Three days later, at nine o ’clock in the evening, Innstetten arrived in Berlin. Effi, her mother, and Cousin Briest were at the station. The reception was hearty, particularly on the part of Effi, and a world of things had been talked about when the carriage they had taken stopped before their new residence on Keith street. “Well, you have made a good choice, Effi,” said Innstetten, as he entered the vestibule; “no shark, no crocodile, and, I hope, no spooks.”
“No, Geert, that is all past. A new era has dawned and I am no longer afraid. I am also going to be better than heretofore and live more according to your will.” This she whispered to him as they climbed the carpeted stairs to the third story. Cousin von Briest escorted the mother.
In their apartment there was still a great deal to be done, but enough had been accomplished to make a homelike impression and Innstetten exclaimed out of the joy of his heart: “Effi, you are a little genius.” But she declined the praise, pointing to her mother, saying she really deserved the credit. Her mother had issued inexorable commands, such as, “It must stand here,” and had always been right, with the natural result that much time had been saved and their good humor had never been disturbed. Finally Roswitha came in to welcome her master. She took advantage of the opportunity to say: “Miss Annie begs to be excused for today,”—a little joke, of which she was proud, and which accomplished her purpose perfectly.
They took seats around the table, already set, and when Innstetten had poured himself a glass of wine and all had joined him in a toast to “happy days,” he took Effi’s hand and said: “Now tell me, Effi, what was the nature of your illness?”
“Oh, let us not talk about that; it would be a waste of breath—A little painful and a real disturbance, because it cancelled our plans. But that was all, and now it is past. Rummschuettel justified his reputation; he is a fine, amiable old man, as I believe I wrote you. He is said not to be a particularly brilliant scholar, but mama says that is an advantage. And she is doubtless right, as usual. Our good Dr. Hannemann was no luminary either, and yet he was always successful. Now tell me, how are Gieshuebler and all the others?”
“Let me see, who are all the others? Crampas sends his regards to her Ladyship.”
“Ah, very polite.”
“And the pastor also wishes to be remembered to you. But the people in the country were rather cool and seemed inclined to hold me responsible for your departure without formally taking leave. Our friend Sidonie spoke quite pointedly, but good Mrs. von Padden, whom I called on specially the day before yesterday, was genuinely pleased to receive your regards and your declaration of love for her. She said you were a charming woman, but I ought to guard you well. When I replied that you considered me more of a pedagogue than a husband, she said in an undertone and almost as though speaking from another world: ‘A young lamb as white as snow!’ Then she stopped.”