The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 online

. (page 30 of 40)
Online LibraryVariousThe German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 → online text (page 30 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

took as an omen that no more sorrow was to befall her. The following
day began the search for an apartment, and one was found on Keith
street, which exactly suited, except that the house was not finished
and the walls not yet dried out. Effi kept it in mind, however, and
looked further, being as long about it as possible. After two weeks
Innstetten began to insist on her return and to make pointed
allusions. She saw there was nothing left but to sham illness. Then
she rented the apartment on Keith street, wrote a card saying she
would be home the next day, and had the trunks packed. The next
morning she stayed in bed and feigned illness, but preferred not to
call a doctor. She telegraphed about her delay to her husband. After
three days of the farce she yielded to her mother and called an old
ladies' doctor by the name of Rummschüttel ('Shake 'em around'). After
a few questions he prescribed a mixture of bitter almond water and
orange blossom syrup and told her to keep quiet. Later he called every
third day, noticing that his calls embarrassed her. She felt he had
seen through her from the start, but the farce had to be kept up till
Innstetten had closed his house and shipped his things. Four days
before he was due in Berlin she suddenly got well and wrote him she
could now travel, but thought it best to await him in Berlin. As soon
as she received his favorable telegram she hastened to the new
apartment, where she raised her eyes, folded her hands, and said:
"Now, with God's help, a new life, and a different one!"]


Three days later, at nine o 'clock in the evening, Innstetten arrived
in Berlin. Effi, her mother, and Cousin Briest were at the station.
The reception was hearty, particularly on the part of Effi, and a
world of things had been talked about when the carriage they had taken
stopped before their new residence on Keith street. "Well, you have
made a good choice, Effi," said Innstetten, as he entered the
vestibule; "no shark, no crocodile, and, I hope, no spooks."

"No, Geert, that is all past. A new era has dawned and I am no longer
afraid. I am also going to be better than heretofore and live more
according to your will." This she whispered to him as they climbed the
carpeted stairs to the third story. Cousin von Briest escorted the

In their apartment there was still a great deal to be done, but enough
had been accomplished to make a homelike impression and Innstetten
exclaimed out of the joy of his heart: "Effi, you are a little
genius." But she declined the praise, pointing to her mother, saying
she really deserved the credit. Her mother had issued inexorable
commands, such as, "It must stand here," and had always been right,
with the natural result that much time had been saved and their good
humor had never been disturbed. Finally Roswitha came in to welcome
her master. She took advantage of the opportunity to say: "Miss Annie
begs to be excused for today," - a little joke, of which she was proud,
and which accomplished her purpose perfectly.

They took seats around the table, already set, and when Innstetten had
poured himself a glass of wine and all had joined him in a toast to
"happy days," he took Effi's hand and said: "Now tell me, Effi, what
was the nature of your illness?"

"Oh, let us not talk about that; it would be a waste of breath - A
little painful and a real disturbance, because it cancelled our plans.
But that was all, and now it is past. Rummschüttel justified his
reputation; he is a fine, amiable old man, as I believe I wrote you.
He is said not to be a particularly brilliant scholar, but mama says
that is an advantage. And she is doubtless right, as usual. Our good
Dr. Hannemann was no luminary either, and yet he was always
successful. Now tell me, how are Gieshübler and all the others?"

"Let me see, who are all the others? Crampas sends his regards to her

"Ah, very polite."

"And the pastor also wishes to be remembered to you. But the people in
the country were rather cool and seemed inclined to hold me
responsible for your departure without formally taking leave. Our
friend Sidonie spoke quite pointedly, but good Mrs. von Padden, whom I
called on specially the day before yesterday, was genuinely pleased to
receive your regards and your declaration of love for her. She said
you were a charming woman, but I ought to guard you well. When I
replied that you considered me more of a pedagogue than a husband, she
said in an undertone and almost as though speaking from another world:
'A young lamb as white as snow!' Then she stopped."

Cousin von Briest laughed. "'A young lamb as white as snow.' Hear
that, cousin?" He was going to continue teasing her, but gave it up
when he saw that she turned pale.

The conversation dragged on a while longer, dealing chiefly with
former relations, and Effi finally learned, from various things
Innstetten said, that of all their Kessin household Johanna alone had
declared a willingness to move with them to Berlin. She had remained
behind, to be sure, but would arrive in two or three days with the
rest of the things. Innstetten was glad of her decision, for she had
always been their most useful servant and possessed an unusual amount
of the style demanded in a large city, perhaps a bit too much. Both
Christel and Frederick had said they were too old, and Kruse had not
even been asked. "What do we want with a coachman here?" concluded
Innstetten, "private horses and carriages are things of the past; that
luxury is seen no more in Berlin. We could not even have found a place
for the black chicken. Or do I underestimate the apartment?"

Effi shook her head, and as a short pause ensued the mother arose,
saying it was half past ten and she had still a long way to go, but
nobody should accompany her, as the carriage stand was quite near.
Cousin Briest declined, of course, to accede to this request.
Thereupon they bade each other good night, after arranging to meet the
following morning.

Effi was up rather early and, as the air was almost as warm as in the
summer, had ordered the breakfast table moved close to the open
balcony door. When Innstetten appeared she stepped out upon the
balcony with him and said: "Well, what do you say? You wished to hear
the finches singing in the Tiergarten and the parrots calling in the
Zoological Garden. I don't know whether both will do you the favor,
but it is possible. Do you hear that? It came from the little park
over yonder. It is not the real Tiergarten, but near it."

Innstetten was delighted and as grateful as though Effi herself had
conjured up all these things for him. Then they sat down and Annie
came in. Roswitha expected Innstetten to find a great change in the
child, and he did. They went on chatting, first about the people of
Kessin, then about the visits to be made in Berlin, and finally about
a summer journey. They had to stop in the middle of their conversation
in order to be at the rendezvous on time.

They met, as agreed, at Helms's, opposite the Red Palace, went to
various stores, lunched at Hiller's, and were home again in good
season. It was a capital day together, and Innstetten was very glad to
be able once more to share in the life of a great city and feel its
influence upon him. The following day, the 1st of April, he went to
the Chancellor's Palace to register, considerately foregoing a
personal call, and then went to the Ministry to report for duty. He
was received, in spite of the rush of business and social obligations,
in fact he was favored with a particularly friendly reception by his
chief, who said: "I know what a valuable man you are and am certain
nothing can ever disturb our harmony."

Likewise at home everything assumed a good aspect. Effi truly
regretted to see her mother return to Hohen-Cremmen, even after her
treatment had been prolonged to nearly six weeks, as she had predicted
in the beginning. But the loss was partly offset by Johanna's arrival
in Berlin on the same day. That was at least something, and even if
the pretty blonde was not so near to Effi's heart as the wholly
unselfish and infinitely good-natured Roswitha, nevertheless she was
treated on an equality with her, both by Innstetten and her young
mistress, because she was very clever and useful and showed a decided,
self-conscious reserve toward the men. According to a Kessin rumor the
roots of her existence could be traced to a long-retired officer of
the Pasewalk garrison, which was said to explain her aristocratic
temperament, her beautiful blonde hair, and the special shapeliness of
her appearance. Johanna shared the joy displayed on all hands at her
arrival and was perfectly willing to resume her former duties as house
servant and lady's maid, whereas Roswitha, who after an experience of
nearly a year had acquired about all of Christel's cookery art, was to
superintend the culinary department. The care and nurture of Annie
fell to Effi herself, at which Roswitha naturally laughed, for she
knew young wives.

Innstetten was wholly devoted to his office and his home. He was
happier than formerly in Kessin, because he could not fail to observe
that Effi manifested more artlessness and cheerfulness. She could do
so because she felt freer. True, the past still cast a shadow over her
life, but it no longer worried her, or at least much more rarely and
transiently, and all such after-effects served but to give her bearing
a peculiar charm. In everything she did there was an element of
sadness, of confession, so to speak, and it would have made her happy
if she could have shown it still more plainly. But, of course, she
dared not.

When they made their calls, during the first weeks of April, the
social season of the great city was not yet past, but it was about to
end, so they were unable to share in it to any great extent. During
the latter half of May it expired completely and they were more than
ever happy to be able to meet at the noon hour in the Tiergarten, when
Innstetten came from his office, or to take a walk in the afternoon to
the garden of the Palace in Charlottenburg. As Effi walked up and down
the long front, between the Palace and the orange trees, she studied
time and again the many Roman emperors standing there, found a
remarkable resemblance between Nero and Titus, gathered pine cones
that had fallen from the trees, and then walked arm in arm with her
husband toward the Spree till they came to the lonely Belvedere

"They say this palace was also once haunted," she remarked.

"No, merely ghostly apparitions."

"That is the same thing."

"Yes, sometimes," said Innstetten. "As a matter of fact, however,
there is a difference. Ghostly apparitions are always artificial, or
at least that is said to have been the case in the Belvedere, as
Cousin von Briest told me only yesterday, but hauntings are never
artificial; hauntings are natural."

"So you do believe in them?"

"Certainly I believe in them. There are such things. But I don't quite
believe in those we had in Kessin. Has Johanna shown you her Chinaman

"What Chinaman?"

"Why, ours. Before she left our old house she pulled him off the back
of the chair upstairs and put him in her purse. I caught a glimpse of
him not long ago when she was changing a mark for me. She was
embarrassed, but confessed."

"Oh, Geert, you ought not to have told me that. Now there is such a
thing in our house again."

"Tell her to burn it up."

"No, I don't want to; it would not do any good anyhow. But I will ask
Roswitha - "

"What? Oh, I understand, I can imagine what you are thinking of. You
will ask her to buy a picture of a saint and put it also in the purse.
Is that about it?"

Effi nodded.

"Well, do what you like, but do not tell anybody."

* * * * *

Effi finally said she would rather not do it, and they went on talking
about all sorts of little things, till the plans for their summer
journey gradually crowded out other interests. They rode back to the
"Great Star" and then walked home by the Korso Boulevard and the broad
Frederick William Street.

They planned to take their vacation at the end of July and go to the
Bavarian Alps, as the Passion Play was to be given again this year at
Oberammergau. But it could not be done, as Privy Councillor von
Wüllersdorf, whom Innstetten had known for some time and who was now
his special colleague, fell sick suddenly and Innstetten had to stay
and take his place. Not until the middle of August was everything
again running smoothly and a vacation journey possible. It was too
late then to go to Oberammergau, so they fixed upon a sojourn on the
island of Rügen. "First, of course, Stralsund, with Schill, whom you
know, and with Scheele, whom you don't know. Scheele discovered
oxygen, but you don't need to know that. Then from Stralsund to Bergen
and the Rugard, where Wüllersdorf said one can get a good view of the
whole island, and thence between the Big and the Little Jasmund Bodden
to Sassnitz. Going to Rügen means going to Sassnitz. Binz might
perhaps be possible, too, but, to quote Wüllersdorf again, there are
so many small pebbles and shells on the beach, and we want to go

Effi agreed to everything planned by Innstetten, especially that the
whole household should be broken up for four weeks, Roswitha going
with Annie to Hohen-Cremmen, and Johanna visiting her younger
half-brother, who had a sawmill near Pasewalk. Thus everybody was well
provided for.

At the beginning of the following week they set out and the same
evening were in Sassnitz. Over the hostelry was the sign, "Hotel
Fahrenheit." "I hope the prices are according to Réaumur," added
Innstetten, as he read the name, and the two took an evening walk
along the beach cliffs in the best of humor. From a projecting rock
they looked out upon the bay quivering in the moonlight. Effi was
entranced. "Ah, Geert, why, this is Capri, it is Sorrento. Yes, let us
stay here, but not in the hotel, of course. The waiters are too
aristocratic for me and I feel ashamed to ask for a bottle of soda

"Yes, everybody is an employee. But, I think, we can find private

"I think so too. And we will look for them the first thing in the

The next morning was as beautiful as the evening had been, and they
took coffee out of doors. Innstetten received a few letters, which had
to be attended to promptly, and so Effi decided at once to employ the
hour thus left free for her in looking for quarters. She first walked
past an inclosed meadow, then past groups of houses and fields of
oats, finally turning into a road which ran through a kind of gully to
the sea. Where this gully road struck the beach there stood an inn
shaded by tall beech trees, not so aristocratic as the "Fahrenheit," a
mere restaurant, in fact, which because of the early hour was entirely
empty. Effi sat down at a point with a good view and hardly had she
taken a sip of the sherry she had ordered when the inn-keeper stepped
up to engage her in conversation, half out of curiosity and half out
of politeness.

"We like it very well here," she said, "my husband and I. What a
splendid view of the bay! Our only worry is about a place to stay."

"Well, most gracious Lady, that will be hard."

"Why, it is already late in the season."

"In spite of that. Here in Sassnitz there is surely nothing to be
found, I can guarantee you. But farther along the shore, where the
next village begins - you can see the shining roofs from here - there
you might perhaps find something."

"What is the name of the village?"


Effi thought she had misunderstood him. "Crampas," she repeated, with
an effort. "I never heard the word as the name of a place. Nothing
else in the neighborhood?"

"No, most gracious Lady, nothing around here. But farther up, toward
the north, you will come to other villages, and in the hotel near
Stubbenkammer they will surely be able to give you information.
Addresses are always left there by people who would be willing to rent

Effi was glad to have had the conversation alone and when she reported
it a few moments later to her husband, keeping back only the name of
the village adjoining Sassnitz, he said: "Well, if there is nothing
around here the best thing will be to take a carriage, which,
incidentally, is always the way to take leave of a hotel, and without
any ado move farther up toward Stubbenkammer. We can doubtless find
there some idyllic spot with a honeysuckle arbor, and, if we find
nothing, there is still left the hotel, and they are all alike."

Effi was willing, and about noon they reached the hotel near
Stubbenkammer, of which Innstetten had just spoken, and there ordered
a lunch. "But not until half an hour from now. We intend to take a
walk first and view the Hertha Lake. I presume you have a guide?"

Following the affirmative answer a middle-aged man approached our
travelers. He looked as important and solemn as though he had been at
least an adjunct of the ancient Hertha worship.

The lake, which was only a short distance away, had a border of tall
trees and a hem of rushes, while on its quiet black surface there swam
hundreds of water lilies.

"It really looks like something of the sort," said Effi, "like Hertha

"Yes, your Ladyship, and the stones are further evidences of it."

"What stones?"

"The sacrificial stones."

While the conversation continued in this way they stepped from the
lake to a perpendicular wall of gravel and clay, against which leaned
a few smooth polished stones, with a shallow hollow in each drained by
a few grooves.

"What is the purpose of these?"

"To make it drain better, your Ladyship."

"Let us go," said Effi, and, taking her husband's arm, she walked back
with him to the hotel, where the breakfast already ordered was served
at a table with a view far out upon the sea. Before them lay the bay
in the sunshine, with sail boats here and there gliding across its
surface and sea gulls pursuing each other about the neighboring
cliffs. It was very beautiful and Effi said so; but, when she looked
across the glittering surface, she saw again, toward the south, the
brightly shining roofs of the long-stretched-out village, whose name
had given her such a start earlier in the morning.

Even without any knowledge or suspicion of what was occupying her,
Innstetten saw clearly that she was having no joy or satisfaction. "I
am sorry, Effi, that you derive no real pleasure from these things
here. You cannot forget the Hertha Lake, and still less the

[Illustration: _Permission F Bruckmann A.-G. Munich_
BATHING BOYS Adolph von Menzel]

She nodded. "It is as you say, and I must confess that I have seen
nothing in my life that made me feel so sad. Let us give up entirely
our search for rooms. I can't stay here."

"And yesterday it seemed to you a Gulf of Naples and everything
beautiful you could think of."

"Yes, yesterday."

"And today? No longer a trace of Sorrento?"

"Still one trace, but only one. It is Sorrento on the point of dying."

"Very well, then, Effi," said Innstetten, reaching her his hand. "I do
not want to worry you with Rügen and so let us give it up. Settled. It
is not necessary for us to tie ourselves up to Stubbenkammer or
Sassnitz or farther down that way. But whither?"

"I suggest that we stay a day longer and wait for the steamer that
comes from Stettin tomorrow on its way to Copenhagen. It is said to be
so pleasurable there and I can't tell you how I long for something
pleasurable. Here I feel as though I could never laugh again in all my
life and had never laughed at all, and you know how I like to laugh."

Innstetten showed himself full of sympathy with her state, the more
readily, as he considered her right in many regards. Really
everything, though beautiful, was melancholy.

They waited for the Stettin boat and in the very early morning of the
third day they landed in Copenhagen. Two hours later they were in the
Thorwaldsen Museum, and Effi said: "Yes, Geert, this is beautiful and
I am glad we set out for here." Soon thereafter they went to dinner
and at the table made the acquaintance of a Jutland family, opposite
them, whose daughter, Thora von Penz, was as pretty as a picture and
attracted immediately the attention and admiration of both Innstetten
and Effi. Effi could not stop looking at her large blue eyes and
flaxen blonde hair, and when they left the table an hour and a half
later the Penz family, who unfortunately had to leave Copenhagen the
same day, expressed the hope that they might have the privilege of
entertaining the young Prussian couple in the near future at Aggerhuus
Castle, some two miles from the Lym-Fiord. The invitation was accepted
by the Innstettens with little hesitation.

Thus passed the hours in the hotel. But that was not yet enough of a
good thing for this memorable day, which Effi enthusiastically
declared ought to be a red-letter day in the calendar. To fill her
measure of happiness to the full the evening brought a performance at
the Tivoli Theatre, an Italian pantomime, _Arlequin and Columbine_.
She was completely captivated by the little roguish tricks, and when
they returned to their hotel late in the evening she said: "Do you
know, Geert, I now feel that I am gradually coming to again. I will
not even mention beautiful Thora, but when I consider that this
morning Thorwaldsen and this evening Columbine - "

"Whom at bottom you liked better than Thorwaldsen - "

"To be frank, yes. I have a natural appreciation of such things. Our
good Kessin was a misfortune for me. Everything got on my nerves
there. Rügen too, almost. I suggest we stay here in Copenhagen a few
days longer, including an excursion to Fredericksborg and Helsingor,
of course, and then go over to Jutland. I anticipate real pleasure
from seeing beautiful Thora again, and if I were a man I should fall
in love with her."

Innstetten laughed. "You don't know what I am going to do."

"I shouldn't object. That will create a rivalry and I shall show you
that I still have my powers, too."

"You don't need to assure me of that."

The journey was made according to this plan. Over in Jutland they went
up the Lym-Fiord as far as Aggerhuus Castle, where they spent three
days with the Penz family, and then returned home, making many stops
on the way, for sojourns of various lengths, in Viborg, Flensburg,
Kiel, and Hamburg. From Hamburg, which they liked uncommonly well,
they did not go direct to Keith St. in Berlin, but first to
Hohen-Cremmen, where they wished to enjoy a well-earned rest. For
Innstetten it meant but a few days, as his leave of absence expired,
but Effi remained a week longer and declared her desire not to arrive
at home till the 3d of October, their wedding anniversary.

Annie had flourished splendidly in the country air and Roswitha's plan
of having her walk to meet her mother succeeded perfectly. Briest
proved himself an affectionate grandfather, warned them against too
much love, and even more strongly against too much severity, and was
in every way the same as always. But in reality all his affection was
bestowed upon Effi, who occupied his emotional nature continually,
particularly when he was alone with his wife.

"How do you find Effi?"

"Dear and good as ever. We cannot thank God enough that we have such a
lovely daughter. How thankful she is for everything, and always so
happy to be under our rooftree again."

"Yes," said Briest, "she has more of this virtue than I like. To tell
the truth, it seems as though this were still her home. Yet she has
her husband and child, and her husband is a jewel and her child an
angel, and still she acts as though Hohen-Cremmen were her favorite
abode, and her husband and child were nothing in comparison with you
and me. She is a splendid daughter, but she is too much of a daughter
to suit me. It worries me a little bit. She is also unjust to
Innstetten. How do matters really stand between them?"

"Why, Briest, what do you mean?"

"Well, I mean what I mean and you know what, too. Is she happy? Or is
there something or other in the way? From the very beginning it has
seemed to me as though she esteemed him more than she loved him, and
that to my mind is a bad thing. Even love may not last forever, and
esteem will certainly not. In fact women become angry when they have
to esteem a man; first they become angry, then bored, and in the end
they laugh."

"Have you had any such experience?"

"I will not say that I have. I did not stand high enough in esteem.

Online LibraryVariousThe German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 → online text (page 30 of 40)