Christmas day had been a special one for Ludwig and Gloria as that was the day that little baby Wendy decided to make her debut into the world. Mother and baby were both doing very well until Ludwig dropped a clanger…
The proud parents were just putting Wendy down for the night and preparing to get some sleep themselves when Ludwig plucked up the courage to mention a matter he’d first heard of by telegram that morning. “Gloria, meine sveetheart, I have to tell you zat meine zister ist coming here to stay viz us.” Gloria looked up from what she was doing and looked pleasantly surprised, “That’s cracking news, Ludwig!” she said in an excited whisper, being careful not to wake the baby, “You’ve been so secretive about your family that I’m just itching to meet them. When will she come? In the summer?” Ludwig braced himself, “Ah nein, Gloria, she vill be here tomorrow, wiz ze children,” he finished quickly. “WHAT?!” mouthed Gloria, looking extremely cross, but Ludwig made a quick exit, leaving Gloria to worry about the logistics of looking after two small children of her own and accommodating an extra three bodies in their very small chalet.
Ludwig was well and truly in the doghouse but there was nothing he could do about it, the telegram had said that Eva was on her way and so she would be arriving soon, come what may.
And sure enough, the next day there was a knock on the door and there stood Eva and the children.
It had been some time since Ludwig had left the bosom of his family in the Austrian Tyrol and his niece and nephew had been but unfooted babes in arms back then. The pair were clearly a little daunted to be meeting their fabled uncle Ludwig for the first time. Eva, however, seemed as prim and to the point as ever. “Zis chalet ist wery nice, Ludvig, but I sink you have overdone ze hunting lodge look!” she commented as she narrowly avoided being inadvertently mauled by Benno the bear.
“Ah, you vill get used to zat, Eva, Gloria almost has. Now, Angelika, Heinz, come here at vance und give ze uncle Ludvig a hug!” This was all the encouragement the children needed; uncle Ludwig was of great interest to them since the grown-ups always lowered their voices whenever he was mentioned and any questions about him were simply ignored, but he looked like a fun guy and they were dying get to know him.
“Ah, ja, Ludvig, I vant to meet zis Gloria, vere ist she?” said Eva. “Um, Gloria ist in ze kitchen, ve vill go und see her but I must varn you zat she ist wery tired because of ze baby and she ist in ze bad mood,” Ludwig replied, twisting the truth a little – yes, Gloria was tired because of the baby but the fact that she hadn’t spoken to him since the previous evening had nothing to do with Wendy.
As the introductions were made, Eva sensed that all was not well – Gloria looked decidedly unhappy.
Quickly grasping the situation, Eva stepped forward and ordered the three little ones off to play, “Now, Gloria, meine sister, give me here ze baby and you vill go und have ze sleep now,” she said, “You must not vorry, I vill look after us all vile I am here, ja?” Gloria smiled for the first time that day, “Oh ja! Er, yes!” she said with feeling and slipped off to the bedroom for a well-deserved rest before Eva could change her mind.
Wendel was delighted to have cousins to play with; until the arrival of baby Wendy he’d been an only child and he liked nothing better than having playmates. Angelika and Heinz, however, were somewhat put off by the sheer size of Wendle, “You could make bose of us from him,” Angelika whispered to her brother.
But in no time at all the three cousins were playing as if they’d known each other for years and, after checking that Gloria was safely asleep upstairs, Eva cut to the chase. “Ludwig, I have been sent by Mama und Papa to speak to you about ze trouble you left behind in ze Tyrol!” she said. Ludwig blanched, he’d known it was only a matter of time before his past caught up with him…
TO BE CONTINUED
© 2016 – 2017, Zoe. All rights reserved.