in astonishment at the sight of Heidi, and then a good-natured grin spread over his face as she said : " Good-afternoon, Peter! "
" Is it possible that he has already come home from school! " exclaimed the grandmother in surprise. " No afternoon for many a year has passed so quickly! Good-afternoon, Peterli! How did you get on with the reading ?"
"Just the same," answered Peter.
"Dear, dear!" said the grandmother with a little sigh; "I thought there might be a change! Think! You will be twelve years old next February!"
" Why should there be a change, grandmother ?" asked Heidi at once with interest.
" I only thought he might be able to learn something," said the grandmother; "learn to read, I mean. Up there on the shelf I have an old prayer-book with beautiful hymns in it which I have not heard for so long that I cannot remember them ; so I thought if Peterli could only learn, he would perhaps be able to read some of the verses to me. But he cannot learn ; it is too hard for him."
" I think I must get a light, it is already quite dark," said Peter's mother, who had been busy mending the jacket all the while. " The afternoon has gone before I was aware of it, either."
Then Heidi jumped up from her chair, quickly reached out her hand and said : —
" Good-night, grandmother ! I must go home right away, if it is growing dark " ; and Peter and his mother