[Illustation: Permission F. Bruckmann A.-G. Munich PROCESSION AT GASTEIN Adolph von Menzel] “Yes, the feeling is not new to me, most gracious Lady, excepting only that I have never taken any little Annie with me, for I have none to take.”
Effi left home in the middle of August and was back in Kessin at the end of September. During the six weeks’ visit she had often longed to return, but when she now reached the house and entered the dark hall into which no light could enter except the little from the stairway, she had a sudden feeling of fear and said to herself: “There is no such pale, yellow light in Hohen-Cremmen.”
A few times during the days in Hohen-Cremmen she had longed for the “Haunted house,” but on the whole her life there had been full of happiness and contentment. To be sure, she had not known what to make of Hulda, who was not taking kindly to her role of waiting for a husband or fiance to turn up. With the twins, however, she got along much better, and more than once when she played ball or croquet with them she entirely forgot that she was married. Those were happy moments. Her chief delight was, as in former days, to stand on the swing board as it flew through the air and gave her a tingling sensation, a shudder of sweet danger, when she felt she would surely fall the next moment. When she finally sprang out of the swing, she went with the two girls to sit on the bench in front of the schoolhouse and there told old Mr. Jahnke, who joined them, about her life in Kessin, which she said was half-hanseatic and half-Scandinavian, and anything but a replica of Schwantikow and Hohen-Cremmen.
Such were the little daily amusements, to which were added occasional drives into the summery marsh, usually in the dog-cart. But Effi liked above everything else the chats she had almost every morning with her mother, as they sat upstairs in the large airy room, while Roswitha rocked the baby and sang lullabies in a Thuringian dialect which nobody fully understood, perhaps not even Roswitha. Effi and her mother would move over to the open window and look out upon the park, the sundial, or the pond with the dragon flies hovering almost motionless above it, or the tile walk, where von Briest sat beside the porch steps reading the newspapers. Every time he turned a page he took off his nose glasses and greeted his wife and daughter. When he came to his last paper, usually the Havelland Advertiser, Effi went down either to sit beside him or stroll with him through the garden and park. On one such occasion they stepped from the gravel walk over to a little monument standing to one side, which Briest’s grandfather had erected in memory of the battle of Waterloo. It was a rusty pyramid with a bronze cast of Bluecher in front and one of Wellington in the rear.
“Have you any such walks in Kessin?” said von Briest, “and does Innstetten accompany you and tell you stories?”