“It is such a shame that you have to go,” Leonore sighed, but this time the tears did not come quite so urgently. How things had changed since yesterday—how different it was now to stay behind!
At this moment Mrs. Maxa entered the room.
She had left it as she wanted to give brother and sister an opportunity to see each other alone, but the time had come for Salo to depart, and he was obliged to leave his sister. To-day it seemed harder for him to go away than leave Leonore behind.
“I can’t even say that I wish you to come soon. I have to hope that you can remain here a long while,” he said cheerily, while Leonore was smiling bravely. Uncle Philip, ready for the journey, stood beside the carriage. All the children ran towards Salo as soon as he appeared, and when he said good-bye, he was treated like a friend of the family of many years’ standing. Each of the children showed his grief in a special manner. Maezli cried loudly over and over again, “Oh, Salo, please come soon again, please come soon again.”
When the carriage was rolling away and the handkerchiefs that fluttered him last greetings were all Salo could see from the distance, he rapidly brushed away a few tears. He had never felt so thoroughly at home anywhere in the world before. How happy he had been! The thought of going far away and possibly never coming back gave him a little pang of grief.
When the children returned at noon from school they were still full of their vivid impression of Salo’s sudden appearance and departure. They were all anxious to tell their mother about it, because they knew that they could always count on her lively sympathy. One or the other of the children kept forgetting that the mother must not be sought and would absent-mindedly make an attempt to go upstairs, but they were always met by unexpected resistance. Lippo on his arrival home from school had posted himself there to see that his mother’s orders were strictly kept. He also had missed her desperately, but he had nevertheless remembered her injunctions and was quite certain that the others might forget and act contrary to her orders. Placing himself on the first step, he would hold any of his brothers or sisters with both hands when they came towards him as they dashed upstairs. When he cried out loudly, “We mustn’t do it, we mustn’t do it,” they ran away again, quite frightened, for his horrified shrieks might have penetrated into the sick-room. Kathy was the only one who appreciated Lippo’s worth. She had received orders to remind the children of the strict command, and she knew quite well from previous experiences that she could never have succeeded as effectively as he. Maezli, meanwhile, was sitting at Apollonie’s table, gayly eating a snow-white milk-pudding which Apollonie knew so well how to prepare. Whenever Maezli came to a meal at her house, she always set this favorite dish before the child.