Veronica had persuaded her mother to let her stay longer in the Industrial School than was usual with the young girls of the neighborhood. Even up to the day of her confirmation, she had taken sewing lessons twice from a most accomplished teacher. A short time before Easter, the teacher had assured Gertrude that Veronica had made such extraordinary progress, that she was already prepared to teach, and that she had completed the course taught at that school, and could learn no more there. Veronica certainly deserved farther training and the teacher suggested that it would be well worth while for her to take lessons in embroidery of lame Sabina in Fohrensee. She would then be sure of a position as a teacher, as high as her utmost ambition could desire.
It had always been Gertrude’s plan to have Veronica learn to work at the saddler’s business, as there is a good deal of the fine work which is suitable for women, and which it needs a woman’s hand to carry out. She hoped that in this way her children could always remain together and with her. The fine embroidery for which lame Sabina was noted, it did not seem to her at all necessary for Veronica to learn, but she was willing to leave the decision to her. As soon as Veronica heard of this new work to be learned, she was eager to begin upon it, and she left her mother no peace until she extracted from her the promise that directly after the confirmation, this new undertaking should be entered upon.
A few days after Easter Sunday, Veronica went to take her first lesson. It was very early in the morning when she started to go down to Fohrensee; so early that people were just beginning to open their windows, and only here and there a sleepy face was to be seen at the door of a house. She had to go early in order to get in a good day’s work, for she was to come home at night, and it was an hour’s walk each way. She knew well the old cottage with the beautiful carnations illuminating its windows, which was the home of lame Sabina. The windows were already open, and the door also. She entered and her new life began.
Up in Tannenegg, Dietrich sat at his work, singing and whistling merrily. His mother, busy with her household affairs went hither and thither about the house, from sitting room to kitchen, and then with the feeding-bucket, out on the grass plat before the house, where a flock of handsome fowl were pecking about. All was still quiet in the neighboring houses, but over by the well stood the never-idle Judith, beating and turning her clothes as she washed them. Along the road with uncertain steps came the old sexton, swinging the big church-keys in his hand; he had been ringing the early morning peal. As he lifted his cap a little to salute Judith at the well, she called out,
“Good day, neighbor, I was just thinking it would be a good exchange if the old folks were to lie abed at this hour and let the young ones pull the bell rope.”