“Why Dora,” he said, “I thought you were going to guess my charade; will you try now?”
But Dora said it was really time for her to go home; so Mrs. Birkenfeld told them that they must wait till to-morrow for all they had to say, and that Dora would come every day to see them and would take lessons with them too. This satisfied them, and they charged Dora to come very early and stay very late, for there was a great deal to do and a great deal to show her. The leave taking lasted a long time, but Rolf suddenly cut the thing short.
He was going to have the last word with Dora, for he was to walk home with her. As they crossed the grass plot towards the cottage, the stars were shining so brightly overhead, that Dora stood still.
“Look up, Rolf;” she said, “do you see those five twinkling stars up there? I know them very well; they were my own stars in Karlsruhe, and they are here with me too.”
“Oh yes, I’ve seen those; they are on our map of the Heavens. Do you know their names, Dora?”
“No, indeed; can you tell the names of the stars Rolf? How much you do know!” said Dora admiringly. “Don’t those five all belong together, and have one name? There are others too that look as if they belonged together. Do you know them all? How I should like to learn them from you!”
Rolf was much pleased with the idea of giving lessons in astronomy, to one so eager to learn.
“Let us begin now,” said he enthusiastically; “I will tell them all to you one after another, even if it takes till midnight.”
This reminded Dora how late it was.
“No, Rolf” she said quickly, “thank you very much, but no more to-night. To-morrow; will you tell me to-morrow?”
“Well, to-morrow then, Dora, don’t forget. Good-night.”
“Good-night, Rolf;” and Dora hurried into the house. She was so brimming over with happiness and the many pleasures of the day, that she sprang up-stairs to Aunt Ninette, and began to tell her everything all mixed up together, with such astonishing vivacity, that her aunt drew back rather startled.
“Dora! Dora! think a minute! this excitement may go to your arm! Go to sleep as quick as you can; that is the best thing you can do.”
Dora went to her bed-room, but sleep was impossible. She knelt down at her bed-side and gave heart-felt thanks to God for sending her all this happiness; she resolved that when these holidays were over she would go back to her work again without complaint; no matter how long the hours might be, and she would never forget these happy days that the good God had sent her now. It was long before she could close her eyes for very bliss.
Early the next day, as Julius was clattering along the passage with his big riding-boots and spurs, he heard the sounds of practising in the school-room, and knowing that Miss Hanenwinkel did not give lessons at this hour, he pushed open the door to see what was going on. There sat Lili at the piano, and Wili stood by, looking as if he were impatiently counting every minute till he could have his turn.