Before the mother went off to church on Sunday morning she always glanced into the living-room to see if the children were quietly settled at their different occupations and to hope that everything would remain in order during her absence. When she looked in to-day everything was peaceful. Bruno and Mea were both sitting in a corner lost in a book, Kurt had spread out his drawings on a table before him, and Lippo and Maezli were building on their small table a beautiful town with churches, towers and large palaces. The mother was thoroughly satisfied and went away. For awhile everything was still. A bright ray of sunshine fell over Kurt’s drawing and gaily played about on the paper. Kurt, looking up, saw how the meadows were sparkling outside.
“The two rascally milk-spillers from yesterday ought to be locked up for the whole day,” Kurt suddenly exploded.
Mea apparently had been busy with the same thought for she assented very eagerly. The two talked over the whole affair anew and had to give vent to their indignation about the scoundrels and their pity for poor Loneli. Maezli must have found the conversation entertaining, for glancing over to the others, she let Lippo place the blocks whichever way he pleased, something that very seldom happened. Only when the children said no more she came back to her task.
“Goodness gracious!” Kurt exclaimed suddenly, starting up from his drawing; “you ought to have reminded me, Mea, that we have to bring some clothes to school for the poor people whose houses were burnt up. You heard it, but mother does not even know about it yet.”
“I forgot it, too,” said Mea quietly, continuing to read.
“Mother knows about it long ago. I told her right away,” Lippo declared. “Teacher told us to be sure not to forget.”
“Quite right, little school fox,” Kurt replied, while he calmly kept on drawing. As long as his mother knew about the matter he did not need to bother any more.
But the last words had interested Maezli very much. Throwing together the houses, towers and churches she said to Lippo, “Come, Lippo, I know something amusing we can do which will please mama, too.”
Lippo wondered what that could be, but he first laid every block neatly away in the big box and did not let Maezli hurry him in the least.
“Don’t do it that way,” Maezli called out impatiently. “Throw them all in and put on the lid. Then it’s all done.”
“One must not do that, Maezli; no one must do it that way,” Lippo said seriously. “One ought to put in the first block and pack it before one takes up the second.”
“Then I won’t wait for you,” Maezli declared, rapidly whisking out by the door.
When Lippo had properly filled the box and set it in its right place, he quickly followed Maezli, wondering what her plan was. But he could find her nowhere, neither in the hall nor in the garden, and he got no answer to his loud, repeated calls. Finally a reply came which sounded strangely muffled, as if from up above, so he went up and into her bedroom. There Maezli was sitting in the middle of a heap of clothes, her head thrust far into a wardrobe. Apparently she was still pulling out more things.