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"Heidi" is a classic novel written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. It was originally published in 1881 in two parts: "Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel" ("Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre") and "Heidi Makes Use of What She Has Learned" ("Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat"). The story has since become one of the most well-loved and enduring children's books, captivating readers of all ages with its heartwarming narrative and picturesque portrayal of the Swiss Alps.
The novel tells the story of Heidi, a young orphaned girl who is sent to live with her reclusive grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Her grandfather, who is initially gruff and distant, gradually warms up to her and they form a deep bond. Heidi's innocence, kindness, and love for the mountains begin to transform the lives of those around her, including her grandfather and a young disabled girl named Clara, whom she befriends in Frankfurt.
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"MY HOUSE IS HAUNTED"
For some days past Miss Rottermeyer had gone about rather silently and as if lost in thought. As twilight fell, and she passed from room to room, or along the long corridors, she was seen to look cautiously behind her, and into the dark corners, as if she thought some one was coming up silently behind her and might unexpectedly give her dress a pull. Nor would she now go alone into some parts of the house. If she visited the upper floor where the grand guest-chambers were, or had to go down into the large drawing room, where every footstep echoed, she called Tinette to accompany her.
For something very strange and mysterious was going on in Mr. Sesemann's house. Every morning, when the servants went downstairs, they found the front door wide open, although nobody could be seen far or near to account for it. During the first few days that this happened every room and corner was searched in great alarm, to see if anything had been stolen, for the general idea was that a thief had been hiding in the house and had gone off in the night with the stolen goods; but not a thing in the house had been touched, everything was safe in its place. The door was doubly locked at night, and for further security the wooden bar was fastened across it; but it was no good--next morning the door again stood open. At last, after a great deal of persuasion from Miss Rottermeyer, Sebastian and John plucked up courage and agreed to sit up one night to watch and see what would happen. Miss Rottermeyer hunted up several weapons belonging to the master, and gave these and a bottle of brandy to them so that their courage might not faint if it came to a fight.
On the appointed night the two sat down and began at once to take some of the strengthening cordial, which at first made them very talkative and then very sleepy, so that they leant back in their seats and became silent. As midnight struck, Sebastian roused himself and called to his companion, who, however, was not easy to wake, and kept rolling his head first to one side and then the other and continuing to sleep. Sebastian began to listen more attentively, for he was wide awake now. He did not feel inclined to go to sleep again, for the stillness was ghostly to him, and he was afraid now to raise his voice to rouse John, so he shook him gently to make him stir. At last, as one struck, John woke up, and came back to the consciousness of why he was sitting in a chair instead of lying in his bed. He got up with a great show of courage and said, "Come, Sebastian, we must go out in the hall and see what is going on; you need not be afraid, just follow me."
Whereupon he opened the door wide and stepped into the hall. Just as he did so a sudden gust of air blew through the open front door and put out the light which John held in his hand. He started back, almost overturning Sebastian, whom he clutched and pulled back into the room, and then shutting the door quickly he turned the key as far as he could make it go. Then he pulled out his matches and lighted his candle again. Sebastian, in the suddenness of the affair, did not know exactly what had happened, for he had not seen the open front door or felt the breeze behind John's broad figure. But now, as he saw the latter in the light, he gave a cry of alarm, for John was trembling all over and was as white as a ghost. "What's the matter? What did you see outside?" asked Sebastian sympathetically.
"The door partly open," gasped John, "and a white figure standing at the top of the steps--there it stood, and then all in a minute it disappeared."
Sebastian felt his blood run cold. The two sat down close to one another and did not dare move again till the morning broke and the streets began to be alive again. Then they left the room together, shut the front door, and went upstairs to tell Miss Rottermeyer of their experience. They had no sooner given her details of the night's experience than she sat down and wrote to Mr. Sesemann, who had never received such a letter before in his life. She could hardly write, she told him, for her fingers were stiff with fear, and Mr. Sesemann must please arrange to come back at once, for dreadful and unaccountable things were taking place at home. Then she entered into particulars of all that had happened, of how the door was found standing open every morning.
Mr. Sesemann answered that it was quite impossible for him to arrange to leave his business and return home at once.
Miss Rottermeyer, however, was determined not to pass any more days in a state of fear, and she knew the right course to pursue. She had as yet said nothing to the children of the ghostly apparitions, for she knew if she did that the children would not remain alone for a single moment, and that might entail discomfort for herself. But now she walked straight off into the study, and there in a low, mysterious voice told the two children everything that had taken place. Clara immediately screamed out that she could not remain another minute alone, her father must come home.
So Miss Rottermeyer wrote another letter to Mr. Sesemann, stating that these unaccountable things that were going on in the house had so affected his daughter's delicate constitution that the worst consequences might be expected. Epileptic fits and St. Vitus's dance often came on suddenly in cases like this, and Clara was liable to be attacked by either if the cause of the general alarm was not removed.
The letter was successful, and two days later Mr. Sesemann arrived home.
Clara greeted him with a cry of joy, and seeing her so lively and apparently as well as ever, his face cleared, and the frown of anxiety passed gradually away from it as he heard from his daughter's own lips that she had nothing the matter with her, and moreover was so delighted to see him that she was quite glad about the ghost, as it was the cause of bringing him home again.
"And how is the ghost getting on?" he asked, turning to Miss Rottermeyer, with a twinkle of amusement in his eye.
"It is no joke, I assure you," replied that lady. "You will not laugh yourself tomorrow morning, Mr. Sesemann; what is going on in the house points to some terrible thing that has taken place in the past and been concealed."
"Well, I know nothing about that," said the master of the house, "but I must beg you not to bring suspicion on my worthy ancestors. And now will you kindly call Sebastian into the dining-room, as I wish to speak to him alone."
Mr. Sesemann had been quite aware that Sebastian and Miss Rottermeyer were not on the best of terms, and he had his ideas about this scare.
"Come here, lad," he said as Sebastian appeared, "and tell me frankly--have you been playing at ghosts to amuse yourself at Miss Rottermeyer's expense?"
"No, on my honor, sir; pray, do not think it; I am very uncomfortable about the matter myself," answered Sebastian with unmistakable truthfulness.
"Well, if that is so, I will show you and John tomorrow morning how ghosts look in the daylight. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Sebastian, a great strong lad like you, to run away from a ghost! But now go and take a message to my old friend the doctor: give him my kind regards, and ask if he will come to me tonight at nine o'clock without fail; I have come by express from Paris to consult him. I shall want him to spend the night here, so bad a case is it; so will he arrange accordingly. You understand?"
"Yes, sir," replied Sebastian, "I will see to the matter as you wish."
Punctually at nine o'clock, after the children and Miss Rottermeyer had retired, the doctor arrived. He was a grey-haired man with a fresh face, and two bright, kindly eyes. He looked anxious as he walked in, but, on catching sight of his patient, burst out laughing and clapped him on the shoulder. "Well," he said, "you look pretty bad for a person that I am to sit up with all night."
"Patience, friend," answered Mr. Sesemann, "the one you have to sit up for will look a good deal worse when we have once caught him, for there is a ghost in the house!"
The doctor laughed again.
"That's a nice way of showing sympathy, doctor!" continued Mr. Sesemann. "It's a pity my friend Rottermeyer cannot hear you. She is firmly convinced that some old member of the family is wandering about the house doing penance for some awful crime he committed."
"How did she become acquainted with him?" asked the doctor, still very much amused.
So Mr. Sesemann recounted to him how the front door was nightly opened by somebody, according to the testimony of the combined household. The whole thing was either a joke gotten up by some friend of the servants, just to alarm the household while he was away or else it was a thief, who, by leading everybody at first to think there was a ghost, made it safe for himself when he came later to steal, as no one would venture to run out if they heard him.
The two took up their quarters for the night in the same room in which Sebastian and John had kept watch. The door was shut close to prevent the light being seen in the hall outside, which might frighten away the ghost. The gentlemen sat comfortably back in the arm-chairs and began talking of all sorts of things, now and then pausing to take a good draught of wine, and so twelve o'clock struck before they were aware.
"The ghost has got scent of us and is keeping away tonight," said the doctor.
"Wait a bit, it does not generally appear before one o'clock," answered his friend.
They started talking again. One o'clock struck. There was not a sound about the house, nor in the street outside. Suddenly the doctor lifted his finger.
"Hush! Sesemann, don't you hear something?"
They both listened, and they distinctly heard the bar softly pushed aside and then the key turned in the lock and the door opened. Mr. Sesemann put out his hand for his revolver.
"You are not afraid, are you?" said the doctor as he stood up.
"It is better to take precautions," whispered Mr. Sesemann, and seizing one of the lights in his other hand, he followed the doctor, who, armed in like manner with a light and a revolver, went softly on in front. They stepped into the hall. The moonlight was shining in through the open door and fell on a white figure standing motionless in the doorway.
"Who is there?" thundered the doctor in a voice that echoed through the hall, as the two men advanced with lights and weapons towards the figure.
It turned and gave a low cry. There in her little white nightgown stood Heidi, with bare feet, staring with wild eyes at the lights and the revolvers, and trembling from head to foot like a leaf in the wind. The two men looked at one another in surprise.
"Why, I believe it is Heidi," said the doctor.
"Child, what does this mean?" said Mr. Sesemann. "What did you want? why did you come down here?"
White with terror, and hardly able to make her voice heard, Heidi answered, "I don't know."
But now the doctor stepped forward. "This is a matter for me to see to, Sesemann; go back to your chair. I must take the child upstairs to her bed."
And with that he put down his revolver and gently taking the child by the hand led her upstairs. "Don't be frightened," he said as they went up side by side, "it's nothing to be frightened about; it's all right, only just go quietly."
On reaching Heidi's room the doctor put the candle down on the table, and taking Heidi up in his arms laid her on the bed and carefully covered her over. Then he sat down beside her and waited until she had grown quieter and no longer trembled so violently. He then took her hand and said in a kind, soothing voice, "There, now you feel better, and now tell me where you were wanting to go to?"
"I did not want to go anywhere," said Heidi. "I did not know I went downstairs, but all at once I was there."
"I see, and had you been dreaming, so that you seemed to see and hear something very distinctly?"
"Yes, I dream every night, and always about the same things. I think I am back with grandfather, and I hear the sound in the fir trees outside, and I see the stars shining so brightly, and then I open the door quickly and run out, and it is all so beautiful! But when I wake I am still in Frankfurt." And Heidi struggled as she spoke to keep back the sobs which seemed to choke her.
"And have you no pain anywhere? no pain in your head or back?"
"No, only a feeling as if there were a great stone weighing on me here."
"As if you had eaten something that would not go down."
"No, not like that; something heavy as if I wanted to cry very much."
"I see, and then do you have a good cry?"
"Oh, no, I mustn't; Miss Rottermeyer forbade me to cry."
"So you swallow it all down, I suppose? Are you happy here in Frankfurt?"
"Yes," was the low answer; but it sounded more like "No."
"And where did you live with your grandfather?"
"Up on the mountain."
"That wasn't very amusing; rather dull at times, eh?"
"No, no, it was beautiful, beautiful!" Heidi could go no further; the remembrance of the past, the excitement she had just gone through, the long suppressed weeping, were too much for the child's strength; the tears began to fall fast, and she broke into violent weeping.
The doctor patted her head kindly. "There, there, go on crying, it will do you good, and then go to sleep: it will be all right tomorrow."
Then he left the room and went downstairs to Mr. Sesemann; when he was once more sitting in the arm-chair opposite his friend, "Sesemann," he said, "let me first tell you that your little charge is a sleep-walker; she is the ghost who has nightly opened the front door and put your household into this fever of alarm. Secondly, the child is consumed with home-sickness to such an extent that she is nearly a skeleton already, and soon will be quite one; something must be done at once. There is but one remedy and that is to send her back to her native mountain air. So tomorrow the child must start for home; there you have my prescription."
Mr. Sesemann had risen and now paced up and down the room in the greatest state of concern.
"What!" he exclaimed, "the child a sleep-walker and ill! All this has taken place in my house and no one noticed it! And you mean, doctor, that the child who came here happy and healthy, I am to send back to her grandfather a miserable little skeleton? I can't do it; you cannot dream of my doing such a thing! Take the child in hand, do with her what you will, and make her whole and sound, and then she shall go home; but you must cure her first."
"Sesemann," replied the doctor, "this illness of the child's is not one to be cured with pills and powders. The child has not a strong constitution, but if you send her back at once she may recover in the mountain air, if not--you would rather she went back ill than not at all?"
Mr. Sesemann stood still; the doctor's words were a shock to him.
"If you put it so, doctor, there is assuredly only one way--and that is to send her home at once."
AT HOME AGAIN ON THE MOUNTAIN
At daylight Mr. Sesemann went quickly upstairs and along the passage to Miss Rottermeyer's room, and there gave such an unusually loud knock at the door that the lady awoke from sleep with a cry of alarm. She heard the master of the house calling to her from the other side of the door, "Please make haste and come down to the dining-room; we must make ready for a journey at once."
When Miss Rottermeyer came down, with everything well adjusted about her except her cap, which was put on hind side before, Mr. Sesemann began without delay to give her directions. She was to get out a trunk and pack up all the things belonging to Heidi, and a good part of Clara's clothes as well, so that the child might take home proper apparel.
Miss Rottermeyer stood as if rooted to the spot and stared in astonishment at Mr. Sesemann. She had quite expected a long private account of some terrible ghostly experience of his during the night.
But Mr. Sesemann had no thought or time for explanations and left her standing there while he went to speak to Clara. He told her everything that had occurred during the past night, and explained how Heidi's nightly wanderings might gradually lead her farther and farther, perhaps even on to the roof, which of course would be very dangerous for her. And so they had decided to send her home at once, as he did not like to take the responsibility of her remaining, and Clara would see for herself that it was the only thing to do. Clara was very much distressed, and at first made all kinds of suggestions for keeping Heidi with her; but her father was firm, and promised her, if she would be reasonable and make no further fuss, that he would take her to Switzerland next summer.
Next he sent for Sebastian and told him to make ready to start: he was to travel with Heidi as far as Basle that day, and the next day take her home. He would give him a letter to carry to the grandfather, which would explain everything, and he could then return to Frankfurt.
"But there is one thing in particular which I wish you to look after," said Mr. Sesemann in conclusion. "When you reach the hotel, go at once into the child's room and see that the windows are all firmly fastened so that they cannot be easily opened. After Heidi is in bed, lock the door of her room on the outside, for the child walks in her sleep and might run into danger in a strange house if she went wandering downstairs and tried to open the front door; so you understand?"
"Oh! then that was it?" exclaimed Sebastian, for now a light was thrown on the ghostly visitations.
"Yes, that was it! and you are a coward, and you may tell John he is the same, and the whole household a pack of idiots." And with this Mr. Sesemann went off to his study to write a letter to Alm-Uncle.
Meanwhile Heidi was standing expectantly dressed in her Sunday frock waiting to see what would happen next, for Tinette had awakened her with a shake and put on her clothes without a word of explanation. The little uneducated child was far too much beneath her for Tinette to speak to.
When she appeared at the breakfast table, Mr. Sesemann said: "You are going home today, little one."
"Home?" murmured Heidi in a low voice, turning pale; she was so overcome that for a moment or two she could hardly breathe.
"Don't you want to hear more about it?"
"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Heidi, her face now rosy with delight.
"All right, then," said Mr. Sesemann as he sat down and made her a sign to do the same, "but now eat a good breakfast, and then off you go in the carriage."
But Heidi could not swallow a morsel though she tried to do what she was told; she was in such a state of excitement that she hardly knew if she was awake or dreaming, or if she would again open her eyes to find herself in her nightgown at the front door.
"Tell Sebastian to take plenty of provisions with him," Mr. Sesemann called out to Miss Rottermeyer, who just then came into the room; "the child can't eat anything now, which is quite natural. Now run up to Clara and stay with her till the carriage comes round," he added kindly, turning to Heidi.
Heidi had been longing for this, and ran quickly upstairs. An immense trunk was standing open in the middle of the room.
"Oh Heidi," cried Clara, as she entered; "see all the things I have had put in for you--aren't you pleased?"
And she ran over a list of things, dresses and aprons and handkerchiefs, and all kinds of working materials. "And look here," she added, as she triumphantly held up a basket. Heidi peeped in and jumped for joy, for inside it were twelve beautiful round white rolls, all for grandmother. In their delight the children forgot that the time had come for them to separate, and when some one called out, "The carriage is here," there was no time for grieving.
Heidi ran to her room to fetch her darling book; she knew no one could have packed that, as it lay under her pillow, for she had kept it by her night and day. This was put in the basket with the rolls. Then she opened her wardrobe to look for another treasure--the old red shawl which had been left behind. Heidi wrapped it round her old hat and laid it on the top of the basket, so that the red package was quite conspicuous. Then she put on her pretty hat and left the room. Miss Rottermeyer was waiting at the top of the stairs to say good-bye to her. When she caught sight of the strange little red bundle, she took it out of the basket and threw it on the ground. "No, no, Adelaide," she exclaimed, "you cannot leave the house with that thing. What can you possibly want with it!" Heidi did not dare take up her little bundle, but she gave the master of the house an imploring look, as if her greatest treasure had been taken from her.
"No, no," said Mr. Sesemann in a very decided voice, "the child shall take home with her whatever she likes, kittens and tortoises, if it pleases her; we need not put ourselves out about that, Miss Rottermeyer."
Heidi quickly picked up her bundle, with a look of joy and gratitude. As she stood by the carriage door, Mr. Sesemann gave her his hand and said he hoped she would remember him and Clara. He wished her a happy journey, and Heidi thanked him for all his kindness, and added, "And please say good-bye to the doctor for me and give him many, many thanks." For she had not forgotten that he had said to her the night before, 'It will be all right tomorrow,' and she rightly divined that he had helped to make it so for her. Heidi was now lifted into the carriage, and then the basket and the provisions were put in, and finally Sebastian took his place. Then Mr. Sesemann called out once more, "A pleasant journey to you," and the carriage rolled away.
Heidi was soon sitting in the railway carriage, holding her basket tightly on her lap; she would not let it out of her hands for a moment, for it contained the delicious rolls for grandmother; so she must keep it carefully, and even peep inside it from time to time to enjoy the sight of them. For many hours she sat as still as a mouse; only now was she beginning to realize that she was going home to the grandfather, the mountain, the grandmother, and Peter. All of a sudden she said anxiously, "Sebastian, are you sure that grandmother on the mountain is not dead?"
"No, no," said Sebastian, wishing to soothe her, "we will hope not; she is sure to be alive still."
Then Heidi fell back on her own thoughts again. Now and then she looked inside the basket, for the thing she looked forward to most was laying all the rolls out on grandmother's table. After a long silence she spoke again, "If only we could know for certain that grandmother is alive!"
"Yes, yes," said Sebastian half asleep, "she is sure to be alive, there is no reason why she should be dead."
After a while sleep came to Heidi too, and after her disturbed night and early rising she slept so soundly that she did not wake till Sebastian shook her by the arm and called to her, "Wake up, wake up! we shall have to get out directly; we are just in Basle!"
There was a further railway journey of many hours the next day. Heidi again sat with her basket on her knee, for she would not have given it up to Sebastian on any consideration; today she never even opened her mouth, for her excitement, which increased with every mile of the journey, kept her speechless. All of a sudden, before Heidi expected it, a voice called out, "Mayenfeld." She and Sebastian both jumped up, the latter also taken by surprise. In another minute they were both standing on the platform with Heidi's trunk, and the train was steaming away down the valley. Sebastian looked after it regretfully, for he preferred the easier mode of travelling to a wearisome climb on foot, especially as there was danger no doubt as well as fatigue in a country like this, where, according to Sebastian's idea, everything and everybody were half savage. He therefore looked cautiously to either side to see who was a likely person to ask the safest way to Doerfli.
Just outside the station he saw a shabby-looking little cart and horse which a broad-shouldered man was loading with heavy sacks that had been brought by the train, so he went up to him and asked which was the safest way to get to Doerfli.
"All the roads about here are safe," was the curt reply.
So Sebastian altered his question and asked which was the best way to avoid falling over the precipice, and also how a trunk could be conveyed to Doerfli. The man looked at it, weighing it with his eye, and then volunteered if it was not too heavy to take it on his own cart, as he was driving to Doerfli. After some little interchange of words it was finally agreed that the man should take both the child and the trunk to Doerfli, and there find some one who could be sent on with Heidi up the mountain.
"I can go by myself, I know the way well from Doerfli," put in Heidi, who had been listening attentively to the conversation. Sebastian was greatly relieved at not having to do any mountain climbing. He drew Heidi aside and gave her a thick rolled parcel, and a letter for her grandfather; the parcel, he told her, was a present from Mr. Sesemann, and she must put it at the bottom of her basket under the rolls and be very careful not to lose it, as Mr. Sesemann would be very vexed if she did.
"I shall be sure not to lose it," said Heidi confidently, and she at once put the roll and the letter at the bottom of her basket. The trunk meanwhile had been hoisted into the cart, and now Sebastian lifted Heidi and her basket on to the high seat and shook hands with her. The driver swung himself up beside Heidi, and the cart rolled away in the direction, of the mountains, while Sebastian, glad of having no tiring and dangerous journey on foot before him, sat down in the station and awaited the return train.
The driver of the cart was the miller at Doerfli and was taking home his sacks of flour. He had never seen Heidi, but like everybody in Doerfli knew all about her. He had known her parents, and felt sure at once that this was the child of whom he had heard so much. He began to wonder why she had come back, and as they drove along he entered into conversation with her. "You are the child who lived with your grandfather, Alm-Uncle, are you not?"
"Didn't they treat you well down there that you have come back so soon?"
"Yes, it was not that; everything in Frankfurt is as nice as it could be."
"Then why are you running home again?"
"Only because Mr. Sesemann gave me leave, or else I should not have come."
"If they were willing to let you stay, why did you not remain where you were better off than at home?"
"Because I would a thousand times rather be with grandfather on the mountain than anywhere else in the world."
"You will think differently perhaps when you get back there," grumbled the miller; and then to himself, "It's strange of her, for she must know what it's like."
He began whistling and said no more, while Heidi looked around her and began to tremble with excitement, for she knew every tree along the way, and there overhead were the high jagged peaks of the mountain looking down on her like old friends. She nodded back to them, and grew every moment more wild with her joy and longing, feeling as if she must jump down from the cart and run with all her might till she reached the top. The clock was striking five as they drove into Doerfli. As the miller lifted Heidi down, she said hastily, "Thank you, grandfather will send for the trunk."
She climbed up the steep path from Doerfli as quickly as she could; she was obliged, however, to pause now and again to take breath, for the basket she carried was rather heavy, and the way got steeper as she drew nearer the top. One thought alone filled Heidi's mind, "Would she find the grandmother sitting in her usual corner by the spinning-wheel, was she still alive?" At last Heidi caught sight of the grandmother's house in the hollow of the mountain and her heart began to beat; she ran faster and faster and her heart beat louder and louder--and now she had reached the house, but she trembled so she could hardly open the door--and then she was standing inside, unable in her breathlessness to utter a sound.
"Ah, my God!" cried a voice from the corner, "that was how Heidi used to run in; if only I could have her with me once again! Who is there?"
"It's I, I, Grandmother," cried Heidi as she ran and flung herself on her knees beside the old woman, and seizing her hands, clung to her, unable to speak for joy. And the grandmother herself could not say a word for some time, so unexpected was this happiness; but at last she put out her hand and stroked Heidi's curly hair, and said, "Yes, yes, that is her hair, and her voice; thank God that He has granted my prayer!" And tears of joy fell from the blind eyes on to Heidi's hand. "Is it really you, Heidi; have you really come back to me?"
"Yes, Grandmother, I am really here," answered Heidi in a reassuring voice. "Do not cry, for I have really come back and I am never going away again, and I shall come every day to see you, and you won't have any more hard bread to eat for some days, for look, look!"
And Heidi took the rolls from the basket, and piled the whole twelve up on grandmother's lap.
"Ah, child! child! what a blessing you bring with you!" the old woman exclaimed, as she felt and seemed never to come to the end of the rolls. "But you yourself are the greatest blessing."
Then Heidi told her how unhappy she had been, thinking that the grandmother might die while she was away and would never have her white rolls, and that then she would never, never see her again.
Peter's mother came in and stood for a moment overcome with astonishment. "Why, it's Heidi," she exclaimed.
Heidi stood up, and Brigitta could not say enough in her admiration of the child's dress and appearance; she walked round her, exclaiming all the while, "Grandmother, if you could only see her, and see what a pretty frock she has on; you would hardly know her again. And the hat with the feather in it is yours too, I suppose? Put it on that I may see how you look in it?"
"No, I would rather not," replied Heidi firmly. "You can have it if you like; I do not want it; I have my own still." And Heidi so saying undid her red bundle and took out her own hat, which had become a little more battered still during the journey. She had not forgotten how her grandfather had called out to Dete that he never wished to see her and her hat and feathers again, and this was the reason she had so anxiously preserved her old hat, for she had never ceased to think about going home to her grandfather. Next she took off her pretty dress and put her red shawl on over her underpetticoat, which left her arms bare. "I must go home to grandfather now," she said, "but tomorrow I shall come again. Good-night, Grandmother."
"Yes, come again, be sure you come again tomorrow," begged the grandmother, as she pressed Heidi's hands in hers, unwilling to let her go.
"Why have you taken off that pretty dress," asked Brigitta.
"Because I would rather go home to grandfather as I am, or else perhaps he would not know me; you hardly did at first."
Brigitta went with her to the door, and there said in rather a mysterious voice, "You must be careful, for Peter tells me that Alm-Uncle is always now in a bad temper and never speaks."
Heidi bid her good-night and continued her way up the mountain, her basket on her arm.
Soon she caught sight of the tops of the fir trees above the hut roof, then the roof itself, and at last the whole hut, and there was grandfather sitting as in old days smoking his pipe, and she could see the fir trees waving in the wind. Quicker and quicker went her little feet, and before Alm-Uncle had time to see who was coming, Heidi had rushed up to him, thrown down her basket and flung her arms round his neck, unable in the excitement of seeing him again to say more than "Grandfather! Grandfather! Grandfather!" over and over again.
And the old man himself said nothing. For the first time for many years his eyes were wet, and he had to pass his hand across them. Then he unloosed Heidi's arms, put her on his knee, and after looking at her for a moment, "So you have come back to me, Heidi," he said, "how is that? You don't look much of a grand lady. Did they send you away?"
"Oh, no, Grandfather," said Heidi eagerly, "you must not think that; they were all so kind--Clara, and grandmamma, and Mr. Sesemann. But you see, Grandfather, I used to think I should die, for I felt as if I could not breathe; but I never said anything because it would have been ungrateful. And then suddenly one morning quite early Mr. Sesemann said to me--but I think it was partly the doctor's doing--but perhaps it's all in the letter-" and Heidi jumped down and fetched the roll and the letter and handed them both to her grandfather.
"That belongs to you," he said, laying the roll of money down on the bench beside him. Then he opened the letter, read it through, and without a word put it in his pocket.
"Do you think you can still drink milk with me, Heidi?" he asked, taking the child by the hand to go into the hut. "But bring your money with you; you can buy a bed and bedclothes and dresses for a couple of years with it."
"I am sure I do not want it," replied Heidi. "I have got a bed already, and Clara has put such a lot of clothes in my trunk that I shall never want any more."
"Take it and put it in the cupboard; you will want it some day I have no doubt."
Heidi obeyed and skipped happily after her grandfather into the house; she ran into all the corners, delighted to see everything again, and then went up the ladder--but there she came to a pause and called down in a tone of surprise and distress, "Oh, Grandfather, my bed's gone."
"We can soon make it up again," he answered her from below. "I did not know that you were coming back; come along now and have your milk."
Heidi came down, sat herself on her high stool in the old place, and then taking up her bowl drank her milk eagerly, as if she had never come across anything so delicious, and as she put down her bowl, she exclaimed, "Our milk tastes nicer than anything else in the world, Grandfather."
A shrill whistle was heard outside. Heidi darted out like a flash of lightning. There were the goats leaping and springing down the rocks, with Peter in their midst. When he caught sight of Heidi he stood still with astonishment and gazed speechlessly at her. Heidi called out, "Good-evening, Peter," and then ran in among the goats. "Little Swan! Little Bear! do you know me again?" And the animals evidently recognized her voice at once, for they began rubbing their heads against her and bleating loudly as if for joy, and as she called the other goats by name one after the other, they all came scampering towards her helter-skelter and crowding round her. The impatient Greenfinch sprang into the air and over two of her companions in order to get nearer, and even the shy little Snowflake butted the Great Turk out of her way in quite a determined manner, which left him standing taken aback by her boldness, and lifting his beard in the air as much as to say, You see who I am.
"So you are back again?" said Peter, at last, taking Heidi's hand which she was holding out to him in greeting. "I am glad you are back," he said, while his whole face beamed with pleasure, and then he prepared to go on with his goats; but he never had so much trouble with them before, for when at last, by coaxing and threats, he had got them all together, and Heidi had gone off with an arm over either head of her grandfather's two goats the whole flock suddenly turned and ran after her. Heidi had to go inside the stall with her two and shut the door, or Peter would never have got home that night. When she went indoors after this she found her bed already made up for her. The grandfather had carefully spread and tucked in the clean sheets over the fragrant new mown hay. It was with a happy heart that Heidi lay down in it that night, and her sleep was sounder than it had been for a whole year past. The grandfather got up at least ten times during the night and mounted the ladder to see if Heidi was all right and showing no signs of restlessness, and to feel that the hay he had stuffed into the round window was keeping the moon from shining too brightly upon her. But Heidi did not stir; she had no need now to wander about, for the great burning longing of her heart was satisfied; she was at home again on the mountain.