[Illustration: HIGH ALTAR AT SALZBURG From the Painting by Adolph von Menzel]
Innstetten gave her a sharp scrutinizing glance, but he saw nothing, and his suspicion was allayed. “I am going away, too,” he said after a while, “and to Berlin at that. Perhaps I, too, can bring back something new, as well as Crampas. My dear Effi always wants to hear something new. She is bored to death in our good Kessin. I shall be away about a week, perhaps a day or two longer. But don’t be alarmed—I don’t think it will come back—You know, that thing upstairs—But even if it should, you have Rollo and Roswitha.”
Effi smiled to herself and felt at the same time a mingling of sadness. She could not help recalling the day when Crampas had told her for the first time that her husband was acting out a play with the ghost and her fear. The great pedagogue! But was he not right? Was not the play in place? All kinds of contradicting thoughts, good and bad, shot through her head.
The third day Innstetten went away. He had not said anything about his business in Berlin.
Innstetten had been gone but four days when Crampas returned from Stettin with the news that the higher authorities had definitely dropped the plan of detailing two squadrons to Kessin. There were so many small cities that were applying for a garrison of cavalry, particularly for Bluecher hussars, that as a rule, he said, an offer of such troops met with a hearty reception, and not a halting one. When Crampas made this report the magistracy looked quite badly embarrassed. Only Gieshuebler was triumphant, because he thought the discomfiture served his narrow-minded colleagues exactly right. When the news reached the common people a certain amount of depression spread among them, indeed even some of the consuls with eligible daughters were for the time being dissatisfied. But on the whole they soon forgot about it, perhaps because the question of the day, “What was Innstetten’s business in Berlin?” was more interesting to the people of Kessin, or at least to the dignitaries of the city. They did not care to lose their unusually popular district councillor, and yet very exaggerated rumors about him were in circulation, rumors which, if not started by Gieshuebler, were at least supported and further spread by him. Among other things it was said that Innstetten would go to Morocco as an ambassador with a suite, bearing gifts, including not only the traditional vase with a picture of Sans Souci and the New Palace, but above all a large refrigerator. The latter seemed so probable in view of the temperature in Morocco, that the whole story was believed.