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"But he never gave you up, darling!" she said.
"No; he only told me to come early, alone, to-morrow, and he would give
me a lesson by myself, and perhaps I should learn better."
A twinkle of joy danced in her eyes, dimmed with so many tears.
"Silly child!" she said, fondly, "as silly as thy poor mother herself!
The master only takes trouble, and chastens and rebukes, because he
thinks it is worth while, because thou art trying and learning, and art
doing a little better day by day. He knows what thy best can be, and
will never be content with anything but thy very best."
"Is it that, mother? Is it indeed that?" said the boy, looking up with
a sudden dawning of hope.
And a sweet dawn of promise met him in his mother's eyes as she
"It is even that, my own, for thee and for me!"
With a glad heart, Gottlieb dressed the next morning before Lenichen
was awake, and was off to the choir-master for his lesson alone.
The new hope had inspired him, and he sang that morning to the content
even of the master, as he knew, not by his praise, but by his summoning
Ursula from the kitchen to listen, unable to resist his desire for the
sympathy of a larger audience.
Ursula was not exactly musical, nor was she demonstrative, but she
showed her satisfaction by appropriating her share of the success.
"_I_ knew what was wanting!" she said, significantly. "The birds and
the blessed angels may sing on crumbs or on the waters of Paradise; but
goose and pudding are a great help to the alleluias here below."
"The archduchess will be enraptured, and the Cistercians will be
furious!" said the choir-master, equally pleased at both prospects.
But this Gottlieb did not hear, for he had availed himself of the first
free moment to run home and tell his mother how things had improved.
After that, Gottlieb had no more trouble about the master. The old
man's severity became comprehensible and dear to him, and a loving
liberty and confidence came into his bearing toward him, which went to
the heart of the childless old man, so that dearer than the praise of
the archduchess, or even the discomfiture of the Cistercians, became to
him the success and welfare of the child.
But then, unknown to himself, the poor boy entered on a new chapter of
The other boys, observing the choir-master's love for him, grew
jealous, and called him sometimes "the master's little angel," and
sometimes "the little beggar of the hermitage" or "Dwarf Hans'
He was too brave and manly a little fellow to tell his mother all these
little annoyances. He would not for the world have spoiled her joy in
her little "Chrysostom," her golden-mouthed laddie. But once they
followed him to her door, and she heard them herself. The rude words
smote her to the heart, but she only said:
"Thou art not ashamed of the hermit's house, nor of being old Hans'
"I hope, never!" said the child, with a little hesitation. "God sent
him to us, and I love him. But it would be nice if dear Hans sometimes
washed his face!"
Magdalis smiled, and hit on a plan for bringing this about. With some
difficulty she persuaded the old man to take his dinner every Sunday
and holiday with them, and she always set an ewer of water--and a
towel, relic of her old burgher life--by him, before the meal.
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