Maezli by Johanna Spyri
Chapter V. Oppressive Air
It seemed as if for several days a heavy atmosphere was weighing down the limbs of all Mrs. Maxa's household, so that its wonted cheerfulness was entirely absent. Even the mother went about more silently than usual, for the worry about Bruno's future weighed heavily on her heart. She had written to her brother to come to her as soon as possible, so that they could talk the matter over and come to a united decision. He had answered her that urgent business was forcing him to a journey to South Germany, and that it would be time enough to settle the matter after his return. Bruno, having heard about the situation, was already wrought up by the mere possibility of his being obliged to live with the two boys. Secretly he was already making the wildest plans in order to escape such an intolerable situation. Why shouldn't he simply disappear and go to Spain like the young Baron of Wallerstaetten? Probably the young gentleman had had some money to dispose of, while he had none. He might hire himself out as a sailor, however, and travel to China or Australia. He might study the inhabitants and peculiarities of these countries and write famous books about them. In that way he could make a good livelihood. Might he not join a band of wandering singers? His mother had already told him how well his voice sounded and that she wanted him to develop it later on. With wrinkled brows Bruno sat about whole evenings, not saying one word but meditating on his schemes. He found it extremely hard to tell which one of them was best and to think of means to carry it out.
Mea's forehead, also, was darkened by heavy clouds, but she was not as silent as her brother. Every few moments exclamations of pain or indignation escaped her. But had she not fared badly?
When they had moved from Sils to Nolla, Elvira had immediately approached Mea as if she wanted to become her friend. Mrs. Knippel had sent her an invitation in order to cement the bonds of friendship, and she had done the same with Bruno, who was to become her sons' close comrade. It was quite true that Bruno had declared from the beginning that he would not make friends with the two who were to share his studies, and every time they came together fights and quarrels were the result.
But Mea had a heart which craved friendship. She was overcome with happiness by the advances of the Knippel family, and immediately gave herself to her new friend with absolute confidence and warm love. Soon many differences of opinion and of natural disposition showed themselves in the two girls, but Mea, in her overflowing joy of having found a friend, was little troubled by this at first. She thought that all these things would come right by and by when they came closer to each other. She hoped that the desired harmony would come when they became better acquainted. But the more the two girls got to know know each other, the deeper their differences grew, and every attempt at a clear understanding only ended in a wider estrangement.
Mrs. Maxa had always tried to fill her children with a contempt not only of all wrong, but also of low and ugly actions. She had made an effort to keep her children from harmful influences and to implant in them a hate for these things. Whenever Mea found Elvira of a different opinion in such matters, she was assured that she was in the right by the mother's opinion, which coincided with her own; so she felt as if Elvira should be shown the right way, too. Whenever this happened, Elvira turned from her and told her that she wanted to hear no sermons.
So the two had not yet become friends, despite the fact that Mea was still hoping and wishing for it, and her brother Kurt had proved himself in the right when he had doubted it from the beginning. Since the incident with Loneli, when Mea had told her friend her opinion in perfectly good faith, Elvira had not spoken to her any more and had remained angry. But Mea's nature was not inclined to sulk. Whenever she felt herself injured, words of indignation poured out from her like fiery lava from a crater. After that everything was settled. She had been obliged to sit day after day on the same bench with the sulking girl, and to come to school and leave again without saying a word. Should this situation, which had already become intolerable to her, continue forever? Mea could only moan with this prospect in view. She was glad that Kurt was in a strangely depressed mood, too, and hardly ever spoke. He would otherwise have been sure to make several horrible songs about her experiences with the moping Elvira.
Kurt, who was usually cheerful, had been as terribly depressed for the last few days as if he had been carrying a heavy weight around with him all the time. He had kept something from his mother, and therefore the weight seemed to get heavier and heavier. It oppressed Kurt more than he could say that he had not immediately confessed his fault. But how could the mother have believed him when he told her that he had seen a figure which could not possibly be human. He really felt like a traitor towards his mother. All people in Nolla believed anew that a ghost of Wildenstein went about, for the apparition had actually been seen. Kurt knew quite well that it was all his fault. He hardly dared to look at his mother and he longed for somebody to help him. He was filled with the craving to be happy again.
Only Lippo and Maezli pursued their usual occupations and were untroubled by heavy thoughts. As soon as Maezli noticed that the usual cheerfulness had departed from the house, she tried to get into a different atmosphere at once. She always knew a place of refuge in such a case. "Oh, mama, I have to go and see Apollonie," she would repeatedly say with firm conviction to her mother. Having the greatest confidence in Apollonie's guarding hand, and knowing, besides, that Maezli's visits always were welcome, the mother often let her youngest go there. The little girl was well able to find her way to the cottage and always went without attempting any digressions from the path. In the evening Loneli generally accompanied her home. Maezli would arrive carrying a large bunch of flowers, the inevitable gift from Apollonie, Presenting them to her mother, she would shout: "There they are again, just look! I have some for you again, mother."
The mother then looked full of delight at the bunch and said, "Yes, those are the same lovely mignonette that used to grow in the castle-garden, Apollonie has transplanted them into her own. But they were much finer in the castle, nowhere could their equal have been found," she concluded, inhaling the delicious fragrance of the flowers.
Maezli promptly poked her little nose into the bouquet, uttering an exclamation of unspeakable delight.
Loneli's eyes were very merry again, and was full of her usual gaiety. Since Kurt had made his little speech and had rehabilitated Loneli's honour before the school children, the grandmother was as kind to her as of yore and never mentioned the shame-bench again. Loneli's heart was simply filled with gratefulness for what he had done and she often wished in turn for an opportunity to help him out of some trouble. She had noticed that Kurt was no longer the merriest and most entertaining of the children, and had given up being their leader in all gay undertakings. What could be the matter? Loneli hated to see him that way and could not help pondering about this remarkable change. Being extremely observant, she had noticed that it was very hard to find out the truth about the night expedition to the castle. All the boys' answers consisted in dark allusions to the fact that the ghost was wandering about Wildenstein more than ever. As not one of them wanted to admit the hasty retreat before the ghost had even been properly inspected, they only dropped vague and terrifying words about the matter.
Brave little Clevi, who usually relished telling of her dangerous adventures when they had turned out well, was as silent as a mouse about it all. Whenever Loneli asked her a straight question needing a straight answer, Clevi ran away, and Loneli got none. The report was sure to have some foundation, and the most noticeable thing of all was that Kurt's change had come since that night. That same day he had taken the load off her heart and had been so gay and merry. So Loneli put two and two together, and having made these observations, was filled with sudden wrath.
As soon as school was ended, she rushed to the astonished Clevi: "Oh, I know what you have done, Clevi. Kurt was your leader and you didn't obey him; you all ran away because you were afraid. Oh, you have spoiled it all for him."
"Yes, and what about him? He was afraid himself," Clevi cried out excitedly, for the reproach had stung her. "I could see with what terrified bounds he flew down the mountain-side."
"Was he afraid, too, do you really mean? But of what?" Loneli questioned further.
"Of what? That is easily said: of what! You ought to have seen that huge creature coming towards us from the castle."
Since it had come out that they had been so frightened, Clevi now told in detail about the horribly tall armoured knight with the high boots and the long cloak hanging down to his boot-tops.
"Was the mantle blue?" Loneli, who had been listening intensely, interrupted.
"It was night-time, and you can imagine we did not see the color clearly," Clevi said indignantly. "But the color has nothing to do with it, it was the length, the horrible, horrible length of that thing! It looked just too awful. He had a high helmet on his head besides, with a still higher bunch of black plumes that nodded in the most frightful way."
A gleam of joy sparkled in Loneli's eyes. Flying away like an arrow, she sought out Mrs. Maxa's house. Kurt was standing at the hawthorn hedge in front of the garden with his schoolbag still slung around him. He had not rushed in ahead of the others according to his custom.
With puckered brow he was pulling one leaf after another from the hedge. Then he flung them all away, as if he wanted with each to rid himself of a disagreeable thought.
"Kurt," Loneli called to him, "please wait a moment. Don't go in yet, for I want to tell you something."
When Loneli stood beside Kurt she was suddenly filled with embarrassment. She knew exactly what she had to say, but it would sound as if she was trying to examine Kurt. This kept her from beginning.
"Tell me what you want, Loneli," Kurt encouraged her, when he saw her hesitation.
So Loneli began:
"I wanted to ask you if--if--oh, Kurt! Are you so sad on account of what happened at the castle and because you thought there was no ghost?"
"I don't want to hear anything more about it," Kurt said evasively, pulling a handful of leaves from the hedge and throwing them angrily to the ground.
"But it might only have been a man after all," Loneli continued quietly.
"Yes, yes, that is easily said, Loneli. How can you talk when you haven't even seen him?"
Kurt flung the last leaves away impatiently and tried to go. But Loneli would not yield.
"Just wait a moment, Kurt," she entreated. "It is true that I did not see him, but Clevi told me all about him. I know why he looked that way and why he was so enormous. I also know where he got the armour, the long blue mantle, and the high black plumes."
"What!" Kurt exclaimed, staring at Loneli as if she were a curious ghost herself. How can you know anything about it?"
"Certainly I know about it," Loneli assured him. "Listen! You must remember that grandmother lived a long time at the castle, so she has told me everything that went on up there. In the lowest story there is a huge old hall, and the walls are covered with weapons and things like armour and helmets. In one corner there is an armoured knight with a black-plumed helmet on his head. Whenever the young gentlemen from the castle wanted to play a special prank, one of them would take the knight on his shoulders, and the knightly long mantle would be hung over his shoulders so as to cover him down to his high boot-tops. This figure looked so terrible coming along the terrace that everybody always ran away, even in bright daylight. Once the two young ladies shrieked loudly when they suddenly saw the fearful knight. That pleased the young gentlemen more than anything."
"Oh, then my mother saw him, too, and knows what he looks like," Kurt exclaimed with a sudden start, for he had been breathlessly listening.
"Certainly, for she was one of the young ladies," Loneli said.
"But now nobody is at the castle except Mr. Trius, and he couldn't have been there," Kurt objected. "I know that he sneaks about the meadows till late in the evening in order to catch apple-thieves. That is so far from the little woods that he could not possibly have heard us."
"But it was Mr. Trius just the same, you can believe me, Kurt," Loneli assured her friend. "My grandmother has often said that Mr. Trius always knows everything that is going on. He seems to hide behind the hedges and then suddenly comes out from behind the trees when one least expects him. You know that the boys have known about your plan several days and that they don't always talk in a low voice. Besides, they have been trying to get hold of apples every night. You can be sure that Mr. Trius heard distinctly what your plan was."
"Yes, that is true, but I have to go to mother now," Kurt exclaimed, as he started toward the house. Then, turning back once more, he said: "Thank you ever so much, Loneli, you have done me a greater service than you can realize by telling me everything. Nothing could have made me happier than what you have said." As he spoke these words he shook the little girl's hand with all his might.
The boy ran into the house, while Loneli hastened home with leaps and bounds, for her heart was thrilling with great joy.
"Where is mother, where is mother?" Kurt impetuously asked Lippo, whom he met in the hall carrying a large water-pitcher entrusted to him by Kathy.
"One knows well enough where mama must be when it is nearly lunch-time. You came home late from school," Lippo answered, carefully trotting away with his fragile burden.
"Yes, I did, you little sentinel of good order," Kurt laughed out, passing Lippo in order to hasten to the dining-room.
Now Kurt could laugh again.
"Oh, are you as far as that already," he cried out in surprise when he found everybody settling down to lunch. "What a shame! I wanted to tell you something, mother."
She gazed at him questioningly. He had not had any urgent news for her lately, and she was glad to hear his clear voice and see his merry eyes again.
"You must wait now till after lunch, Kurt," she said kindly, "for you were rather late to-day."
"Yes, I was rather slow at first," Kurt informed her. "Then Loneli ran after me to tell me something she has found out. I have often said before that Loneli is the most clever child in all Nolla, besides being the most friendly and obliging one could possibly find. Even if she is only brought up by simple Apollonie, she is more refined at bottom than a girl I know who adorns her outside with the most beautiful ribbons and flowers. I would rather have a single Loneli than a thousand Elviras."
Lippo had been anxiously looking at Kurt for some time.
"Here come the beans and you have your plate still full of soup," he said excitedly.
"Kurt, I think that it would be better for you to eat your soup instead of uttering such strange speeches. Besides, we all agree with you about Loneli. I think that she is an unusually nice and sympathetic child."
"Oh, Kurt," the observant little Maezli exclaimed, "do you have to talk so much all at once because you talked so little yesterday, the day before yesterday and the day before that?"
"Yes, that is the exact reason, Maezli," Kurt said with a laugh. His soup was soon eaten, for his spirits had fully come back now, and in the shortest time he had emptied his plate.
Kurt was only able to get his mother to himself after school. The elder children were busy at that time and the two little ones had taken a walk to Apollonie. His mother, having clearly understood his wish to have a thorough talk with her, had reserved this quiet hour for him. Kurt made an honest confession of his disobedience without once excusing himself by saying that he had only done it to destroy all foolish superstition and by this means to become her helper. He could therefore tell her without reserve how terribly he had been cast down the last few days. The weight had been very heavy on his heart before his confession, because he had been so ashamed of the miserable end of the undertaking. He had, moreover, been very much afraid that she would tell him that no ghost of Wildenstein existed, after he himself had seen the incredible apparition. What Loneli had told him had relieved him immensely. Now his mother, who had seen the terrible sight herself, could understand his fright.
"Oh, little mother, I hope you are not angry with me any more," Kurt begged her heartily. "I shall never do anything any more you don't want me to, for I know now what it feels like. I know that this was my punishment for doing what you had forbidden me to do."
When his mother saw that Kurt had realized his mistake and had humbly borne the punishment, she did not scold him any further. She confirmed everything Loneli had told him about the knight. She also agreed with the little girl that the watchful Mr. Trius had probably discovered long ago what Kurt had planned to do that night. With the horrible apparition he had probably meant to punish and banish the boys for good.
"Oh, Kurt," the mother concluded, "I hope I can rely on you from now on not to have anything more to do with the matter of the fabulous ghost of Wildenstein."
Kurt could give his honest promise, for he had enough of his endeavour to prove the non-existence of the ghost. It put him into the best spirits that there had been nothing supernatural about it, and that he was able again to talk with his mother as before. With a loud and jubilant song he joined his brothers and sisters.
Mrs. Maxa was also very happy that Kurt had regained his cheerfulness. What met her ears now, though, was not Kurt's singing, but loud cries of delight. Opening the door, she distinguished the well-known calls of "Uncle Philip, Uncle Philip!" So her longed-for brother was near at last. Her two little ones, who had met with him on their stroll home, were bringing him along. All five children shouted loudly in order to let their uncle know how welcome he was.
"Oh, how glad I am that you have come at last! Welcome, Philip! Please come in," Mrs. Maxa called out to him.
"I'll come as soon as it is possible," he replied, breathing heavily. He held a child with each hand, and three were between his feet, all welcoming him tumultuously, so that for the moment it was impossible for him to move forward.
Gradually the whole knot moved into the house and towards the uncle's armchair. Here ten busy hands fastened him down so that he should not at once get away.
"You rascals, you!" the uncle said, quite exhausted. "A man is lucky to escape from you with his life. Are you trying to throttle your godfather, Lippo? Whoever put two fat little arms about a godfather's neck like that? You seem to have climbed the chair from behind and to have only your foot on the arm of the chair. If you slip, I shall be strangled. Who then will find out for whom I brought a harmonica that's buried in the depths of my coat-pocket? It gives forth the most beautiful melodies you ever heard, when you have learned to play it."
A harmonica was the most wonderful thing Lippo could imagine. His neighbor in school, a little girl called Toneli, owned one and could play whole songs on it--he had always thought it splendid. If a harmonica was really destined for him, he had better let go his uncle's arm.
Uncle Philip dove into his deep pockets with both hands, and soon the wonderful, coveted object really came to light. And how much bigger and finer it was than Toneli's little instrument. Such a one must be able to sound the loveliest tones. Lippo, holding his treasure in his hand, could hardly believe it to be his own property, but Uncle Philip reassured him, saying: "Come, Lippo, take it, the harmonica is meant for you."
There were presents for all the children in the depths of the pockets, and one child after another ran away to show his gift to his mother. Lippo saw and heard nothing else just then. In expectation of the melodies which would well up he blew with all his might quite horrible, ear-shattering sounds.
"Lippo, you must learn how to play a little first. Everything has to be learned. Give it to me," said Uncle Philip; "you see you must do this way." Setting the instrument to his lips and pushing it up and down, he played the merriest tunes. Lippo looked up in speechless admiration at his god-father. He was tremendously impressed that Uncle Philip could do everything, even blow a harmonica, which generally only boys were able to do. How fine it sounded! He was sure that nobody else could bring forth such beautiful melodies.
Lippo was interrupted by his brothers and sisters, who were noisily announcing supper. So Uncle Philip was taken in their midst into the dining-room, and he might have been likened to a prisoner-of-war captured by the victors amidst shouts of triumph.
The mother had purposely ordered supper a little early, and she noticed that her brother was satisfied with the arrangement. If his intention had been to shorten the time he could have with the children, he had no intention of cheating them of amusement, and he told them so many entertaining things that they felt they had never had a better time with him. At last, however, it was quiet in the living-room. Uncle Philip was sitting there alone, waiting for his sister, who had gone upstairs with the children.
"First of all, Philip," she said on her return, as she settled down beside him, "what shall be done with Bruno? I am sure you told Mr. Knippel not to engage board and lodging for him."
"On the contrary, I gave him full power to do so," the brother replied. "Mr. Knippel gave me the impression that you would agree to it and would be very grateful if he took the matter in hand, so I thought that that would be the simplest way out. It won't be so very terrible if the boys live together. Don't always imagine the worst. But I must tell you something else."
Uncle Philip seemed to be rather glad to pass quickly over the hard problem. He guessed in fact that his communication would cause his sister great consternation. And he had guessed rightly. In her fright over his first words she had not even heard the last.
"How could you do such a thing," she began to complain. "I can see quite clearly what will happen without unduly imagining anything. The low nature and character of the two boys rouses Bruno's ire, and he constantly flies into a rage when he is with them. It is my greatest sorrow that he can't control himself. What on earth will happen if the three are compelled to be together daily, nay constantly, and will even live together. The matter frightens me more than you can realize, Philip, and now you have made it impossible for me to change the plan."
"But, Maxa, can't you see that I could not act otherwise. Mr. Knippel was terribly anxious to arrange it all, and you know how quickly he is offended. He always imagines that his low birth is in his way, for he cannot understand our utter indifference to all the money he has heaped up. You must not be so anxious about it. It can't possibly last very long," the brother consoled her. "There is sure to be a violent quarrel between them soon, and as soon as that happens, I promise to take the matter in hand. That will give us good grounds to separate them."
The prospect of a horrible fight was, however, no consolation to Mrs. Maxa. But she said nothing more for the matter was irrevocably settled.
"I have to tell you something now which will put you into a happier mood," he began, clearly relieved that his unpleasant communication had been made. "Yesterday evening the two ladies from Hanover who were my travelling companions some time ago came to me to ask my advice about something which troubled them very much. They have received an urgent call to return home to their aged mother, who has fallen very ill and has asked to see them. The little girl who is in their care, however, has been so sick for a few days that they had to call the doctor. They summoned him again yesterday in order to consult him as to whether there might be danger if the child travelled. He told them positively that they could not think of letting her go now, and that she might not be able to go for weeks. A slow fever showed that she was on the point of serious illness, Which would not quickly pass. The ladies were extremely frightened and told the doctor their dilemma, for they were both absolutely compelled to leave. One of them might be able to return in about two weeks, but they had to find a reliable person in the meantime who could nurse the child. This was terribly difficult for them as strangers. The doctor's advice was to bring the young invalid to the hospital in Sils, where she would be well taken care of and he could see her every day. The ladies wanted my opinion before deciding. They realize that doctors always favor hospitals because the care of their patients is made simple and easy, so they wondered if I advised them to have the young girl sent there. I told them that the place was not at all badly equipped, but that it was rather small, and the patients were of course very mixed. When I asked the ladies if it would not be better if the child's parents decided that difficult question, I received the information that Leonore von Wallerstaetten was an orphan and that the aunt who had put her in their care had also died."
"Oh, Philip, now there is no doubt any more that she is our Leonore's little daughter," Mrs. Maxa cried in the greatest agitation. "Oh, Philip, how could you ever advise them to send her to the hospital? Why didn't you say right away that your sister would immediately take the child into her house."
"How could I do that? Just think a moment, Maxa!" said the brother. "Did you want me to add to your troubles and anxieties by bringing a patient sick with fever into your house? It might turn out to be a dangerous illness, which all your five might catch; what should you have said to me then?"
"Philip, I shall go to Sils with you to-morrow and I'll ask you to take me to the ladies. I want them to know who I am, of course. I shall tell them that I have the right as her mother's nearest friend to receive Leonore into my house and to nurse her. I am sure that the little patient can take the trip in your closed carriage. You can quickly go to the doctor to tell him of our plan and have the carriage sent to us. Please do this for me, Philip! I can't stand that the child of our Leonore should go to a strange hospital all by herself."
Mrs. Maxa had spoken with such decision that her brother had listened to her in greatest surprise.
"So you have resolved to carry this through, Maxa? Are you sure that you won't have to take it all back after your excitement has vanished?" he asked her.
"You can rely on me, Philip. I have absolutely made up my mind to do it," the sister assured him. "You must help me now to put it through. I shall be able to take care of things when she gets here, but do all in your power to prevent the ladies from putting obstacles in my path. You see, I do not even know them."
"I shall do whatever you wish," the listener said willingly. "It certainly is hard to tell where a woman will set up complaints and where she will suddenly not know either fear or obstacles! I have already told the two Miss Remkes about you. As soon as I knew the child's name, I realized the situation. I told the ladies about your being the best friend of their charge's mother, and that you would surely go to see her now and then in the hospital. This pleased them greatly."
Uncle Philip began now to lay minute plans for the morrow. His sister had to give her promise to be ready very early in order to reach Sils in good time, for the patient was to be taken to the hospital in the course of the forenoon. He also gave her all the needed instructions relating to the coachman and the carriage.
She listened quietly till he had finished and then said, "I have some news for you, too. Just think! Baron Bruno has come back. He arrived in the middle of the night when nobody could see him. He is absolutely alone now in the desolate castle. Just imagine how he must feel to be within those walls again where he spent his happy years with all those loved ones he has not seen since he left the castle in a fit of terror."
"Yes, and why did it happen? Wasn't it his own will?" the brother said harshly. "Whenever you speak about him, your voice takes on a tone as if you were speaking about a misunderstood angel. Why did the raging lion come back all of a sudden?"
"Please, Philip, don't be so hard!" his sister said, "He is entirely left alone now. Is sorrow easier to bear when it is our own doing? I heard that he was ill. That is probably the reason why he has come home. I know all this from Apollonie, who is in communication with Mr. Trius. She keeps on scheming to find a way to set the rooms in order for her young master, as she still calls him. She knows how his mother would wish everything to be for her son. I understand quite well that she worries night and day about the state things are in at the castle. Her former master has for nurse, servant, cook and valet only that peculiar and ancient Mr. Trius. She can hardly think about it without wishing that she might do something for her old friend. The poor woman is so anxious to make his life at the castle a little more the way it used to be in the old times."
"For heaven's sake, Maxa, I hope you are not trying to interfere. Do you intend to undertake that, too?" the brother exclaimed in perturbation. "If he wanted things different, he certainly would find a way. Please have nothing to do with it, otherwise you'll be sorry."
"You can be perfectly reassured, for unfortunately nothing whatever can be done," Mrs. Maxa replied. "If I had known a way to do something for him, I should have done it. My great wish is to let a little sunshine into the closed up, sombre rooms, and may be even a little deeper. I had great hopes of doing something through Apollonie, who knows so much about the castle, but she has explained the state of affairs to me. She was going to enter and take things in hand as soon as she heard from Mr. Trius that her master had returned, for she still considers herself his servant as in times gone by. It was her intention, naturally, to put everything into the usual order in the house. But Mr. Trius won't even let her go into the garden. He let her know that he had received orders not to let anyone into the place. His master knew no one here and had no intention of meeting anyone. I know quite well, therefore, that I shall he unable to gratify my great desire of doing something for that miserable, lonely man."
"So much the better," the brother said, quite relieved. "I am glad that the villain has bolted you out himself. If I should have tried to keep you out, you certainly would have found means to resist me, I know."
"I willingly admit it," Mrs. Maxa replied with a smile. "But Philip, I should consider it wise for us to go to bed now, if we have to make an early start to Sils to-morrow."
Brother and sister separated, but Mrs. Maxa had many arrangements to make before she came to rest. If the ladies would consent to put the little girl in her charge, she meant to bring her immediately home with her. Therefore everything had to be made ready for the little patient.
About midnight Mrs. Maxa still went to and fro in a bedroom on the top floor, which was entirely isolated. When everything necessary had been made ready, she tried to place various embellishments in the little chamber. Finally she placed in the middle of the table a round bowl, which was to be filled to-morrow with the most beautiful roses from her garden. Mrs. Maxa wanted the child of her adored Leonore to receive a pleasant impression from her room in the strange new house. When the morning sun would shine in through the open windows and the green slope of the castle would send its greeting to her, she did not want little Leonore to feel dissatisfied with her new quarters. With this thought Mrs. Maxa happily closed the door of the room behind her and sought out her own chamber.