When Mrs. von Briest had finished reading the letter she said: “The poor child. She is homesick.”
“Yes,” said von Briest, “she is homesick. This accursed traveling—”
“Why do you say that now! You might have hindered it, you know. But it is just your way to play the wise man after a thing is all over. After a child has fallen into the well the aldermen cover up the well.”
“Ah, Luise, don’t bother me with that kind of stuff. Effi is our child, but since the 3d of October she has been the Baroness of Innstetten. And if her husband, our son-in-law, desires to take a wedding tour and use it as an occasion for making a new catalogue of every gallery, I can’t keep him from doing it. That is what it means to get married.”
“So now you admit it. In talking with me you have always denied, yes, always denied that the wife is in a condition of restraint.”
“Yes, Luise, I have. But what is the use of discussing that now? It is really too wide a field.”
Innstetten’s leave of absence was to expire the 15th of November, and so when they had reached Capri and Sorrento he felt morally bound to follow his usual habit of returning to his duties on the day and at the hour designated. So on the morning of the 14th they arrived by the fast express in Berlin, where Cousin von Briest met them and proposed that they should make use of the two hours before the departure of the Stettin train to pay a visit to the Panorama and then have a little luncheon together. Both proposals were accepted with thanks. At noon they returned to the station, shook hands heartily and said good-by, after both Effi and her husband had extended the customary invitation, “Do come to see us some day,” which fortunately is never taken seriously. As the train started Effi waved a last farewell from her compartment. Then she leaned back and made herself comfortable, but from time to time sat up and held out her hand to Innstetten.