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A few days after these events there was great commotion and much

running up and down stairs in Herr Sesemann's house. The master

had just returned, and Sebastian and Tinette were busy carrying

up one package after another from the carriage, for Herr Sesemann

always brought back a lot of pretty things for his home. He

himself had not waited to do anything before going in to see his

daughter. Heidi was sitting beside her, for it was late

afternoon, when the two were always together. Father and daughter

greeted each other with warm affection, for they were deeply

attached to one another. Then he held out his hand to Heidi, who

had stolen away into the corner, and said kindly to her, "And

this is our little Swiss girl; come and shake hands with me!

That's right! Now, tell me, are Clara and you good friends with

one another, or do you get angry and quarrel, and then cry and

make it up, and then start quarreling again on the next occasion?"

"No, Clara is always kind to me," answered Heidi.

"And Heidi," put in Clara quickly, "has not once tried to quarrel."

"That's all right, I am glad to hear it," said her father, as he

rose from his chair. "But you must excuse me, Clara, for I want

my dinner; I have had nothing to eat all day. Afterwards I will

show you all the things I have brought home with me."

He found Fraulein Rottenmeier in the dining-room superintending

the preparation for his meal, and when he had taken his place she

sat down opposite to him, looking the every embodiment of bad

news, so that he turned to her and said, "What am I to expect,

Fraulein Rottenmeier? You greet me with an expression of

countenance that quite frightens me. What is the matter? Clara

seems cheerful enough."

"Herr Sesemann," began the lady in a solemn voice, "it is a

matter which concerns Clara; we have been frightfully imposed upon."

"Indeed, in what way?" asked Herr Sesemann as he went on calmly

drinking his wine.

"We had decided, as you remember, to get a companion for Clara,

and as I knew how anxious you were to have only those who were

well-behaved and nicely brought up about her, I thought I would

look for a little Swiss girl, as I hoped to find such a one as I

have often read about, who, born as it were of the mountain air,

lives and moves without touching the earth."

"Still I think even a Swiss child would have to touch the earth

if she wanted to go anywhere," remarked Herr Sesemann, "otherwise

they would have been given wings instead of feet."

"Ah, Herr Sesemann, you know what I mean," continued Fraulein

Rottenmeier. "I mean one so at home among the living creatures of

the high, pure mountain regions, that she would be like some

idealistic being from another world among us."

"And what could Clara do with such an idealistic being as you

describe, Fraulein Rottenmeier."

"I am not joking, Herr Sesemann, the matter is a more serious one

than you think; I have been shockingly, disgracefully imposed upon."

"But how? what is there shocking and disgraceful? I see nothing

shocking in the child," remarked Herr Sesemann quietly.

"If you only knew of one thing she has done, if you only knew of

the kind of people and animals she has brought into the house

during your absence! The tutor can tell you more about that."

"Animals? what am I to understand by animals, Fraulein Rottenmeier?"

"It is past understanding; the whole behavior of the child would

be past understanding, if it were not that at times she is

evidently not in her right mind."

Herr Sesemann had attached very little importance to what was

told him up till now--but not in her right mind! that was more

serious and might be prejudicial to his own child. Herr Sesemann

looked very narrowly at the lady opposite to assure himself that

the mental aberration was not on her side. At that moment the

door opened and the tutor was announced.

"Ah! here is some one," exclaimed Herr Sesemann, "who will help

to clear up matters for me. Take a seat," he continued, as he

held out his hand to the tutor. "You will drink a cup of coffee

with me--no ceremony, I pray! And now tell me, what is the matter

with this child that has come to be a companion to my daughter?

What is this strange thing I hear about her bringing animals into

the house, and is she in her right senses?"

The tutor felt he must begin with expressing his pleasure at Herr

Sesemann's return, and with explaining that he had come in on

purpose to give him welcome, but Herr Sesemann begged him to

explain without delay the meaning of all he had heard about

Heidi. The tutor started in his usual style. "If I must give my

opinion about this little girl, I should like first to state

that, if on one side, there is a lack of development which has

been caused by the more or less careless way in which she has

been brought up, or rather, by the neglect of her education, when

young, and by the solitary life she has led on the mountain,

which is not wholly to be condemned; on the contrary, such a life

has undoubtedly some advantages in it, if not allowed to overstep

a certain limit of time--"

"My good friend," interrupted Herr Sesemann, "you are giving

yourself more trouble than you need. I only want to know if the

child has caused you alarm by any animals she has brought into

the house, and what your opinion is altogether as to her being a

fit companion or not for my daughter?"

"I should not like in any way to prejudice you against her,"

began the tutor once more; "for if on the one hand there is a

certain inexperience of the ways of society, owing to the

uncivilised life she led up to the time of her removal to

Frankfurt, on the other hand she is endowed with certain good

qualities, and, taken on the whole--"

"Excuse me, my dear sir, do not disturb yourself, but I must--I

think my daughter will be wanting me," and with that Herr

Sesemann quickly left the room and took care not to return. He

sat himself down beside his daughter in the study, and then

turning to Heidi, who had risen, "Little one, will you fetch me,"

he began, and then paused, for he could not think what to ask

for, but he wanted to get the child out of the room for a little

while, "fetch me fetch me a glass of water."

"Fresh water?" asked Heidi.

"Yes--Yes--as fresh as you can get it," he answered. Heidi

disappeared on the spot.

"And now, my dear little Clara," he said, drawing his chair

nearer and laying her hand in his, "answer my questions clearly

and intelligibly: what kind of animals has your little companion

brought into the house, and why does Fraulein Rottenmeier think

that she is not always in her right mind?"

Clara had no difficulty in answering. The alarmed lady had spoken

to her also about Heidi's wild manner of talking, but Clara had

not been able to put a meaning to it. She told her father

everything about the tortoise and the kittens, and explained to

him what Heidi had said the day Fraulein Rottenmeier had been put

in such a fright. Herr Sesemann laughed heartily at her recital.

"So you do not want me to send the child home again," he asked,

you are not tired of having her here?"

"Oh, no, no," Clara exclaimed, "please do not send her away. Time

has passed much more quickly since Heidi was here, for something

fresh happens every day, and it used to be so dull, and she has

always so much to tell me."

"That's all right then--and here comes your little friend. Have

you brought me some nice fresh water?" he asked as Heidi handed

him a glass.

"Yes, fresh from the pump," answered Heidi.

"You did not go yourself to the pump?" said Clara.

"Yes I did; it is quite fresh. I had to go a long way, for there

were such a lot of people at the first pump; so I went further

down the street, but there were just as many at the second pump,

but I was able to get some water at the one in the next street,

and the gentleman with the white hair asked me to give his kind

regards to Herr Sesemann."

"You have had quite a successful expedition," said Herr Sesemann

laughing, "and who was the gentleman?"

"He was passing, and when he saw me he stood still and said, 'As

you have a glass will you give me a drink; to whom are you taking

the water?' and when I said, 'To Herr Sesemann,' he laughed very

much, and then he gave me that message for you, and also said he

hoped you would enjoy the water."

"Oh, and who was it, I wonder, who sent me such good wishes--tell

me what he was like," said Herr Sesemann.

"He was kind and laughed, and he had a thick gold chain and a

gold thing hanging from it with a large red stone, and a horse's

head at the top of his stick."

"It's the doctor--my old friend the doctor," exclaimed Clara and

her father at the same moment, and Herr Sesemann smiled to

himself at the thought of what his friend's opinion must have

been of this new way of satisfying his thirst for water.

That evening when Herr Sesemann and Fraulein Rottenmeier were

alone, settling the household affairs, he informed her that he

intended to keep Heidi; he found the child in a perfectly right

state of mind, and his daughter liked her as a companion. "I

desire, therefore," he continued, laying stress upon his words,

"that the child shall be in every way kindly treated, and that

her peculiarities shall not be looked upon as crimes. If you find

her too much for you alone, I can hold out a prospect of help,

for I am shortly expecting my mother here on a long visit, and

she, as you know, can get on with anybody, whatever they may be like."

"O yes, I know," replied Fraulein Rottenmeier, but there was no

tone of relief in her voice as she thought of the coming help.

Herr Sesemann was only home for a short time; he left for Paris

again before the fortnight was over, comforting Clara, who could

not bear that he should go from her again so soon, with the

prospect of her grandmother's arrival, which was to take place in

a few days' time. Herr Sesemann had indeed only just gone when a

letter came from Frau Sesemann, announcing her arrival on the

following day, and stating the hour when she might be expected,

in order that a carriage should be sent to meet her at the

station. Clara was overjoyed, and talked so much about her

grandmother that evening, that Heidi began also to call her

"grandmamma," which brought down on her a look of displeasure

from Fraulein Rottenmeier; this, however, had no particular

effect on Heidi, for she was accustomed now to being continually

in that lady's black books. But as she was going to her room that

night, Fraulein Rottenmeier waylaid her, and drawing her into her

own, gave her strict injunctions as to how she was to address

Frau Sesemann when she arrived; on no account was she to call her

"grandmamma," but always to say "madam" to her. "Do you

understand?" said the lady, as she saw a perplexed expression on

Heidi's face. The latter had not understood, but seeing the

severe expression of the lady's face she did not ask for more explanation.



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