The clock struck two as they reached the house. Crampas bade Effi adieu, rode into the city, and dismounted at his residence on the market square. Effi changed her dress and tried to take a nap, but could not go to sleep, for she was less weary than out of humor. That Innstetten should keep his ghosts, in order to live in an extraordinary house, that she could endure; it harmonized with his inclination to be different from the great mass. But the other thing, that he should use his ghosts for pedagogical purposes, that was annoying, almost insulting. It was clear to her mind that “pedagogical purposes” told less than half the story. What Crampas had meant was far, far worse, was a kind of instrument designed to instill fear. It was wholly lacking in goodness of heart and bordered almost on cruelty. The blood rushed to her head, she clenched her little fist, and was on the point of laying plans, but suddenly she had to laugh. “What a child I am!” she exclaimed. “Who can assure me that Crampas is right? Crampas is entertaining, because he is a gossip, but he is unreliable, a mere braggart, and cannot hold a candle to Innstetten.”
At this moment Innstetten drove up, having decided to come home earlier today than usual. Effi sprang from her seat to greet him in the hall and was the more affectionate, the more she felt she had something to make amends for. But she could not entirely ignore what Crampas had said, and in the midst of her caresses, while she was listening with apparent interest, there was the ever recurring echo within: “So the ghost is part of a design, a ghost to keep me in my place.”
Finally she forgot it, however, and listened artlessly to what he had to tell her.
* * * * *
About the middle of November the north wind blew up a gale, which for a day and a half swept over the moles so violently that the Kessine, more and more dammed back, finally overflowed the quay and ran into the streets. But after the storm had spent its rage the weather cleared and a few sunny autumn days followed. “Who knows how long they will last,” said Effi to Crampas, and they decided to ride out once more on the following morning. Innstetten, who had a free day, was to go too. They planned to ride to the mole and dismount there, then take a little walk along the beach and finally have luncheon at a sheltered spot behind the dunes.