A GRANDMAMMA 145
"On the contrary, gracious madam," began the Herr Kandidat, " something has happened which I no longer expected, and any one who could have glanced at what went before, after all suppositions, would have decided that what has actually happened and taken place in the most wonderful way was utterly impossible, as if in opposition to all consistent to the" —
" Has the child Heidi possibly learned to read, Herr Kandidat ? " broke in Frau Sesemann.
The Herr Kandidat, taken aback, looked at the lady in speechless amazement.
"It is really quite wonderful," he said at last, "not only that the little girl, after all my thorough explanation and unusual pains, did not learn her A-B-C's, but also, and especially, that in the shortest time after I had decided to give up the unattainable, and without further explanation, to bring the bare letters, so to speak, before the little girl's eyes, she took hold of the reading overnight as it were, and then at once read the words with such correctness as I have seldom found with beginners. Almost equally wonderful to me is the gracious lady's perception in straightway suspecting that this improbable fact was possible."
"A great many wonderful things happen in the course of one's life," affirmed Frau Sesemann, laughing with satisfaction. "Two things might happen fortunately ; for instance, new zeal in learning and a new method in teaching; and neither can do any harm, Herr Kandidat. Let us rejoice that the child has done so well, and let us hope for good progress."