Mrs. Maxa hastened to assure them that nothing could suit her better than to keep Leonore in her house for several weeks and she promised to send frequent news about the little girl’s state of health. She begged them not to be anxious about her and not to hurry back for Leonore’s sake. As she was longing to see the child instead of remaining in their way, she begged to be allowed to greet Leonore. She was sure that her brother, who had already risen, also wanted to take his leave. As soon as he had seen how completely the ladies entered into his sister’s plans, he wished to arrange the details and so said that he was now going to the doctor in order to get his permission for the little trip. After obtaining this, as he sincerely hoped to do, he would prepare the carriage and send it directly to the house, as it was important for the patient to make the journey during the best portion of the day. Thereupon he hastened off.
One of the ladies took Mrs. Maxa to the sick room, which was situated in the uppermost story.
“You won’t find Leonore alone,” she said, “her brother is with her. He is taking a trip through Switzerland with his teacher and some friends, and came here ahead of them in order to see his sister. His travelling companions will join him here to-morrow, and then they are all going back to Germany.”
“I fear that the poor boy will lose his day with his sister if I take her with me,” Mrs. Maxa said regretfully.
“Well, that can’t be altered,” the lady quickly replied. “We are all only too happy that you are willing to take Leonore into your house. Who knows how her stay in the hospital might have turned out? Poor Leonore was so frightened by the thought; but we knew no other way. It does not matter about her brother’s visit, because they can see each other again in Hanover, for he is at a boarding school there.”
The lady now opened a door and led Mrs. Maxa into a room.
“Leonore, look, here is Mrs. Bergmann, a great friend of your mother’s.” Miss Remke said, “and I am sure you will be glad of the news she is bringing you. I shall accept your kind permission to get back to my work now, Mrs. Bergmann. Everything is ready for Leonore, because she was to leave for the hospital very shortly.”
With these words she went out. The sick child sat completely dressed on a bed in the corner of the room, half reclining on the pillows.
Mrs. Maxa had to agree with her brother who had said that she had her mother’s large, speaking eyes, the same soft brown curls, and the same serious expression on her delicately shaped little face. Mrs. Maxa would have easily recognized the child even without knowing her name. Leonore only looked more serious still; in fact, her glance was extremely sad and at that moment tears were hanging on her lashes, for she had been crying. The boy sitting by her got up and made a bow to the new arrival. He had his father’s gay blue eyes and his clear, open brow. After giving him her hand Mrs. Maxa stepped up to the bed to greet Leonore and was so deeply moved that she could barely speak.