“And I, personally, no less than you. It will surely be a splendid winter if we may feel assured of the support of your Ladyship. Miss Trippelli is coming—”
“Trippelli? Then I am superfluous.”
“By no means, your Ladyship. Miss Trippelli cannot sing from one Sunday till the next; it would be too much for her and for us. Variety is the spice of life, a truth which, to be sure, every happy marriage seems to controvert.”
“If there are any happy marriages, mine excepted,” and she held out her hand to Innstetten.
“Variety then,” continued Crampas. “To secure it for ourselves and our club, of which for the time being I have the honor to be the vice-president, we need the help of everybody who can be depended upon. If we put our heads together we can turn this whole place upside down. The theatrical pieces have already been selected—War in Peace, Mr. Hercules, Youthful Love, by Wilbrandt, and perhaps Euphrosyne, by Gensichen. You as Euphrosyne and I middle-aged Goethe. You will be astonished to see how well I can act the prince of poets, if act is the right word.”
“No doubt. In the meantime I have learned from the letter of my alchemistic correspondent that, in addition to your other accomplishments, you are an occasional poet. At first I was surprised.”
“You couldn’t see that I looked the part.”
“No. But since I have found out that you go swimming at 9 deg. I have changed my mind. Nine degrees in the Baltic Sea beats the Castalian Fountain.”
“The temperature of which is unknown.”
“Not to me; at least nobody will contradict me. But now I must get up. There comes Roswitha with little Annie.”
She arose and went toward Roswitha, took the child, and tossed it up with pride and joy.
[For the next few weeks Crampas came regularly every morning to gossip a while with Effi on the veranda and then ride horseback with her husband. Finally she desired to ride with them and, although Innstetten did not approve of the idea, Crampas secured a horse for her. On one of their rides Crampas let fall a remark about how it bored him to have to observe such a multitude of petty laws. Effi applauded the sentiment. Innstetten took the Major to task and reminded him that one of his frivolous escapades had cost him an arm. When the election campaign began Innstetten; could no longer take the time for