A NEW CHAPTER AND NEW SCENES 83
this is the first time she has ever been in a gentleman's house, and she knows nothing about good manners; she is willing and quick to learn if the lady will have forbearance. She was baptized Adelheid, like her mother, my late sister."
"Well ! that is a name that can be pronounced," observed Fraulein Rottenmeier. " But, Dete, I must tell you that she is a remarkable-looking child for her age. I informed you that Fraulein Klara's companion must be of her age, in order to pursue the same studies with her and, especially, to share her occupations. Fraulein Klara is more than twelve years old ; how old is this child ? "
"With the lady's permission," Dete began again, "I can't quite recollect just how old she is ; to be sure, she must be somewhat younger, but not very much. I can't say exactly; but she may be about the tenth year, or nearly that, I should think."
" I am eight now; grandfather said so," explained Heidi. The aunt nudged her again ; but Heidi had not the least suspicion why and was not at all embarrassed.
"What ? Only eight years old ! " exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier with some indignation. " Four years too little ! What does it mean ? What have you learned ? And what books have you studied ? "
"None," said Heidi.
" What ? what ? How did you learn to read then ?" asked the lady again.
" I have never learned to read; neither has Peter," Stated Heidi.