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CHAPTER THIRD NEW ACQUAINTANCES
Very early the following morning a great cracking of whips was heard, for at four o'clock Chappi and Georgie were already waiting in front of the cottage for the cows which were to be brought here from one place and another in order to drive them up on the mountain, where the big herd was. Then the two would remain up there as shepherd-boys until Autumn, and they were so delighted about it, they couldn't make enough noise; for to be up there together and have nothing to do the whole Summer but run around with their whips and with the cows, was to them a splendid prospect.

When their mother had fastened on their knapsacks and admonished them to be good boys, and they had gone away with their cows, she went back into the house, and then began a sweeping and dusting in every room and corner, from top to bottom, so there was no end to it the whole day long. The sun had already gone down behind the fir trees when the woman once more wiped off the windows, one after another, and looked around to see if everything was in order. Everything was shining, the windows all around the house, the table with the slate top, the benches against the walls, and even the floor.

The woman now saw a whole procession of porters, horses and riders coming up the path from the valley. She ran quickly up the narrow stairs to the attic chamber, put on a clean apron, and placed herself in the doorway in order to receive her strange guests. The procession stopped and Herr Feland lifted first his wife and Fr?ulein Hohlweg, then the children, from the horses.

Rita had hardly touched the ground when she ran to and fro for joy, and did not know which was the most beautiful, the tiny wooden cottage with the little bench in front of the door, the green fields around with the flowers and brooks, or the golden evening sunshine on the rocks and fir-trees. Everything was so new, so lovely! Ella, too, was quite filled with admiration, and looked around in silent astonishment.

Then their father and mother came into the cottage, and a new pleasure began for Rita, since everything here was so different from anything she had ever seen in her life before. She seized Ella by the hand and ran with her into every corner.

"See, see, there are seats all around the room against the wall, and just see where you can climb up."

Whereupon Rita ran quickly up the stairs, leading up behind the oven, to an opening through which the sleeping-room was entered. This was a wonderful discovery! From there they went through an open door into another chamber, where two beds stood. This led into a little garret room and a wooden staircase on the other side went down again into the living-room. This made a wonderful circuit which could be made many times a day, and everything about the whole house, inside and out, looked so new and unusual and promised so much Rita didn't know what she should enjoy the most.

When, at last, she lay in her big bed upstairs in the chamber, and Ella in the one beside her, and their mother had said good-night to the children after their evening prayer, Rita drew a deep sigh and said with the greatest contentment:

"Oh, now we are on the Gemmi!"

The most beautiful Summer days now followed, with golden sunshine on the meadows, with cool breezes blowing up in the evergreen woods, and the deep blue sky, spread out above the rocks and the white, snow-capped mountains.

In a few days Ella and Rita had discovered all the lovely spots in the neighborhood, where they could lie down and spend the warm afternoon hours agreeably until evening, when a stroll was taken with their papa and mamma. But Rita was more inclined to discover lovely spots than to rest, and while Ella was sitting on the soft moss under the fir-trees or on the green meadow ground of the mountain side enjoying the thought that Fr?ulein Hohlweg was coming to read her a charming story or tell one, Rita had always some new plan which she proceeded to carry out.

Meanwhile their mother sat in the house with their papa, and often had to lie down to rest, for her health was very frail.

When Rita saw Fr?ulein Hohlweg come out of the house with a big basket filled with knitting materials on her arm all kinds of delightful places immediately came to her mind, where they could go, and before Fr?ulein Hohlweg had seated herself Rita would tell her that she must go in right away to her papa, for she had a great deal to say to him. In a twinkling she was in the house, had jumped up on her papa's knee and was telling him a multitude of plans,—how they could climb to the fir-trees high up on the rocks and see far around, or go deep, deep into the woods, until they came to the big birds that often screamed so frightfully. Papa would listen to her daring proposals with interest, but thought there were shorter excursions to take nearby and then would send her back to Ella and the Fr?u............
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