Kruse came. As he was about to take the glasses Crampas said: “Kruse, leave the one glass, this one here. I’ll take it myself.”
“Your servant, Major.”
Effi, who had overheard this, shook her head. Then she laughed. “Crampas, what in the world are you thinking of? Kruse is stupid enough not to think a second time about anything, and even if he did he fortunately would arrive at no conclusion. But that does not justify you in keeping this thirty-pfennig glass from the Joseph Glass Works.”
“Your scornful reference to its price makes me feel its value all the more deeply.”
“Always the same story. You are such a humorist, but a very queer one. If I understand you rightly you are going to—it is ridiculous and I almost hesitate to say it—you are going to perform now the act of the King of Thule.”
He nodded with a touch of roguishness.
“Very well, for all I care. Everybody wears his right cap; you know which one. But I must be permitted to say that the role you are assigning to me in this connection is far from flattering. I don’t care to figure as a rhyme to your King of Thule. Keep the glass, but please draw no conclusions that would compromise me. I shall tell Innstetten about it.”
“That you will not do, most gracious Lady.”
“Innstetten is not the man to see such things in their proper light.”
She eyed him sharply for a moment, then lowered her eyes confused and almost embarrassed.
[Effi’s peace was disturbed, but the prospect of a quiet winter, with few occasions to meet Crampas, reassured her. She and her husband began to spend their evenings reviewing their Italian journey. Gieshuebler joined them and soon announced that Crampas was planning an amateur performance of A Step out of the Way, with Effi as the heroine. She felt the danger, but was eager to act, as Crampas was only the coach. Her playing won enthusiastic applause and Innstetten raved over his captivating wife. A casual remark about Mrs. Crampas led him to assert that she was insanely jealous of Effi, and to tell how Crampas had wheedled her into agreeing to stay at home the second day after Christmas, while he himself joined the Innstettens and others on a sleighing party. Innstetten then said, in a way suggesting the strict pedagogue, that Crampas was not to be trusted, particularly in his relations to women. On Christmas day Effi was happy till she discovered she had received no greeting from Crampas. That put her out of sorts and made her conscious that all was not well. Innstetten noticed her troubled state and, when she told him she felt unworthy of the kindness showered upon her, he said that people get only what they deserve, but she was not sure of his meaning. The proposed sleighing party was carried out. After coffee at Forester Ring’s lodge all went out for a walk. Crampas remarked to Effi that they were in danger of being snowed in. She replied with the story of a poem entitled God’s Wall, which she had learned from her pastor. During a war an aged widow prayed God to build a wall to protect her from the enemy. God caused her cottage to be snowed under, and the enemy passed by. Crampas changed the subject.]