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.