Whenever Maezli found the time heavy on her hands, she would suddenly remember people who might want to see her. She had been extremely occupied all these days entertaining Leonore, as during school hours she had been the older girl’s sole companion. Her brothers and sisters were now home for a holiday and constantly surrounded Leonore. Finding herself without her usual employment, Maezli ran after her mother on the morning of the holiday and kept on saying, “I must go to see Apollonie. I am sure Loneli is sad that I have not been to see her so long,” until her mother finally gave her permission to go that afternoon.
On her way to Apollonie Maezli had been struck by an idea which occupied her very much. She arrived at the cottage of her old friend and sat down beside Loneli, who was not in the least sad, but looked about her with the merriest eyes. “I must go see the Castle-Steward to-day,” she said quickly. “I promised it but I forgot about it.”
“No, no, Maezli,” Apollonie said evasively, “we have lots of other things to do. We have to see if the plums are getting ripe on the tree in the corner of the garden, and after that you must see the chickens. Just think, Maezli, they have little chicks, and you will have to see them. I am sure you won’t ever want to leave them.”
“Oh, yes, when I have seen them I must go to the Castle-Steward because I promised to,” Maezli replied.
“I am sure he has forgotten all about it and does not remember you any more,” Apollonie said, trying to ward Maezli off from her design. “Does your mama know that you mean to go to the castle?”
“No, because I only thought of it on my way here,” Maezli assured her old friend. “But one must always keep a promise; Kurt told me that.”
“Mr. Trius won’t even let you in,” Apollonie protested.
“Certainly! He has to. I know the Castle-Steward well, and he is not in the least afraid of Mr. Trius; I have noticed that,” said Maezli, firmly holding to her resolution.
Apollonie realized that words would do no good and resolved to entertain Maezli so well with the little chickens and other things that it would finally be too late for her to go to the castle. Maezli inspected the tiny chickens and the ripening plums with great enjoyment, but as this had barely taken any time at all, she soon said resolutely, “I have to go now because it is late. If you would like to stay home, Loneli can come with me. I am sure we can easily find the way.”
“What are you dreaming of, Maezli?” Apollonie cried out. “How do you think Mr. Trius would receive you if you ask him to let you in, I should like to know? You’ll find out something you won’t like, I am afraid. No, no, this can’t be. If you insist on going, I had better go along.”