" Good gracious ! you cannot read ! You really cannot read !" exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier with the greatest horror. " Is it possible that you are unable to read ? What have you learned, then ? "
"Nothing," said Heidi in strict accordance with the truth.
" Dete," said Fraulein Rottenmeier, after some minutes, in which she tried to compose herself; " this is not according to the agreement. How could you bring me this creature ? "
But Dete was not so easily abashed; she answered eagerly : —
" If the lady will allow me, the child is exactly what I thought the lady wanted; the lady explained to me that she must be quite different and not at all like other children, and so I brought this little one ; for the larger ones among us are not so different, and I thought this one answered the description perfectly. But I must be going. My mistress is expecting me ; if she will allow me, I will come again soon and see how she gets along."
With a courtesy Dete went out of the door and down the stairs as fast as she could go. Fraulein Rottenmeier stood still for a moment, then ran after Dete. It suddenly occurred to her that she wished to talk with the aunt about a number of things if the child was really going to remain ; and here she was, and, as she saw, the aunt was determined to leave her.
Heidi remained on the spot by the door where she had stood from the first. Until then Klara had