by Johanna Spyri
Illustrated By Jessie Willcox Smith
HEIDI Part 2
FRAULEIN ROTTENMEIER SPENDS AN UNCOMFORTABLE DAY
When Heidi opened her eyes on her first morning in Frankfurt she
could not think where she was. Then she rubbed them and looked
about her. She was sitting up in a high white bed, on one side of
a large, wide room, into which the light was falling through
very, very long white curtains; near the window stood two chairs
covered with large flowers, and then came a sofa with the same
flowers, in front of which was a round table; in the corner was a
washstand, with things upon it that Heidi had never seen in her
life before. But now all at once she remembered that she was in
Frankfurt; everything that had happened the day before came back
to her, and finally she recalled clearly the instructions that
had been given her by the lady-housekeeper, as far as she had
heard them. Heidi jumped out of bed and dressed herself; then she
ran first to one window and then another; she wanted to see the
sky and country outside; she felt like a bird in a cage behind
those great curtains. But they were too heavy for her to put
aside, so she crept underneath them to get to the window. But
these again were so high that she could only just get her head
above the sill to peer out. Even then she could not see what she
longed for. In vain she went first to one and then the other of
the windows--she could see nothing but walls and windows and
again walls and windows. Heidi felt quite frightened. It was
still early, for Heidi was accustomed to get up early and run out
at once to see how everything was looking, if the sky was blue
and if the sun was already above the mountains, or if the fir
trees were waving and the flowers had opened their eyes. As a
bird, when it first finds itself in its bright new cage, darts
hither and thither, trying the bars in turn to see if it cannot
get through them and fly again into the open, so Heidi continued
to run backwards and forwards, trying to open first one and then
the other of the windows, for she felt she could not bear to see
nothing but walls and windows, and somewhere outside there must
be the green grass, and the last unmelted snows on the mountain
slopes, which Heidi so longed to see. But the windows remained
immovable, try what Heidi would to open them, even endeavoring to
push her little fingers under them to lift them up; but it was
all no use. When after a while Heidi saw that her efforts were
fruitless, she gave up trying, and began to think whether she
would not go out and round the house till she came to the grass,
but then she remembered that the night before she had only seen
stones in front of the house. At that moment a knock came to the
door, and immediately after Tinette put her head inside and said,
"Breakfast is ready." Heidi had no idea what an invitation so
worded meant, and Tinette's face did not encourage any
questioning on Heidi's part, but rather the reverse. Heidi was
sharp enough to read its expression, and acted accordingly. So
she drew the little stool out from under the table, put it in the
corner and sat down upon it, and there silently awaited what
would happen next. Shortly after, with a good deal of rustling
and bustling Fraulein Rottenmeier appeared, who again seemed very
much put out and called to Heidi, "What is the matter with you,
Adelheid? Don't you understand what breakfast is? Come along at
Heidi had no difficulty in understanding now and followed at
once. Clara had been some time at the breakfast table and she
gave Heidi a kindly greeting, her face looking considerably more
cheerful than usual, for she looked forward to all kinds of new
things happening again that day. Breakfast passed off quietly;
Heidi eat her bread and butter in a perfectly correct manner, and
when the meal was over and Clara wheeled back into the study,
Fraulein Rottenmeier told her to follow and remain with Clara
until the tutor should arrive and lessons begin.
As soon as the children were alone again, Heidi asked, "How can
one see out from here, and look right down on to the ground?"
"You must open the window and look out," replied Clara amused.
"But the windows won't open," responded Heidi sadly.
"Yes, they will," Clara assured her. "You cannot open them, nor I
either, but when you see Sebastian you can ask him to open one."
It was a great relief to Heidi to know that the windows could be
opened and that one could look out, for she still felt as if she
was shut up in prison. Clara now began to ask her questions about
her home, and Heidi was delighted to tell her all about the
mountain and the goats, and the flowery meadows which were so
dear to her.
Meanwhile her tutor had arrived; Fraulein Rottenmeier, however,
did not bring him straight into the study but drew him first
aside into the dining-room, where she poured forth her troubles
and explained to him the awkward position in which she was
placed, and how it had all come about. It appeared that she had
written some time back to Herr Sesemann to tell him that his
daughter very much wished to have a companion, and had added how
desirable she thought it herself, as it would be a spur to Clara
at her lessons and an amusement for her in her playtime. Fraulein
Rottenmeier had privately wished for this arrangement on her own
behalf, as it would relieve her from having always to entertain
the sick girl herself, which she felt at times was too much for
her. The father had answered that he was quite willing to let his
daughter have a companion, provided she was treated in every way
like his own child, as he would not have any child tormented or
put upon which was a very unnecessary remark," put in Fraulein
Rottenmeier, "for who wants to torment children!" But now she
went on to explain how dreadfully she had been taken in about the
child, and related all the unimaginable things of which she had
already been guilty, so that not only would he have to begin with
teaching her the A B C, but would have to start with the most
rudimentary instruction as regarded everything to do with daily
life. She could see only one way out of this disastrous state of
affairs, and that was for the tutor to declare that it was
impossible for the two to learn together without detriment to
Clara, who was so far ahead of the other; that would be a valid
excuse for getting rid of the child, and Herr Sesemann would be
sure to agree to the child being sent home again, but she dared
not do this without his order, since he was aware that by this
time the companion had arrived. But the tutor was a cautious man
and not inclined to take a partial view of matters. He tried to
calm Fraulein Rottenmeier, and gave it as his opinion that if the
little girl was backward in some things she was probably advanced
in others, and a little regular teaching would soon set the
balance right. When Fraulein Rottenmeier saw that he was not
ready to support her, and evidently quite ready to undertake
teaching the alphabet, she opened the study door, which she
quickly shut again as soon as he had gone through, remaining on
the other side herself, for she had a perfect horror of the A B
C. She walked up and down the dining-room, thinking over in her
own mind how the servants were to be told to address Adelaide.
The father had written that she was to be treated exactly like
his own daughter, and this would especially refer, she imagined,
to the servants. She was not allowed, however, a very long
interval of time for consideration, for suddenly the sound of a
frightful crash was heard in the study, followed by frantic cries
for Sebastian. She rushed into the room. There on the floor lay
in a confused heap, books, exercise-books, inkstand, and other
articles with the table-cloth on the top, while from beneath them
a dark stream of ink was flowing all across the floor. Heidi had
"Here's a state of things!" exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier,
wringing her hands. "Table-cloth, books, work-basket, everything
lying in the ink! It was that unfortunate child, I suppose!"
The tutor was standing looking down at the havoc in distress;
there was certainly only one view to be taken of such a matter as
this and that an unfavorable one. Clara meanwhile appeared to
find pleasure in such an unusual event and in watching the
results. "Yes, Heidi did it," she explained, "but quite by
accident; she must on no account be punished; she jumped up in
such violent haste to get away that she dragged the tablecloth
along with her, and so everything went over. There were a number
of vehicles passing, that is why she rushed off like that;
perhaps she has never seen a carriage."
"Is it not as I said? She has not the smallest notion about
anything! not the slightest idea that she ought to sit still and
listen while her lessons are going on. But where is the child who
has caused all this trouble? Surely she has not run away! What
would Herr Sesemann say to me?" She ran out of the room and down
the stairs. There, at the bottom, standing in the open door-way,
was Heidi, looking in amazement up and down the street.
"What are you doing? What are you thinking of to run away like
that?" called Fraulein Rottenmeier.
"I heard the sound of the fir trees, but I cannot see where they
are, and now I cannot hear them any more," answered Heidi,
looking disappointedly in the direction whence the noise of the
passing carriages had reached her, and which to Heidi had seemed
like the blowing of the south wind in the trees, so that in great
joy of heart she had rushed out to look at them.
"Fir trees! do you suppose we are in a wood? What ridiculous
ideas are these? Come upstairs and see the mischief you have
Heidi turned and followed Fraulein Rottenmeier upstairs; she was
quite astonished to see the disaster she had caused, for in her
joy and haste to get to the fir trees she had been unaware of
having dragged everything after her.
"I excuse you doing this as it is the first time, but do not let
me know you doing it a second time," said Fraulein Rottenmeier,
pointing to the floor. "During your lesson time you are to sit
still and attend. If you cannot do this I shall have to tie you
to your chair. Do you understand?"
"Yes," replied Heidi, "but I will certainly not move again," for
now she understood that it was a rule to sit still while she was
Sebastian and Tinette were now sent for to clear up the broken
articles and put things in order again; the tutor said
good-morning and left, as it was impossible to do any more
lessons that day; there had been certainly no time for gaping
Clara had to rest for a certain time during the afternoon, and
during this interval, as Fraulein Rottenmeier informed Heidi, the
latter might amuse herself as she liked. When Clara had been
placed on her couch after dinner, and the lady-housekeeper had
retired to her room, Heidi knew that her time had come to choose
her own occupation. It was just what she was longing for, as
there was something she had made up her mind to do; but she would
require some help for its accomplishment, and in view of this she
took her stand in the hall in front of the dining-room door in
order to intercept the person she wanted. In a few minutes up
came Sebastian from the kitchen with a tray of silver tea-things,
which he had to put away in the dining-room cupboard. As he
reached the top stairs Heidi went up to him and addressed him in
the formal manner she had been ordered to use by Fraulein
Sebastian looked surprised and said somewhat curtly, "What is it
you want, miss?"
"I only wished to ask you something, but it is nothing bad like
this morning," said Heidi, anxious to conciliate him, for she saw
that Sebastian was rather in a cross temper, and quite thought
that it was on account of the ink she had spilt on the floor.
"Indeed, and why, I should first like to know, do you address me
like that?" replied Sebastian, evidently still put out.
"Fraulein Rottenmeier told me always to speak to you like that,"
Then Sebastian laughed, which very much astonished Heidi, who had
seen nothing amusing in the conversation, but Sebastian, now he
understood that the child was only obeying orders, added in a
friendly voice, "What is it then that miss wants?"
It was now Heidi's turn to be a little put out, and she said, "My
name is not miss, it is Heidi."
"Quite so, but the same lady has ordered me to call you miss,"
"Has she? oh, then I must be called so," said Heidi submissively,
for she had already noticed that whatever Fraulein Rottenmeier
said was law. "Then now I have three names," she added with a
"What was it little miss wished to ask?" said Sebastian as he
went on into the dining-room to put away his silver.
"How can a window be opened?"
"Why, like that!" and Sebastian flung up one of the large
Heidi ran to it, but she was not tall enough to see out, for her
head only reached the sill.
"There, now miss can look out and see what is going on below,"
said Sebastian as he brought her a high wooden stool to stand on.
Heidi climbed up, and at last, as she thought, was going to see
what she had been longing for. But she drew back her head with a
look of great disappointment on her face.
"Why, there is nothing outside but the stony streets," she said
mournfully; "but if I went right round to the other side of the
house what should I see there, Sebastian?"
"Nothing but what you see here," he told her.
"Then where can I go to see right away over the whole valley?"
"You would have to climb to the top of a high tower, a church
tower, like that one over there with the gold ball above it. From
there you can see right away ever so far."
Heidi climbed down quickly from her stool, ran to the door, down
the steps and out into the street. Things were not, however,
quite so easy as she thought. Looking from the window the tower
had appeared so close that she imagined she had only to run over
the road to reach it. But now, although she ran along the whole
length of the street, she still did not get any nearer to it, and
indeed soon lost sight of it altogether; she turned down another
street, and went on and on, but still no tower. She passed a
great many people, but they all seemed in such a hurry that Heidi
thought they had not time to tell her which way to go. Then
suddenly at one of the street corners she saw a boy standing,
carrying a hand-organ on his back and a funny-looking animal on
his arm. Heidi ran up to him and said, Where is the tower with
the gold ball on the top?"
"I don't know," was the answer.
"Who can I ask to show me?" she asked again.
"I don't know."
"Do you know any other church with a high tower?"
"Yes, I know one."
"Come then and show it me."
"Show me first what you will give me for it," and the boy held
out his hand as he spoke. Heidi searched about in her pockets and
presently drew out a card on which was painted a garland of
beautiful red roses; she looked at it first for a moment or two,
for she felt rather sorry to part with it; Clara had only that
morning made her a present of it--but then, to look down into the
valley and see all the lovely green slopes! "There," said Heidi,
holding out the card, "would you like to have that?"
The boy drew back his hand and shook his head.
"What would you like then?" asked Heidi, not sorry to put the
card back in her pocket.
"I have none, but Clara has; I am sure she will give me some; how
much do you want?"
"Come along then."
They started off together along the street, and on the way Heidi
asked her companion what he was carrying on his back; it was a
hand-organ, he told her, which played beautiful music when he
turned the handle. All at once they found themselves in front of
an old church with a high tower; the boy stood still, and said,
"There it is."
"But how shall I get inside?" asked Heidi, looking at the fast
"I don't know," was the answer.
"Do you think that I can ring as they do for Sebastian?"
"I don't know."
Heidi had by this time caught sight of a bell in the wall which
she now pulled with all her might. "If I go up you must stay down
here, for I do not know the way back, and you will have to show
"What will you give me then for that?"
"What do you want me to give you?"
They heard the key turning inside, and then some one pulled open
the heavy creaking door; an old man came out and at first looked
with surprise and then in anger at the children, as he began
scolding them: "What do you mean by ringing me down like this?
Can't you read what is written over the bell, 'For those who wish
to go up the tower'?"
The boy said nothing but pointed his finger at Heidi. The latter
answered, "But I do want to go up the tower."
"What do you want up there?" said the old man. Has somebody sent
"No," replied Heidi, "I only wanted to go up that I might look
"Get along home with you and don't try this trick on me again, or
you may not come off so easily a second time," and with that he
turned and was about to shut the door. But Heidi took hold of his
coat and said beseechingly, "Let me go up, just once."
He looked around, and his mood changed as he saw her pleading
eyes; he took hold of her hand and said kindly, "Well, if you
really wish it so much, I will take you."
The boy sat down on the church steps to show that he was content
to wait where he was.
Hand in hand with the old man Heidi went up the many steps of the
tower; they became smaller and smaller as they neared the top,
and at last came one very narrow one, and there they were at the
end of their climb. The old man lifted Heidi up that she might
look out of the open window.
"There, now you can look down," he said.
Heidi saw beneath her a sea of roofs, towers, and chimney-pots;
she quickly drew back her head and said in a sad, disappointed
voice, "It is not at all what I thought."
"You see now, a child like you does not understand anything about
a view! Come along down and don't go ringing at my bell again!"
He lifted her down and went on before her down the narrow
stairway. To the left of the turn where it grew wider stood the
door of the tower-keeper's room, and the landing ran out beside
it to the edge of the steep slanting roof. At the far end of this
was a large basket, in front of which sat a big grey cat, that
snarled as it saw them, for she wished to warn the passers-by
that they were not to meddle with her family. Heidi stood still
and looked at her in astonishment, for she had never seen such a
monster cat before; there were whole armies of mice, however, in
the old tower, so the cat had no difficulty in catching half a
dozen for her dinner every day. The old man seeing Heidi so
struck with admiration said, "She will not hurt you while I am
near; come, you can have a peep at the kittens."
Heidi went up to the basket and broke out into expressions of
"Oh, the sweet little things! the darling kittens," she kept on
saying, as she jumped from side to side of the basket so as, not
to lose any of the droll gambols of the seven or eight little
kittens that were scrambling and rolling and falling over one
"Would you like to have one?" said the old man, who enjoyed
watching the child's pleasure.
"For myself to keep?" said Heidi excitedly, who could hardly
believe such happiness was to be hers.
"Yes, of course, more than one if you like--in short, you can
take away the whole lot if you have room for them," for the old
man was only too glad to think he could get rid of his kittens
without more trouble.
Heidi could hardly contain herself for joy. There would be plenty
of room for them in the large house, and then how astonished and
delighted Clara would be when she saw the sweet little kittens.
"But how can I take them with me?" asked Heidi, and was going
quickly to see how many she could carry away in her hands, when
the old cat sprang at her so fiercely that she shrank back in
"I will take them for you if you will tell me where," said the
old man, stroking the cat to quiet her, for she was an old friend
of his that had lived with him in the tower for many years.
"To Herr Sesemann's, the big house where there is a gold dog's
head on the door, with a ring in its mouth," explained Heidi.
Such full directions as these were not really needed by the old
man, who had had charge of the tower for many a long year and
knew every house far and near, and moreover Sebastian was an
acquaintance of his.
"I know the house," he said, "but when shall I bring them, and
who shall I ask for?--you are not one of the family, I am sure."
"No, but Clara will be so delighted when I take her the kittens."
The old man wished now to go downstairs, but Heidi did not know
how to tear herself away from the amusing spectacle.
"If I could just take one or two away with me! one for myself and
one for Clara, may I?"
"Well, wait a moment," said the man, and he drew the cat
cautiously away into his room, and leaving her by a bowl of food
came out again and shut the door. "Now take two of them."
Heidi's eyes shone with delight. She picked up a white kitten and
another striped white and yellow, and put one in the right, the
other in the left pocket. Then she went downstairs. The boy was
still sitting outside on the steps, and as the old man shut the
door of the church behind them, she said, "Which is our way to
Herr Sesemann's house?"
"I don't know," was the answer.
Heidi began a description of the front door and the steps and the
windows, but the boy only shook his head, and was not any the
"Well, look here," continued Heidi, "from one window you can see
a very, very large grey house, and the roof runs like this--" and
Heidi drew a zigzag line in the air with her forefinger.
With this the boy jumped up, he was evidently in the habit of
guiding himself by similar landmarks. He ran straight off with
Heidi after him, and in a very short time they had reached the
door with the large dog's head for the knocker. Heidi rang the
bell. Sebastian opened it quickly, and when he saw it was Heidi,
"Make haste! make haste," he cried in a hurried voice.
Heidi sprang hastily in and Sebastian shut the door after her,
leaving the boy, whom he had not noticed, standing in wonder on
"Make haste, little miss," said Sebastian again; "go straight
into the dining-room, they are already at table; Fraulein
Rottenmeier looks like a loaded cannon. What could make the
little miss run off like that?"
Heidi walked into the room. The lady housekeeper did not look up,
Clara did not speak; there was an uncomfortable silence.
Sebastian pushed her chair up for her, and when she was seated
Fraulein Rottenmeier, with a severe countenance, sternly and
solemnly addressed her: "I will speak with you afterwards,
Adelheid, only this much will I now say, that you behaved in a
most unmannerly and reprehensible way by running out of the house
as you did, without asking permission, without any one knowing a
word about it; and then to go wandering about till this hour; I
never heard of such behavior before."
"Miau!" came the answer back.
This was too much for the lady's temper; with raised voice she
exclaimed, "You dare, Adelheid, after your bad behavior, to
answer me as if it were a joke?"
"I did not--" began Heidi--"Miau! miau!"
Sebastian almost dropped his dish and rushed out of the room.
"That will do," Fraulein Rottenmeier tried to say, but her voice
was almost stifled with anger. "Get up and leave the room."
Heidi stood up frightened, and again made an attempt to explain.
"I really did not--" "Miau! miau! miau!"
"But, Heidi," now put in Clara, "when you see that it makes
Fraulein Rottenmeier angry, why do you keep on saying miau?"
"It isn't I, it's the kittens," Heidi was at last given time to
"How! what! kittens!" shrieked Fraulein Rottenmeier. "Sebastian!
Tinette! Find the horrid little things! take them away!" And she
rose and fled into the study and locked the door, so as to make
sure that she was safe from the kittens, which to her were the
most horrible things in creation.
Sebastian was obliged to wait a few minutes outside the door to
get over his laughter before he went into the room again. He had,
while serving Heidi, caught sight of a little kitten's head
peeping out of her pocket, and guessing the scene that would
follow, had been so overcome with amusement at the first miaus
that he had hardly been able to finish handing the dishes. The
lady's distressed cries for help had ceased before he had
sufficiently regained his composure to go back into the
dining-room. It was all peace and quietness there now, Clara had
the kittens on her lap, and Heidi was kneeling beside her, both
laughing and playing with the tiny, graceful little animals.
"Sebastian," exclaimed Clara as he came in, "you must help us;
you must find a bed for the kittens where Fraulein Rottenmeier
will not spy them out, for she is so afraid of them that she will
send them away at once; but we want to keep them, and have them
out whenever we are alone. Where can you put them?"
"I will see to that," answered Sebastian willingly. "I will make
a bed in a basket and put it in some place where the lady is not
likely to go; you leave it to me." He set about the work at once,
sniggling to himself the while, for he guessed there would be a
further rumpus about this some day, and Sebastian was not without
a certain pleasure in the thought of Fraulein Rottenmeier being a
Not until some time had elapsed, and it was nearing the hour for
going to bed, did Fraulein Rottenmeier venture to open the door a
crack and call through, "Have you taken those dreadful little
animals away, Sebastian?"
He assured her twice that he had done so; he had been hanging
about the room in anticipation of this question, and now quickly
and quietly caught up the kittens from Clara's lap and
disappeared with them.
The castigatory sermon which Fraulein Rottenmeier had held in
reserve for Heidi was put off till the following day, as she felt
too exhausted now after all the emotions she had gone through of
irritation, anger, and fright, of which Heidi had unconsciously
been the cause. She retired without speaking, Clara and Heidi
following, happy in their minds at knowing that the kittens were
lying in a comfortable bed.
THERE IS GREAT COMMOTION IN THE LARGE HOUSE
Sebastian had just shown the tutor into the study on the
following morning when there came another and very loud ring at
the bell, which Sebastian ran quickly to answer. "Only Herr
Sesemann rings like that," he said to himself; "he must have
returned home unexpectedly." He pulled open the door, and there
in front of him he saw a ragged little boy carrying a hand-organ
on his back.
"What's the meaning of this?" said Sebastian angrily. "I'll teach
you to ring bells like that! What do you want here?"
"I want to see Clara," the boy answered.
"You dirty, good-for-nothing little rascal, can't you be polite
enough to say 'Miss Clara'? What do you want with her?" continued
Sebastian roughly. She owes me fourpence," explained the boy.
"You must be out of your mind! And how do you know that any young
lady of that name lives here?"
"She owes me twopence for showing her the way there, and twopence
for showing her the way back."
"See what a pack of lies you are telling! The young lady never
goes out, cannot even walk; be off and get back to where you came
from, before I have to help you along."
But the boy was not to be frightened away; he remained standing,
and said in a determined voice, "But I saw her in the street, and
can describe her to you; she has short, curly black hair, and
black eyes, and wears a brown dress, and does not talk quite like
"Oho!" thought Sebastian, laughing to himself, "the little miss
has evidently been up to more mischief." Then, drawing the boy
inside he said aloud, "I understand now, come with me and wait
outside the door till I tell you to go in. Be sure you begin
playing your, organ the instant you get inside the room; the lady
is very fond of music."
Sebastian knocked at the study door, and a voice said, "Come in."
"There is a boy outside who says he must speak to Miss Clara
herself," Sebastian announced.
Clara was delighted at such an extraordinary and unexpected
"Let him come in at once," replied Clara; "he must come in, must
he not," she added, turning to her tutor, "if he wishes so
particularly to see me?"
The boy was already inside the room, and according to Sebastian's
directions immediately began to play his organ. Fraulein
Rottenmeier, wishing to escape the A B C, had retired with her
work to the dining-room. All at once she stopped and listened.
Did those sounds come up from the street? And yet they seemed so
near! But how could there be an organ playing in the study? And
yet--it surely was so. She rushed to the other end of the long
dining-room and tore open the door. She could hardly believe her
eyes. There, in the middle of the study, stood a ragged boy
turning away at his organ in the most energetic manner. The tutor
appeared to be making efforts to speak, but his voice could not
be heard. Both children were listening delightedly to the music.
"Leave off! leave off at once!" screamed Fraulein Rottenmeier.
But her voice was drowned by the music. She was making a dash for
the boy, when she saw something on the ground crawling towards
her feet--a dreadful dark object--a tortoise. At this sight she
jumped higher than she had for many long years before, shrieking
with all her might, "Sebastian! Sebastian!"
The organ-player suddenly stopped, for this time her voice had
risen louder than the music. Sebastian was standing outside bent
double with laughter, for he had been peeping to see what was
going on. By the time he entered the room Fraulein Rottenmeier
had sunk into a chair.
"Take them all out, boy and animal! Get them away at once!" she
Sebastian pulled the boy away, the latter having quickly caught
up the tortoise, and when he had got him outside he put something
into his hand. "There is the fourpence from Miss Clara, and
another fourpence for the music. You did it all quite right!" and
with that he shut the front door upon him.
Quietness reigned again in the study, and lessons began once
more; Fraulein Rottenmeier now took up her station in the study
in order by her presence to prevent any further dreadful
But soon another knock came to the door, and Sebastian again
stepped in, this time to say that some one had brought a large
basket with orders that it was to be given at once to Miss Clara.
"For me?" said Clara in astonishment, her curiosity very much
excited, "bring it in at once that I may see what it is like."
Sebastian carried in a large covered basket and retired.
"I think the lessons had better be finished first before the
basket is unpacked," said Fraulein Rottenmeier.
Clara could not conceive what was in it, and cast longing glances
towards it. In the middle of one of her declensions she suddenly
broke off and said to the tutor, "Mayn't I just give one peep
inside to see what is in it before I go on?"
"On some considerations I am for it, on others against it," he
began in answer; "for it, on the ground that if your whole
attention is directed to the basket--" but the speech remained
unfinished. The cover of the basket was loose, and at this moment
one, two, three, and then two more, and again more kittens came
suddenly tumbling on to the floor and racing about the room in
every direction, and with such indescribable rapidity that it
seemed as if the whole room was full of them. They jumped over
the tutor's boots, bit at his trousers, climbed up Fraulein
Rottenmeier's dress, rolled about her feet, sprang up on to
Clara's couch, scratching, scrambling, and mewing: it was a sad
scene of confusion. Clara, meanwhile, pleased with their gambols,
kept on exclaiming, "Oh, the dear little things! how pretty they
are! Look, Heidi, at this one; look, look, at that one over
there!" And Heidi in her delight kept running after them first
into one corner and then into the other. The tutor stood up by
the table not knowing what to do, lifting first his right foot
and then his left to get it away from the scrambling, scratching
kittens. Fraulein Rottenmeier was unable at first to speak at
all, so overcome was she with horror, and she did not dare rise
from her chair for fear that all the dreadful little animals
should jump upon her at once. At last she found voice to call
loudly, Tinette! Tinette! Sebastian! Sebastian!"
They came in answer to her summons and gathered up the kittens,
by degrees they got them all inside the basket again and then
carried them off to put with the other two.
To-day again there had been no opportunity for gaping. Late that
evening, when Fraulein Rottenmeier had somewhat recovered from
the excitement of the morning, she sent for the two servants, and
examined their closely concerning the events of the morning. And
then it came out that Heidi was at the bottom of them, everything
being the result of her excursion of the day before. Fraulein
Rottenmeier sat pale with indignation and did not know at first
how to express her anger. Then she made a sign to Tinette and
Sebastian to withdraw, and turning to Heidi, who was standing by
Clara's couch, quite unable to understand of what sin she had
been guilty, began in a severe voice,--
"Adelaide, I know of only one punishment which will perhaps make
you alive to your ill conduct, for you are an utter little
barbarian, but we will see if we cannot tame you so that you
shall not be guilty of such deeds again, by putting you in a dark
cellar with the rats and black beetles."
Heidi listened in silence and surprise to her sentence, for she
had never seen a cellar such as was now described; the place
known at her grandfather's as the cellar, where the fresh made
cheeses and the new milk were kept, was a pleasant and inviting
place; neither did she know at all what rats and black beetles
But now Clara interrupted in great distress. "No, no, Fraulein
Rottenmeier, you must wait till papa comes; he has written to say
that he will soon be home, and then I will tell him everything,
and he will say what is to be done with Heidi."
Fraulein Rottenmeier could not do anything against this superior
authority, especially as the father was really expected very
shortly. She rose and said with some displeasure, "As you will,
Clara, but I too shall have something to say to Herr Sesemann."
And with that she left the room.
Two days now went by without further disturbance. Fraulein
Rottenmeier, however, could not recover her equanimity; she was
perpetually reminded by Heidi's presence of the deception that
had been played upon her, and it seemed to her that ever since
the child had come into the house everything had been
topsy-turvy, and she could not bring things into proper order
again. Clara had grown much more cheerful; she no longer found
time hang heavy during the lesson hours, for Heidi was
continually making a diversion of some kind or other. She jumbled
all her letters up together and seemed quite unable to learn
them, and when the tutor tried to draw her attention to their
different shapes, and to help her by showing her that this was
like a little horn, or that like a bird's bill, she would
suddenly exclaim in a joyful voice, "That is a goat!" "That is a
bird of prey!" For the tutor's descriptions suggested all kinds
of pictures to her mind, but left her still incapable of the
alphabet. In the later afternoons Heidi always sat with Clara,
and then she would give the latter many and long descriptions of
the mountain and of her life upon it, and the burning longing to
return would become so overpowering that she always finished with
the words, "Now I must go home! to-morrow I must really go!" But
Clara would try to quiet her, and tell Heidi that she must wait
till her father returned, and then they would see what was to be
done. And if Heidi gave in each time and seemed quickly to regain
her good spirits, it was because of a secret delight she had in
the thought that every day added two more white rolls to the
number she was collecting for grandmother; for she always
pocketed the roll placed beside her plate at dinner and supper,
feeling that she could not bear to eat them, knowing that
grandmother had no white bread and could hardly eat the black
bread which was so hard. After dinner Heidi had to sit alone in
her room for a couple of hours, for she understood now that she
might not run about outside at Frankfurt as she did on the
mountain, and so she did not attempt it. Any conversation with
Sebastian in the dining-room was also forbidden her, and as to
Tinette, she kept out of her way, and never thought of speaking
to her, for Heidi was quite aware that the maid looked scornfully
at her and always spoke to her in a mocking voice. So Heidi had
plenty of time from day to day to sit and picture how everything
at home was now turning green, and how the yellow flowers were
shining in the sun, and how all around lay bright in the warm
sunshine, the snow and the rocks, and the whole wide valley, and
Heidi at times could hardly contain herself for the longing to be
back home again. And Dete had told her that she could go home
whenever she liked. So it came about one day that Heidi felt she
could not bear it any longer, and in haste she tied all the rolls
up in her red shawl, put on her straw hat, and went downstairs.
But just as she reached the hall-door she met Fraulein
Rottenmeier herself, just returning from a walk, which put a stop
to Heidi's journey.
So Heidi had plenty of time from day to day to sit and picture how
everything at home was now turning green, and how the yellow
flowers were shining in the sun
Fraulein Rottenmeier stood still a moment, looking at her from
top to toe in blank astonishment, her eye resting particularly on
the red bundle. Then she broke out,--
"What have you dressed yourself like that for? What do you mean
by this? Have I not strictly forbidden you to go running about in
the streets? And here you are ready to start off again, and going
out looking like a beggar."
"I was not going to run about, I was going home," said Heidi,
"What are you talking about! Going home! You want to go home?"
exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier, her anger rising. "To run away
like that! What would Herr Sesemann say if he knew! Take care
that he never hears of this! And what is the matter with his
house, I should like to know! Have you not been better treated
than you deserved? Have you wanted for a thing? Have you ever in
your life before had such a house to live in, such a table, or so
many to wait upon you? Have you?
"No," replied Heidi.
"I should think not indeed!" continued the exasperated lady. "You
have everything you can possibly want here, and you are an
ungrateful little thing; it's because you are too well off and
comfortable that you have nothing to do but think what naughty
thing you can do next!"
Then Heidi's feelings got the better of her, and she poured forth
her trouble. "Indeed I only want to go home, for if I stay so
long away Snowflake will begin crying again, and grandmother is
waiting for me, and Greenfinch will get beaten, because I am not
there to give Peter any cheese, and I can never see how the sun
says good-night to the mountains; and if the great bird were to
fly over Frankfurt he would croak louder than ever about people
huddling all together and teaching each other bad things, and not
going to live up on the rocks, where it is so much better."
"Heaven have mercy on us, the child is out of her mind!" cried
Fraulein Rottenmeier, and she turned in terror and went quickly
up the steps, running violently against Sebastian in her hurry.
"Go and bring that unhappy little creature in at once," she
ordered him, putting her hand to her forehead which she had
bumped against his.
Sebastian did as he was told, rubbing his own head as he went,
for he had received a still harder blow.
Heidi had not moved, she stood with her eyes aflame and trembling
all over with inward agitation.
"What, got into trouble again?" said Sebastian in a cheerful
voice; but when he looked more closely at Heidi and saw that she
did not move, he put his hand kindly on her shoulder, and said,
trying to comfort her, "There, there, don't take it to heart so
much; keep up your spirits, that is the great thing! She has
nearly made a hole in my head, but don't you let her bully you."
Then seeing that Heidi still did not stir, "We must go; she
ordered me to take you in."
Heidi now began mounting the stairs, but with a slow, crawling
step, very unlike her usual manner. Sebastian felt quite sad as
he watched her, and as he followed her up he kept trying to
encourage her. "Don't you give in! don't let her make you
unhappy! You keep up your courage! Why we've got such a sensible
little miss that she has never cried once since she was here;
many at that age cry a good dozen times a day. The kittens are
enjoying themselves very much up in their home; they jump about
all over the place and behave as if they were little mad things.
Later we will go up and see them, when Fraulein is out of the
way, shall we?"
Heidi gave a little nod of assent, but in such a joyless manner
that it went to Sebastian's heart, and he followed her with
sympathetic eyes as she crept away to her room.
At supper that evening Fraulein Rottenmeier did not speak, but
she cast watchful looks towards Heidi as if expecting her at any
minute to break out in some extraordinary way; but Heidi sat
without moving or eating; all that she did was to hastily hide
her roll in her pocket.
When the tutor arrived next morning, Fraulein Rottenmeier drew
him privately aside, and confided her fear to him that the change
of air and the new mode of life and unaccustomed surroundings had
turned Heidi's head; then she told him of the incident of the day
before, and of Heidi's strange speech. But the tutor assured her
she need not be in alarm; he had already become aware that the
child was somewhat eccentric, but otherwise quite right in her
mind, and he was sure that, with careful treatment and education,
the right balance would be restored, and it was this he was
striving after. He was the more convinced of this by what he now
heard, and by the fact that he had so far failed to teach her the
alphabet, Heidi seeming unable to understand the letters.
Fraulein Rottenmeier was considerably relieved by his words, and
released the tutor to his work. In the course of the afternoon
the remembrance of Heidi's appearance the day before, as she was
starting out on her travels, suddenly returned to the lady, and
she made up her mind that she would supplement the child's
clothing with various garments from Clara's wardrobe, so as to
give her a decent appearance when Herr Sesemann returned. She
confided her intention to Clara, who was quite willing to make
over any number of dresses and hats to Heidi; so the lady went
upstairs to overhaul the child's belongings and see what was to
be kept and what thrown away. She returned, however, in the
course of a few minutes with an expression of horror upon her
"What is this, Adelaide, that I find in your wardrobe!" she
exclaimed. "I never heard of any one doing such a thing before!
In a cupboard meant for clothes, Adelaide, what do I see at the
bottom but a heap of rolls! Will you believe it, Clara, bread in
a wardrobe! a whole pile of bread! Tinette," she called to that
young woman, who was in the dining-room," go upstairs and take
away all those rolls out of Adelaide's cupboard and the old straw
hat on the table."
"No! no!" screamed Heidi. "I must keep the hat, and the rolls are
for grandmother," and she was rushing to stop Tinette when
Fraulein Rottenmeier took hold of her. "You will stop here, and
all that bread and rubbish shall be taken to the place they
belong to," she said in a determined tone as she kept her hand on
the child to prevent her running forward.
Then Heidi in despair flung herself down on Clara's couch and
broke into a wild fit of weeping, her crying becoming louder and
more full of distress, every minute, while she kept on sobbing
out at intervals, "Now grandmother's' bread is all gone! They
were all for grandmother, and now they are taken away, and
grandmother won't have one," and she wept as if her heart would
break. Fraulein Rottenmeier ran out of the room. Clara was
distressed and alarmed at the child's crying. "Heidi, Heidi," she
said imploringly, "pray do not cry so! listen to me; don't be so
unhappy; look now, I promise you that you shall have just as many
rolls, or more, all fresh and new to take to grandmother when you
go home; yours would have been hard and stale by then. Come,
Heidi, do not cry any more!"
Heidi could not get over her sobs for a long time; she would
never have been able to leave off crying at all if it had not
been for Clara's promise, which comforted her. But to make sure
that she could depend upon it she kept on saying to Clara, her
voice broken with her gradually subsiding sobs, "Will you give me
as many, quite as many, as I had, for grandmother?" And Clara
assured her each time that she would give her as many, "or more,"
she added, "only be happy again."
Heidi appeared at supper with her eyes red with weeping, and when
she saw her roll she could not suppress a sob. But she made an
effort to control herself, for she knew she must sit quietly at
table. Whenever Sebastian could catch her eye this evening he
made all sorts of strange signs, pointing to his own head and
then to hers, and giving little nods as much as to say, "Don't
you be unhappy! I have got it all safe for you."
When Heidi was going to get into bed that night she found her old
straw hat lying under the counterpane. She snatched it up with
delight, made it more out of shape still in her joy, and then,
after wrapping a handkerchief round it, she stuck it in a corner
of the cupboard as far back as she could.
It was Sebastian who had hidden it there for her; he had been in
the dining-room when Tinette was called, and had heard all that
went on with the child and the latter's loud weeping. So he
followed Tinette, and when she came out of Heidi's room carrying
the rolls and the hat, he caught up the hat and said, "I will see
to this old thing." He was genuinely glad to have been able to
save it for Heidi, and that was the meaning of his encouraging
signs to her at supper.
HERR SESEMANN HEARS OF THINGS WHICH ARE NEW TO HIM
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
"No, Clara is always kind to me," answered Heidi.
"And Heidi," put in Clara quickly, "has not once tried to
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
There was much expectation and preparation about the house on the
following evening, and it was easy to see that the lady who was
coming was one whose opinion was highly thought of, and for whom
everybody had a great respect. Tinette had a new white cap on her
head, and Sebastian collected all the footstools he could find
and placed them in convenient spots, so that the lady might find
one ready to her feet whenever she chose to sit. Fraulein
Rottenmeier went about surveying everything, very upright and
dignified, as if to show that though a rival power was expected,
her own authority was not going to be extinguished.
And now the carriage came driving up to the door, and Tinette and
Sebastian ran down the steps, followed with a slower and more
stately step by the lady, who advanced to greet the guest. Heidi
had been sent up to her room and ordered to remain there until
called down, as the grandmother would certainly like to see Clara
alone first. Heidi sat herself down in a corner and repeated her
instructions over to herself. She had not to wait long before
Tinette put her head in and said abruptly, "Go downstairs into
Heidi had not dared to ask Fraulein Rottenmeier again how she was
to address the grandmother: she thought the lady had perhaps made
a mistake, for she had never heard any one called by other than
their right name. As she opened the study door she heard a kind
voice say, "Ah, here comes the child! Come along in and let me
have a good look at you."
Heidi walked up to her and said very distinctly in her clear
voice, "Good-evening," and then wishing to follow her
instructions called her what would be in English "Mrs. Madam."
"Well!" said the grandmother, laughing, "is that how they address
people in your home on the mountain?"
"No," replied Heidi gravely, "I never knew any one with that name
"Nor I either," laughed the grandmother again as she patted
Heidi's cheek. "Never mind! when I am with the children I am
always grandmamma; you won't forget that name, will you?"
"No, no," Heidi assured her, "I often used to say it at home."
"I understand," said the grandmother, with a cheerful little nod
of the head. Then she looked more closely at Heidi, giving
another nod from time to time, and the child looked back at her
with steady, serious eyes, for there was something kind and
warm-hearted about this new-comer that pleased Heidi, and indeed
everything to do with the grandmother attracted her, so that she
could not turn her eyes away. She had such beautiful white hair,
and two long lace ends hung down from the cap on her head and
waved gently about her face every time she moved, as if a soft
breeze were blowing round her, which gave Heidi a peculiar
feeling of pleasure.
"And what is your name, child?" the grandmother now asked.
"I am always called Heidi; but as I am now to be called Adelaide,
I will try and take care--" Heidi stopped short, for she felt a
little guilty; she had not yet grown accustomed to this name; she
continued not to respond when Fraulein Rottenmeier suddenly
addressed her by it, and the lady was at this moment entering the
"Frau Sesemann will no doubt agree with me," she interrupted,
"that it was necessary to choose a name that could be pronounced
easily, if only for the sake of the servants."
"My worthy Rottenmeier," replied Frau Sesemann, "if a person is
called 'Heidi' and has grown accustomed to that name, I call her
by the same, and so let it be."
Fraulein Rottenmeier was always very much annoyed that the old
lady continually addressed her by her surname only; but it was no
use minding, for the grandmother always went her own way, and so
there was no help for it. Moreover the grandmother was a keen old
lady, and had all her five wits about her, and she knew what was
going on in the house as soon as she entered it.
When on the following day Clara lay down as usual on her couch
after dinner, the grandmother sat down beside her for a few
minutes and closed her eyes, then she got up again as lively as
ever, and trotted off into the dining-room. No one was there.
"She is asleep, I suppose," she said to herself, and then going
up to Fraulein Rottenmeier's room she gave a loud knock at the
door. She waited a few minutes and then Fraulein Rottenmeier
opened the door and drew back in surprise at this unexpected
"Where is the child, and what is she doing all this time? That is
what I came to ask," said Frau Sesemann.
"She is sitting in her room, where she could well employ herself
if she had the least idea of making herself useful; but you have
no idea, Frau Sesemann, of the out-of-the-way things this child
imagines and does, things which I could hardly repeat in good
"I should do the same if I had to sit in there like that child, I
can tell you; I doubt if you would then like to repeat what I
did, in good society! Go and fetch the child and bring her to my
room; I have some pretty books with me that I should like to give
"That is just the misfortune," said Fraulein Rottenmeier with a
despairing gesture, "what use are books to her? She has not been
able to learn her A B C even, all the long time she has been
here; it is quite impossible to get the least idea of it into her
head, and that the tutor himself will tell you; if he had not the
patience of an angel he would have given up teaching her long
"That is very strange," said Frau Sesemann, "she does not look to
me like a child who would be unable to learn her alphabet.
However, bring her now to me, she can at least amuse herself with
the pictures in the books."
Fraulein Rottenmeier was prepared with some further remarks, but
the grandmother had turned away and gone quickly towards her own
room. She was surprised at what she had been told about Heidi's
incapacity for learning, and determined to find out more
concerning this matter, not by inquiries from the tutor, however,
although she esteemed him highly for his uprightness of
character; she had always a friendly greeting for him, but always
avoided being drawn into conversation with him, for she found his
style of talk somewhat wearisome.
Heidi now appeared and gazed with open-eyed delight and wonder at
the beautiful colored pictures in the books which the grandmother
gave her to look at. All of a sudden, as the latter turned over
one of the pages to a fresh picture, the child gave a cry. For a
moment or two she looked at it with brightening eyes, then the
tears began to fall, and at last she burst into sobs. The
grandmother looked at the picture--it represented a green
pasture, full of young animals, some grazing and others nibbling
at the shrubs. In the middle was a shepherd leaning upon his
staff and looking on at his happy flock. The whole scene was
bathed in golden light, for the sun was just sinking below the
The grandmother laid her hand kindly On Heidi's.
"Don't cry, dear child, don't cry," she said, "the picture has
reminded you perhaps of something. But see, there is a beautiful
tale to the picture which I will tell you this evening. And there
are other nice tales of all kinds to read and to tell again. But
now we must have a little talk together, so dry your tears and
come and stand in front of me, so that I may see you well--there,
now we are happy again."
But it was some little time before Heidi could overcome her sobs.
The grandmother gave her time to recover herself, saying cheering
words to her now and then, "There, it's all right now, and we are
quite happy again."
When at last she saw that Heidi was growing calmer, she said,
"Now I want you to tell me something. How are you getting on in
your school-time; do you like your lessons, and have you learnt a
"O no!" replied Heidi, sighing, "but I knew beforehand that it
was not possible to learn."
"What is it you think impossible to learn?"
"Why, to read, it is too difficult."
"You don't say so! and who told you that?"
"Peter told me, and he knew all about it, for he had tried and
tried and could not learn it."
"Peter must be a very odd boy then! But listen, Heidi, we must
not always go by what Peter says, we must try for ourselves. I am
certain that you did not give all your attention to the tutor
when he was trying to teach you your letters."
"It's of no use," said Heidi in the tone of one who was ready to
endure what could not be cured.
"Listen to what I have to say," continued the grandmother. "You
have not been able to learn your alphabet because you believed
what Peter said; but now you must believe what I tell you--and I
tell you that you can learn to read in a very little while, as
many other children do, who are made like you and not like Peter.
And now hear what comes after--you see that picture with the
shepherd and the animals--well, as soon as you are able to read
you shall have that book for your own, and then you will know all
about the sheep and the goats, and what the shepherd did, and the
wonderful things that happened to him, just as if some one were
telling you the whole tale. You will like to hear about all that,
Heidi had listened with eager attention to the grandmother's
words and now with a sigh exclaimed, "Oh, if only I could read
"It won't take you long now to learn, that I can see; and now we
must go down to Clara; bring the books with you." And hand in
hand the two returned to the study."
Since the day when Heidi had so longed to go home, and Fraulein
Rottenmeier had met her and scolded her on the steps, and told
her how wicked and ungrateful she was to try and run away, and
what a good thing it was that Herr Sesemann knew nothing about
it, a change had come over the child. She had at last understood
that day that she could not go home when she wished as Dete had
told her, but that she would have to stay on in Frankfurt for a
long, long time, perhaps for ever. She had also understood that
Herr Sesemann would think it ungrateful of her if she wished to
leave, and she believed that the grandmother and Clara would
think the same. So there was nobody to whom she dared confide her
longing to go home, for she would not for the world have given
the grandmother, who was so kind to her, any reason for being as
angry with her as Fraulein Rottenmeier had been. But the weight
of trouble on the little heart grew heavier and heavier; she
could no longer eat her food, and every day she grew a little
paler. She lay awake for long hours at night, for as soon as she
was alone and everything was still around her, the picture of the
mountain with its sunshine and flowers rose vividly before her
eyes; and when at last she fell asleep it was to dream of the
rocks and the snow-field turning crimson in the evening light,
and waking in the morning she would think herself back at the hut
and prepare to run joyfully out into--the sun--and then--there
was her large bed, and here she was in Frankfurt far, far away
from home. And Heidi would often lay her face down on the pillow
and weep long and quietly so that no one might hear her.
Heidi's unhappiness did not escape the grandmother's notice. She
let some days go by to see if the child grew brighter and lost
her down-cast appearance. But as matters did not mend, and she
saw that many mornings Heidi had evidently been crying before she
came downstairs, she took her again into her room one day, and
drawing the child to her said, "Now tell me, Heidi, what is the
matter; are you in trouble?"
But Heidi, afraid if she told the truth that the grandmother
would think her ungrateful, and would then leave off being so
kind to her, answered, can't tell you."
"Well, could you tell Clara about it?"
"Oh, no, I cannot tell any one," said Heidi in so positive a
tone, and with a look of such trouble on her face, that the
grandmother felt full of pity for the child.
"Then, dear child, let me tell you what to do: you know that when
we are in great trouble, and cannot speak about it to anybody, we
must turn to God and pray Him to help, for He can deliver us from
every care, that oppresses us. You understand that, do you not?
You say your prayers every evening to the dear God in Heaven, and
thank Him for all He has done for you, and pray Him to keep you
from all evil, do you not?"
"No, I never say any prayers," answered Heidi.
"Have you never been taught to pray, Heidi; do you not know even
what it means?"
"I used to say prayers with the first grandmother, but that is a
long time ago, and I have forgotten them."
"That is the reason, Heidi, that you are so unhappy, because you
know no one who can help you. Think what a comfort it is when the
heart is heavy with grief to be able at any moment to go and tell
everything to God, and pray Him for the help that no one else can
give us. And He can help us and give us everything that will make
us happy again."
A sudden gleam of joy came into Heidi's eyes. "May I tell Him
"Yes, everything, Heidi, everything."
Heidi drew her hand away, which the grandmother was holding
affectionately between her own, and said quickly, "May I go?"
"Yes, of course," was the answer, and Heidi ran out of the room
into her own, and sitting herself on a stool, folded her hands
together and told God about everything that was making her so sad
and unhappy, and begged Him earnestly to help her and to let her
go home to her grandfather.
It was about a week after this that the tutor asked Frau
Sesemann's permission for an interview with her, as he wished to
inform her of a remarkable thing that had come to pass. So she
invited him to her room, and as he entered she held out her hand
in greeting, and pushing a chair towards him, "I am pleased to
see you," she said, "pray sit down and tell me what brings you
here; nothing bad, no complaints, I hope?"
"Quite the reverse," began the tutor. "Something has happened
that I had given up hoping for, and which no one, knowing what
has gone before, could have guessed, for, according to all
expectations, that which has taken place could only be looked
upon as a miracle, and yet it really has come to pass and in the
most extraordinary manner, quite contrary to all that one could
"Has the child Heidi really learnt to read at last?" put in Frau
The tutor looked at the lady in speechless astonishment. At last
he spoke again. "It is indeed truly marvellous, not only because
she never seemed able to learn her A B C even after all my full
explanations, and after spending unusual pains upon her, but
because now she has learnt it so rapidly, just after I had made
up my mind to make no further attempts at the impossible but to
put the letters as they were before her without any dissertation
on their origin and meaning, and now she has as you might say
learnt her letters over night, and started at once to read
correctly, quite unlike most beginners. And it is almost as
astonishing to me that you should have guessed such an unlikely
"Many unlikely things happen in life," said Frau Sesemann with a
pleased smile. "Two things coming together may produce a happy
result, as for instance, a fresh zeal for learning and a new
method of teaching, and neither does any harm. We can but rejoice
that the child has made such a good start and hope for her future
After parting with the tutor she went down to the study to make
sure of the good news. There sure enough was Heidi, sitting
beside Clara and reading aloud to her, evidently herself very
much surprised, and growing more and more delighted with the new
world that was now open to her as the black letters grew alive
and turned into men and things and exciting stories. That same
evening Heidi found the large book with the beautiful pictures
lying on her plate when she took her place at table, and when she
looked questioningly at the grandmother, the latter nodded kindly
to her and said, "Yes, it's yours now."
"Mine, to keep always? even when I go home?" said, Heidi,
blushing with pleasure.
"Yes, of course, yours for ever," the grandmother assured her.
"To-morrow we will begin to read it."
"But you are not going home yet, Heidi, not for years," put in
Clara. "When grandmother goes away, I shall want you to stay on
When, Heidi went to her room that night she had another look at
her book before going to bed, and from that day forth her chief
pleasure was to read the tales which belonged to the beautiful
pictures over and over again. If the grandmother said, as they
were sitting together in the evening, "Now Heidi will read aloud
to us," Heidi was delighted, for reading was no trouble to her
now, and when she read the tales aloud the scenes seemed to grow
more beautiful and distinct, and then grandmother would explain
and tell her more about them still.
Still the picture she liked best was the one of the shepherd
leaning on his staff with his flock around him in the midst of
the green pasture, for he was now at home and happy, following
his father's sheep and goats. Then came the picture where he was
seen far away from his father's house, obliged to look after the
swine, and he had grown pale and thin from the husks which were
all he had to eat. Even the sun seemed here to be less bright and
everything looked grey and misty. But there was the third picture
still to this tale: here was the old father with outstretched
arms running to meet and embrace his returning and repentant son,
who was advancing timidly, worn out and emaciated And clad in a
ragged coat. That was Heidi's favorite tale, which she read over
and over again, aloud and to herself, and she was never tired of
hearing the grandmother explain it to her and Clara. But there
were other tales in the book besides, and what with reading and
looking at the pictures the days passed quickly away, and the
time drew near for the grandmother to return home.
HEIDI GAINS IN ONE WAY AND LOSES IN ANOTHER
Every afternoon during her visit the grandmother went and sat
down for a few minutes beside Clara after dinner, when the latter
was resting, and Fraulein Rottenmeier, probably for the same
reason, had disappeared inside her room; but five minutes
sufficed her, and then she was up again, and Heidi was sent for
to her room, and there she would talk to the child and employ and
amuse her in all sorts of ways. The grandmother had a lot of
pretty dolls, and she showed Heidi how to make dresses and
pinafores for them, so that Heidi learnt how to sew and to make
all sorts of beautiful clothes for the little people out of a
wonderful collection of pieces that grandmother had by her of
every describable and lovely color. And then grandmother liked to
hear her read aloud, and the oftener Heidi read her tales the
fonder she grew of them. She entered into the lives of all the
people she read about so that they became like dear friends to
her, and it delighted her more and more to be with them. But
still Heidi never looked really happy, and her bright eyes were
no longer to be seen. It was the last week of the grandmother's
visit. She called Heidi into her room as usual one day after
dinner, and the child came with her book under her arm. The
grandmother called her to come close, and then laying the book
aside, said, "Now, child, tell me why you are not happy? Have you
still the same trouble at heart?"
Heidi nodded in reply.
"Have you told God about it?"
"And do you pray every day that He will make things right and
that you may be happy again?"
"No, I have left off praying."
"Do not tell me that, Heidi! Why have you left off praying?"
"It is of no use, God does not listen," Heidi went on in an
agitated voice, "and I can understand that when there are so
many, many people in Frankfurt praying to Him every evening that
He cannot attend to them all, and He certainly has not heard what
I said to Him."
"And why are you so sure of that, Heidi?"
"Because I have prayed for the same thing every day for weeks,
and yet God has not done what I asked."
"You are wrong, Heidi; you must not think of Him like that. God
is a good father to us all, and knows better than we do what is
good for us. If we ask Him for something that is not good for us,
He does not give it, but something better still, if only we will
continue to pray earnestly and do not run away and lose our trust
in Him. God did not think what you have been praying for was good
for you just now; but be sure He heard you, for He can hear and
see every one at the same time, because He is a God and not a
human being like you and me. And because He thought it was better
for you not to have at once what you wanted, He said to Himself:
Yes, Heidi shall have what she asks for, but not until the right
time comes, so that she may be quite happy. If I do what she
wants now, and then one day she sees that it would have been
better for her not to have had her own way, she will cry and say,
'If only God had not given me what I asked for! it is not so good
as I expected!' And while God is watching over you, and looking
to see if you will trust Him and go on praying to Him every day,
and turn to Him for everything you want, you run away and leave
off saying your prayers, and forget all about Him. And when God
no longer hears the voice of one He knew among those who pray to
Him, He lets that person go his own way, that he may learn how
foolish he is. And then this one gets into trouble, and cries,
'Save me, God, for there is none other to help me,' and God says,
'Why did you go from Me; I could not help you when you ran away.'
And you would not like to grieve God, would you Heidi, when He
only wants to be kind to you? So will you not go and ask Him to
forgive you, and continue to pray and to trust Him, for you may
be sure that He will make everything right and happy for you, and
then you will be glad and lighthearted again."
Heidi had perfect confidence in the grandmother, and every word
she said sunk into her heart.
"I will go at once and ask God to forgive me, and I will never
forget Him again," she replied repentantly.
"That is right, dear child," and anxious to cheer her, added,
"Don't be unhappy, for He will do everything you wish in good
And Heidi ran away and prayed that she might always remember God,
and that He would go on thinking about her.
The day came for grandmother's departure--a sad one for Clara and
Heidi. But the grandmother was determined to make it as much like
a holiday as possible and not to let them mope, and she kept them
so lively and amused that they had no time to think about their
sorrow at her going until she really drove away. Then the house
seemed so silent and empty that Heidi and Clara did not know what
to do with themselves, and sat during the remainder of the day
like two lost children.
The next day, when the hour came for Clara and Heidi to be
together, the latter walked in with her book and proposed that
she should go on reading aloud every afternoon to Clara, if the
latter liked it. Clara agreed, and thought anyhow it would be
nice for that day, so Heidi began with her usual enthusiasm. But
the reading did not last long, for Heidi had hardly begun a tale
about a dying grandmother before she cried out, "O! then
grandmother is dead!" and burst into tears; for everything she
read was so real to her that she quite thought it was the
grandmother at home who had died, and she kept on exclaiming as
her sobs increased, "She is dead, and I shall never see her
again, and she never had one of the white rolls!"
Clara did all she could to explain to Heidi that the story was
about quite a different grandmother; but even when at last she
had been able to convince Heidi of this, the latter continued to
weep inconsolably, for now she had awakened to the thought that
perhaps the grandmother, and even the grandfather also, might die
while she was so far way, and that if she did not go home for a
long time she would find everything there all silent and dead,
and there she would be all alone, and would never be able to see
the dear ones she loved any more.
Fraulein Rottenmeier had meanwhile come into the room, and Clara
explained to her what had happened. As Heidi continued her
weeping, the lady, who was evidently getting impatient with her,
went up to Heidi and said with decision, "Now, Adelaide, that is
enough of all this causeless lamentation. I will tell you once
for all, if there are any more scenes like this while you are
reading, I shall take the book away from you and shall not let
you have it again."
Her words had immediate effect on Heidi, who turned pale with
fear. The book was her one great treasure. She quickly dried her
tears and swallowed her sobs as best she could, so that no
further sound of them should be heard. The threat did its work,
for Heidi never cried aloud again whatever she might be reading,
but she had often to struggle hard to keep back her tears, so
that Clara would look at her and say,
"What faces you are making, Heidi, I never saw anything like it!"
But the faces made no noise and did not offend Fraulein
Rottenmeier, and Heidi, having overcome her fit of despairing
misery, would go quietly on for a while, and no one perceived her
sorrow. But she lost all her appetite, and looked so pale and
thin that Sebastian was quite unhappy when he looked at her, and
could not bear to see her refusing all the nice dishes he handed
her. He would whisper to her sometimes, in quite a kind, fatherly
manner, "Take a little; you don't know how nice it is! There, a
good spoonful, now another." But it was of no use, Heidi hardly
ate anything at all, and as soon as she laid her head down at
night the picture of home would rise before her eyes, and she
would weep, burying her face in the pillow that her crying might
not be heard.
And so many weeks passed away. Heidi did not know it is was
winter or summer, for the walls and windows she looked out upon
showed no change, and she never went beyond the house except on
rare occasions when Clara was well enough to drive out, and then
they only went a very little way, as Clara could not bear the
movement for long. So that on these occasions they generally only
saw more fine streets and large houses and crowds of people; they
seldom got anywhere beyond them, and grass and flowers, fir trees
and mountains, were still far away. Heidi's longing for the old
familiar and beautiful things grew daily stronger, so that now
only to read a word that recalled them to her remembrance brought
her to the verge of tears, which with difficulty she suppressed.
So the autumn and winter passed, and again the sun came shining
down on the white walls of the opposite houses, and Heidi would
think to herself that now the time had come for Peter to go out
again with the goats, to where the golden flowers of the cistus
were glowing in the sunlight, and all the rocks around turned to
fire at sunset. Heidi would go and sit in a corner of her lonely
room and put her hands up to her eyes that she might not see the
sun shining on the opposite wall; and then she would remain
without moving, battling silently with her terrible homesickness
until Clara sent for her again.
A GHOST IN THE HOUSE
For some days past Fraulein Rottenmeier had gone about rather
silently and as if lost in thought. As twilight fell, and she
passed from room to room, or along the long corridors, she was
seen to look cautiously behind her, and into the dark corners, as
if she thought some one was coming silently behind her and might
unexpectedly give her dress a pull. Nor would she now go alone
into some parts of the house. If she visited the upper floor
where the grand guest-chambers were, or had to go down into the
large mysterious council-chamber, where every footstep echoed,
and the old senators with their big white collars looked down so
solemnly and immovably from their frames, she regularly called
Tinette to accompany her, in case, as she said, there might be
something to carry up or down. Tinette on her side did exactly
the same; if she had business upstairs or down, she called
Sebastian to accompany her, and there was always something he
must help her with which she could not carry alone. More curious
still, Sebastian, also, if sent into one of the more distant
rooms, always called John to go with him in case he should want
his assistance in bringing what was required. And John readily
obeyed, although there was never anything to carry, and either
might well have gone alone; but he did not know how soon he might
want to ask Sebastian to do the same service for him. And while
these things were going on upstairs, the cook, who had been in
the house for years, would stand shaking her head over her pots
and kettles, and sighing, "That ever I should live to know such a
For something very strange and mysterious was going on in Herr
Sesemann's house. Every morning, when the servants went
downstairs, they found the front door wide open, although nobody
could be seen far or near to account for it. During the first few
days that this happened every room and corner was searched in
great alarm, to see if anything had been stolen, for the general
idea was that a thief had been hiding in the house and had gone
off in the night with the stolen goods; but not a thing in the
house had been touched, everything was safe in its place. The
door was doubly locked at night, and for further security the
wooden bar was fastened across it; but it was no good--next
morning the door again stood open. The servants in their fear and
excitement got up extra early, but not so early but what the door
had been opened before they got downstairs, although everything
and everybody around were still wrapped in slumber, and the doors
and windows of the adjoining houses all fast shut. At last, after
a great deal of persuasion from Fraulein Rottenmeier, Sebastian
and John plucked up courage and agreed to sit up one night in the
room next to the large council-chamber and to watch and see what
would happen. Fraulein Rottenmeier looked up several weapons
belonging to the master, and gave these and a bottle of spirits
to Sebastian, so that their courage might not faint if it came to
On the appointed night the two sat down and began at once to take
some of the strengthening cordial, which at first made them very
talkative and then very sleepy, so that they leant back in their
seats and became silent. As midnight struck, Sebastian roused
himself and called to his companion, who, however, was not easy
to wake, and kept rolling his head first to one side and then the
other and continuing to sleep. Sebastian began to listen more
attentively, for he was wide awake now. Everything was still as a
mouse, all sound had died away from the streets even. He did not
feel inclined to go to sleep again, for the stillness was ghostly
to him, and he was afraid now to raise his voice to rouse John,
so he shook him gently to make him stir. At last, as one struck,
John work up, and came back to the consciousness of why he was
sitting in a chair instead of lying in his bed. He now got up
with a great show of courage and said, "Come, Sebastian, we must
go outside and see what is going on; you need not be afraid, just
Whereupon he opened the door wide and stepped into the hall. Just
as he did so a sudden gust of air blew through the open front
door and put out the light which John held in his hand. He
started back, almost overturning Sebastian, whom he clutched and
pulled back into the room, and then shutting the door quickly he
turned the key as far as he could make it go. Then he pulled out
his matches and lighted his candle again. Sebastian, in the
suddenness of the affair, did not know exactly what had happened,
for he had not seen the open door or felt the breeze behind
John's broad figure. But now, as he saw the latter in the light,
he gave a cry of alarm, for John was trembling all over and as
white as a ghost. "What's the matter? What did you see, outside?
asked Sebastian sympathetically.
"The door partly open," gasped John, "and a white figure standing
at the top of the steps--there it stood, and then all in a minute
Sebastian felt his blood run cold. The two sat down close to one
another and did not dare move again till the morning broke and
the streets began to be alive again. Then they left the room
together, shut the front door, and went upstairs to tell Fraulein
Rottenmeier of their experience. She was quite ready to receive
them, for she had not been able to sleep at all in the anxiety of
waiting to hear their report. They had no sooner given her
details of the night's experience than she sat down and wrote
straight off to Herr Sesemann, who had never received such a
letter before in his life. She could hardly write, she told him,
for her fingers were stiff with fear, and Herr Sesemann must
please arrange to come back at once, for dreadful and
unaccountable things were taking place at home. Then she entered
into particulars of all that had happened, of how the door was
found standing open every morning, and how nobody in the house
now felt sure of their life in this unprotected state of things,
and how it was impossible to tell what terrible results might
follow on these mysterious doings.
Herr Sesemann answered that it was quite impossible for him to
arrange to leave his business and return home at once. He was
very much astonished at this ghost tale, but hoped by this time
the ghost had disappeared. If, however, it still continued to
disturb the household, would Fraulein Rottenmeier write to the
grandmother and ask her if she could come and do something; she,
he was sure, would soon find out a way to deal with the ghost so
that it would not venture again to haunt his house. Fraulein
Rottenmeier was not pleased with the tone of this letter; she did
not think the matter was treated seriously enough. She wrote off
without delay to Frau Sesemann, but got no more satisfactory
reply from that quarter, and some remarks in the letter she
considered were quite offensive. Frau Sesemann wrote that she did
not feel inclined to take the journey again from Holstein to
Frankfurt because Rottenmeier fancied she saw ghosts. There had
never been a ghost in the house since she bad known it, and if
there was one now it must be a live one, with which Rottenmeier
ought to be able to deal; if not she had better send for the
watchman to help her.
Fraulein Rottenmeier, however, was determined not to pass any
more days in a state of fear, and she knew the right course to
pursue. She had as yet said nothing to the children of the
ghostly apparitions, for she knew if she did that the children
would not remain alone for a single moment, and that might entail
discomfort for herself. But now she walked straight off into the
study, and there in a low mysterious voice told the two children
everything that had taken place. Clara immediately screamed out
that she could not remain another minute alone, her father must
come home, and Fraulein Rottenmeier must sleep in her room at
night, and Heidi too must not be left by herself, for the ghost
might do something to her. She insisted that they should all
sleep together in one room and keep a light burning all night,
and Tinette had better be in the next room, and Sebastian and
John come upstairs and spend the night in the hall, so that they
might call out and frighten the ghost the instant they saw it
appear on the steps. Clara, in short, grew very excited, and
Fraulein Rottenmeier had great difficulty in quieting her. She
promised to write at once to her father, and to have her bed put
in her room and not to be left alone for a moment. They could not
all sleep in the same room, but if Heidi was frightened, why
Tinette must go into her room. But Heidi was far more frightened
of Tinette than of ghosts, of which the child had never before
heard, so she assured the others she did not mind the ghost, and
would rather be alone at night.
Fraulein Rottenmeier now sat down to write another letter to Herr
Sesemann, stating that these unaccountable things that were going
on in the house had so affected his daughter's delicate
constitution that the worst consequences might be expected.
Epileptic fits and St. Vitus's dance often came on suddenly in
cases like this, and Clara was liable to be attacked by either if
the cause of the general alarm was not removed.
The letter was successful, and two days later Herr Sesemann stood
at his front door and rang the bell in such a manner that
everybody came rushing from all parts of the house and stood
looking affrighted at everybody else, convinced that the ghost
was impudently beginning its evil tricks in daylight. Sebastian
peeped cautiously through a half-closed shutter; as he did so
there came another violent ring at the bell, which it was
impossible to mistake for anything but a very hard pull from a
non-ghostly hand. And Sebastian recognised whose hand it was, and
rushing pell-mell out of the room, fell heels over head
downstairs, but picked himself up at the bottom and flung open
the street door. Herr Sesemann greeted him abruptly and went up
without a moment's delay into his daughter's room. Clara greeted
him with a cry of joy, and seeing her so lively and apparently as
well as ever, his face cleared, and the frown of anxiety passed
gradually away from it as he heard from his daughter's own lips
that she had nothing the matter with her, and moreover was so
delighted to see him that she was quite glad about the ghost, as
it was the cause of bringing him home again.
"And how is the ghost getting on?" he asked, turning to Fraulein
Rottenmeier, with a twinkle of amusement in his eye.
"It is no joke, I assure you," replied that lady. You will not
laugh yourself to-morrow morning, Herr Sesemann; what is going on
in the house points to some terrible thing that has taken place
in the past and been concealed."
"Well, I know nothing about that," said the master of the house,
"but I must beg you not to bring suspicion on my worthy
ancestors. And now will you kindly call Sebastian into the
dining-room, as I wish to speak to him alone."
Herr Sesemann had been quite aware that Sebastian and Fraulein
Rottenmeier were not on the best of terms, and he had his ideas
about this scare.
"Come here, lad," he said as Sebastian appeared, "and tell me
frankly--have you been playing at ghosts to amuse yourself at
Fraulein Rottenmeier's expense?"
"No, on my honor, sir; pray, do not think it; I am very
uncomfortable about the matter myself," answered Sebastian with
"Well, if that is so, I will show you and John to-morrow morning
how ghosts look in the daylight. You ought to be ashamed of
yourself, Sebastian, a great strong lad like you, to run away
from a ghost! But now go and take a message to my old friend the
doctor; give him my kind regards, and ask him if he will come to
me to-night at nine o'clock without fail; I have come by express
from Paris to consult him. I shall want him to spend the night
here, so bad a case is it; so he will arrange accordingly. You
"Yes, sir," replied Sebastian, "I will see to the matter as you
wish." Then Herr Sesemann returned to Clara, and begged her to
have no more fear, as he would soon find out all about the ghost
and put an end to it.
Punctually at nine o'clock, after the children had gone to bed
and Fraulein Rottenmeier had retired, the doctor arrived. He was
a grey-haired man with a fresh face, and two bright, kindly eyes.
He looked anxious as he walked in, but, on catching sight of his
patient, burst out laughing and clapped him on the shoulder.
"Well," he said, "you look pretty bad for a person that I am to
sit up with all night."
"Patience, friend," answered Herr Sesemann, "the one you have to
sit up for will look a good deal worse when we have once caught
"So there is a sick person in the house, and one that has first
to be caught?"
"Much worse than that, doctor! a ghost in the house! My house is
The doctor laughed aloud.
"That's a nice way of showing sympathy, doctor!" continued Herr,
Sesemann. "It's a pity my friend Rottenmeier cannot hear you. She
is firmly convinced that some old member of the family is
wandering about the house doing penance for some awful crime he
"How did she become acquainted with him?" asked the doctor, still
very much amused.
So Herr Sesemann recounted to him how the front door was nightly
opened by somebody, according to the testimony of the combined
household, and he had therefore provided two loaded revolvers, so
as to be prepared for anything that happened; for either the
whole thing was a joke got up by some friend of the servants,
just to alarm the household while he was away--and in that case a
pistol fired into the air would procure him a wholesome
fright--or else it was a thief, who, by leading everybody at
first to think there was a ghost, made it safe for himself when
he came later to steal, as no one would venture to run out if
they heard him, and in that case too a good weapon would not be
The two took up their quarters for the night in the same room in
which Sebastian and John had kept watch. A bottle of wine was
placed on the table, for a little refreshment would be welcome
from time to time if the night was to be passed sitting up.
Beside it lay the two revolvers, and two good-sized candles had
also been lighted, for Herr Sesemann was determined not to wait
for ghosts in any half light.
The door was shut close to prevent the light being seen in the
hall outside, which might frighten away the ghost. And now the
two gentlemen sat comfortably back in the arm-chairs and began
talking of all sorts of things, now and then pausing to take a
good draught of wine, and so twelve o'clock struck before they
"The ghost has got scent of us and is keeping away to-night,"
said the doctor.
"Wait a bit, it does not generally appear before one o'clock,"
answered his friend.
They started talking again. One o'clock struck. There was not a
sound about the house, nor in the street outside. Suddenly the
doctor lifted his finger.
"Hush! Sesemann, don't you hear something?"
They both listened, and they distinctly heard the bar softly
pushed aside and then the key turned in the lock and the door
opened. Herr Sesemann put out his hand for his revolver.
"You are not afraid, are you?" said the doctor as he stood up.
"It is better to take precautions," whispered Herr Sesemann, and
seizing one of the lights in his other hand, he followed the
doctor, who, armed in like manner with a light and a revolver,
went softly on in front. They stepped into the hall. The
moonlight was shining in through the open door and fell on a
white figure standing motionless in the doorway.
"Who is there?" thundered the doctor in a voice that echoed
through the hall, as the two men advanced with lights and weapons
towards the figure.
It turned and gave a low cry. There in her little white nightgown
stood Heidi, with bare feet, staring with wild eyes at the lights
and the revolvers, and trembling from head to foot like a leaf in
the wind. The two men looked as one another in surprise.
"Why, I believe it is your little water-carrier, Sesemann," said
"Child, what does this mean?" said Herr Sesemann. "What did you
want? why did you come down here?"
White with terror, and hardly able to make her voice heard, Heidi
answered, "I don't know."
But now the doctor stepped forward. "This is a matter for me to
see to, Sesemann; go back to your chair. I must take the child
upstairs to her bed."
And with that he put down his revolver and gently taking the
child by the hand led her upstairs. "Don't be frightened," he
said as they went up side by side, "it's nothing to be frightened
about; it's all right, only just go quietly."
The moonlight was shining in through the open door and fell on a
white figure standing motionless in the doorway.
On reaching Heidi's room the doctor put the candle down on the
table, and taking Heidi up in his arms laid her on the bed and
carefully covered her over. Then he sat down beside her and
waited until Heidi had grown quieter and no longer trembled so
violently. He took her hand and said in a kind, soothing voice,
"There, now you feel better, and now tell me where you were
wanting to go to?"
"I did not want to go anywhere," said Heidi. "I did not know I
went downstairs, but all at once I was there."
"I see, and had you been dreaming, so that you seemed to see and
hear something very distinctly?"
"Yes, I dream every night, and always about the same things. I
think I am back with the grandfather and I hear the sound in the
fir trees outside, and I see the stars shining so brightly, and
then I open the door quickly and run out, and it is all so
beautiful! But when I wake I am still in Frankfurt." And Heidi
struggled as she spoke to keep back the sobs which seemed to
"And have you no pain anywhere? no pain in your head or back?"
"No, only a feeling as if there were a great stone weighing on me
"As if you had eaten something that would not go down."
"No, not like that; something heavy as if I wanted to cry very
"I see, and then do you have a good cry?"
"Oh, no, I mustn't; Fraulein Rottenmeier forbade me to cry."
"So you swallow it all down, I suppose? Are you happy here in
"Yes," was the low answer; but it sounded more like "No."
"And where did you live with your grandfather?"
"Up on the mountain."
"That wasn't very amusing; rather dull at times, eh?"
"No, no, it was beautiful, beautiful!" Heidi could go no further;
the remembrance of the past, the excitement she had just gone
through, the long suppressed weeping, were too much for the
child's strength; the tears began to fall fast, and she broke
into violent weeping.
The doctor stood up and laid her head kindly down on the pillow.
"There, there, go on crying, it will do you good, and then go to
sleep; it will be all right to-morrow."
Then he left the room and went downstairs to Herr Sesemann; when
he was once more sitting in the armchair opposite his friend,
"Sesemann," he said, "let me first tell you that your little
charge is a sleep-walker; she is the ghost who has nightly opened
the front door and put your household into this fever of alarm.
Secondly, the child is consumed with homesickness, to such an
extent that she is nearly a skeleton already, and soon will be
quite one; something must be done at once. For the first trouble,
due to her over-excited nerves, there is but one remedy, to send
her back to her native mountain air; and for the second trouble
there is also but one cure, and that the same. So to-morrow the
child must start for home; there you have my prescription."
Herr Sesemann had arisen and now paced up and down the room in
the greatest state of concern.
"What!" he exclaimed, "the child a sleep-walker and ill!
Home-sick, and grown emaciated in my house! All this has taken
place in my house and no one seen or known anything about it! And
you mean, doctor, that the child who came here happy and healthy,
I am to send back to her grandfather a miserable little skeleton?
I can't do it; you cannot dream of my doing such a thing! Take
the child in hand, do with her what you will, and make her whole
and sound, and then she shall go home; but you must do something
"Sesemann," replied the doctor, "consider what you are doing!
This illness of the child's is not one to be cured with pills and
powders. The child has not a tough constitution, but if you send
her back at once she may recover in the mountain air, if not
--you would rather she went back ill than not at all?"
Herr Sesemann stood still; the doctor's words were a shock to
"If you put it so, doctor, there is assuredly only one way--and
the thing must be seen to at once." And then he and the doctor
walked up and down for a while arranging what to do, after which
the doctor said good-bye, for some time had passed since they
first sat down together, and as the master himself opened the
hall door this time the morning light shone down through it into