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205 46 The day after Mrs. Heumann’s scolding, Maria is ready to take her holiday. Mrs. Heumann urged her to do so in the previous weeks, but Maria did not want to leave. Now, she cannot stand Mrs. Heumann anymore. If Mrs. Heumann disapproves of Wilhelm so much, how can she stay with her any longer? Mrs. Heumann suggests that she take three weeks now, at the beginning of summer, and three weeks in autumn. On Sunday, she talks it over with Wilhelm. She is a little afraid of the journey. The trains run irregularly . Most of the trains are run by the Belgian occupiers; a“respectable German” does not travel by train now. Fearing sabotage, Belgian soldiers guard the bridges and tunnels. So Maria is very glad when Wilhelm offers to accompany her as far as Düren. As the train rolls along the tracks, Maria and Wilhelm sit at the window , facing each other. They do not look very happy. Wilhelm is not in a good mood. How nice this trip could have been! But already at the station they have argued. Maria is unhappy and also a bit sulky. Why is Wilhelm not pleased with her? He arrived well-dressed in the station hall at the­ arranged time. When he saw her, his face changed. Maria was taken aback and asked,“Why you change face? You not friendly.” “Hat off, please,” he signed. “Hat? Why? Hat is pretty and still good. Miss Rögert has given me.” “Terrible! Long, colored feather! Terrible hat!” But Maria did not take it off and is still wearing it. Now and then they speak, but they are both disgruntled. Just before Düren, Maria says, wanting to clear up the matter of the hat: “My hat I like. Miss Rögert has also said hat is nice. I am proud of fine hat. My first hat.” Wilhelm replies,“I am ashamed because travel with you. You have old fashion on your head!” Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 205 4/26/2017 12:17:43 PM 206 Maria Wallisfurth Maria becomes sulky again.“Don’t care. Hat I like. I leave on!” Wilhelm is offended.“I not walk with you in Aachen like that!”­ Wilhelm only says the word Aachen with his lips, he has signed everything else. Maria leaves the hat on and holds her head up high. Everyone should see her hat. But her heart is weeping. Why are they quarreling now, just before their long separation? In Düren, they wait for the connecting train. They hardly talk.When the train to Euskirchen finally arrives, they barely shake hands to say goodbye. They only wave their hands, briefly, and then Wilhelm goes to the other platform. She watches him walking away, on his own; immediately, she wants to run after him. Her love wrestles with her pride. But her train is leaving, and, unhappily, she sits down in a ­ corner. Toward evening, she arrives at her family’s farm. She feels miserable and tired, from worry, from the journey, the long wait times, and the walk home. Father is standing at the front door. She is glad to see him. “Father! Father!” she calls, and lifts and moves her bag. Father looks at her in astonishment. Then his face breaks into a wide grin. He slaps himself on the thigh and shakes with laughter.The others come running from the stables and the house to see what is making him laugh so loud. Father points to Maria’s hat, and the children gape. For a moment, Maria stands there confused and shocked, then she pushes past Father and the others without a word and rushes up to the bedroom. She takes several steps at a time, flings the doors open and slams them shut, throws her bag on the bed, tears the hat from her head, and hurls it furiously to the floor. Then she quickly picks it up again, opens her parents’ wardrobe, and slings the hat into the farthest, darkest corner of the top shelf. She slams the door shut. She never wants to see it again! She throws herself on the bed, buries her face in the pillow, and weeps. With her tears she washes away all her anger at this incomprehensible world. When, after a long time, she has calmed down, she goes downstairs to greet her family pleasantly. In the following days, everything seems as if she has never been away. The...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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