Late in the afternoon as they approached the confluence
author:world source：Xinkou opening and closing network browse: 【大middle小】 release time:2023-11-30 08:33:34 Comments:
Alm-Uncle gave the pastor his hand and answered him calmly and firmly, "You mean well by me I know, but as to that which you wish me to do, I say now what I shall continue to say, that I will not send the child to school nor come and live among you."
"Then God help you!" said the pastor, and he turned sadly away and left the hut and went down the mountain.
Alm-Uncle was out of humor. When Heidi said as usual that afternoon, "Can we go down to grandmother now?" he answered, "Not to-day." He did not speak again the whole of that day, and the following morning when Heidi again asked the same question, he replied, "We will see." But before the dinner bowls had been cleared away another visitor arrived, and this time it was Cousin Dete. She had a fine feathered hat on her head, and a long trailing skirt to her dress which swept the floor, and on the floor of a goatherd's hut there are all sorts of things that do not belong to a dress.
The grandfather looked her up and down without uttering a word. But Dete was prepared with an exceedingly amiable speech and began at once to praise the looks of the child. She was looking so well she should hardly have known her again, and it was evident that she had been happy and well-cared for with her grandfather; but she had never lost sight of the idea of taking the child back again, for she well understood that the little one must be much in his way, but she had not been able to do it at first. Day and night, however, she had thought over the means of placing the child somewhere, and that was why she had come to-day, for she had just heard of something that would be a lucky chance for Heidi beyond her most ambitious hopes. Some immensely wealthy relatives of the people she was serving, who had the most splendid house almost in Frankfurt, had an only daughter, young and an invalid, who was always obliged to go about in a wheeled chair; she was therefore very much alone and had no one to share her lessons, and so the little girl felt dull. Her father had spoken to Dete's mistress about finding a companion for her, and her mistress was anxious to help in the matter, as she felt so sympathetic about it. The lady-housekeeper had described the sort of child they wanted, simple-minded and unspoilt, and not like most of the children that one saw now-a-days. Dete had thought at once of Heidi and had gone off without delay to see the lady-housekeeper, and after Dete had given her a description of Heidi, she had immediately agreed to take her. And no one could tell what good fortune there might not be in store for Heidi, for if she was once with these people and they took a fancy to her, and anything happened to their own daughter--one could never tell, the child was so weakly--and they did not feel they could live without a child, why then the most unheard of luck--
"Have you nearly finished what you had to say? broke in Alm-Uncle, who had allowed her to talk on uninterruptedly so far.
"Ugh!" exclaimed Dete, throwing up her head in disgust, "one would think I had been talking to you about the most ordinary matter; why there is not one person in all Prattigau who would not thank God if I were to bring them such a piece of news as I am bringing you."
"You may take your news to anybody you like, I will have nothing to do with it."
But now Dete leaped up from her seat like a rocket and cried, "If that is all you have to say about it, why then I will give you a bit of my mind. The child is now eight years old and knows nothing, and you will not let her learn. You will not send her to church or school, as I was told down in Dorfli, and she is my own sister's child. I am responsible for what happens to her, and when there is such a good opening for a child, as this which offers for Heidi, only a person who cares for nobody and never wishes good to any one would think of not jumping at it. But I am not going to give in, and that I tell you; I have everybody in Dorfli on my side; there is not one person there who will not take my part against you; and I advise you to think well before bringing it into court, if that is your intention; there are certain things which might be brought up against you which you would not care to hear, for when one has to do with law-courts there is a great deal raked up that had been forgotten."