The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12.

“When I say, ‘not seen for three years,’ that is not quite right.  Three days ago I saw her again.”  Then Effi described with great vividness how she had met Annie.  “Fleeing from my own child.  I know very well that as we sow we shall reap and I do not wish to change anything in my life.  It is all right as it is, and I have not wished to have it otherwise.  But this separation from my child is really too hard and I have a desire to be permitted to see her now and then, not secretly and clandestinely, but with the knowledge and consent of all concerned.”

“With the knowledge and consent of all concerned,” repeated the minister’s wife.  “So that means with the consent of your husband.  I see that his bringing up of the child is calculated to estrange her from her mother, a method which I do not feel at liberty to judge.  Perhaps he is right.  Pardon me for this remark, gracious Lady.”

Effi nodded.

“You yourself appreciate the attitude of your husband, and your only desire is that proper respect be shown to a natural impulse, indeed, I may say, the most beautiful of our impulses, at least we women all think so.  Am I right?”

“In every particular.”

“So you want me to secure permission for occasional meetings, in your home, where you can attempt to win back the heart of your child.”

Effi expressed again her acquiescence, and the minister’s wife continued:  “Then, most gracious Lady, I stall do what I can.  But we shall not have an easy task.  Your husband—­pardon me for calling him by that name now as before—­is a man who is not governed by moods and fancies, but by principles, and it will be hard for him to discard them or even give them up temporarily.  Otherwise he would have begun long ago to pursue a different method of action and education.  What to your heart seems hard he considers right.”

“Then your Excellency thinks, perhaps, it would be better to take back my request!”

“Oh, no.  I wished only to explain the actions of your husband, not to say justify them, and wished at the same time to indicate the difficulties we shall in all probability encounter.  But I think we shall overcome them nevertheless.  We women are able to accomplish a great many things if we go about them wisely and do not make too great pretensions.  Besides, your husband is one of my special admirers and he cannot well refuse to grant what I request of him.  Tomorrow we have a little circle meeting at which I shall see him and the day after tomorrow morning you will receive a few lines from me telling you whether or not I have approached him wisely, that is to say, successfully.  I think we shall come off victorious, and you will see your child again and enjoy her.  She is said to be a very pretty girl.  No wonder.”

CHAPTER XXXIII

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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