“No, Effi, for heaven’s sake, don’t do that. It is not my desire to be a person looked up to with awe and respect. I am, for the inhabitants of Kessin, but for you I am—”
“Ah, let that pass. Far be it from me to say what.”
The sun was shining brightly when Effi awoke the next morning. It was hard for her to get her bearings. Where was she? Correct, in Kessin, in the house of District Councillor von Innstetten, and she was his wife, Baroness Innstetten. Sitting up she looked around with curiosity. During the evening before she had been too tired to examine very carefully all the half-foreign, half-old-fashioned things that surrounded her. Two pillars supported the ceiling beam, and green curtains shut off from the rest of the room the alcove-like sleeping apartment in which the beds stood. But in the middle a curtain was either lacking or pulled back, and this afforded her a comfortable orientation from her bed. There between the two windows stood the narrow, but very high, pier-glass, while a little to the right, along the hall wall, towered the tile stove, the door of which, as she had discovered the evening before, opened into the hall in the old-fashioned way. She now felt its warmth radiating toward her. How fine it was to be in her own home! At no time during the whole tour had she enjoyed so much comfort, not even in Sorrento.
But where was Innstetten? All was still round about her, nobody was there. She heard only the tick-tock of a small clock and now and then a low sound in the stove, from which she inferred that a few new sticks of wood were being shoved in from the hall. Gradually she recalled that Geert had spoken the evening before of an electric bell, for which she did not have to search long. Close by her pillows was the little white ivory button, and she now pressed softly upon it.
Johanna appeared at once. “At your Ladyship’s service.”
“Oh, Johanna, I believe I have overslept myself. It must be late.”
“And my—” She couldn’t make herself speak straightway of her “husband.” “His Lordship, he must have kept very quiet. I didn’t hear anything.”
“I’m sure he did. And your Ladyship has slept soundly. After the long journey—”
“Yes, I have. And his Lordship, is he always up so early?”
“Always, your Ladyship. On that point he is strict; he cannot endure late sleeping, and when he enters his room across the hall the stove must be warm, and the coffee must not be late.”
“So he has already had his breakfast?”
“Oh, no, your Ladyship—His Lordship—”