Part 4 out of 5
had deprived him of his dear child, and he had never been the
same bright and cheery man since.
Sebastian opened the door to him, greeting him with every mark
of respectful civility, for the doctor was not only the most
cherished friend of the master and his daughter, but had by his
kindness won the hearts of the whole household.
"Everything as usual, Sebastian?" asked the doctor in his
pleasant voice as he preceded Sebastian up the stairs.
"I am glad you have come, doctor," exclaimed Herr Sesemann as
the latter entered. "We must really have another talk over this
Swiss journey; do you still adhere to your decision, even though
Clara is decidedly improving in health?"
"My dear Sesemann, I never knew such a man as you!" said the
doctor as he sat down beside his friend. "I really wish your
mother was here; everything would be clear and straightforward
then and she would soon put things in right train. You sent for
me three times yesterday only to ask me the same question,
though you know what I think."
"Yes, I know, it's enough to make you out of patience with me;
but you must understand, dear friend"--and Herr Sesemann laid
his hand imploringly on the doctor's shoulder--"that I feel I
have not the courage to refuse the child what I have been
promising her all along, and for months now she has been living
on the thought of it day and night. She bore this last bad attack
so patiently because she was buoyed up with the hope that she
should soon start on her Swiss journey, and see her friend Heidi
again; and now must I tell the poor child, who has to give up so
many pleasures, that this visit she has so long looked forward to
must also be cancelled? I really have not the courage to do it."
"You must make up your mind to it, Sesemann," said the doctor
with authority, and as his friend continued silent and dejected
he went on after a pause, "Consider yourself how the matter
stands. Clara has not had such a bad summer as this last one for
years. Only the worst results would follow from the fatigue of
such a journey, and it is out of the question for her. And then
we are already in September, and although it may still be warm
and fine up there, it may just as likely be already very cold.
The days too are growing short, and as Clara cannot spend the
night up there she would only have a two hours' visit at the
outside. The journey from Ragatz would take hours, for she would
have to be carried up the mountain in a chair. In short,
Sesemann, it is impossible. But I will go in with you and talk
to Clara; she is a reasonable child, and I will tell her what my
plans are. Next May she shall be taken to the baths and stay
there for the cure until it is quite hot weather. Then she can
be carried up the mountain from time to time, and when she is
stronger she will enjoy these excursions far more than she would
now. Understand, Sesemann, that if we want to give the child a
chance of recovery we must use the utmost care and
Herr Sesemann, who had listened to the doctor in sad and
submissive silence, now suddenly jumped up. "Doctor," he said,
"tell me truly: have you really any hope of her final recovery?"
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. "Very little," he replied
quietly. "But, friend, think of my trouble. You have still a
beloved child to look for you and greet you on your return home.
You do not come back to an empty house and sit down to a
solitary meal. And the child is happy and comfortable at home
too. If there is much that she has to give up, she has on the
other hand many advantages. No, Sesemann, you are not so greatly
to be pitied--you have still the happiness of being together.
Think of my lonely house!"
Herr Sesemann was now striding up and down the room as was his
habit when deeply engaged in thought. Suddenly he came to a
pause beside his friend and laid his hand on his shoulder.
"Doctor, I have an idea; I cannot bear to see you look as you do;
you are no longer the same man. You must be taken out of yourself
for a while, and what do you think I propose? That you shall take
the journey and go and pay Heidi a visit in our name."
The doctor was taken aback at this sudden proposal and wanted to
make objections, but his friend gave him no time to say
anything. He was so delighted with his idea, that he seized the
doctor by the arm and drew him into Clara's room. The kind doctor
was always a welcome visitor to Clara, for he generally had
something amusing to tell her. Lately, it is true, he had been
graver, but Clara knew the reason why and would have given much
to see him his old lively self again. She held out her hand to
him as he came up to her; he took a seat beside her, and her
father also drew up his chair, and taking Clara's hand in his
began to talk to her of the Swiss journey and how he himself had
looked forward to it. He passed as quickly as he could over the
main point that it was now impossible for her to undertake it,
for he dreaded the tears that would follow; but he went on
without pause to tell her of his new plan, and dwelt on the great
benefit it would be to his friend if he could be persuaded to
take this holiday.
The tears were indeed swimming in the blue eyes, although Clara
struggled to keep them down for her father's sake, but it was a
bitter disappointment to give up the journey, the thought of
which had been her only joy and solace during the lonely hours
of her long illness. She knew, however, that her father would
never refuse her a thing unless he was certain that it would be
harmful for her. So she swallowed her tears as well as she could
and turned her thoughts to the one hope still left her. Taking
the doctor's hand and stroking it, she said pleadingly,--
"Dear doctor, you will go and see Heidi, won't you? and then you
can come and tell me all about it, what it is like up there, and
what Heidi and the grandfather, and Peter and the goats do all
day. I know them all so well! And then you can take what I want
to send to Heidi; I have thought about it all, and also
something for the grandmother. Do pray go, dear doctor, and I
will take as much cod liver oil as you like."
Whether this promise finally decided the doctor it is impossible
to say, but it is certain that he smiled and said,--
"Then I must certainly go, Clara, for you will then get as plump
and strong as your father and I wish to see you. And have you
decided when I am to start?"
"To-morrow morning--early if possible," replied Clara.
"Yes, she is right," put in Herr Sesemann; "the sun is shining
and the sky is blue, and there is no time to be lost; it is a
pity to miss a single one of these days on the mountain."
The doctor could not help laughing. "You will be reproaching me
next for not being there already; well, I must go and make
arrangements for getting off."
But Clara would not let him go until she had given him endless
messages for Heidi, and had explained all he was to look at so
as to give her an exact description on his return. Her presents
she would send round later, as Fraulein Rottenmeier must first
help her to pack them up; at that moment she was out on one of
her excursions into the town which always kept her engaged for
some time. The doctor promised to obey Clara's directions in
every particular; he would start some time during the following
day if not the first thing in the morning, and would bring back a
faithful account of his experiences and of all he saw and heard.
The servants of a household have a curious faculty of divining
what is going on before they are actually told about anything.
Sebastian and Tinette must have possessed this faculty in a high
degree, for even as the doctor was going downstairs, Tinette,
who had been rung for, entered Clara's room.
"Take that box and bring it back filled with the soft cakes
which we have with coffee," said Clara, pointing to a box which
had been brought long before in preparation for this. Tinette
took it up, and carried it out, dangling it contemptuously in her
"Hardly worth the trouble I should have thought," she said
pertly as she left the room.
As Sebastian opened the door for the doctor he said with a bow,
"Will the Herr Doctor be so kind as to give the little miss my
"I see," said the doctor, "you know then already that I am off
on a journey."
Sebastian hesitated and gave an awkward little cough. "I am--I
have--I hardly know myself. O yes, I remember; I happened to
pass through the dining-room and caught little miss's name, and I
put two and two together--and so I thought--"
"I see, I see," smiled the doctor, "one can find out a great
many thinks by thinking. Good-bye till I see you again,
Sebastian, I will be sure and give your message."
The doctor was hastening off when he met with a sudden obstacle;
the violent wind had prevented Fraulein Rottenmeier prosecuting
her walk any farther, and she was just returning and had reached
the door as he was coming out. The white shawl she wore was so
blown out by the wind that she looked like a ship in full sail.
The doctor drew back, but Fraulein Rottenmeier had always
evinced peculiar appreciation and respect for this man, and she
also drew back with exaggerated politeness to let him pass. The
two stood for a few seconds, each anxious to make way for the
other, but a sudden gust of wind sent Fraulein Rottenmeier flying
with all her sails almost into the doctor's arms, and she had to
pause and recover herself before she could shake hands with the
doctor with becoming decorum. She was put out at having been
forced to enter in so undignified a manner, but the doctor had a
way of smoothing people's ruffled feathers, and she was soon
listening with her usual composure while he informed her of his
intended journey, begging her in his most conciliatory voice to
pack up the parcels for Heidi as she alone knew how to pack. And
then he took his leave.
Clara quite expected to have a long tussle with Fraulein
Rottenmeier before she would get the latter to consent to
sending all the things that she had collected as presents for
Heidi. But this time she was mistaken, for Fraulein Rottenmeier
was in a more than usually good temper. She cleared the large
table so that all the things for Heidi could be spread out upon
it and packed under Clara's own eyes. It was no light job, for
the presents were of all shapes and sizes. First there was the
little warm cloak with a hood, which had been designed by Clara
herself, in order that Heidi during the coming winter might be
able to go and see grandmother when she liked, and not have to
wait till her grandfather could take her wrapped up in a sack to
keep her from freezing. Then came a thick warm shawl for the
grandmother, in which she could wrap herself well up and not feel
the cold when the wind came sweeping in such terrible gusts round
the house. The next object was the large box full of cakes; these
were also for the grandmother, that she might have something to
eat with her coffee besides bread. An immense sausage was the
next article; this had been originally intended for Peter, who
never had anything but bread and cheese, but Clara had altered
her mind, fearing that in his delight he might eat it all up at
once and make himself ill. So she arranged to send it to
Brigitta, who could take some for herself and the grandmother and
give Peter his portion out by degrees. A packet of tobacco was a
present for grandfather, who was fond of his pipe as he sat
resting in the evening. Finally there was a whole lot of
mysterious little bags, and parcels, and boxes, which Clara had
had especial pleasure in collecting, as each was to be a joyful
surprise for Heidi as she opened it. The work came to an end at
last, and an imposing-looking package lay on the floor ready for
transport. Fraulein Rottenmeier looked at it with satisfaction,
lost in the consideration of the art of packing. Clara eyed it
too with pleasure, picturing Heidi's exclamations and jumps of
joy and surprise when the huge parcel arrived at the hut.
And now Sebastian came in, and lifting the package on to his
shoulder, carried it off to be forwarded at once to the doctor's
CHAPTER XVI. A VISITOR
The early light of morning lay rosy red upon the mountains, and
a fresh breeze rustled through the fir trees and set their
ancient branches waving to and fro. The sound awoke Heidi and she
opened her eyes. The roaring in the trees always stirred a strong
emotion within her and seemed to drew her irresistibly to them.
So she jumped out of bed and dressed herself as quickly as she
could, but it took her some time even then, for she was careful
now to be always clean and tidy.
When she went down her ladder she found her grandfather had
already left the hut. He was standing outside looking at the sky
and examining the landscape as he did every morning, to see what
sort of weather it was going to be.
Little pink clouds were floating over the sky, that was growing
brighter and bluer with every minute, while the heights and the
meadow lands were turning gold under the rising sun, which was
just appearing above the topmost peaks.
"O how beautiful! how beautiful! Good-morning, grandfather!"
cried Heidi, running out.
"What, you are awake already, are you?" he answered, giving her
a morning greeting.
Then Heidi ran round to the fir trees to enjoy the sound she
loved so well, and with every fresh gust of wind which came
roaring through their branches she gave a fresh jump and cry of
Meanwhile the grandfather had gone to milk the goats; this done
he brushed and washed them, ready for their mountain excursion,
and brought them out of their shed. As soon as Heidi caught
sight of her two friends she ran and embraced them, and they
bleated in return, while they vied with each other in showing
their affection by poking their heads against her and trying
which could get nearest her, so that she was almost crushed
between them. But Heidi was not afraid of them, and when the
lively Little Bear gave rather too violent a thrust, she only
said, "No, Little Bear, you are pushing like the Great Turk," and
Little Bear immediately drew back his head and left off his rough
attentions, while Little Swan lifted her head and put on an
expression as much as to say, "No one shall ever accuse me of
behaving like the Great Turk." For White Swan was a rather more
distinguished person than Brown Bear.
And now Peter's whistle was heard and all the goats came along,
leaping and springing, and Heidi soon found herself surrounded
by the whole flock, pushed this way and that by their
obstreperous greetings, but at last she managed to get through
them to where Snowflake was standing, for the young goat had in
vain striven to reach her.
Peter now gave a last tremendous whistle, in order to startle
the goats and drive them off, for he wanted to get near himself
to say something to Heidi. The goats sprang aside and he came up
"Can you come out with me to-day?" he asked, evidently unwilling
to hear her refuse.
"I am afraid I cannot, Peter," she answered. "I am expecting
them every minute from Frankfurt, and I must be at home when they
"You have said the same thing for days now," grumbled Peter.
"I must continue to say it till they come," replied Heidi. "How
can you think, Peter, that I would be away when they came? As if
I could do such a thing?"
"They would find Uncle at home," he answered with a snarling
But at this moment the grandfather's stentorian voice was heard.
"Why is the army not marching forward? Is it the field-marshal
who is missing or some of the troops?"
Whereupon Peter turned and went off, swinging his stick round so
that it whistled through the air, and the goats, who understood
the signal, started at full trot for their mountain pasture,
Peter following in their wake.
Since Heidi had been back with her grandfather things came now
and then into her mind of which she had never thought in former
days. So now, with great exertion, she put her bed in order
every morning, patting and stroking it till she had got it
perfectly smooth and flat. Then she went about the room
downstairs, put each chair back in its place, and if she found
anything lying about she put it in the cupboard. After that she
fetched a duster, climbed on a chair, and rubbed the table till
it shone again. When the grandfather came in later he would look
round well pleased and say to himself, "We look like Sunday every
day now; Heidi did not go abroad for nothing."
After Peter had departed and she and her grandfather had
breakfasted, Heidi began her daily work as usual, but she did
not get on with it very fast. It was so lovely out of doors to-
day, and every minute something happened to interrupt her in her
work. Now it was a bright beam of sun shining cheerfully through
the open window, and seeming to say, "Come out, Heidi, come out!"
Heidi felt she could not stay indoors, and she ran out in answer
to the call. The sunlight lay sparkling on everything around the
hut and on all the mountains and far away along the valley, and
the grass slope looked so golden and inviting that she was
obliged to sit down for a few minutes and look about her. Then
she suddenly remembered that her stool was left standing in the
middle of the floor and that the table had not been rubbed, and
she jumped up and ran inside again. But it was not long before
the fir trees began their old song; Heidi felt it in all her
limbs, and again the desire to run outside was irresistible, and
she was off to play and leap to the tune of the waving branches.
The grandfather, who was busy in his work-shed, stepped out from
time to time smiling to watch her at her gambols. He had just
gone back to his work on one of these occasions when Heidi
called out, "Grandfather! grandfather! Come, come!"
He stepped quickly out, almost afraid something had happened to
the child, but he saw her running towards where the mountain
path descended, crying, "They are coming! they are coming! and
the doctor is in front of them!"
Heidi rushed forward to welcome her old friend, who held out his
hands in greeting to her. When she came up to him she clung to
his outstretched arm, and exclaimed in the joy of her heart,
"Good-morning, doctor, and thank you ever so many times."
"God bless you, child! what have you got to thank me for?" asked
the doctor, smiling.
"For being at home again with grandfather," the child explained.
The doctor's face brightened as if a sudden ray of sunshine had
passed across it; he had not expected such a reception as this.
Lost in the sense of his loneliness he had climbed the mountain
without heeding how beautiful it was on every side, and how more
and more beautiful it became the higher he got. He had quite
thought that Heidi would have forgotten him; she had seen so
little of him, and he had felt rather like one bearing a message
of disappointment, anticipating no great show of favor, coming
as he did without the expected friends. But instead, here was
Heidi, her eyes dancing for joy, and full of gratitude and
affection, clinging to the arm of her kind friend.
He took her by the hand with fatherly tenderness.
"Take me now to your grandfather, Heidi, and show me where you
But Heidi still remained standing, looking down the path with a
questioning gaze. "Where are Clara and grandmother?" she asked.
"Ah, now I have to tell you something which you will be as sorry
about as I am," answered the doctor. "You see, Heidi, I have
come alone. Clara was very ill and could not travel, and so the
grandmother stayed behind too. But next spring, when the days
grow warm and long again, they are coming here for certain."
Heidi was greatly concerned; she could not at first bring
herself to believe that what she had for so long been picturing
to herself was not going to happen after all. She stood
motionless for a second or two, overcome by the unexpected
disappointment. The doctor said nothing further; all around lay
the silence, only the sighing of the fir trees could be heard
from where they stood. Then Heidi suddenly remembered why she had
run down there, and that the doctor had really come. She lifted
her eyes and saw the sad expression in his as he looked down at
her; she had never seen him with that look on his face when she
was in Frankfurt. It went to Heidi's heart; she could not bear to
see anybody unhappy, especially her dear doctor. No doubt it was
because Clara and grandmother could not come, and so she began to
think how best she might console him.
"Oh, it won't be very long to wait for spring, and then they
will be sure to come," she said in a reassuring voice. "Time
passes very quickly with us, and then they will be able to stay
longer when they are here, and Clara will be pleased at that. Now
let us go and find grandfather."
Hand in hand with her friend she climbed up to the hut. She was
so anxious to make the doctor happy again that she began once
more assuring him that the winter passed so quickly on the
mountain that it was hardly to be taken account of, and that
summer would be back again before they knew it, and she became
so convinced of the truth of her own words that she called out
quite cheerfully to her grandfather as they approached, "They
have not come to-day, but they will be here in a very short
The doctor was no stranger to the grandfather, for the child had
talked to him so much about her friend. The old man held out his
hand to his guest in friendly greeting. Then the two men sat
down in front of the hut, and Heidi had her little place too, for
the doctor beckoned her to come and sit beside him. The doctor
told Uncle how Herr Sesemann had insisted on his taking this
journey, and he felt himself it would do him good as he had not
been quite the thing for a long time. Then he whispered to Heidi
that there was something being brought up the mountain which had
travelled with him from Frankfurt, and which would give her even
more pleasure than seeing the old doctor. Heidi got into a great
state of excitement on hearing this, wondering what it could be,
The old man urged the doctor to spend as many of the beautiful
autumn days on the mountain as he could, and at least to come up
whenever it was fine; he could not offer him a lodging, as he had
no place to put him; he advised the doctor, however, not to go
back to Ragatz, but to stay at Dorfli, where there was a clean
tidy little inn. Then the doctor could come up every morning,
which would do him no end of good, and if he liked, he, the
grandfather, would act as his guide to any part of the mountains
he would like to see. The doctor was delighted with this
proposal, and it was settled that it should be as the
Meanwhile the sun had been climbing up the sky, and it was now
noon. The wind had sunk and the fir trees stood motionless. The
air was still wonderfully warm and mild for that height, while a
delicious freshness was mingled with the warmth of the sun.
Alm-Uncle now rose and went indoors, returning in a few minutes
with a table which he placed in front of the seat.
"There, Heidi, now run in and bring us what we want for the
table," he said. "The doctor must take us as he finds us; if the
food is plain, he will acknowledge that the dining-room is
"I should think so indeed," replied the doctor as he looked down
over the sun-lit valley, "and I accept the kind invitation;
everything must taste good up here."
Heidi ran backwards and forwards as busy as a bee and brought
out everything she could find in the cupboard, for she did not
know how to be pleased enough that she could help to entertain
the doctor. The grandfather meanwhile had been preparing the
meal, and now appeared with a steaming jug of milk and golden-
brown toasted cheese. Then he cut some thin slices from the meat
he had cured himself in the pure air, and the doctor enjoyed his
dinner better than he had for a whole year past.
"Our Clara must certainly come up here," he said, "it would make
her quite a different person, and if she ate for any length of
time as I have to-day, she would grow plumper than any one has
ever known her before."
As he spoke a man was seen coming up the path carrying a large
package on his back. When he reached the hut he threw it on the
ground and drew in two or three good breaths of the mountain
"Ah, here's what travelled with me from Frankfurt," said the
doctor, rising, and he went up to the package and began undoing
it, Heidi looking on in great expectation. After he had released
it from its heavy outer covering, "There, child," he said, "now
you can go on unpacking your treasures yourself."
Heidi undid her presents one by one until they were all
displayed; she could not speak the while for wonder and delight.
Not till the doctor went up to her again and opened the large
box to show Heidi the cakes that were for the grandmother to eat
with her coffee, did she at last give a cry of joy, exclaiming,
"Now grandmother will have nice things to eat," and she wanted to
pack everything up again and start at once to give them to her.
But the grandfather said he should walk down with the doctor that
evening and she could go with them and take the things. Heidi
now found the packet of tobacco which she ran and gave to her
grandfather; he was so pleased with it that he immediately
filled his pipe with some, and the two men then sat down together
again, the smoke curling up from their pipes as they talked of
all kinds of things, while Heidi continued to examine first one
and then another of her presents. Suddenly she ran up to them,
and standing in front of the doctor waited till there was a pause
in the conversation, and then said, "No, the other thing has not
given me more pleasure than seeing you, doctor."
The two men could not help laughing, and the doctor answered
that he should never have thought it.
As the sun began to sink behind the mountains the doctor rose,
thinking it was time to return to Dorfli and seek for quarters.
The grandfather carried the cakes and the shawl and the large
sausage, and the doctor took Heidi's hand, so they all three
started down the mountain. Arrived at Peter's home Heidi bid the
others good-bye; she was to wait at grandmother's till her
grandfather, who was going on to Dorfli with his guest, returned
to fetch her. As the doctor shook hands with her she asked,
"Would you like to come out with the goats to-morrow morning?"
for she could think of no greater treat to offer him.
"Agreed!" answered the doctor, "we will go together,"
Heidi now ran in to the grandmother; she first, with some
effort, managed to carry in the box of cakes; then she ran out
again and brought in the sausage--for her grandfather had put the
presents down by the door--and then a third time for the shawl.
She had placed them as close as she could to the grandmother, so
that the latter might be able to feel them and understand what
was there. The shawl she laid over the old woman's knees.
"They are all from Frankfurt, from Clara and grandmamma," she
explained to the astonished grandmother and Brigitta, the latter
having watched her dragging in all the heavy things, unable to
imagine what was happening.
"And you are very pleased with the cakes, aren't you,
grandmother? taste how soft they are!" said Heidi over and over
again, to which the grandmother continued to answer, "Yes, yes,
Heidi, I should think so! what kind people they must be!" And
then she would pass her hand over the warm thick shawl and add,
"This will be beautiful for the cold winter! I never thought I
should ever have such a splendid thing as this to put on."
Heidi could not help feeling some surprise at the grandmother
seeming to take more pleasure in the shawl than the cakes.
Meanwhile Brigitta stood gazing at the sausage with almost an
expression of awe. She had hardly in her life seen such a
monster sausage, much less owned one, and she could scarcely
believe her eyes. She shook her head and said doubtfully, "I must
ask Uncle what it is meant for,"
But Heidi answered without hesitation, "It is meant for eating,
not for anything else."
Peter came tumbling in at this minute. "Uncle is just behind me,
he is coming--" he began, and then stopped short, for his eye
had caught sight of the sausage, and he was too much taken aback
to say more. But Heidi understood that her grandfather was near
and so said good-bye to grandmother. The old man now never passed
the door without going in to wish the old woman good-day, and she
liked to hear his footstep approaching, for he always had a
cheery word for her. But to-day it was growing late for Heidi,
who was always up with the lark, and the grandfather would never
let her go to bed after hours; so this evening he only called
good-night through the open door and started home at once with
the child, and the two climbed under the starlit sky back to
their peaceful dwelling.
CHAPTER XVII. A COMPENSATION
The next morning the doctor climbed up from Dorfli with Peter
and the goats. The kindly gentleman tried now and then to enter
into conversation with the boy, but his attempts failed, for he
could hardly get a word out of Peter in answer to his questions.
Peter was not easily persuaded to talk. So the party silently
made their way up to the hut, where they found Heidi awaiting
them with her two goats, all three as fresh and lively as the
morning sun among the mountains.
"Are you coming to-day?" said Peter, repeating the words with
which he daily greeted her, either in question or in summons.
"Of course I am, if the doctor is coming too," replied Heidi.
Peter cast a sidelong glance at the doctor. The grandfather now
came out with the dinner bag, and after bidding good-day to the
doctor he went up to Peter and slung it over his neck. It was
heavier than usual, for Alm-Uncle had added some meat to-day, as
he thought the doctor might like to have his lunch out and eat
it when the children did. Peter gave a grin, for he felt sure
there was something more than ordinary in it.
And so the ascent began. The goats as usual came thronging
around Heidi, each trying to be nearest her, until at last she
stood still and said, "Now you must go on in front and behave
properly, and not keep on turning back and pushing and poking me,
for I want to talk to the doctor," and she gave Snowflake a
little pat on the back and told her to be good and obedient. By
degrees she managed to make her way out from among them and
joined the doctor, who took her by the hand. He had no difficulty
now in conversing with his companion, for Heidi had a great deal
to say about the goats and their peculiarities, and about the
flowers and the rocks and the birds, and so they clambered on and
reached their resting-place before they were aware. Peter had
sent a good many unfriendly glances towards the doctor on the way
up, which might have quite alarmed the latter if he had happened
to notice them, which, fortunately, he did not.
Heidi now led her friend to her favorite spot where she was
accustomed to sit and enjoy the beauty around her; the doctor
followed her example and took his seat beside her on the warm
grass. Over the heights and over the far green valley hung the
golden glory of the autumn day. The great snow-field sparkled in
the bright sunlight, and the two grey rocky peaks rose in their
ancient majesty against the dark blue sky. A soft, light morning
breeze blew deliciously across the mountain, gently stirring the
bluebells that still remained of the summer's wealth of flowers,
their slender heads nodding cheerfully in the sunshine. Overhead
the great bird was flying round and round in wide circles, but to-
day he made no sound; poised on his large wings he floated
contentedly in the blue ether. Heidi looked about her first at
one thing and then at another. The waving flowers, the blue sky,
the bright sunshine, the happy bird--everything was so
beautiful! so beautiful! Her eyes were alight with joy. And now
she turned to her friend to see if he too were enjoying the
beauty. The doctor had been sitting thoughtfully gazing around
him. As he met her glad bright eyes, "Yes, Heidi," he responded,
"I see how lovely it all is, but tell me--if one brings a sad
heart up here, how may it be healed so that it can rejoice in all
"Oh, but," exclaimed Heidi, "no one is sad up here, only in
The doctor smiled and then growing serious again he continued,
"But supposing one is not able to leave all the sadness behind
at Frankfurt; can you tell me anything that will help then?"
"When you do not know what more to do you must go and tell
everything to God," answered Heidi with decision.
"Ah, that is a good thought of yours, Heidi," said the doctor.
"But if it is God Himself who has sent the trouble, what can we
say to Him then?"
Heidi sat pondering for a while; she was sure in her heart that
God could help out of every trouble. She thought over her own
experiences and then found her answer.
"Then you must wait," she said, "and keep on saying to yourself:
God certainly knows of some happiness for us which He is going
to bring out of the trouble, only we must have patience and not
run away. And then all at once something happens and we see
clearly ourselves that God has had some good thought in His mind
all along; but because we cannot see things beforehand, and only
know how dreadfully miserable we are, we think it is always going
to be so."
"That is a beautiful faith, child, and be sure you hold it
fast," replied the doctor. Then he sat on a while in silence,
looking at the great overshadowing mountains and the green,
sunlit valley below before he spoke again,--
"Can you understand, Heidi, that a man may sit here with such a
shadow over his eyes that he cannot feel and enjoy the beauty
around him, while the heart grows doubly sad knowing how
beautiful it could be? Can you understand that?"
A pain shot through the child's young happy heart. The shadow
over the eyes brought to her remembrance the grandmother, who
would never again be able to see the sunlight and the beauty up
here. This was Heidi's great sorrow, which re-awoke each time
she thought about the darkness. She did not speak for a few
minutes, for her happiness was interrupted by this sudden pang.
Then in a grave voice she said,--
"Yes, I can understand it. And I know this, that then one must
say one of grandmother's hymns, which bring the light back a
little, and often make it so bright for her that she is quite
happy again. Grandmother herself told me this."
"Which hymns are they, Heidi?" asked the doctor.
"I only know the one about the sun and the beautiful garden, and
some of the verses of the long one, which are favorites with
her, and she always likes me to read them to her two or three
times over," replied Heidi.
"Well, say the verses to me then, I should like to hear them
too," and the doctor sat up in order to listen better.
Heidi put her hands together and sat collecting her thoughts for
a second or two: "Shall I begin at the verse that grandmother
says gives her a feeling of hope and confidence?"
The doctor nodded his assent, and Heidi began,--
Let not your heart be troubled
Nor fear your soul dismay,
There is a wise Defender
And He will be your stay.
Where you have failed, He conquers,
See, how the foeman flies!
And all your tribulation
Is turned to glad surprise.
If for a while it seemeth
His mercy is withdrawn,
That He no longer careth
For His wandering child forlorn,
Doubt not His great compassion,
His love can never tire,
To those who wait in patience
He gives their heart's desire.
Heidi suddenly paused; she was not sure if the doctor was still
listening. He was sitting motionless with his hand before his
eyes. She thought he had fallen asleep; when he awoke, if he
wanted to hear more verses, she would go on. There was no sound
anywhere. The doctor sat in silence, but he was certainly not
asleep. His thoughts had carried him back to a long past time:
he saw himself as a little boy standing by his dear mother's
chair; she had her arm round his neck and was saying the very
verses to him that Heidi had just recited--words which he had not
heard now for years. He could hear his mother's voice and see her
loving eyes resting upon him, and as Heidi ceased the old dear
voice seemed to be saying other things to him; and the words he
heard again must have carried him far, far away, for it was a
long time before he stirred or took his hand from his eyes. When
at last he roused himself he met Heidi's eyes looking wonderingly
"Heidi," he said, taking the child's hand in his, "that was a
beautiful hymn of yours," and there was a happier ring in his
voice as he spoke. "We will come out here together another day,
and you will let me hear it again."
Peter meanwhile had had enough to do in giving vent to his
anger. It was now some days since Heidi had been out with him,
and when at last she did come, there she sat the whole time
beside the old gentleman, and Peter could not get a word with
her. He got into a terrible temper, and at last went and stood
some way back behind the doctor, where the latter could not see
him, and doubling his fist made imaginary hits at the enemy.
Presently he doubled both fists, and the longer Heidi stayed
beside the gentleman, the more fiercely did he threaten with
Meanwhile the sun had risen to the height which Peter knew
pointed to the dinner hour. All of a sudden he called at the top
of his voice, "It's dinner time."
Heidi was rising to fetch the dinner bag so that the doctor
might eat his where he sat. But he stopped her, telling her he
was not hungry at all, and only cared for a glass of milk, as he
wanted to climb up a little higher. Then Heidi found that she
also was not hungry and only wanted milk, and she should like,
she said, to take the doctor up to the large moss-covered rock
where Greenfinch had nearly jumped down and killed herself. So
she ran and explained matters to Peter, telling him to go and get
milk for the two. Peter seemed hardly to understand. "Who is
going to eat what is in the bag then?" he asked.
"You can have it," she answered, "only first make haste and get
Peter had seldom performed any task more promptly, for he
thought of the bag and its contents, which now belonged to him.
As soon as the other two were sitting quietly drinking their
milk, he opened it, and quite trembled for joy at the sight of
the meat, and he was just putting his hand in to draw it out when
something seemed to hold him back. His conscience smote him at
the remembrance of how he had stood with his doubled fists behind
the doctor, who was now giving up to him his whole good dinner.
He felt as if he could not now enjoy it. But all at once he
jumped up and ran back to the spot where he had stood before, and
there held up his open hands as a sign that he had no longer any
wish to use them as fists, and kept them up until he felt he had
made amends for his past conduct. Then he rushed back and sat
down to the double enjoyment of a clear conscience and an
unusually satisfying meal.
Heidi and the doctor climbed and talked for a long while, until
the latter said it was time for him to be going back, and no
doubt Heidi would like to go and be with her goats. But Heidi
would not hear of this, as then the doctor would have to go the
whole way down the mountain alone. She insisted on accompanying
him as far as the grandfather's hut, or even a little further.
She kept hold of her friend's hand all the time, and the whole
way she entertained him with accounts of this thing and that,
showing him the spots where the goats loved best to feed, and
others where in summer the flowers of all colors grew in
greatest abundance. She could give them all their right names,
for her grandfather had taught her these during the summer
months. But at last the doctor insisted on her going back; so
they bid each other good-night and the doctor continued his
descent, turning now and again to look back, and each time he saw
Heidi standing on the same spot and waving her hand to him. Even
so in the old days had his own dear little daughter watched him
when he went from home.
It was a bright sunny autumn month. The doctor came up to the
hut every morning, and thence made excursions over the mountain.
Alm-Uncle accompanied him on some of his higher ascents, when
they climbed up to the ancient storm-beaten fir trees and often
disturbed the great bird which rose startled from its nest, with
the whirl of wings and croakings, very near their heads. The
doctor found great pleasure in his companion's conversation, and
was astonished at his knowledge of the plants that grew on the
mountain: he knew the uses of them all, from the aromatic fir
trees and the dark pines with their scented needles, to the
curly moss that sprang up everywhere about the roots of the trees
and the smallest plant and tiniest flower. He was as well versed
also in the ways of the animals, great and small, and had many
amusing anecdotes to tell of these dwellers in caves and holes
and in the tops of the fir trees. And so the time passed
pleasantly and quickly for the doctor, who seldom said good-bye
to the old man at the end of the day without adding, "I never
leave you, friend, without having learnt something new from you."
On some of the very finest days, however, the doctor would
wander out again with Heidi, and then the two would sit together
as on the first day, and the child would repeat her hymns and
tell the doctor things which she alone knew. Peter sat at a
little distance from them, but he was now quite reconciled in
spirit and gave vent to no angry pantomime.
September had drawn to its close, and now one morning the doctor
appeared looking less cheerful than usual. It was his last day,
he said, as he must return to Frankfurt, but he was grieved at
having to say good-bye to the mountain, which he had begun to
feel quite like home. Alm-Uncle, on his side, greatly regretted
the departure of his guest, and Heidi had been now accustomed
for so long to see her good friend every day that she could
hardly believe the time had suddenly come to separate. She looked
up at him in doubt, taken by surprise, but there was no help, he
must go. So he bid farewell to the old man and asked that Heidi
might go with him part of the return way, and Heidi took his hand
and went down the mountain with him, still unable to grasp the
idea that he was going for good. After some distance the doctor
stood still, and passing his hand over the child's curly head
said, "Now, Heidi, you must go back, and I must say good-bye! If
only I could take you with me to Frankfurt and keep you there!"
The picture of Frankfurt rose before the child's eyes, its rows
of endless houses, its hard streets, and even the vision of
Fraulein Rottenmeier and Tinette, and she answered hesitatingly,
"I would rather that you came back to us."
"Yes, you are right, that would be better. But now good-bye,
Heidi." The child put her hand in his and looked up at him; the
kind eyes looking down on her had tears in them. Then the doctor
tore himself away and quickly continued his descent.
Heidi remained standing without moving. The friendly eyes with
the tears in them had gone to her heart. All at once she burst
into tears and started running as fast as she could after the
departing figure, calling out in broken tones: "Doctor! doctor!"
He turned round and waited till the child reached him. The tears
were streaming down her face and she sobbed out: "I will come to
Frankfurt with you, now at once, and I will stay with you as
long as you like, only I must just run back and tell
The doctor laid his hand on her and tried to calm her
excitement. "No, no, dear child," he said kindly, "not now; you
must stay for the present under the fir trees, or I should have
you ill again. But hear now what I have to ask you. If I am ever
ill and alone, will you come then and stay with me? May I know
that there would then be some one to look after me and care for
"Yes, yes, I will come the very day you send for me, and I love
you nearly as much as grandfather," replied Heidi, who had not
yet got over her distress.
And so the doctor again bid her good-bye and started on his way,
while Heidi remained looking after him and waving her hand as
long as a speck of him could be seen. As the doctor turned for
the last time and looked back at the waving Heidi and the sunny
mountain, he said to himself, "It is good to be up there, good
for body and soul, and a man might learn how to be happy once
CHAPTER XVIII. WINTER IN DORFLI
The snow was lying so high around the hut that the windows
looked level with the ground, and the door had entirely
disappeared from view. If Alm-Uncle had been up there he would
have had to do what Peter did daily, for fresh snow fell every
night. Peter had to get out of the window of the sitting-room
every morning, and if the frost had not been very hard during the
night, he immediately sank up to his shoulders almost in the snow
and had to struggle with hands, feet, and head to extricate
himself. Then his mother handed him the large broom, and with
this he worked hard to make a way to the door. He had to be
careful to dig the snow well away, or else as soon as the door
was opened the whole soft mass would fall inside, or, if the
frost was severe enough, it would have made such a wall of ice in
front of the house that no one could have gone in or out, for the
window was only big enough for Peter to creep through. The fresh
snow froze like this in the night sometimes, and this was an
enjoyable time for Peter, for he would get through the window on
to the hard, smooth, frozen ground, and his mother would hand him
out the little sleigh, and he could then make his descent to
Dorfli along any route he chose, for the whole mountain was
nothing but one wide, unbroken sleigh road.
Alm-Uncle had kept his word and was not spending the winter in
his old home. As soon as the first snow began to fall, he had
shut up the hut and the outside buildings and gone down to
Dorfli with Heidi and the goats. Near the church was a straggling
half-ruined building, which had once been the house of a person
of consequence. A distinguished soldier had lived there at one
time; he had taken service in Spain and had there performed many
brave deeds and gathered much treasure. When he returned home to
Dorfli he spent part of his booty in building a fine house, with
the intention of living in it. But he had been too long
accustomed to the noise and bustle of arms and the world to care
for a quiet country life, and he soon went off again, and this
time did not return. When after many long years it seemed
certain that he was dead, a distant relative took possession of
the house, but it had already fallen into disrepair, and he had
no wish to rebuild it. So it was let to poor people, who paid but
a small rent, and when any part of the building fell it was
allowed to remain. This had now gone on for many years. As long
ago as when his son Tobias was a child Alm-Uncle had rented the
tumble- down old place. Since then it had stood empty, for no one
could stay in it who had not some idea of how to stop up the
holes and gaps and make it habitable. Otherwise the wind and rain
and snow blew into the rooms, so that it was impossible even to
keep a candle alight, and the indwellers would have been frozen
to death during the long cold winters. Alm-Uncle, however, knew
how to mend matters. As soon as he made up his mind to spend the
winter in Dorfli, he rented the old place and worked during the
autumn to get it sound and tight. In the middle of October he and
Heidi took up their residence there.
On approaching the house from the back one came first into an
open space with a wall on either side, of which one was half in
ruins. Above this rose the arch of an old window thickly
overgrown with ivy, which spread over the remains of a domed
roof that had evidently been part of a chapel. A large hall came
next, which lay open, without doors, to the square outside. Here
also walls and roof only partially remained, and indeed what was
left of the roof looked as if it might fall at any minute had it
not been for two stout pillars that supported it. Alm-Uncle had
here put up a wooden partition and covered the floor with straw,
for this was to be the goats' house. Endless passages led from
this, through the rents of which the sky as well as the fields
and the road outside could be seen at intervals; but at last one
came to a stout oak door that led into a room that still stood
intact. Here the walls and the dark wainscoting remained as good
as ever, and in the corner was an immense stove reaching nearly
to the ceiling, on the white tiles of which were painted large
pictures in blue. These represented old castles surrounded with
trees, and huntsmen riding out with their hounds; or else a quiet
lake scene, with broad oak trees and a man fishing. A seat ran
all round the stove so that one could sit at one's ease and study
the pictures. These attracted Heidi's attention at once, and she
had no sooner arrived with her grandfather than she ran and
seated herself and began to examine them. But when she had
gradually worked herself round to the back, something else
diverted her attention. In the large space between the stove and
the wall four planks had been put together as if to make a large
receptacle for apples; there were no apples, however, inside, but
something Heidi had no difficulty in recognising, for it was her
very own bed, with its hay mattress and sheets, and sack for a
coverlid, just as she had it up at the hut. Heidi clapped her
hands for joy and exclaimed, "O grandfather, this is my room, how
nice! But where are you going to sleep?"
"Your room must be near the stove or you will freeze," he
replied, "but you can come and see mine too."
Heidi got down and skipped across the large room after her
grandfather, who opened a door at the farther end leading into a
smaller one which was to be his bedroom. Then came another door.
Heidi pushed it open and stood amazed, for here was an immense
room like a kitchen, larger than anything of the kind that Heidi
had seen before. There was still plenty of work for the
grandfather before this room could be finished, for there were
holes and cracks in the walls through which the wind whistled,
and yet he had already nailed up so many new planks that it
looked as if a lot of small cupboards had been set up round the
room. He had, however, made the large old door safe with many
screws and nails, as a protection against the outside air, and
this was very necessary, for just beyond was a mass of ruined
buildings overgrown with tall weeds, which made a dwelling-place
for endless beetles and lizards.
Heidi was very delighted with her new home, and by the morning
after their arrival she knew every nook and corner so thoroughly
that she could take Peter over it and show him all that was to
be seen; indeed she would not let him go till he had examined
every single wonderful thing contained in it.
Heidi slept soundly in her corner by the stove; but every
morning when she first awoke she still thought she was on the
mountain, and that she must run outside at once to see if the fir
trees were so quiet because their branches were weighed down with
the thick snow. She had to look about her for some minutes before
she felt quite sure where she was, and a certain sensation of
trouble and oppression would come over her as she grew aware that
she was not at home in the hut. But then she would hear her
grandfather's voice outside, attending to the goats, and these
would give one or two loud bleats, as if calling to her to make
haste and go to them, and then Heidi was happy again, for she
knew she was still at home, and she would jump gladly out of bed
and run out to the animals as quickly as she could. On the fourth
morning, as soon as she saw her grandfather, she said, "I must go
up to see grandmother to-day; she ought not to be alone so long."
But the grandfather would not agree to this. "Neither to-day nor
to-morrow can you go," he said; "the mountain is covered fathom-
deep in snow, and the snow is still falling; the sturdy Peter can
hardly get along. A little creature like you would soon be
smothered by it, and we should not be able to find you again.
Wait a bit till it freezes, then you will be able to walk over
the hard snow."
Heidi did not like the thought of having to wait, but the days
were so busy that she hardly knew how they went by.
Heidi now went to school in Dorfli every morning and afternoon,
and eagerly set to work to learn all that was taught her. She
hardly ever saw Peter there, for as a rule he was absent. The
teacher was an easy-going man who merely remarked now and then,
"Peter is not turning up to-day again, it seems, but there is a
lot of snow up on the mountain and I daresay he cannot get
along." Peter, however, always seemed able to make his way
through the snow in the evening when school was over, and he
then generally paid Heidi a visit.
At last, after some days, the sun again appeared and shone
brightly over the white ground, but he went to bed again behind
the mountains at a very early hour, as if he did not find such
pleasure in looking down on the earth as when everything was
green and flowery. But then the moon came out clear and large
and lit up the great white snowfield all through the night, and
the next morning the whole mountain glistened and sparkled like a
huge crystal. When Peter got out of his window as usual, he was
taken by surprise, for instead of sinking into the soft snow he
fell on the hard ground and went sliding some way down the
mountain side like a sleigh before he could stop himself. He
picked himself up and tested the hardness of the ground by
stamping on it and trying with all his might to dig his heels
into it, but even then he could not break off a single little
splinter of ice; the Alm was frozen hard as iron. This was just
what Peter had been hoping for, as he knew now that Heidi would
be able to come up to them. He quickly got back into the house,
swallowed the milk which his mother had put ready for him,
thrust a piece of bread in his pocket, and said, "I must be off
to school." "That's right, go and learn all you can," said the
grandmother encouragingly. Peter crept through the window again--
the door was quite blocked by the frozen snow outside--pulling
his little sleigh after him, and in another minute was shooting
down the mountain.
He went like lightning, and when he reached Dorfli, which stood
on the direct road to Mayenfeld, he made up his mind to go on
further, for he was sure he could not stop his rapid descent
without hurting himself and the sleigh too. So down he still
went till he reached the level ground, where the sleigh came to a
pause of its own accord. Then he got out and looked round. The
impetus with which he had made his journey down had carried him
some little way beyond Mayenfeld. He bethought himself that it
was too late to get to school now, as lessons would already have
begun, and it would take him a good hour to walk back to Dorfli.
So he might take his time about returning, which he did, and
reached Dorfli just as Heidi had got home from school and was
sitting at dinner with her grandfather. Peter walked in, and as
on this occasion he had something particular to communicate, he
began without a pause, exclaiming as he stood still in the
middle of the room, "She's got it now."
"Got it? what?" asked the Uncle. "Your words sound quite
"The frost," explained Peter.
"Oh! then now I can go and see grandmother!" said Heidi
joyfully, for she had understood Peter's words at once. "But why
were you not at school then? You could have come down in the
sleigh," she added reproachfully, for it did not agree with
Heidi's ideas of good behavior to stay away when it was possible
to be there.
"It carried me on too far and I was too late," Peter replied.
"I call that being a deserter," said the Uncle, "and deserters
get their ears pulled, as you know."
Peter gave a tug to his cap in alarm, for there was no one of
whom he stood in so much awe as Alm-Uncle.
"And an army leader like yourself ought to be doubly ashamed of
running away," continued Alm-Uncle. "What would you think of
your goats if one went off this way and another that, and refused
to follow and do what was good for them? What would you do then?"
"I should beat them," said Peter promptly.
"And if a boy behaved like these unruly goats, and he got a
beating for it, what would you say then?"
"Serve him right," was the answer.
"Good, then understand this: next time you let your sleigh carry
you past the school when you ought to be inside at your lessons,
come on to me afterwards and receive what you deserve."
Peter now understood the drift of the old man's questions and
that he was the boy who behaved like the unruly goats, and he
looked somewhat fearfully towards the corner to see if anything
happened to be there such as he used himself on such occasions
for the punishment of his animals.
But now the grandfather suddenly said in a cheerful voice, "Come
and sit down and have something, and afterwards Heidi shall go
with you. Bring her back this evening and you will find supper
waiting for you here."
This unexpected turn of conversation set Peter grinning all over
with delight. He obeyed without hesitation and took his seat
beside Heidi. But the child could not eat any more in her
excitement at the thought of going to see grandmother. She
pushed the potatoes and toasted cheese which still stood on her
plate towards him while Uncle was filling his plate from the
other side, so that he had quite a pile of food in front of him,
but he attacked it without any lack of courage. Heidi ran to the
cupboard and brought out the warm cloak Clara had sent her; with
this on and the hood drawn over her head, she was all ready for
her journey. She stood waiting beside Peter, and as soon as his
last mouthful had disappeared she said, "Come along now." As the
two walked together Heidi had much to tell Peter of her two
goats that had been so unhappy the first day in their new stall
that they would not eat anything, but stood hanging their heads,
not even rousing themselves to bleat. And when she asked her
grandfather the reason of this, he told her it was with them as
with her in Frankfurt, for it was the first time in their lives
they had come down from the mountain. "And you don't know what
that is, Peter, unless you have felt it yourself," added Heidi.
The children had nearly reached their destination before Peter
opened his mouth; he appeared to be so sunk in thought that he
hardly heard what was said to him. As they neared home, however,
he stood still and said in a somewhat sullen voice, "I had
rather go to school even than get what Uncle threatened."
Heidi was of the same mind, and encouraged him in his good
intention. They found Brigitta sitting alone knitting, for the
grandmother was not very well and had to stay the day in bed on
account of the cold. Heidi had never before missed the old
figure in her place in the corner, and she ran quickly into the
next room. There lay grandmother on her little poorly covered
bed, wrapped up in her warm grey shawl.
"Thank God," she exclaimed as Heidi came running in; the poor
old woman had had a secret fear at heart all through the autumn,
especially if Heidi was absent for any length of time, for Peter
had told her of a strange gentleman who had come from Frankfurt,
and who had gone out with them and always talked to Heidi, and
she had felt sure he had come to take her away again. Even when
she heard he had gone off alone, she still had an idea that a
messenger would be sent over from Frankfurt to fetch the child.
Heidi went up to the side of the bed and said, "Are you very
"No, no, child," answered the old woman reassuringly, passing
her hand lovingly over the child's head, "It's only the frost
that has got into my bones a bit."
"Shall you be quite well then directly it turns warm again?"
"Yes, God willing, or even before that, for I want to get back
to my spinning; I thought perhaps I should do a little to-day,
but to-morrow I am sure to be all right again." The old woman had
detected that Heidi was frightened and was anxious to set her
mind at ease.
Her words comforted Heidi, who had in truth been greatly
distressed, for she had never before seen the grandmother ill in
bed. She now looked at the old woman seriously for a minute or
two, and then said, "In Frankfurt everybody puts on a shawl to
go out walking; did you think it was to be worn in bed,
"I put it on, dear child, to keep myself from freezing, and I am
so pleased with it, for my bedclothes are not very thick," she
"But, grandmother," continued Heidi, "your bed is not right,
because it goes downhill at your head instead of uphill."
"I know it, child, I can feel it," and the grandmother put up
her hand to the thin flat pillow, which was little more than a
board under her head, to make herself more comfortable; "the
pillow was never very thick, and I have lain on it now for so
many years that it has grown quite flat."
"Oh, if only I had asked Clara to let me take away my Frankfurt
bed," said Heidi. "I had three large pillows, one above the
other, so that I could hardly sleep, and I used to slip down to
try and find a flat place, and then I had to pull myself up
again, because it was proper to sleep there like that. Could you
sleep like that, grandmother?"
"Oh, yes! the pillows keep one warm, and it is easier to breathe
when the head is high," answered the grandmother, wearily
raising her head as she spoke as if trying to find a higher
resting-place. "But we will not talk about that, for I have so
much that other old sick people are without for which I thank
God; there is the nice bread I get every day, and this warm
wrap, and your visits, Heidi. Will you read me something to-day?"
Heidi ran into the next room to fetch the hymn book. Then she
picked out the favorite hymns one after another, for she knew
them all by heart now, as pleased as the grandmother to hear
them again after so many days. The grandmother lay with folded
hands, while a smile of peace stole over the worn, troubled face,
like one to whom good news has been brought.
Suddenly Heidi paused. "Grandmother, are you feeling quite well
"Yes, child, I have grown better while listening to you; read it
to the end."
The child read on, and when she came to the last words:--
As the eyes grow dim, and darkness Closes round, the soul grows
clearer, Sees the goal to which it travels, Gladly feels its
home is nearer."
the grandmother repeated them once or twice to herself, with a
look of happy expectation on her face. And Heidi took equal
pleasure in them, for the picture of the beautiful sunny day of
her return home rose before her eyes, and she exclaimed
joyfully, "Grandmother, I know exactly what it is like to go
home." The old woman did not answer, but she had heard Heidi's
words, and the expression that had made the child think she was
better remained on her face.
A little later Heidi said, "It is growing dark and I must go
home; I am glad to think, that you are quite well again."
The grandmother took the child's hand in hers and held it
closely. "Yes," she said, "I feel quite happy again; even if I
have to go on lying here, I am content. No one knows what it is
to lie here alone day after day, in silence and darkness,
without hearing a voice or seeing a ray of light. Sad thoughts
come over me, and I do not feel sometimes as if I could bear it
any longer or as if it could ever be light again. But when you
come and read those words to me, then I am comforted and my heart
rejoices once more."
Then she let the child go, and Heidi ran into the next room, and
bid Peter come quickly, for it had now grown quite dark. But
when they got outside they found the moon shining down on the
white snow and everything as clear as in the daylight. Peter got
his sleigh, put Heidi at the back, he himself sitting in front to
guide, and down the mountain they shot like two birds darting
through the air.
When Heidi was lying that night on her high bed of hay she
thought of the grandmother on her low pillow, and of all she had
said about the light and comfort that awoke in her when she
heard the hymns, and she thought: if I could read to her every
day, then I should go on making her better. But she knew that it
would be a week, if not two, before she would be able to go up
the mountain again. This was a thought of great trouble to Heidi,
and she tried hard to think of some way which would enable the
grandmother to hear the words she loved every day. Suddenly an
idea struck her, and she was so delighted with it that she could
hardly bear to wait for morning, so eager was she to begin
carrying out her plan. All at once she sat upright in her bed,
for she had been so busy with her thoughts that she had
forgotten to say her prayers, and she never now finished her day
without saying them.
When she had prayed with all her heart for herself, her
grandfather and grandmother, she lay back again on the warm soft
hay and slept soundly and peacefully till morning broke.
CHAPTER XIX. THE WINTER CONTINUES
Peter arrived punctually at school the following day. He had
brought his dinner with him, for all the children who lived at a
distance regularly seated themselves at mid-day on the tables,
and resting their feet firmly on the benches, spread out their
meal on their knees and so ate their dinner, while those living
in Dorfli went home for theirs. Till one o'clock they might all
do as they liked, and then school began again. When Peter had
finished his lessons on the days he attended school, he went
over to Uncle's to see Heidi.
When he walked into the large room at Uncle's to-day, Heidi
immediately rushed forward and took hold of him, for it was for
Peter she had been waiting. "I've thought of something, Peter,"
she said hastily.
"What is it?" he asked.
"You must learn to read," she informed him.
"I have learnt," was the answer.
"Yes, yes, but I mean so that you can really make use of it,"
continued Heidi eagerly.
"I never shall," was the prompt reply.
"Nobody believes that you cannot learn, nor I either now," said
Heidi in a very decided tone of voice. "Grandmamma in Frankfurt
said long ago that it was not true, and she told me not to
Peter looked rather taken aback at this piece of intelligence.
"I will soon teach you to read, for I know how," continued
Heidi. "You must learn at once, and then you can read one or two
hymns every day to grandmother."
"Oh, I don't care about that," he grumbled in reply.
This hard-hearted way of refusing to agree to what was right and
kind, and to what Heidi had so much at heart, aroused her anger.
With flashing eyes she stood facing the boy and said
threateningly, "If you won't learn as I want you to, I will tell
you what will happen; you know your mother has often spoken of
sending you to Frankfurt, that you may learn a lot of things,
and I know where the boys there have to go to school; Clara
pointed out the great house to me when we were driving together.
And they don't only go when they are boys, but have more lessons
still when they are grown men. I have seen them myself, and you
mustn't think they have only one kind teacher like we have. There
are ever so many of them, all in the school at the same time, and
they are all dressed in black, as if they were going to church,
and have black hats on their heads as high as that--" and Heidi
held out her hand to show their height from the floor.
Peter felt a cold shudder run down his back.
"And you will have to go in among all those gentlemen,"
continued Heidi with increasing animation, "and when it comes to
your turn you won't be able to read and will make mistakes in
your spelling. Then you'll see how they'll make fun of you; even
worse than Tinette, and you ought to have seen what she was like
when she was scornful."
"Well, I'll learn then," said Peter, half sorrowfully and half
Heidi was instantly mollified. "That's right, then we'll begin
at once," she said cheerfully, and went busily to work on the
spot, dragging Peter to the table and fetching her books.
Among other presents Clara had sent Heidi a book which the
latter had decided, in bed the night before, would serve
capitally for teaching Peter, for it was an A B C book with
rhyming lines. And now the two sat together at the table with
their heads bent over the book, for the lesson had begun.
Peter was made to spell out the first sentence two or three
times over, for Heidi wished him to get it correct and fluent. At
last she said, "You don't seem able to get it right, but I will
read it aloud to you once; when you know what it ought to be you
will find it easier." And she read out:--
A B C must be learnt to-day
Or the judge will call you up to pay.
"I shan't go," said Peter obstinately.
"Go where?" asked Heidi.
"Before the judge," he answered.
"Well then make haste and learn these three letters, then you
won't have to go."
Peter went at his task again and repeated the three letters so
many times and with such determination that she said at last,--
"You must know those three now."
Seeing what an effect the first two lines of verse had had upon
him, she thought she would prepare the ground a little for the
"Wait, and I will read you some of the next sentences," she
continued, "then you will see what else there is to expect."
And she began in a clear slow voice:--
D E F G must run with ease
Or something will follow that does not please.
Should H I J K be now forgot
Disgrace is yours upon the spot.
And then L M must follow at once
Or punished you'll be for a sorry dunce.
If you knew what next awaited you
You'd haste to learn N O P Q.
Now R S T be quick about
Or worse will follow there's little doubt.
Heidi paused, for Peter was so quiet that she looked to see what
he was doing. These many secret threats and hints of dreadful
punishments had so affected him that he sat as if petrified and
stared at Heidi with horror-stricken eyes. Her kind heart was
moved at once, and she said, wishing to reassure him, "You need
not be afraid, Peter; come here to me every evening, and if you
learn as you have to-day you will at last know all your letters,
and the other things won't come. But you must come regularly,
not now and then as you do to school; even if it snows it won't
Peter promised, for the trepidation he had been in had made him
quite tame and docile. Lessons being finished for this day he
now went home.
Peter obeyed Heidi's instructions punctually, and every evening
went diligently to work to learn the following letters, taking
the sentences thoroughly to heart. The grandfather was
frequently in the room smoking his pipe comfortably while the
lesson was going on, and his face twitched occasionally as if he
was overtaken with a sudden fit of merriment. Peter was often
invited to stay to supper after the great exertion he had gone
through, which richly compensated him for the anguish of mind he
had suffered with the sentence for the day.
So the winter went by, and Peter really made progress with his
letters; but he went through a terrible fight each day with the
He had got at last to U. Heidi read out:--
And if you put the U for V,
You'll go where you would not like to be.
Peter growled, "Yes, but I shan't go!" But he was very diligent
that day, as if under the impression that some one would seize
him suddenly by the collar and drag him where he would rather
not go. The next evening Heidi read:--
If you falter at W, worst of all,
Look at the stick against the wall.
Peter looked at the wall and said scornfully, "There isn't one."
"Yes, but do you know what grandfather has in his box?" asked
Heidi. "A stick as thick almost as your arm, and if he took that
out, you might well say, look at the stick on the wall."
Peter knew that thick hazel stick, and immediately bent his head
over the W and struggled to master it. Another day the lines ran:--
Then comes the X for you to say
Or be sure you'll get no food to-day.
Peter looked towards the cupboard where the bread and cheese
were kept and said crossly, "I never said that I should forget
"That's all right; if you don't forget it we can go on to learn
the next, and then you will only have one more," replied Heidi,
anxious to encourage him.
Peter did not quite understand, but when Heidi went on and read:--
And should you make a stop at Y,
They'll point at you and cry, Fie, fie.
All the gentlemen in Frankfurt with tall black hats on their
heads, and scorn and mockery in their faces rose up before his
mind's eye, and he threw himself with energy on the Y, not
letting it go till at last he knew it so thoroughly that he
could see what it was like even when he shut his eyes.
He arrived on the following day in a somewhat lofty frame of
mind, for there was now only one letter to struggle over, and
when Heidi began the lesson with reading aloud:--
Make haste with Z, if you're too slow
Off to the Hottentots you'll go.
Peter remarked scornfully, "I dare say, when no one knows even
where such people live."
"I assure you, Peter," replied Heidi, "grandfather knows all
about them. Wait a second and I will run and ask him, for he is
only over the way with the pastor." And she rose and ran to the
door to put her words into action, but Peter cried out in a
voice of agony,--
"Stop!" for he already saw himself being carried off by Alm-
Uncle and the pastor and sent straight away to the Hottentots,
since as yet he did not know his last letter. His cry of fear
brought Heidi back.
"What is the matter?" she asked in astonishment.
"Nothing! come back! I am going to learn my letter," he said,
stammering with fear. Heidi, however, herself wished to know
where the Hottentots lived and persisted that she should ask her
grandfather, but she gave in at last to Peter's despairing
entreaties. She insisted on his doing something in return, and
so not only had he to repeat his Z until it was so fixed in his
memory that he could never forget it again, but she began
teaching him to spell, and Peter really made a good start that
evening. So it went on from day to day.
The frost had gone and the snow was soft again, and moreover
fresh snow continually fell, so that it was quite three weeks
before Heidi could go to the grandmother again. So much the more
eagerly did she pursue her teaching so that Peter might
compensate for her absence by reading hymns to the old woman.
One evening he walked in home after leaving Heidi, and as he
entered he said, "I can do it now."
"Do what, Peter?" asked his mother.
"Read," he answered.
"Do you really mean it? Did you hear that, grandmother?" she
The grandmother had heard, and was already wondering how such a
thing could have come to pass.
"I must read one of the hymns now; Heidi told me to," he went on
to inform them. His mother hastily fetched the book, and the
grandmother lay in joyful expectation, for it was so long since
she had heard the good words. Peter sat down to the table and
began to read. His mother sat beside him listening with surprise
and exclaiming at the close of each verse, "Who would have
thought it possible!"
The grandmother did not speak though she followed the words he
read with strained attention.
It happened on the day following this that there was a reading
lesson in Peter's class. When it came to his turn, the teacher
"We must pass over Peter as usual, or will you try again once
more--I will not say to read, but to stammer through a
Peter took the book and read off three lines without the
The teacher put down his book and stared at Peter as at some out-
of-the-way and marvellous thing unseen before. At last he spoke,--
"Peter, some miracle has been performed upon you! Here have I
been striving with unheard-of patience to teach you and you have
not hitherto been able to say your letters even. And now, just
as I had made up my mind not to waste any more trouble upon you,
you suddenly are able to read a consecutive sentence properly and
distinctly. How has such a miracle come to pass in our days?"
"It was Heidi," answered Peter.
The teacher looked in astonishment towards Heidi, who was
sitting innocently on her bench with no appearance of anything
supernatural about her. He continued, "I have noticed a change
in you altogether, Peter. Whereas formerly you often missed
coming to school for a week, or even weeks at a time, you have
lately not stayed away a single day. Who has wrought this change
for good in you?"
"It was Uncle," answered Peter.
With increasing surprise the teacher looked from Peter to Heidi
and back again at Peter.
"We will try once more," he said cautiously, and Peter had again
to show off his accomplishment by reading another three lines.
There was no mistake about it--Peter could read. As soon as
school was over the teacher went over to the pastor to tell him
this piece of news, and to inform him of the happy result of
Heidi's and the grandfather's combined efforts.
Every evening Peter read one hymn aloud; so far he obeyed Heidi.
Nothing would induce him to read a second, and indeed the
grandmother never asked for it. His mother Brigitta could not
get over her surprise at her son's attainment, and when the
reader was in bed would often express her pleasure at it. "Now he
has learnt to read there is no knowing what may be made of him
On one of these occasions the grandmother answered, "Yes, it is
good for him to have learnt something, but I shall indeed be
thankful when spring is here again and Heidi can come; they are
not like the same hymns when Peter reads them. So many words
seem missing, and I try to think what they ought to be and then I
lose the sense, and so the hymns do not come home to my heart as
when Heidi reads them."
The truth was that Peter arranged to make his reading as little
troublesome for himself as possible. When he came upon a word
that he thought was too long or difficult in any other way, he
left it out, for he decided that a word or two less in a verse,
where there were so many of them, could make no difference to
his grandmother. And so it came about that most of the principal
words were missing in the hymns that Peter read aloud.
CHAPTER XX. NEWS FROM DISTANT FRIENDS
It was the month of May. From every height the full fresh
streams of spring were flowing down into the valley. The clear
warm sunshine lay upon the mountain, which had turned green
again. The last snows had disappeared and the sun had already
coaxed many of the flowers to show their bright heads above the
grass. Up above the gay young wind of spring was singing through
the fir trees, and shaking down the old dark needles to make room
for the new bright green ones that were soon to deck out the
trees in their spring finery. Higher up still the great bird went
circling round in the blue ether as of old, while the golden
sunshine lit up the grandfather's hut, and all the ground about
it was warm and dry again so that one might sit out where one
liked. Heidi was at home again on the mountain, running backwards
and forwards in her accustomed way, not knowing which spot was
most delightful. Now she stood still to listen to the deep,
mysterious voice of the wind, as it blew down to her from the
mountain summits, coming nearer and nearer and gathering strength
as it came, till it broke with force against the fir trees,
bending and shaking them, and seeming to shout for joy, so that
she too, though blown about like a feather, felt she must join in
the chorus of exulting sounds. Then she would run round again to
the sunny space in front of the hut, and seating herself on the
ground would peer closely into the short grass to see how many
little flower cups were open or thinking of opening. She rejoiced
with all the myriad little beetles and winged insects that jumped
and crawled and danced in the sun, and drew in deep draughts of
the spring scents that rose from the newly-awakened earth, and
thought the mountain was more beautiful than ever. All the tiny
living creatures must be as happy as she, for it seemed to her
there were little voices all round her singing and humming in
joyful tones, "On the mountain! on the mountain!"
From the shed at the back came the sound of sawing and chopping,
and Heidi listened to it with pleasure, for it was the old
familiar sound she had known from the beginning of her life up
here. Suddenly she jumped up and ran round, for she must know
what her grandfather was doing. In front of the shed door
already stood a finished new chair, and a second was in course of
construction under the grandfather's skilful hand.
"Oh, I know what these are for," exclaimed Heidi in great glee.
"We shall want them when they all come from Frankfurt. This one
is for Grandmamma, and the one you are now making is for Clara,
and then--then, there will, I suppose, have to be another,"
continued Heidi with more hesitation in her voice, "or do you
think, grandfather, that perhaps Fraulein Rottenmeier will not
come with them?"
"Well, I cannot say just yet," replied her grandfather, "but it
will be safer to make one so that we can offer her a seat if she
Heidi looked thoughtfully at the plain wooden chair without arms
as if trying to imagine how Fraulein Rottenmeier and a chair of
this sort would suit one another. After a few minutes'
contemplation, "Grandfather," she said, shaking her head
doubtfully, "I don't think she would be able to sit on that."
"Then we will invite her on the couch with the beautiful green
turf feather-bed," was her grandfather's quiet rejoinder.
While Heidi was pausing to consider what this might be there
approached from above a whistling, calling, and other sounds
which Heidi immediately recognised. She ran out and found
herself surrounded by her four-footed friends. They were
apparently as pleased as she was to be among the heights again,
for they leaped about and bleated for joy, pushing Heidi this way
and that, each anxious to express his delight with some sign of
affection. But Peter sent them flying to right and left, for he
had something to give to Heidi. When he at last got up to her he
handed her a letter.
"There!" he exclaimed, leaving the further explanation of the
matter to Heidi herself.
"Did some one give you this while you were out with the goats,"
she asked, in her surprise.
"No," was the answer.
"Where did you get it from then?
"I found it in the dinner bag."
Which was true to a certain extent. The letter to Heidi had been
given him the evening before by the postman at Dorfli, and Peter
had put it into his empty bag. That morning he had stuffed his
bread and cheese on the top of it, and had forgotten it when he
fetched Alm-Uncle's two goats; only when he had finished his
bread and cheese at mid-day and was searching in the bag for any
last crumbs did he remember the letter which lay at the bottom.
Heidi read the address carefully; then she ran back to the shed
holding out her letter to her grandfather in high glee. "From
Frankfurt! from Clara! Would you like to hear it?"
The grandfather was ready and pleased to do so, as also Peter,
who had followed Heidi into the shed. He leant his back against
the door post, as he felt he could follow Heidi's reading better
if firmly supported from behind, and so stood prepared to
"Dearest Heidi,-- Everything is packed and we shall start now in
two or three days, as soon as papa himself is ready to leave; he
is not coming with us as he has first to go to Paris. The doctor
comes every day, and as soon as he is inside the door, he cries,
'Off now as quickly as you can, off to the mountain.' He is most
impatient about our going. You cannot think how much he enjoyed
himself when he was with you! He has called nearly every day
this winter, and each time he has come in to my room and said he
must tell me about everything again. And then he sits down and
describes all he did with you and the grandfather, and talks of
the mountains and the flowers and of the great silence up there
far above all towns and the villages, and of the fresh delicious
air, and often adds, 'No one can help getting well up there.' He
himself is quite a different man since his visit, and looks
quite young again and happy, which he had not been for a long
time before. Oh, how I am looking forward to seeing everything
and to being with you on the mountain, and to making the
acquaintance of Peter and the goats.
"I shall have first to go through a six weeks' cure at Ragatz;
this the doctor has ordered, and then we shall move up to
Dorfli, and every fine day I shall be carried up the mountain in
my chair and spend the day with you. Grandmamma is travelling
with me and will remain with me; she also is delighted at the
thought of paying you a visit. But just imagine, Fraulein
Rottenmeier refuses to come with us. Almost every day grandmamma
says to her, 'Well, how about this Swiss journey, my worthy
Rottenmeier? Pray say if you really would like to come with us.'
But she always thanks grandmamma very politely and says she has
quite made up her mind. I think I know what has done it:
Sebastian gave such a frightful description of the mountain, of
how the rocks were so overhanging and dangerous that at any
minute you might fall into a crevasse, and how it was such steep
climbing that you feared at every step to go slipping to the
bottom, and that goats alone could make their way up without fear
of being killed. She shuddered when she heard him tell of all
this, and since then she has not been so enthusiastic about
Switzerland as she was before. Fear has also taken possession of
Tinette, and she also refuses to come. So grandmamma and I will
be alone; Sebastian will go with us as far as Ragatz and then
"I can hardly bear waiting till I see you again. Good-bye,
dearest Heidi; grandmamma sends you her best love and all good
wishes.--Your affectionate friend,
Peter, as soon as the conclusion of the letter had been reached,
left his reclining position and rushed out, twirling his stick
in the air in such a reckless fashion that the frightened goats
fled down the mountain before him with higher and wider leaps
than usual. Peter followed at full speed, his stick still raised
in air in a menacing manner as if he was longing to vent his fury
on some invisible foe. This foe was indeed the prospect of the
arrival of the Frankfurt visitors, the thought of whom filled
him with exasperation.
Heidi was so full of joyful anticipation that she determined to
seize the first possible moment next day to go down and tell
grandmother who was coming, and also particularly who was not
coming. These details would be of great interest to her, for
grandmother knew well all the persons named from Heidi's
description, and had entered with deep sympathy into all that
the child had told her of her life and surroundings in Frankfurt.
Heidi paid her visit in the early afternoon, for she could now go
alone again; the sun was bright in the heavens and the days were
growing longer, and it was delightful to go racing down the
mountain over the dry ground, with the brisk May wind blowing
from behind, and speeding Heidi on her way a little more quickly
than her legs alone would have carried her.
The grandmother was no longer confined to her bed. She was back
in her corner at her spinning-wheel, but there was an expression
on her face of mournful anxiety. Peter had come in the evening
before brimful of anger and had told about the large party who
were coming up from Frankfurt, and he did not know what other
things might happen after that; and the old woman had not slept
all night, pursued by the old thought of Heidi being taken from
her. Heidi ran in, and taking her little stool immediately sat
down by grandmother and began eagerly pouring out all her news,
growing more excited with her pleasure as she went on. But all
of a sudden she stopped short and said anxiously, "What is the
matter, grandmother, aren't you a bit pleased with what I am
"Yes, yes, of course, child, since it gives you so much
pleasure," she answered, trying to look more cheerful.
"But I can see all the same that something troubles you. Is it
because you think after all that Fraulein Rottenmeier may come?"
asked Heidi, beginning to feel anxious herself.
"No, no! it is nothing, child," said the grandmother, wishing to
reassure her. "Just give me your hand that I may feel sure you
are there. No doubt it would be the best thing for you, although
I feel I could scarcely survive it."
"I do not want anything of the best if you could scarcely
survive it," said Heidi, in such a determined tone of voice that
the grandmother's fears increased as she felt sure the people
from Frankfurt were coming to take Heidi back with them, since
now she was well again they naturally wished to have her with
them once more. But she was anxious to hide her trouble from
Heidi if possible, as the latter was so sympathetic that she
might refuse perhaps to go away, and that would not be right. She
sought for help, but not for long, for she knew of only one.
"Heidi," she said, "there is something that would comfort me and
calm my thoughts; read me the hymn beginning: 'All things will
work for good.'"
Heidi found the place at once and read out in her clear young
All things will work for good
To those who trust in Me;
I come with healing on my wings,
To save and set thee free.
"Yes, yes, that is just what I wanted to hear," said the
grandmother, and the deep expression of trouble passed from her
face. Heidi looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or two and
then said, "Healing means that which cures everything and makes
everybody well, doesn't it, grandmother?"
"Yes, that is it," replied the old woman with a nod of assent,
"and we may be sure everything will come to pass according to
God's good purpose. Read the verse again, that we may remember
it well and not forget it again."
And Heidi read the words over two or three times, for she also
found pleasure in this assurance of all things being arranged
for the best.
When the evening came, Heidi returned home up the mountain. The
stars came out overhead one by one, so bright and sparkling that
each seemed to send a fresh ray of joy into her heart; she was
obliged to pause continually to look up, and as the whole sky at
last grew spangled with them she spoke aloud, "Yes, I understand
now why we feel so happy, and are not afraid about anything,
because God knows what is good and beautiful for us." And the
stars with their glistening eyes continued to nod to her till
she reached home, where she found her grandfather also standing
and looking up at them, for they had seldom been more glorious
than they were this night.
Not only were the nights of this month of May so clear and
bright, but the days as well; the sun rose every morning into
the cloudless sky, as undimmed in its splendor as when it sank
the evening before, and the grandfather would look out early and
exclaim with astonishment, "This is indeed a wonderful year of
sun; it will make all the shrubs and plants grow apace; you will
have to see, general, that your army does not get out of hand
from overfeeding." And Peter would swing his stick with an air
of assurance and an expression on his face as much as to say,
"see to that."
So May passed, everything growing greener and greener, and then
came the month of June, with a hotter sun and long light days,
that brought the flowers out all over the mountain, so that
every spot was bright with them and the air full of their sweet
scents. This month too was drawing to its close when one day
Heidi, having finished her domestic duties, ran out with the
intention of paying first a visit to the fir trees, and then
going up higher to see if the bush of rock roses was yet in
bloom, for its flowers were so lovely when standing open in the
sun. But just as she was turning the corner of the hut, she gave
such a loud cry that her grandfather came running out of the shed
to see what had happened.
"Grandfather, grandfather!" she cried, beside herself with
excitement. "Come here! look! look!"
The old man was by her side by this time and looked in the
direction of her outstretched hand.
A strange looking procession was making its way up the mountain;
in front were two men carrying a sedan chair, in which sat a
girl well wrapped up in shawls; then followed a horse, mounted by
a stately-looking lady who was looking about her with great
interest and talking to the guide who walked beside her; then a
reclining chair, which was being pushed up by another man, it
having evidently been thought safer to send the invalid to whom
it belonged up the steep path in a sedan chair. The procession
wound up with a porter, with such a bundle of cloaks, shawls,
and furs on his back that it rose well above his head.
"Here they come! here they come!" shouted Heidi, jumping with
joy. And sure enough it was the party from Frankfurt; the
figures came nearer and nearer, and at last they had actually
arrived. The men in front put down their burden, Heidi rushed
forward and the two children embraced each other with mutual
delight. Grandmamma having also reached the top, dismounted, and
gave Heidi an affectionate greeting, before turning to the
grandfather, who had meanwhile come up to welcome his guests.
There was no constraint about the meeting, for they both knew
each other perfectly well from hearsay and felt like old
After the first words of greeting had been exchanged grandmamma
broke out into lively expressions of admiration. "What a
magnificent residence you have, Uncle! I could hardly have
believed it was so beautiful! A king might well envy you! And
how well my little Heidi looks--like a wild rose!" she continued,
drawing the child towards her and stroking her fresh pink
cheeks. "I don't know which way to look first, it is all so
lovely! What do you say to it, Clara, what do you say?"
Clara was gazing round entranced; she had never imagined, much
less seen, anything so beautiful. She gave vent to her delight
in cries of joy. "O grandmamma," she said, "I should like to
remain here for ever."
The grandfather had meanwhile drawn up the invalid chair and
spread some of the wraps over it; he now went up to Clara.
"Supposing we carry the little daughter now to her accustomed
chair; I think she will be more comfortable, the travelling
sedan is rather hard," he said, and without waiting for any one
to help him he lifted the child in his strong arms and laid her
gently down on her own couch. He then covered her over carefully
and arranged her feet on the soft cushion, as if he had never
done anything all his life but attend on cripples. The grandmamma
looked on with surprise.
"My dear Uncle," she exclaimed, "if I knew where you had learned
to nurse I would at once send all the nurses I know to the same
place that they might handle their patients in like manner. How
do you come to know so much?"
Uncle smiled. "I know more from experience than training," he
answered, but as he spoke the smile died away and a look of
sadness passed over his face. The vision rose before him of a
face of suffering that he had known long years before, the face
of a man lying crippled on his couch of pain, and unable to move
a limb. The man had been his Captain during the fierce fighting
in Sicily; he had found him lying wounded and had carried him
away, and after that the captain would suffer no one else near
him, and Uncle had stayed and nursed him till his sufferings
ended in death. It all came back to Uncle now, and it seemed
natural to him to attend on the sick Clara and to show her all
those kindly attentions with which he had been once so familiar.
The sky spread blue and cloudless over the hut and the fir trees
and far above over the high rocks, the grey summits of which
glistened in the sun. Clara could not feast her eyes enough on
all the beauty around her.
"O Heidi, if only I could walk about with you," she said
longingly, "if I could but go and look at the fir trees and at
everything I know so well from your description, although I have
never been here before."
Heidi in response put out all her strength, and after a slight
effort, managed to wheel Clara's chair quite easily round the
hut to the fir trees. There they paused. Clara had never seen
such trees before, with their tall, straight stems, and long
thick branches growing thicker and thicker till they touched the