THE WINTER STILL CONTINUES 277
" I have noticed a change in you in many ways, Peter. While you used to be often absent from school the whole week, — yes, several weeks together, — lately you have not stayed away a day. Who can have caused such a change for the better in you?"
"The uncle," was the reply.
With increasing astonishment the teacher looked from Peter to Heidi, and from her back again to Peter.
" We will try it once more," he then said cautiously; and Peter had to prove his knowledge with three lines more. It was a fact, he had learned to read.
As soon as school was over, the teacher hastened to the pastor's house to tell him what had happened, and what a good influence the uncle and Heidi were having in the parish.
Every evening now Peter read a hymn at home. So far he obeyed Heidi, but no farther, for he never undertook a second one ; nor did the grandmother ever ask him to do so.
His mother Brigitte wondered every day that Peter had succeeded in learning to read, and many an evening when the reading was over and the reader lay in his bed, she would say again to the grandmother: —
" We can't be pleased enough that Peterli has learned to read so beautifully ; now there 's no knowing what he may become."
Then the grandmother would answer : —
" Yes, it is a good thing for him that he has learned something; but I shall be heartily glad if the dear Lord sends the spring soon, so that Heidi can come up