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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 626 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12.
and a songbook.  She reached for them, because she had to have something before which she could kneel down and pray.  She laid both Bible and songbook on the edge of the table where Annie had been standing, and threw herself violently down before them and spoke in a half audible tone:  “O God in Heaven, forgive me what I have done.  I was a child—­No, no, I was not a child, I was old enough to know what I was doing.  I did know, too, and I will not minimize my guilt.  But this is too much.  This action of the child is not the work of my God who would punish me, it is the work of him, and him alone.  I thought he had a noble heart and have always felt small beside him, but now I know that it is he who is small.  And because he is small he is cruel.  Everything that is small is cruel. He taught the child to say that.  He always was a school-master, Crampas called him one, scoffingly at the time, but he was right.  ’Oh, certainly if I am allowed to!’ You don’t have to be allowed to.  I don’t want you any more, I hate you both, even my own child.  Too much is too much.  He was ambitious, but nothing more.  Honor, honor, honor.  And then he shot the poor fellow whom I never even loved and whom I had forgotten, because I didn’t love him.  It was all stupidity in the first place, but then came blood and murder, with me to blame.  And now he sends me the child, because he cannot refuse a minister’s wife anything, and before he sends the child he trains it like a parrot and teaches it the phrase, ‘if I am allowed to.’  I am disgusted at what I did; but the thing that disgusts me most is your virtue.  Away with you!  I must live, but I doubt if it will be long.”

When Roswitha came back Effi lay on the floor seemingly lifeless, with her face turned away.


Rummschuettel was called and pronounced Effi’s condition serious.  He saw that the hectic flush he had noticed for over a year was more pronounced than ever, and, what was worse, she showed the first symptoms of nervous fever.  But his quiet, friendly manner, to which he added a dash of humor, did Effi good, and she was calm so long as Rummschuettel was with her.  When he left, Roswitha accompanied him as far as the outer hall and said:  “My, how I am scared, Sir Councillor; if it ever comes back, and it may—­oh, I shall never have another quiet hour.  But it was too, too much, the way the child acted.  Her poor Ladyship!  And still so young; at her age many are only beginning life.”

“Don’t worry, Roswitha.  It may all come right again.  But she must get away.  We will see to that.  Different air, different people.”

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