"So we have. Good-bye, Van Mounen!" answered the boys.
Peter hailed him. "I say, Van Mounen, the classes begin tomorrow!"
"I know it. Our holiday is over. Good-bye, again."
Broek came in sight. Such meetings! Katrinka was upon the canal! Carl was delighted. Hilda was there! Peter felt rested in an instant. Rychie was there! Ludwig and Jacob nearly knocked each other over in their eagerness to shake hands with her.
Dutch girls are modest and generally quiet, but they have very glad eyes. For a few moments it was hard to decide whether Hilda, Rychie, or Katrinka felt the most happy.
Annie Bouman was also on the canal, looking even prettier than the other maidens in her graceful peasant's costume. But she did not mingle with Rychie's party; neither did she look unusually happy.
The one she liked most to see was not among the newcomers. Indeed, he was not upon the canal at all. She had not been near Broek before, since the Eve of Saint Nicholas, for she was staying with her sick grandmother in Amsterdam and had been granted a brief resting spell, as the grandmother called it, because she had been such a faithful little nurse night and day.
Annie had devoted her resting-spell to skating with all her might toward Broek and back again, in the hope of meeting her mother on the canal, or, it might be, Gretel Brinker. Not one of them had she seen, and she must hurry back without even catching a glimpse of her mother's cottage, for the poor helpless grandmother, she knew, was by this time moaning for someone to turn her upon her cot.