UP THE ALM ON A SUMMER EVENING 191
ran all the faster, and before the Aim-Uncle could really see what was coming the child rushed up to him, threw her basket on the ground, and hugged the old man. In her excitement at seeing him again she was unable to say anything, except to keep exclaiming : " Grandfather! grandfather! grandfather!"
Neither did the grandfather say anything. For the first time in many years his eyes grew moist, and he had to pass his hand over them. Then he loosened Heidi's arms from his neck, took her on his knee, and looked at her for a moment.
"So you have come home again, Heidi," he said then; "how is it? You don't look particularly fine. Did they send you away ? "
" Oh, no, grandfather," Heidi now began fervently to say ; " you must not think that; they were all so good— Klara and the grandmamma and Herr Sesemann. But you see, grandfather, I could hardly bear to wait any longer to come home again to you, and I often thought I should stifle, it choked me so ; but I really never said anything about it, because it would be ungrateful. And then suddenly one morning Herr Sesemann called me very early ; but I believe the doctor was the cause of it; but perhaps it tells all about it in the letter" — whereupon Heidi jumped down on the ground, took her letter and her roll out of the basket and laid them both in her grandfather's hand.
" That belongs to you," he said, laying the roll beside him on the seat. Then he took the letter and read it through; without saying a word he put it into his pocket.