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194 44 “I go to Tilsit! For a few weeks,” Mrs. Heumann says to Maria. It is the beginning of summer. Maria is dismayed. “I must stay here alone?” “Yes, you have learned, you are hardworking, you can manage alone.” Maria starts to cry:“No, no, no! I can’t manage alone. I can’t. I can’t work out the money when I go shopping. I don’t understand money because inflation. Please not leave me alone!” Professor Heumann assures her that he will not cause any problems, and he will be satisfied with her work. Mrs. Heumann says, “On a big list, I will write what you are to cook every day. When I come back, you can have a six-week holiday. Then you can go to Freilingen.” Right now Maria is not at all interested in holidays in Freilingen. She is full of trepidation that she alone shall be responsible for four men, hens, cats, the household, washing, shopping, and all the rest. Mrs. Heumann says as she leaves,“You can do everything!” So, Maria begins. She has no choice, and she tells herself, “Must be! Must be!” Soon, she is proud that everything is going well. She conscientiously carries out her work. Every Sunday, she tells Wilhelm how things are going and her growing self-confidence shows. She always goes home on time to prepare the evening meal. Wilhelm does not like that one little bit because for him, the evening is just beginning then. He has a lot of friends whom he meets in Aachen or, as usually happens, they come to his house and stay up late, talking and enjoying themselves. At the Deaf club, Maria gets to know a farmer’s son named Clemens, and he can talk well. His parents have a farm near the Dutch border.­ Clemens is a pleasant, strong man. Maria sees straightaway that he can do his share of hard work. Clemens joins Maria and Wilhelm on Sundays; he looks at Maria with great interest. He begins to court Maria seriously. Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 194 4/26/2017 12:17:43 PM The Stories They Told Me  195 He tells her she is the right woman for him. Then he asks Wilhelm,“Do you want to marry Maria?” Wilhelm stares at him, baffled. “No,” he signs,“I not thought.” Then Clemens asks Wilhelm to give up Maria. He would like to go walking alone with her on Sundays, he would like her to be his girl, and he would like to marry her soon; she is after all a farmer’s daughter and would be a good match for him. Maria stands there, and is not asked for her opinion. Wilhelm is somewhat surprised, but he realizes that Clemens is right and, out of good-naturedness, he agrees. Maria is so shocked that she doesn’t know what to do. Does this meanWilhelm has not lost his heart to her? He doesn’t love her; otherwise, how could he give her up so easily? She is very, very sad. The next Sunday, Clemens comes for her. Wilhelm stays away. She walks silently beside Clemens through the summer day. Through fields and pastures, and on through vegetable gardens, they walk along from Hanbruch across Vaalser Landstrasse to the Hörn, a long hill stretching from Lousberg to Holland. Clemens points out the land belonging to his parents and talks about his work on the farm. He is nice to her and sincere. She would become mistress of the farm one day, which is not at all small or poor. Maria is sorry she has to disappoint him. How could she say yes to someone when her whole being is filled with thoughts of another man? She would cry, cry all the time for Wilhelm. Why did he let her go so easily? For several Sundays, Clemens comes to visit Maria and waits to see if there is any hope for him. When Mrs. Heumann comes back from her long trip to East Prussia, she is full of praise for Maria. The girl has taken care of everything to her satisfaction. She has really done well.The professor praises Maria in front of his wife. On Sunday at the Deaf club, Master Wirtz comes up to her and says,“The Professor told me you can’t cook.Your food does not taste good. You always put too much salt in the food.” Maria grins at him...


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Subject Headings

  • Prisoners of war -- United States.
  • Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.
  • Prisoners of war -- Cuba -- Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.
  • Afghan War, 2001- -- Prisoners and prisons, American.
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.
  • Khan, Mahvish Rukhsana -- Diaries.
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