So the brother related how he had come back three days ago from a trip and, arriving in town, had given orders in the hotel for a carriage to be brought round to take him back to Sils that same evening. The host had then informed him that two ladies had just ordered a carriage to take them to the same destination. He thought that as long as they had seemed to be strangers and were anxious to know more about the road, they would be very glad to have a companion who was going the same way. So the host had made all necessary arrangements, as there were no objections to the plan on either side. When the carriage had driven up, he had seen that the ladies had with them a little daughter who was to occupy the back-seat of the carriage.
“This daughter, as I thought, was Leonore’s child. I am as certain of that as of my relation with you,” the brother concluded.
Mrs. Maxa was filled with great excitement.
Could one of the children for whom she had vainly longed and inquired for such long years be really so near her? Would she be able to see her? Who were the ladies to whom she belonged?
To all her various questions the brother could only answer that the ladies with whom Leonore was living came from the neighborhood of Hannover. They had taken a little villa in Sils on the mountain, which they had seen advertised for the summer months. He had shown the ladies his estate in Sils and had offered to serve them in whatever way they wished. Then they had taken leave.
Leonore’s name had wakened so many happy memories of her beautiful childhood and youth in Mrs. Maxa that she began to revive those times with her brother and tirelessly talked of the days they had spent there together with her unforgettable friend Leonore and her two cousins. The brother seemed just as ready to indulge in those delightful memories as she was, and whenever she ceased, he began again to talk of all the unusual happenings and exploits that had taken place with their dear friends.
“Do you know, Maxa, I think we had much better playmates than your children have,” he said finally. “If Bruno beats his comrades, I like it better than if he acted as they do.”
Brother and sister had not talked so far into the night for a long time. Nevertheless, Mrs. Maxa could not get to sleep for hours afterwards. Leonore’s image with the long, brown curls and the winning expression in her eyes woke her lively desire to see the child that resembled her so much.
When Maezli and Lippo were neatly washed and dressed the next morning, they came downstairs to the living-room chattering in the most lively manner. Maezli was just telling Lippo her plans for the afternoon when he should be back from school. The mother, after attending to some task, followed the children, who were standing around the piano.