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 The kind doctor who had given the order that Heidi was to be sent home was walking along one of the broad streets towards Herr Sesemann's house. It was a sunny September morning, so full of light and sweetness that it seemed as if everybody must rejoice. But the doctor walked with his eyes fastened to the ground and did not once lift them to the blue sky above him. There was an expression of sadness on his face, formerly so cheerful, and his hair had grown greyer since the spring. The doctor had had an only daughter, who, after his wife's death, had been his sole and constant companion, but only a few months previously death had deprived him of his dear child, and he had never been the same bright and cheery man since.  
Sebastian opened the door to him, greeting him with every mark of respectful civility, for the doctor was not only the most cherished friend of the master and his daughter, but had by his kindness won the hearts of the whole household.
"Everything as usual, Sebastian?" asked the doctor in his pleasant voice as he preceded Sebastian up the stairs.
"I am glad you have come, doctor," exclaimed Herr Sesemann as
the latter entered. "We must really have another talk over this
Swiss journey; do you still adhere to your decision, even though
Clara is decidedly improving in health?"
"My dear Sesemann, I never knew such a man as you!" said the doctor as he sat down beside his friend. "I really wish your mother was here; everything would be clear and straightforward then and she would soon put things in right train. You sent for me three times yesterday only to ask me the same question, though you know what I think."
"Yes, I know, it's enough to make you out of patience with me; but you must understand, dear friend"—and Herr Sesemann laid his hand imploringly on the doctor's shoulder—"that I feel I have not the courage to refuse the child what I have been promising her all along, and for months now she has been living on the thought of it day and night. She bore this last bad attack so patiently because she was buoyed up with the hope that she should soon start on her Swiss journey, and see her friend Heidi again; and now must I tell the poor child, who has to give up so many pleasures, that this visit she has so long looked forward to must also be cancelled? I really have not the courage to do it."
"You must make up your mind to it, Sesemann," said the doctor with authority, and as his friend continued silent and dejected he went on after a pause, "Consider yourself how the matter stands. Clara has not had such a bad summer as this last one for years. Only the worst results would follow from the fatigue of such a journey, and it is out of the question for her. And then we are already in September, and although it may still be warm and fine up there, it may just as likely be already very cold. The days too are growing short, and as Clara cannot spend the night up there she would only have a two hours' visit at the outside. The journey from Ragatz would take hours, for she would have to be carried up the mountain in a chair. In short, Sesemann, it is impossible. But I will go in with you and talk to Clara; she is a reasonable child, and I will tell her what my plans are. Next May she shall be taken to the baths and stay there for the cure until it is quite hot weather. Then she can be carried up the mountain from time to time, and when she is stronger she will enjoy these excursions far more than she would now. Understand, Sesemann, that if we want to give the child a chance of recovery we must use the utmost care and watchfulness."
Herr Sesemann, who had listened to the doctor in sad and submissive silence, now suddenly jumped up. "Doctor," he said, "tell me truly: have you really any hope of her final recovery?"
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. "Very little," he replied quietly. "But, friend, think of my trouble. You have still a beloved child to look for you and greet you on your return home. You do not come back to an empty house and sit down to a solitary meal. And the child is happy and comfortable at home too. If there is much that she has to give up, she has on the other hand many advantages. No, Sesemann, you are not so greatly to be pitied—you have still the happiness of being together. Think of my lonely house!"
Herr Sesemann was now striding up and down the room as was his habit when deeply engaged in thought. Suddenly he came to a pause beside his friend and laid his hand on his shoulder. "Doctor, I have an idea; I cannot bear to see you look as you do; you are no longer the same man. You must be taken out of yourself for a while, and what do you think I propose? That you shall take the journey and go and pay Heidi a visit in our name."
The doctor was taken aback at this sudden proposal and wanted to make objections, but his friend gave him no time to say anything. He was so delighted with his idea, that he seized the doctor by the arm and drew him into Clara's room. The kind doctor was always a welcome visitor to Clara, for he generally had something amusing to tell her. Lately, it is true, he had been graver, but Clara knew the reason why and would have given much to see him his old lively self again. She held out her hand to him as he came up to her; he took a seat beside her, and her father also drew up his chair, and taking Clara's hand in his began to talk to her of the Swiss journey and how he himself had looked forward to it. He passed as quickly as he could over the main point that it was now impossible for her to undertake it, for he dreaded the tears that would follow; but he went on without pause to tell her of his new plan, and dwelt on the great benefit it would be to his friend if he could be persuaded to take this holiday.
The tears were indeed swimming in the blue eyes, although Clara struggled to keep them down for her father's sake, but it was a bitter disappointment to give up the journey, the thought of which had been her only joy and solace during the lonely hours of her long illness. She knew, however, that her father would never refuse her a thing unless he was certain that it would be harmful for her. So she swallowed her tears as well as she could and turned her thoughts to the one hope still left her. Taking the doctor's hand and stroking it, she said pleadingly,—
"Dear doctor, you will go and see Heidi, won't you? and then you can come and tel............
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