" Oh, dear me! it has come at last; the hut is all tumbling to pieces."
But Heidi held her fast by the arm and said consolingly : —
" No, no, grandmother; don't be afraid, it is grandfather with his hammer; he is going to mend everything so that you won't be worried and afraid any longer."
" Oh ! is it possible ? Is such a thing possible ? So the dear Lord has not entirely forgotten us ! " exclaimed the grandmother. " Did you hear that, Brigitte, did you hear what it is ? It is really a hammer! Go out, Brigitte, and if it is the Aim-Uncle tell him he must come in a moment and let me thank him."
Brigitte went out. The Aim-Uncle was just driving new fastenings into the wall; Brigitte went toward him and said : —
" I wish you good-afternoon, uncle, and so does my mother; and I want to thank you for doing us such a service, and so does my mother indoors. Surely no one else would do such a thing for us, and we want to thank you, for surely" —
"That will do," interrupted the old man; "what you think of the Aim-Uncle I already know. Just go back into the house; I can find out myself what needs to be done."
Brigitte at once obeyed, for the uncle had a way which people did not usually oppose. He pounded and hammered all around the hut; then he climbed the narrow little staircase up under the roof and kept on ham-