"I am to have my meals with the children, if I prefer it to the great table, and for the present I do, for I am bashful, though no one will believe it.
"'Now my dear, make yourself at home,' said Mrs. K. in her motherly way; 'I'm on the drive from morning to night, as you may suppose, with such a family; but a great anxiety will be off my mind if I know the children are safe with you. My rooms are always open to you, and your own shall be as comfortable as I can make it. There are some pleasant people in the house, if you feel sociable, and your evenings are always free. Come to me if anything goes wrong, and be as happy as you can. There's the tea-bell; I must run and change my cap'; and off she bustled, leaving me to settle myself in my new nest.
"As I went down stairs, soon after, I saw something I liked. The flights are very long in this tall house, and as I stood waiting at the head of the third one for a little servant girl to lumber up, I saw a queer-looking man come along behind her, take the heavy hod of coal out of her hand, carry it all the way up, put it down at a door near by, and walk away, saying, with a kind nod and a foreign accent,—
"'It goes better so. The little back is too young to haf such heaviness.'
"Wasn't it good of him? I like such things; for, as father says, trifles show character. When I mentioned it to Mrs. K., that evening, she laughed, and said,—
"'That must have been Professor Bhaer; he's always doing things of that sort.'
"Mrs. K. told me he was from Berlin; very learned