HEIDI, illustrated - complete online book

The Story Of A Young Orphan In Switzerland

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made no further remark ; but his whole face beamed with pleasure at being there. Heidi looked at him wonderingly ; for now that he was so near the fire, he began to thaw all over, so that he looked like a little waterfall.
"Well, general, how are you?" asked the grand­father. " Now you are without an army and must bite your slate pencil."
"Why must he bite his slate pencil, grandfather?" asked Heidi at once with curiosity.
" In winter he has to go to school," explained the grandfather. " There you learn to read and write, and often it is hard work; so it helps a little if you bite your slate pencil. Isn't it so, general?"
" Yes, it is so," said Peter.
Heidi's interest in the matter was now aroused, and she had to ask Peter a great many questions about the school and everything that happened and was to be seen and heard there. As much time was always spent in any conversation in which Peter was obliged to take part, the result was that meanwhile he was able to get well dried from top to toe. It was always a great effort for him to put his thoughts into words — to express his meaning; but this time it was unusually difficult, for he had scarcely succeeded in giving one answer before Heidi put two or three more unexpected questions and mostly such as required a whole sentence in reply.
The grandfather had kept quite still during this con­versation, but the corners of his mouth had twitched with amusement, and this was a sign that he was listening.
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