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209 47 Mrs. Heumann is alarmed when she sees Maria. The girl has lost weight, her face has become stern and care-worn. Even though Maria knows that Mrs. Heumann cannot understand her love for Wilhelm, she tells her of her misery, and suddenly she feels she can cry. It is the first time since Wilhelm’s letter of farewell. Now, she can’t stop crying; it is as if she had been damming up a sea of tears. Mrs. Heumann tries to console her, telling her there are so many decent and industrious men in the world, and some of them deaf. Why should she run after the very one who does not deserve her love? He certainly has not loved her, otherwise he could not have rejected her the way he did. And what is all this anyway? No woman should cry for a man, nor run after one. Men are far too stupid when in love! But Maria cries. She cries while peeling potatoes, while cleaning, feeding the chickens, darning the stockings, and while mending; she just keeps crying. It is very awkward for her when the professor and his sons look at her. She knows what a pitiable sight she is, with a puffy face and dripping nose. But she can’t help it. When the day for going to the Deaf club comes, Mrs. Heumann orders her to go. She does not have the courage to go alone, so Finchen picks her up, and Maria goes along, dreading it. It will be hard to see her deaf friends again. They are always cheerful and happy. Maria arrives at the club and looks at them as if they were distant and odd. Clemens sits down next to Maria, and her sister Christina joins them. Luise is full of sympathy when she sees Maria looking so small and sad, barely able to bring a smile to her lips. Then she waves to her brother Wilhelm. Maria noticed him when she first arrived; it hurts to see him. When Wilhelm comes over, joy and pain build up inside of her, and she gives him her hand, gravely. Wilhelm is as friendly as ever toward her, as if Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 209 4/26/2017 12:17:43 PM 210 Maria Wallisfurth nothing had happened. He says,“We friendship, you and I. Just friendship.” But Maria cannot understand. Is everything to be the same as before, or how? So she asks,“What is that—friendship?” Wilhelm is surprised. Is she stupid? “We not think of marriage, no engaged couple, only friends.” Maria nods. Then he sits down next to her and begins chatting. Like someone seriously ill who finally has been relieved from the worst of pains, she begins to hope again. Clemens takes her home that evening, but she can only think of­ Wilhelm and everything he has said. Her heart is profoundly moved, filled with longing and tenderness for Wilhelm. Clemens comes to take her for walks on the following Sundays. Mrs. Heumann recommends this man to her. “He is also respectable, hardworking, and comes from a good family,” she says.“Everyone can understand him well, and he speaks in complete sentences. And he values you. That is important!” Maria keeps silent. She knows that the professor’s wife means well.­ Maria spends three Sundays with Clemens, but she does not let him believe he has a chance. After four weeks, Maria sees Wilhelm again at the club. He brings his chair with him when he comes to where she is sitting, and he gently but firmly pushes it between Clemens and Maria, so they are forced to move apart. As soon as Wilhelm is sitting next to Maria, he turns to Clemens and signs, “Maria my bride!” He takes both her hands in his and holds them tightly for a while until he has to use them to talk. But as often as he can, he takes her left hand in his right and holds it firmly. Maria has to summon up all her strength not to cave in. She is battling against an overwhelming weakness. Only gradually can she believe it: She has got Wilhelm back! Slowly she finds faith again. The anguish of the last few weeks, when she was so utterly alone, is over. Wilhelm has come back! He loves her after all! Wilhelm reads the Volksfreund every day; it is the newspaper of the Zentrum, which is a Christian...


Subject Headings

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