[Innstetten could see by Effi’s letters from Ems that Mrs. Zwicker was not the right kind of a companion for her and he longed for her to come back to him. As the end of her sojourn at the watering place approached, preparations were made to welcome her on her return home. A “W,” made of forget-me-nots, was to be hung up and some verses composed by a friend of the family were to be spoken by Annie. One day when Annie was returning from school Roswitha went out to meet her and was challenged by her to a race up the stairs. When Annie reached the top she stumbled and fell upon a scraper, cutting an ugly gash in her forehead. Roswitha and Johanna washed the wound with cold water and decided to tie it up with the long bandage once used to bind the mother’s sprained ankle. In their search for the bandage they broke open the lock to the sewing table drawers, which they began to empty of their contents. Among other things they took out a small package of letters tied up with a red silk cord. Before they had ended the search Innstetten came home. He examined the wound and sent for Dr. Rummschuettel. After scolding Annie and telling her what she must do till her mother came home, he sat down with her to dine and promised to read her a letter just received from her mother.]
For a while Innstetten sat at the table with Annie in silence. Finally, when the stillness became painful to him, he asked her a few questions about the school superintendent and which teacher she liked best. She answered rather listlessly, because she felt he was not paying much attention. The situation was not improved till Johanna whispered to little Annie, after the second course, that there was something else to come. And surely enough, good Roswitha, who felt under obligation to her pet on this unlucky day, had prepared something extra. She had risen to an omelet with sliced apple filling.
The sight of it made Annie somewhat more talkative. Innstetten’s frame of mind was likewise bettered when the doorbell rang a moment later and Dr. Rummschuettel entered, quite accidentally. He had just dropped in, without any suspicion that he had been sent for. He approved of the compresses. “Send for some Goulard water and keep Annie at home tomorrow. Quiet is the best remedy.” Then he asked further about her Ladyship and what kind of news had been received from Ems, and said he would come again the next day to see the patient.