Hilda, in her anxiety, ran around, past the corner where the low roof was fringed with its loosened thatch.
"It is not right for me to peep into another's house in this way," she said to herself. Then, softly calling to Gretel, she added in a whisper, "You may look--perhaps he is only sleeping."
Gretel tried to walk briskly toward the spot, but her limbs were trembling. Hilda hastened to her support.
"You are sick, yourself, I fear," she said kindly.
"No, not sick, jufvrouw, but my heart cries all the time now, even when my eyes are as dry as yours. Why, jufvrouw, your eyes are not dry! Are you crying for US? Oh, jufvrouw, if God sees you! Oh! I know father will get better now." And the little creature, even while reaching to look through the tiny window, kissed Hilda's hand again and again.
The sash was sadly patched and broken; a torn piece of paper hung halfway down across it. Gretel's face was pressed to the window.
"Can you see anything?" whispered Hilda at last.
"Yes--the father lies very still, his head is bandaged, and all their eyes are fastened upon him. Oh, jufvrouw!" almost screamed Gretel, as she started back and, by a quick, dexterous movement shook off her heavy wooden shoes. "I MUST go in to my mother! Will you come with me?"