h, I won鈥檛 tell; but I should like to know. It would be something to think about when I am thinking of them all. Will you please tell me, little Herr?鈥?
鈥淒o you know what a hotel is, Seppi?鈥?
鈥淵es, father talks about them sometimes. People stop there and have their food and beds. Father once said that he should like to keep one himself. It paid very well when it was well managed, and he 鏉窞鎸夋懇妗戞嬁璁哄潧 should 234like the life. But mother said it was no use thinking of it, because they should never have the money.鈥?
鈥淥h, then you do know!鈥?cried Squib eagerly. 鈥淚鈥檓 so glad; because I think perhaps your father will have the money quite soon; and then he鈥檒l begin to build, and perhaps by next spring you will all go and live there. It would not be your own valley, of course, but Uncle Ronald
says it鈥檚 one of the most beautiful valleys in all Switzerland.鈥?
Seppi鈥檚 eyes were shining now with excitement.
鈥淥h, how wonderful! Would they really! Oh, how do you know about it? Mother doesn鈥檛 know, I鈥檓 sure; I should know if she did. How can father get the money?鈥攁nd how do you know, little Herr?鈥?
Squib nodded his head sagely. He wasn鈥檛 going to be betrayed into any premature disclosures, nor did he quite know how people were going to manage 鏉窞涓濊涓婇棬 matters; but he knew that what his father took in hand always was carried through somehow, and so he had no doubts at all.
鈥淢y father told me,鈥?he answered proudly. 鈥淢y father is a very good man, and he knows a great deal. Your father was his guide, and he saved his life; and mother and they all think that you saved me from being hurt in the storm. That鈥檚 what makes them all so interested in it. When my father means a thing to be done, it always is done,鈥?concluded Squib 鏉窞鍝佽尪鎺ㄨ崘 rather grandly, though without any assumption. 鈥淗e has been a soldier, you know, and has always had people 235obeying him. Things always come right when he takes them in hand. Everybody says that.鈥?
The lame boy鈥檚 eyes were shining brightly.
鈥淥h, I am so glad! I am so glad!鈥?he whispered. 鈥淚 didn鈥檛 know how to think of leaving mother and Ann-Katherin before; but 鐧捐姳鍧婃澀宸?if they go away somewhere else, and if they have a different home and a different valley, they will not miss me the same way. How good God is to us!鈥?added the boy with sudden vehemence. 鈥淛ust as Herr Adler says. He does everything we ask Him, and ever so much that we should never have thought of asking. He is good and kind!鈥?
Squib was looking rather disturbed.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 quite understand you, Seppi. Why do you talk about going away, except to the new home?鈥?
Seppi turned 鏉窞鍏荤敓瓒崇枟棣?his eyes over towards the mountains, and Squib saw how pinched and thin his face had grown. He began to apprehend the meaning of the words, though he did not fully comprehend them.
鈥淚 think I shan鈥檛 be here in the spring to go with them,鈥?said the lame boy quietly. 鈥淭he doctor said last time that another cold would make an end of me. There鈥檚 been something wrong 鏉窞娲楁荡淇勭綏鏂コ here,鈥?touching his chest, 鈥渆ver
since I was all those hours in the ice-cave. Ev