[Uli gradually reaches something like perfection, and his savings amount to a handsome sum. But the money seems to come too slowly, and he begins to feel impatient. The master is at first vexed, but sees that he must either pay Uli what will satisfy him, or let him go. Uli suggests buying or renting something, but the master will not hear to it; Uli has too little money for that. Then one autumn the master goes to market and encounters there a cousin, Joggeli, who has come, he says, to see Johannes. Joggeli tells his troubles: he and his wife are getting old and decrepit, and can no longer look after their large farm as formerly. Their son Johannes has become too stuck-up for the farm and now runs a tavern; their daughter is good for nothing, incompetent and lazy. The overseer whom he has had for eleven years has been cheating him right and left, and the other servants are hand in glove with him. Joggeli desires a new overseer, a first-class man on whom he can depend; he would pay as high as a hundred crowns if he could find what he wants. Johannes recommends Uli, and Joggeli comes to have a look at him. He does his best to find some fault in him, but can discover none. Johannes and his wife are both reluctant to let Uli go, but they think it is for his good, and so Uli is induced to hire out to Joggeli for sixty crowns, two pairs of shoes, four shirts, and tips. All hearts are heavy as New Year’s approaches, when the change is to be made. The master himself plans to drive Uli over to his new place.]
HOW ULI LEAVES HIS OLD PLACE AND REACHES HIS NEW ONE
On the following morning the sleigh was made ready and the box fastened on it, and Uli had to breakfast with the family in the living-room—coffee, cheese, and pancakes. When the horse was harnessed Uli could scarcely go, and when at last the time came, and he stretched out his hand to his mistress and said, “Good-bye, mother, and don’t be angry with me,” the tears rushed to his eyes again; and the mistress had to lift her apron to her eyes, saying, “I don’t know what for; I only hope you’ll get along well. But if you don’t like it come back any time, the sooner the better.” The children would scarcely let him go; it seemed as if his heart would break when the master finally told them to let loose, that they must start if they wanted to get there today, and it wouldn’t be the last time they were to see each other; but that now there was no help for it. When they drove away the mistress kept wiping her eyes for a long time, and had to comfort the children, who, it seemed, could not stop weeping and lamenting.
In silence the two men drove over the gleaming snow. “Steady!” the master had to say occasionally, when the wild Blazer struck into a gallop, pulling the light sleigh along like the wind and kicking the snow high in the air. “It distresses me,” said Uli, “and more and more, the nearer we get; it’s so hard for me! I can’t believe that I’m not running into misfortune; it seems as if it was right ahead of me.”