“Oh, my dear, darling child,” answered her mother, “he sent you some presents, too, and you shall get them right soon.”
The paste-board boxes had been unpacked and the candles lit, and now the door into the living-room was opened, and from their bed the children could behold their belated, brightly gleaming, friendly Christmas tree. Notwithstanding their utter fatigue they wanted to be dressed partly, so that they could go into the room. They received their presents, admired them, and finally fell asleep over them.
In the inn at Gschaid it was more lively than ever, this evening. All who had not been to church were there, and the others too. Each related what he had seen and heard, what he had done or advised, and the experiences and dangers he had gone through. Especial stress was laid on how everything could have been done differently and better.
This occurrence made an epoch in the history of Gschaid. It furnished material for conversation for a long time; and for many years to come people will speak about it on bright days when the mountain is seen with especial clearness, or when they tell strangers of the memorable events connected with it.
Only from this day on the children were really felt to belong to the village and were not any longer regarded as strangers in it but as natives whom the people had fetched down to them from the mountain.
Their mother Sanna also now was a native of Gschaid.
The children, however, will not forget the mountain and will look up to it more attentively, when they are in the garden; when, as in the past, the sun is shining beautifully and the linden-tree is sending forth its fragrance, when the bees are humming and the mountain looks down upon them beautifully blue, like the soft sky.
By OTTO HELLER, PH.D.
Professor of the German Language and Literature, Washington University
Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl was born May 6, 1823, in Bieberich on the Rhine, of parents so poor that after his father’s early death his mother had to deprive herself of every comfort in order to enable the lad to go to the university. At Bonn he swerved from his theological bent—chiefly through the influence of two of his professors, Ernst Moritz Arndt and Ch. F. Dahlmann—and made up his mind to devote his studies henceforth to the scientific as well as patriotic purpose of comprehending the character and history of his own people. Even in the many articles concerning popular ways and manners which he had already contributed to periodicals he revealed a thorough firsthand acquaintance with the land and the people, in particular the peasantry, as he had observed them in the course of numerous holiday tramps.