SUNDAY WHEN THE CHURCH BELLS RING 209
his best friend and he could hardly bear to part with him. . Scarcely had the door closed behind the pastor, when the whole assembly pressed toward the Aim-Uncle, and each was eager to be the first, and so many hands were held out together to him that he did not know which he ought to grasp first.
One said to him : —
" I am glad ! I am glad, uncle, that you are coming back to us again ! " And another said : " I have long wanted to speak with you again, uncle!" Similar remarks were heard on every side, and when the uncle replied to all their friendly greetings that he intended to take up his quarters in Dorfli again and spend the winter with his old acquaintances, there was great rejoicing, and it seemed exactly as if the Aim-Uncle were the best-beloved person in all Dorfli, whom they had had great difficulty to get along without. Most of thern accompanied the grandfather and the child far up the Aim, and when they left them each one wished the Aim-Uncle to promise to call on him when he came down again. And when the people turned to go down the mountain the old man stood for a long time gazing after them, and a warm light was spread over his face, as if the sun shone out from within him. Heidi looked steadily at him and said with delight: —
" Grandfather, you never looked so handsome before as you have to-day ! "
"Do you think so?" said her grandfather, smiling. "Well, you see, Heidi, I feel happy because I am on good terms with people and at peace with God and