Charlotte, at the very first, had informed the Major by letter of Ottilie’s declaration. She had entreated him most earnestly to prevail on Edward to take no further steps for the present. They should keep quiet and wait, and see whether the poor girl’s spirits would recover. She had let him know from time to time whatever was necessary of what had more lately fallen from her. And now Mittler had to undertake the really difficult commission of preparing Edward for an alteration in her situation. Mittler, however, well knowing that men can be brought more easily to submit to what is already done, than to give their consent to what is yet to be done, persuaded Charlotte that it would be better to send Ottilie off at once to the school.
Consequently, as soon as Mittler was gone, preparations were at once made for the journey. Ottilie put her things together; and Charlotte observed that neither the beautiful box, nor anything out of it, was to go with her. Ottilie had said nothing to her on the subject; and she took no notice, but let her alone. The day of the departure came; Charlotte’s carriage was to take Ottilie the first day as far as a place where they were well known, where she was to pass the night, and on the second she would go on in it to the school. It was settled that Nanny was to accompany her, and remain as her attendant.
This capricious little creature had found her way back to her mistress after the death of the child, and now hung about her as warmly and passionately as ever; indeed she seemed, with her loquacity and attentiveness, as if she wished to make good her past neglect, and henceforth devote herself entirely to Ottilie’s service. She was quite beside herself now for joy at the thought of traveling with her, and of seeing strange places, when she had hitherto never been away from the scene of her birth; and she ran from the castle to the village to carry the news of her good fortune to her parents and her relations, and to take leave.
Unluckily for herself, she went, among other places, into a room where a person was who had the measles, and caught the infection, which came out upon her at once. The journey could not be postponed. Ottilie herself was urgent to go. She had traveled once already the same road. She knew the people of the hotel where she was to sleep. The coachman from the castle was going with her. There could be nothing to fear.
Charlotte made no opposition. She, too, in thought, was making haste to be clear of present embarrassments. The rooms which Ottilie had occupied at the castle she would have prepared for Edward as soon as possible, and restored to the old state in which they had been before the arrival of the Captain. The hope of bringing back old happy days burns up again and again in us, as if it never could be extinguished. And Charlotte was quite right; there was nothing else for her except to hope as she did.