is the same, and the whole household a pack of idiots." And
with this Herr Sesemann went off to his study to write a letter
to Alm-Uncle. Sebastian remained standing, feeling rather
"If only I had not let that fool of a John drag me back into the
room, and had gone after the little white figure, which I should
do certainly if I saw it now!" he kept on saying to himself; but
just now every corner of the room was clearly visible in the
Meanwhile Heidi was standing expectantly dressed in her Sunday
frock waiting to see what would happen next, for Tinette had
only woke her up with a shake and put on her clothes without a
word of explanation. The little uneducated child was far too much
beneath her for Tinette to speak to.
Herr Sesemann went back to the dining-room with the letter;
breakfast was now ready, and he asked, "Where is the child?"
Heidi was fetched, and as she walked up to him to say "Good-
morning," he looked inquiringly into her face and said, "Well,
what do you say to this, little one?"
Heidi looked at him in perplexity.
"Why, you don't know anything about it, I see," laughed Herr
Sesemann. "You are going home today, going at once."
"Home," murmured Heidi in a low voice, turning pale; she was so
overcome that for a moment or two she could hardly breathe.
"Don't you want to hear more about it?"
"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Heidi, her face now rosy with delight.
"All right, then," said Herr Sesemann as he sat down and made
her a sign to do the same, "but now make a good breakfast, and
then off you go in the carriage."
But Heidi could not swallow a morsel though she tried to do what
she was told; she was in such a state of excitement that she
hardly knew if she was awake or dreaming, or if she would again
open her eyes to find herself in her nightgown at the front
"Tell Sebastian to take plenty of provisions with him," Herr
Sesemann called out to Fraulein Rottenmeier, who just then came
into the room; "the child can't eat anything now, which is quite
natural. Now run up to Clara and stay with her till the carriage
comes round," he added kindly, turning to Heidi.
Heidi had been longing for this, and ran quickly upstairs. An
immense trunk was standing open in the middle of the room.
"Come along, Heidi," cried Clara, as she entered; "see all the
things I have had put in for you--aren't you pleased?"
And she ran over a list of things, dresses and aprons and
handkerchiefs, and all kinds of working materials. "And look
here," she added, as she triumphantly held up a basket. Heidi
peeped in and jumped for joy, for inside it were twelve
beautiful round white rolls, all for grandmother. In their
delight the children forgot that the time had come for them to
separate, and when some one called out, "The carriage is here,"
there was no time for grieving.
Heidi ran to her room to fetch her darling book; she knew no one
could have packed that, as it lay under her pillow, for Heidi
had kept it by her night and day. This was put in the basket with
the rolls. Then she opened her wardrobe to look for another
treasure, which perhaps no one would have thought of packing--and
she was right--the old red shawl had been left behind, Fraulein
Rottenmeier not considering it worth putting in with the other
things. Heidi wrapped it round something else which she laid on
the top of the basket, so that the red package was quite
conspicuous. Then she put on her pretty hat and left the room.
The children could not spend much time over their farewells, for
Herr Sesemann was waiting to put Heidi in the carriage. Fraulein
Rottenmeier was waiting at the top of the stairs to say good-bye
to her. When she caught sight of the strange little red bundle,
she took it out of the basket and threw it on the ground. "No,
no, Adelaide," she exclaimed, "you cannot leave the house with
that thing. What can you possibly want with it!" And then she
said good-bye to the child. Heidi did not dare take up her
little bundle, but she gave the master of the house an imploring
look, as if her greatest treasure had been taken from her.
"No, no," said Herr Sesemann in a very decided voice, "the child
shall take home with her whatever she likes, kittens and
tortoises, if it pleases her; we need not put ourselves out
about that, Fraulein Rottenmeier."
Heidi quickly picked up her bundle, with a look of joy and
gratitude. As she stood by the carriage door, Herr Sesemann gave
her his hand and said he hoped she would remember him and Clara.
He wished her a happy journey, and Heidi thanked him for all his
kindness, and added, "And please say good-bye to the doctor for
me and give him many, many thanks." For she had not forgotten
that he had said to her the night before, 'It will be all right
to-morrow,' and she rightly divined that he had helped to make
it so for her. Heidi was now lifted into the carriage, and then
the basket and the provisions were put in, and finally Sebastian
took his place. Then Herr Sesemann called out once more, "A
pleasant journey to you," and the carriage rolled away.
Heidi was soon sitting in the railway carriage, holding her
basket tightly on her lap; she would not let it out of her hands
for a moment, for it contained the delicious rolls for
grandmother; so she must keep it carefully, and even peep inside
it from time to time to enjoy the sight of them. For many hours
she sat as still as a mouse; only now was she beginning to
realize that she was going home to the grandfather, the
mountain, the grandmother, and Peter, and pictures of all she was
going to see again rose one by one before her eyes; she thought
of how everything would look at home, but this brought other
thoughts to her mind, and all of a sudden she said anxiously,
"Sebastian, are you sure that grandmother on the mountain is not
"No, no," said Sebastian, wishing to soothe her, "we will hope
not; she is sure to be alive still."
Then Heidi fell back on her own thoughts again. Now and then she
looked inside the basket, for the thing she looked forward to
most was laying all the rolls out on grandmother's table. After
a long silence she spoke again, "If only we could know for
certain that grandmother is alive!"
"Yes, yes," said Sebastian, half asleep; "she is sure to be
alive, there is no reason why she should be dead."
After a while sleep fell on Heidi too, and after her disturbed
night and early rising she slept so soundly that she did not
wake till Sebastian shook her by the arm and called to her, "Wake
up, wake up! we shall have to get out directly; we are just in
There was a further railway journey of many hours the next day.
Heidi again sat with her basket on her knee, for she would not
have given it up to Sebastian on any consideration; to-day she
never even opened her mouth, for her excitement, which increased
with every mile of the journey, kept her speechless. All of a
sudden, before Heidi expected it, a voice called out,
"Mayenfeld." She and Sebastian both jumped up, the latter also
taken by surprise. In another minute they were both standing on
the platform with Heidi's trunk, and the train was steaming away
down the valley. Sebastian looked after it regretfully, for he
preferred the easier mode of travelling to a wearisome climb on
foot, especially as there was danger no doubt as well as fatigue
in a country like this, where, according to Sebastian's idea,
everything and everybody were half savage. He therefore looked
cautiously to either side to see who was a likely person to ask
the safest way to Dorfli.
Just outside the station he saw a shabby-looking little cart and
horse which a broad-shouldered man was loading with heavy sacks
that had been brought by the train, so he went up to him and
asked which was the safest way to get to Dorfli.
"All the roads about here are safe," was the curt reply.
So Sebastian altered his question and asked which was the best
way to avoid falling over the precipice, and also how a box
could be conveyed to Dorfli. The man looked at the box, weighing
it with his eye, and then volunteered if it was not too heavy to
take it on his own cart, as he was driving to Dorfli. After some
little interchange of words it was finally agreed that the man
should take both the child and the box to Dorfli, and there find
some one who could be sent on with Heidi up the mountain.
"I can go by myself, I know the way well from Dorfli," put in
Heidi, who had been listening attentively to the conversation.
Sebastian was greatly relieved at not having to do any mountain
climbing. He drew Heidi aside and gave her a thick rolled
parcel, and a letter for her grandfather; the parcel, he told
her, was a present from Herr Sesemann, and she must put it at the
bottom of her basket under the rolls and be very careful not to
lose it, as Herr Sesemann would be very vexed if she did, and
never be the same to her again; so little miss was to think well
of what he said.
"I shall be sure not to lose it," said Heidi confidently, and
she at once put the roll and the letter at the bottom of her
basket. The trunk meanwhile had been hoisted into the cart, and
now Sebastian lifted Heidi and her basket on to the high seat and
shook hands with her; he then made signs to her to keep her eye
on the basket, for the driver was standing near and Sebastian
thought it better to be careful, especially as he knew that he
ought himself to have seen the child safely to her journey's
end. The driver now swung himself up beside Heidi, and the cart
rolled away in the direction of the mountains, while Sebastian,
glad of having no tiring and dangerous journey on foot before
him, sat down in the station and awaited the return train.
The driver of the car was the miller at Dorfli and was taking
home his sacks of flour. He had never seen Heidi, but like
everybody in Dorfli knew all about her. He had known her
parents, and felt sure at once that this was the child of whom he
had heard so much. He began to wonder why she had come back, and
as they drove along he entered into conversation with her. "You
are the child who lived with your grandfather, Alm-Uncle, are you
"Didn't they treat you well down there that you have come back
"Yes, it was not that; everything in Frankfurt is as nice as it
"Then why are you running home again?"
"Only because Herr Sesemann gave me leave, or else I should not
"If they were willing to let you stay, why did you not remain
where you were better off than at home?"
"Because I would a thousand times rather be with grandfather on
the mountain than anywhere else in the world."
"You will think differently perhaps when you get back there,"
grumbled the miller; and then to himself, "It's strange of her,
for she must know what it's like."
He began whistling and said no more, while Heidi looked around
her and began to tremble with excitement, for she knew every
tree along the way, and there overhead were the high jagged peaks
of the mountain looking down on her like old friends. And Heidi
nodded back to them, and grew every moment more wild with her
joy and longing, feeling as if she must jump down from the cart
and run with all her might till she reached the top. But she sat
quite still and did not move, although inwardly in such
agitation. The clock was striking five as they drove into
Dorfli. A crowd of women and children immediately surrounded the
cart, for the box and the child arriving with the miller had
excited the curiosity of everybody in the neighborhood,
inquisitive to know whence they came and whither they were going
and to whom they belonged. As the miller lifted Heidi down, she
said hastily, "Thank you, grandfather will send for the trunk,"
and was just going to run off, when first one and then another of
the bystanders caught hold of her, each one having a different
question to put to her. But Heidi pushed her way through them
with such an expression of distress on her face that they were
forced to let her go. "You see," they said to one another, "how
frightened she is, and no wonder," and then they went on to talk
of Alm-Uncle, how much worse he had grown that last year, never
speaking a word and looking as if he would like to kill
everybody he met, and if the child had anywhere else to go to she
certainly would not run back to the old dragon's den. But here
the miller interrupted them, saying he knew more about it than
they did, and began telling them how a kind gentleman had brought
her to Mayenfeld and seen her off, and had given him his fare
without any bargaining, and extra money for himself; what was
more, the child had assured him that she had had everything she
wanted where she had been, and that it was her own wish to return
to her grandfather. This information caused great surprise and
was soon repeated all over Dorfli, and that evening there was not
a house in the place in which the astounding news was not
discussed, of how Heidi had of her own accord given up a
luxurious home to return to her grandfather.
Heidi climbed up the steep path from Dorfli as quickly as she
could; she was obliged, however, to pause now and again to take
breath, for the basket she carried was rather heavy, and the way
got steeper as she drew nearer the top. One thought alone filled
Heidi's mind, "Would she find the grandmother sitting in her
usual corner by the spinning-wheel, was she still alive?" At
last Heidi caught sight of the grandmother's house in the hollow
of the mountain and her heart began to beat; she ran faster and
faster and her heart beat louder and louder--and now she had
reached the house, but she trembled so she could hardly open the
door--and then she was standing inside, unable in her
breathlessness to utter a sound.
"Ah, my God!" cried a voice from the corner, "that was how Heidi
used to run in; if only I could have her with me once again! Who
"It's I, I, grandmother," cried Heidi as she ran and flung
herself on her knees beside the old woman, and seizing her
hands, clung to her, unable to speak for joy. And the grandmother
herself could not say a word for some time, so unexpected was
this happiness; but at last she put out her hand and stroked
Heidi's curly hair, and said, "Yes, yes, that is her hair, and
her voice; thank God that He has granted my prayer!" And tears
of joy fell from the blind eyes on to Heidi's hand. "Is it really
you, Heidi; have you really come back to me?"
"Yes, grandmother, I am really here," answered Heidi in a
reassuring voice. "Do not cry, for I have really come back and I
am never going away again, and I shall come every day to see
you, and you won't have any more hard bread to eat for some days,
for look, look!"
And Heidi took the rolls from the basket and piled the whole
twelve up on grandmother's lap.
"Ah, child! child! what a blessing you bring with you!" the old
woman exclaimed, as she felt and seemed never to come to the end
of the rolls. "But you yourself are the greatest blessing,
Heidi," and again she touched the child's hair and passed her
hand over her hot cheeks, and said, "Say something, child, that
I may hear your voice."
Then Heidi told her how unhappy she had been, thinking that the
grandmother might die while she was away and would never have
her white rolls, and that then she would never, never see her
Peter's mother now came in and stood for a moment overcome with
astonishment. "Why, it's Heidi," she exclaimed, "and yet can it
Heidi stood up, and Brigitta now could not say enough in her
admiration of the child's dress and appearance; she walked round
her, exclaiming all the while, "Grandmother, if you could only
see her, and see what a pretty frock she has on; you would
hardly know her again. And the hat with the feather in it is
yours too, I suppose? Put it on that I may see how you look in
"No, I would rather not," replied Heidi firmly. "You can have it
if you like; I do not want it; I have my own still." And Heidi
so saying undid her red bundle and took out her own old hat,
which had become a little more battered still during the journey.
But this was no trouble to Heidi; she had not forgotten how her
grandfather had called out to Dete that he never wished to see
her and her hat and feathers again, and this was the reason she
had so anxiously preserved her old hat, for she had never ceased
to think about going home to her grandfather. But Brigitta told
her not to be so foolish as to give it away; she would not think
of taking such a beautiful hat; if Heidi did not want to wear it
she might sell it to the schoolmaster's daughter in Dorfli and
get a good deal of money for it. But Heidi stuck to her
intention and hid the hat quietly in a corner behind the
grandmother's chair. Then she took off her pretty dress and put
her red shawl on over her under-petticoat, which left her arms
bare; and now she clasped the old woman's hand. "I must go home
to grandfather," she said, "but to-morrow I shall come again. Good-
"Yes, come again, be sure you come again tomorrow," begged the
grandmother, as she pressed Heidi's hands in hers, unwilling to
let her go.
"Why have you taken off that pretty dress?" asked Brigitta.
"Because I would rather go home to grandfather as I am or else
perhaps he would not know me; you hardly did at first."
Brigitta went with her to the door, and there said in rather a
mysterious voice, "You might have kept on your dress, he would
have known you all right; but you must be careful, for Peter
tells me that Alm-Uncle is always now in a bad temper and never
Heidi bid her good-night and continued her way up the mountain,
her basket on her arm. All around her the steep green slopes
shone bright in the evening sun, and soon the great gleaming snow-
field up above came in sight. Heidi was obliged to keep on
pausing to look behind her, for the higher peaks were behind her
as she climbed. Suddenly a warm red glow fell on the grass at
her feet; she looked back again--she had not remembered how
splendid it was, nor seen anything to compare to it in her dreams--
for there the two high mountain peeks rose into the air like two
great flames, the whole snow-field had turned crimson, and rosy-
colored clouds floated in the sky above. The grass upon the
mountain sides had turned to gold, the rocks were all aglow, and
the whole valley was bathed in golden mist. And as Heidi stood
gazing around her at all this splendor the tears ran down her
cheeks for very delight and happiness, and impulsively she put
her hands together, and lifting her eyes to heaven, thanked God
aloud for having brought her home, thanked Him that everything
was as beautiful as ever, more beautiful even than she had
thought, and that it was all hers again once more. And she was so
overflowing with joy and thankfulness that she could not find
words to thank Him enough. Not until the glory began to fade
could she tear herself away. Then she ran on so quickly that in
a very little while she caught sight of the tops of the fir trees
above the hut roof, then the roof itself, and at last the whole
hut, and there was grandfather sitting as in old days smoking
his pipe, and she could see the fir trees waving in the wind.
Quicker and quicker went her little feet, and before Alm-Uncle
had time to see who was coming, Heidi had rushed up to him,
thrown down her basket and flung her arms round his neck, unable
in the excitement of seeing him again to say more than
"Grandfather! grandfather! grandfather!" over and over again.
And the old man himself said nothing. For the first time for
many years his eyes were wet, and he had to pass his hand across
them. Then he unloosed Heidi's arms, put her on his knee, and
after looking at her for a moment, "So you have come back to me,
Heidi," he said, "how is that? You don't look much of a grand
lady. Did they send you away?"
"Oh, no, grandfather," said Heidi eagerly, "you must not think
that; they were all so kind--Clara, and grandmamma, and Herr
Sesemann. But you see, grandfather, I did not know how to bear
myself till I got home again to you. I used to think I should
die, for I felt as if I could not breathe; but I never said
anything because it would have been ungrateful. And then
suddenly one morning quite early Herr Sesemann said to me--but I
think it was partly the doctor's doing--but perhaps it's all in
the letter--" and Heidi jumped down and fetched the roll and the
letter and handed them both to her grandfather.
"That belongs to you," said the latter, laying the roll down on
the bench beside him. Then he opened the letter, read it through
and without a word put it in his pocket.
"Do you think you can still drink milk with me, Heidi?" he
asked, taking the child by the hand to go into the hut. "But
bring your money with you; you can buy a bed and bedclothes and
dresses for a couple of years with it."
"I am sure I do not want it," replied Heidi. "I have got a bed
already, and Clara has put such a lot of clothes in my box that
I shall never want any more."
"Take it and put it in the cupboard; you will want it some day I
have no doubt."
Heidi obeyed and skipped happily after her grandfather into the
house; she ran into all the corners, delighted to see everything
again, and then went up the ladder--but there she came to a
pause and called down in a tone of surprise and distress, "Oh,
grandfather, my bed's gone."
"We can soon make it up again," he answered her from below. "I
did not know that you were coming back; come along now and have
Heidi came down, sat herself on her high stool in the old place,
and then taking up her bowl drank her milk eagerly, as if she
had never come across anything so delicious, and as she put down
her bowl, she exclaimed, "Our milk tastes nicer than anything
else in the world, grandfather."
A shrill whistle was heard outside. Heidi darted out like a
flash of lightning. There were the goats leaping and springing
among the rocks, with Peter in their midst. When he caught sight
of Heidi he stood still with astonishment and gazed speechlessly
at her. Heidi called out, "Good-evening, Peter," and then ran in
among the goats. "Little Swan! Little Bear! do you know me
again?" And the animals evidently recognized her voice at once,
for they began rubbing their heads against her and bleating
loudly as if for joy, and as she called the other goats by name
one after the other, they all came scampering towards her helter-
skelter and crowding round her. The impatient Greenfinch sprang
into the air and over two of her companions in order to get
nearer, and even the shy little Snowflake butted the Great Turk
out of her way in quite a determined manner, which left him
standing taken aback by her boldness, and lifting his beard in
the air as much as to say, You see who I am.
Heidi was out of her mind with delight at being among all her
old friends again; she flung her arms round the pretty little
Snowflake, stroked the obstreperous Greenfinch, while she
herself was thrust at from all sides by the affectionate and
confiding goats; and so at last she got near to where Peter was
still standing, not having yet got over his surprise.
"Come down, Peter," cried Heidi, "and say good-evening to me."
"So you are back again?" he found words to say at last, and now
ran down and took Heidi's hand which she was holding out in
greeting, and immediately put the same question to her which he
had been in the habit of doing in the old days when they
returned home in the evening, "Will you come out with me again to-
"Not to-morrow, but the day after perhaps, for to-morrow I must
go down to grandmother."
"I am glad you are back," said Peter, while his whole face
beamed with pleasure, and then he prepared to go on with his
goats; but he never had had so much trouble with them before, for
when at last, by coaxing and threats, he had got them all
together, and Heidi had gone off with an arm over either head of
her grandfather's two, the whole flock suddenly turned and ran
after her. Heidi had to go inside the stall with her two and shut
the door, or Peter would never have got home that night. When
Heidi went indoors after this she found her bed already made up
for her; the hay had been piled high for it and smelt
deliciously, for it had only just been got in, and the
grandfather had carefully spread and tucked in the clean sheets.
It was with a happy heart that Heidi lay down in it that night,
and her sleep was sounder than it had been for a whole year past.
The grandfather got up at least ten times during the night and
mounted the ladder to see if Heidi was all right and showing no
signs of restlessness, and to feel that the hay he had stuffed
into the round window was keeping the moon from shining too
brightly upon her. But Heidi did not stir; she had no need now
to wander about, for the great burning longing of her heart was
satisfied; she had seen the high mountains and rocks alight in
the evening glow, she had heard the wind in the fir trees, she
was at home again on the mountain.
CHAPTER XIV. SUNDAY BELLS
Heidi was standing under the waving fir trees waiting for her
grandfather, who was going down with her to grandmother's, and
then on to Dorfli to fetch her box. She was longing to know how
grandmother had enjoyed her white bread and impatient to see and
hear her again; but no time seemed weary to her now, for she
could not listen long enough to the familiar voice of the trees,
or drink in too much of the fragrance wafted to her from the
green pastures where the golden-headed flowers were glowing in
the sun, a very feast to her eyes. The grandfather came out,
gave a look round, and then called to her in a cheerful voice,
"Well, now we can be off."
It was Saturday, a day when Alm-Uncle made everything clean and
tidy inside and outside the house; he had devoted his morning to
this work so as to be able to accompany Heidi in the afternoon,
and the whole place was now as spick and span as he liked to see
it. They parted at the grandmother's cottage and Heidi ran in.
The grandmother had heard her steps approaching and greeted her
as she crossed the threshold, "Is it you, child? Have you come
Then she took hold of Heidi's hand and held it fast in her own,
for she still seemed to fear that the child might be torn from
her again. And now she had to tell Heidi how much she had
enjoyed the white bread, and how much stronger she felt already
for having been able to eat it, and then Peter's mother went on
and said she was sure that if her mother could eat like that for
a week she would get back some of her strength, but she was so
afraid of coming to the end of the rolls, that she had only
eaten one as yet. Heidi listened to all Brigitta said, and sat
thinking for a while. Then she suddenly thought of a way.
"I know, grandmother, what I will do," she said eagerly, "I will
write to Clara, and she will send me as many rolls again, if not
twice as many as you have already, for I had ever such a large
heap in the wardrobe, and when they were all taken away she
promised to give me as many back, and she would do so I am
"That is a good idea," said Brigitta; "but then, they would get
hard and stale. The baker in Dorfli makes the white rolls, and
if we could get some of those he has over now and then--but I can
only just manage to pay for the black bread."
A further bright thought came to Heidi, and with a look of joy,
"Oh, I have lots of money, grandmother," she cried gleefully,
skipping about the room in her delight, "and I know now what I
will do with it. You must have a fresh white roll every day, and
two on Sunday, and Peter can bring them up from Dorfli."
"No, no, child!" answered the grandmother, "I cannot let you do
that; the money was not given to you for that purpose; you must
give it to your grandfather, and he will tell you how you are to
But Heidi was not to be hindered in her kind intentions, and she
continued to jump about, saying over and over again in a tone of
exultation, "Now, grandmother can have a roll every day and will
grow quite strong again--and, Oh, grandmother," she suddenly
exclaimed with an increase of jubilation in her voice, "if you
get strong everything will grow light again for you; perhaps
it's only because you are weak that it is dark." The grandmother
said nothing, she did not wish to spoil the child's pleasure. As
she went jumping about Heidi suddenly caught sight of the
grandmother's song book, and another happy idea struck her,
"Grandmother, I can also read now, would you like me to read you
one of your hymns from your old book?"
"Oh, yes," said the grandmother, surprised and delighted; "but
can you really read, child, really?"
Heidi had climbed on to a chair and had already lifted down the
book, bringing a cloud of dust with it, for it had lain
untouched on the shelf for a long time. Heidi wiped it, sat
herself down on a stool beside the old woman, and asked her which
hymn she should read.
"What you like, child, what you like," and the grandmother
pushed her spinning-wheel aside and sat in eager expectation
waiting for Heidi to begin. Heidi turned over the leaves and read
a line out softly to herself here and there. At last she said,
"Here is one about the sun, grandmother, I will read you that."
And Heidi began, reading with more and more warmth of expression
as she went on,--
The morning breaks,
And warm and bright
The earth lies still
In the golden light--
For Dawn has scattered the clouds of night.
Is seen around,
Things great and small
To His praise abound--
Where are the signs of His love not found?
All things must pass,
But God shall still
With steadfast power
His will fulfil--
Sure and unshaken is His will.
His saving grace
Will never fail,
Though grief and fear
The heart assail--
O'er life's wild seas He will prevail.
Joy shall be ours
In that garden blest,
Where after storm
We find our rest--
I wait in peace--God's time is best.
The grandmother sat with folded hands and a look of indescribable
joy on her face, such as Heidi had never seen there before,
although at the same time the tears were running down her cheeks.
As Heidi finished, she implored her, saying, "Read it once again,
child, just once again."
And the child began again, with as much pleasure in the verses
as the grandmother,--
Joy shall be ours
In that garden blest,
Where after storm
We find our rest--
I wait in peace--God's time is best.
"Ah, Heidi, that brings light to the heart! What comfort you
have brought me!"
And the old woman kept on repeating the glad words, while Heidi
beamed with happiness, and she could not take her eyes away from
the grandmother's face, which had never looked like that before.
It had no longer the old troubled expression, but was alight
with peace and joy as if she were already looking with clear new
eyes into the garden or Paradise.
Some one now knocked at the window and Heidi looked up and saw
her grandfather beckoning her to come home with him. She
promised the grandmother before leaving her that she would be
with her the next day, and even if she went out with Peter she
would only spend half the day with him, for the thought that she
might make it light and happy again for the grandmother gave her
the greatest pleasure, greater even than being out on the sunny
mountain with the flowers and goats. As she was going out
Brigitta ran to her with the frock and hat she had left. Heidi
put the dress over her arm, for, as she thought to herself, the
grandfather had seen that before, but she obstinately refused to
take back the hat; Brigitta could keep it, for she should never
put it on her head again. Heidi was so full of her morning's
doings that she began at once to tell her grandfather all about
them: how the white bread could be fetched every day from Dorfli
if there was money for it, and how the grandmother had all at
once grown stronger and happier, and light had come to her. Then
she returned to the subject of the rolls. "If the grandmother
won't take the money, grandfather, will you give it all to me,
and I can then give Peter enough every day to buy a roll and two
"But how about the bed?" said her grandfather. "It would be nice
for you to have a proper bed, and there would then be plenty for
But Heidi gave her grandfather no peace till he consented to do
what she wanted; she slept a great deal better, she said, on her
bed of hay than on her fine pillowed bed in Frankfurt. So at
last he said, "The money is yours, do what you like with it; you
can buy bread for grandmother for years to come with it."
Heidi shouted for joy at the thought that grandmother would
never need any more to eat hard black bread, and "Oh,
grandfather!" she said, "everything is happier now than it has
ever been in our lives before!" and she sang and skipped along,
holding her grandfather's hand as light-hearted as a bird. But
all at once she grew quiet and said, "If God had let me come at
once, as I prayed, then everything would have been different, I
should only have had a little bread to bring to grandmother, and
I should not have been able to read, which is such a comfort to
her; but God has arranged it all so much better than I knew how
to; everything has happened just as the other grandmother said it
would. Oh, how glad I am that God did not let me have at once all
I prayed and wept for! And now I shall always pray to God as she
told me, and always thank Him, and when He does not do anything I
ask for I shall think to myself, It's just like it was in
Frankfurt: God, I am sure, is going to do something better still.
So we will pray every day, won't we, grandfather, and never
forget Him again, or else He may forget us."
"And supposing one does forget Him?" said the grandfather in a
"Then everything goes wrong, for God lets us then go where we
like, and when we get poor and miserable and begin to cry about
it no one pities us, but they say, You ran away from God, and so
God, who could have helped you, left you to yourself."
"That is true, Heidi; where did you learn that?"
"From grandmamma; she explained it all to me."
The grandfather walked on for a little while without speaking,
then he said, as if following his own train of thought: "And if
it once is so, it is so always; no one can go back, and he whom
God has forgotten, is forgotten for ever."
"Oh, no, grandfather, we can go back, for grandmamma told me so,
and so it was in the beautiful tale in my book--but you have not
heard that yet; but we shall be home directly now, and then I
will read it you, and you will see how beautiful it is." And in
her eagerness Heidi struggled faster and faster up the steep
ascent, and they were no sooner at the top than she let go her
grandfather's hand and ran into the hut. The grandfather slung
the basket off his shoulders in which he had brought up a part
of the contents of the trunk which was too heavy to carry up as
it was. Then he sat down on his seat and began thinking.
Heidi soon came running out with her book under her arm. "That's
right, grandfather," she exclaimed as she saw he had already
taken his seat, and in a second she was beside him and had her
book open at the particular tale, for she had read it so often
that the leaves fell open at it of their own accord. And now in
a sympathetic voice Heidi began to read of the son when he was
happily at home, and went out into the fields with his father's
flocks, and was dressed in a fine cloak, and stood leaning on
his shepherd's staff watching as the sun went down, just as he
was to be seen in the picture. But then all at once he wanted to
have his own goods and money and to be his own master, and so he
asked his father to give him his portion, and he left his home
and went and wasted all his substance. And when he had nothing
left he hired himself out to a master who had no flocks and
fields like his father, but only swine to keep; and so he was
obliged to watch these, and he only had rags to wear and a few
husks to eat such as the swine fed upon. And then he thought of
his old happy life at home and of how kindly his father had
treated him and how ungrateful he had been, and he wept for
sorrow and longing. And he thought to himself, "I will arise and
go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I am not worthy to
be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.'" And
when he was yet a great way off his father saw him . . . Here
Heidi paused in her reading. "What do you think happens now,
grandfather?" she said. "Do you think the father is still angry
and will say to him, 'I told you so!' Well, listen now to what
comes next." His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and
fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no
more worthy to be called thy son." But the father said to his
servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put
a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the
fatted calf and kill it; and let us eat and be merry, for this my
son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." And
they began to be merry.
"Isn't that a beautiful tale, grandfather," said Heidi, as the
latter continued to sit without speaking, for she had expected
him to express pleasure and astonishment.
"You are right, Heidi; it is a beautiful tale," he replied, but
he looked so grave as he said it that Heidi grew silent herself
and sat looking quietly at her pictures. Presently she pushed
her book gently in front of him and said, "See how happy he is
there," and she pointed with her finger to the figure of the
returned prodigal, who was standing by his father clad in fresh
raiment as one of his own sons again.
A few hours later, as Heidi lay fast asleep in her bed, the
grandfather went up the ladder and put his lamp down near her
bed so that the light fell on the sleeping child. Her hands were
still folded as if she had fallen asleep saying her prayers, an
expression of peace and trust lay on the little face, and
something in it seemed to appeal to the grandfather, for he
stood a long time gazing down at her without speaking. At last he
too folded his hands, and with bowed head said in a low voice,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee and am not
worthy to be called thy son." And two large tears rolled down
the old man's cheeks.
Early the next morning he stood in front of his hut and gazed
quietly around him. The fresh bright morning sun lay on mountain
and valley. The sound of a few early bells rang up from the
valley, and the birds were singing their morning song in the fir
trees. He stepped back into the hut and called up, "Come along,
Heidi! the sun is up! Put on your best frock, for we are going
to church together!"
Heidi was not long getting ready; it was such an unusual summons
from her grandfather that she must make haste. She put on her
smart Frankfurt dress and soon went down, but when she saw her
grandfather she stood still, gazing at him in astonishment.
"Why, grandfather!" she exclaimed, "I never saw you look like
that before! and the coat with the silver buttons! Oh, you do
look nice in your Sunday coat!"
The old man smiled and replied, "And you too; now come along!"
He took Heidi's hand in his and together they walked down the
mountain side. The bells were ringing in every direction now,
sounding louder and fuller as they neared the valley, and Heidi
listened to them with delight. "Hark at them, grandfather! it's
like a great festival!"
The congregation had already assembled and the singing had begun
when Heidi and her grandfather entered the church at Dorfli and
sat down at the back. But before the hymn was over every one was
nudging his neighbor and whispering, "Do you see? Alm-Uncle is
Soon everybody in the church knew of Alm-Uncle's presence, and
the women kept on turning round to look and quite lost their
place in the singing. But everybody became more attentive when
the sermon began, for the preacher spoke with such warmth and
thankfulness that those present felt the effect of his words, as
if some great joy had come to them all. At the close of the
service Alm-Uncle took Heidi by the hand, and on leaving the
church made his way towards the pastor's house; the rest of the
congregation looked curiously after him, some even following to
see whether he went inside the pastor's house, which he did.
Then they collected in groups and talked over this strange event,
keeping their eyes on the pastor's door, watching to see whether
Alm-Uncle came out looking angry and quarrelsome, or as if the
interview had been a peaceful one, for they could not imagine
what had brought the old man down, and what it all meant. Some,
however, adopted a new tone and expressed their opinion that Alm-
Uncle was not so bad after all as they thought, "for see how
carefully he took the little one by the hand." And others
responded and said they had always thought people had
exaggerated about him, that if he was so downright bad he would
be afraid to go inside the pastor's house. Then the miller put in
his word, "Did I not tell you so from the first? What child is
there who would run away from where she had plenty to eat and
drink and everything of the best, home to a grandfather who was
cruel and unkind, and of whom she was afraid?"
And so everybody began to feel quite friendly towards Alm-Uncle,
and the women now came up and related all they had been told by
Peter and his grandmother, and finally they all stood there like
people waiting for an old friend whom they had long missed from
among their number.
Meanwhile Alm-Uncle had gone into the pastor's house and knocked
at the study door. The latter came out and greeted him, not as
if he was surprised to see him, but as if he had quite expected
to see him there; he probably had caught sight of the old man in
church. He shook hands warmly with him, and Alm-Uncle was unable
at first to speak, for he had not expected such a friendly
reception. At last he collected himself and said, "I have come
to ask you, pastor, to forget the words I spoke to you when you
called on me, and to beg you not to owe me ill-will for having
been so obstinately set against your well-meant advice. You were
right, and I was wrong, but I have now made up my mind to follow
your advice and to find a place for myself at Dorfli for the
winter, for the child is not strong enough to stand the bitter
cold up on the mountain. And if the people down here look
askance at me, as at a person not to be trusted, I know it is my
own fault, and you will, I am sure, not do so."
The pastor's kindly eyes shone with pleasure. He pressed the old
man's hand in his, and said with emotion, "Neighbor, you went
into the right church before you came to mine; I am greatly
rejoiced. You will not repent coming to live with us again; as
for myself you will always be welcome as a dear friend and
neighbor, and I look forward to our spending many a pleasant
winter evening together, for I shall prize your companionship,
and we will find some nice friends too for the little one." And
the pastor laid his hand kindly on the child's curly head and
took her by the hand as he walked to the door with the old man.
He did not say good-bye to him till they were standing outside,
so that all the people standing about saw him shake hands as if
parting reluctantly from his best friend. The door had hardly
shut behind him before the whole congregation now came forward
to greet Alm-Uncle, every one striving to be the first to shake
hands with him, and so many were held out that Alm-Uncle did not
know with which to begin; and some said, "We are so pleased to
see you among us again," and another, "I have long been wishing
we could have a talk together again," and greetings of all kinds
echoed from every side, and when Alm-Uncle told them he was
thinking of returning to his old quarters in Dorfli for the
winter, there was such a general chorus of pleasure that any one
would have thought he was the most beloved person in all Dorfli,
and that they had hardly known how to live without him. Most of
his friends accompanied him and Heidi some way up the mountain,
and each as they bid him good-bye made him promise that when he
next came down he would without fail come and call. As the old
man at last stood alone with the child, watching their
retreating figures, there was a light upon his face as if
reflected from some inner sunshine of heart. Heidi, looking up at
him with her clear steady eyes, said, "Grandfather, you look
nicer and nicer to-day, I never saw you quite like that before."
"Do you think so?" he answered with a smile. "Well, yes, Heidi,
I am happier to-day than I deserve, happier than I had thought
possible; it is good to be at peace with God and man! God was
good to me when He sent you to my hut."
When they reached Peter's home the grandfather opened the door
and walked straight in. "Good-morning, grandmother," he said. "I
think we shall have to do some more patching, up before the
autumn winds come."
"Dear God, if it is not Uncle!" cried the grandmother in pleased
surprise. "That I should live to see such a thing! and now I can
thank you for all that you have done for me. May God reward you!
may God reward you!" She stretched out a trembling hand to him,
and when the grandfather shook it warmly, she went on, still
holding his, "And I have something on my heart I want to say, a
prayer to make to you! If I have injured you in any way, do not
punish me by sending the child away again before I lie under the
grass. Oh, you do not know what that child is to me!" and she
clasped the child to her, for Heidi had already taken her usual
stand close to the grandmother.
"Have no fear, grandmother," said Uncle in a reassuring voice,
"I shall not punish either you or myself by doing so. We are all
together now, and pray God we may continue so for long."
Brigitta now drew the Uncle aside towards a corner of the room
and showed him the hat with the feathers, explaining to him how
it came there, and adding that of course she could not take such
a thing from a child.
But the grandfather looked towards Heidi without any displeasure
of countenance and said, "The hat is hers, and if she does not
wish to wear it any more she has a right to say so and to give
it to you, so take it, pray."
Brigitta was highly delighted at this. "It is well worth more
than ten shillings!" she said as she held it up for further
admiration. "And what a blessing Heidi has brought home with her
from Frankfurt! I have thought sometimes that it might be good
to send Peter there for a little while; what do you think,
A merry look came into the grandfather's eye. He thought it
would do Peter no harm, but he had better wait for a good
opportunity before starting. At this moment the subject of their
conversation himself rushed in, evidently in a great hurry,
knocking his head violently against the door in his haste, so
that everything in the room rattled. Gasping and breathless he
stood still after this and held out a letter. This was another
great event, for such a thing had never happened before; the
letter was addressed to Heidi and had been delivered at the post-
office in Dorfli. They all sat down round the table to hear what
was in it, for Heidi opened it at once and read it without
hesitation. The letter was from Clara. The latter wrote that the
house had been so dull since Heidi left that she did not know how
to bear herself, and she had at last persuaded her father to take
her to the baths at Ragatz in the coming autumn; grandmamma had
arranged to join them there, and they both were looking forward
to paying her and her grandfather a visit. And grandmamma sent a
further message to Heidi which was that the latter had done quite
right to take the rolls to the grandmother, and so that she might
not have to eat them dry, she was sending some coffee, which was
already on its way, and grandmamma hoped when she came to the
Alm in the autumn that Heidi would take her to see her old
There were exclamations of pleasure and astonishment on hearing
all this news, and so much to talk and ask about that even the
grandfather did not notice how the time was passing; there was
general delight at the thought of the coming days, and even more
at the meeting which had taken place on this one, and the
grandmother spoke and said, "The happiest of all things is when
an old friend comes and greets us as in former times; the heart
is comforted with the assurance that some day everything that we
have loved will be given back to us.--You will come soon again,
uncle, and you child, to-morrow?"
The old man and Heidi promised her faithfully to do so; then it
was time to break up the party, and these two went back up the
mountain. As they had been greeted with bells when they made
their journey down in the morning, so now they were accompanied
by the peaceful evening chimes as they climbed to the hut, which
had quite a Sunday-like appearance as it stood bathed in the
light of the low evening sun.
But when grandmamma comes next autumn there will be many fresh
joys and surprises both for Heidi and grandmother; without doubt
a proper bed will be put up in the hay-loft, for wherever
grandmamma steps in, there everything is soon in right order,
outside and in.
CHAPTER XV. PREPARATIONS FOR A JOURNEY
The kind doctor who had given the order that Heidi was to be
sent home was walking along one of the broad streets towards Herr
Sesemann's house. It was a sunny September morning, so full of
light and sweetness that it seemed as if everybody must rejoice.
But the doctor walked with his eyes fastened to the ground and
did not once lift them to the blue sky above him. There was an
expression of sadness on his face, formerly so cheerful, and his
hair had grown greyer since the spring. The doctor had had an
only daughter, who, after his wife's death, had been his sole
and constant companion, but only a few months previously death