HEIDI, illustrated - complete online book

The Story Of A Young Orphan In Switzerland

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206
HEIDI
direction, and fuller and richer as they came nearer, and Heidi listened with delight and said : —
" Do you hear them, grandfather ? it is like a great, great festival."
Down in Dorfli the people were already in the church and just beginning to sing when the grandfather and Heidi entered and seated themselves far back in the last seat. But in the midst of the singing the person sitting next them nudged his neighbor with his elbow and said: —
" Have you noticed ? The Aim-Uncle is in church ! "
And the person nudged touched the next one and so on, and in a short time it was whispered in every corner : "The Aim-Uncle! The Aim-Uncle ! " and almost all the women had to turn their heads for a moment, and most of them lagged in the singing, so that the leader had the greatest difficulty in keeping the time.
But when the pastor began to preach they became attentive, for there was such warm praise and thanks­giving in his words that all the listeners were affected by it, and it was as if a great joy had happened to them all. When the service was over, the Aim-Uncle went out with the child by the hand and walked to the par­sonage. All those who went out with him, and those who were standing outside, gazed after him, and most followed to see whether he really went into the parson­age ; he did so. Then they gathered in groups and discussed in great excitement this unheard-of thing that the Aim-Uncle had been in church, and they all looked eagerly toward the parsonage to see how he would
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