“No, no, Leonore,” Mrs. Maxa answered, “you must not take a chance word seriously. The poor woman only said it because she saw no immediate help for her children. It is not true at all. Of course you can’t look ahead into your future, but you can ask God to give you full confidence in Him. Then you can leave it all to Him, and the sense of His protection will make you calmer. It will also keep you from making uncertain plans, which might only bring fresh disappointments.”
Leonore had attentively followed every word Mrs. Maxa had uttered. Looking thoughtfully in front of her for a moment, she said, “Aunt Maxa”—this was the mode of address she had long ago been granted—“don’t you want me to think of Apollonie’s cottage either? Shall we have a disappointment, if I hope that we can find a home there?”
“Yes, my dear child. It is entirely out of the question for you and your brother to live there. I should not tell you this if I were not absolutely certain, and you can imagine that I should not shatter such a hope if I did not have to.”
It hurt Mrs. Maxa very much to say this, but she found it necessary. She knew that Apollonie in her measureless love and admiration would never be able to refuse a single one of Leonore’s wishes, even if it meant the impossible.
“I shall not think about it any more then,” said Leonore, embracing Mrs. Maxa with utter confidence, “and I shall be glad now that I can still remain with you.”
Later that evening when the children were all together and Leonore had conquered her grief for that day, a letter came for their mother from Hanover. She had informed the ladies of Leonore’s complete recovery and had added that the doctor thought it necessary for the child to enjoy the strengthening mountain air for a while longer. She herself had no other wish than to keep Leonore in her house as long as possible. The ladies’ answer was full of warm thanks for her great help in their embarrassing situation. They were very glad to accept her great kindness for two more weeks, after which one of them would come to fetch Leonore home.
Mrs. Maxa glanced with a heavy heart at the child to whom she had grown as devoted as to her own. She felt dreadfully sad at the thought of letting her go away so soon. The worst of it was that she knew the ladies’ abode had never really meant a home for poor Leonore. It only doubled her grief to know how hard it would be for the child to leave her, but as she had no right over her, she could do nothing. The only thing she could plan was to ask the ladies to let her have Leonore sometimes during the summer holidays. She decided not to dampen the children’s good spirits that evening with the discouraging news in the letter.
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