HEIDI, illustrated - complete online book

The Story Of A Young Orphan In Switzerland

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4
HEIDI
summer; I had charge of their rooms, and they wanted then to take me back with them. I could n't manage it; but they are here again this year, and still want me to go with them, and I am going; you may be sure of that."
" I 'm glad I 'm not in the child's place ! " cried Barbel with a gesture of repulsion. " Nobody knows what ails the old man up there. He will have nothing to do with a living soul; from one end of the year to the other he never sets foot in a church ; and if once in a twelve­month he comes down with his thick staff, every one keeps out of his way and is afraid of him. With his heavy gray eyebrows and his tremendous beard he looks like a heathen and a savage, and people are glad enough not to meet him alone."
"Nevertheless," said Dete stubbornly, "he's her grandfather, and it 's his business to look after the child; he won't do her any harm; if he does, he will have to answer for it, not I."
"I should like to know," said Barbel insinuatingly, " I should really like to know what the old man has on his conscience that makes him look so fierce and live all alone up there on the Aim and keep almost hidden from sight. People tell all sorts of stories about him; of course you must know something about it, Dete; your sister must have told you; hasn't she?"
" Of course she has, but I hold my tongue; if he should hear of it, I should suffer! "
But Barbel had long desired to know the real cause of the Aim-Uncle's peculiarities, and why it was that
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