After Wuellersdorf had thus expressed himself he took his hat and cane. During these words Innstetten may have recalled his own earlier remarks about little happiness, for he nodded his head half agreeing, and smiled to himself.
“Where are you going now, Wuellersdorf? It is too early yet for the Ministry.”
“I am not going there at all today. First I shall take an hour’s walk along the canal to the Charlottenburg lock and then back again. And then make a short call at Huth’s on Potsdam St., going cautiously up the little wooden stairway. Below there is a flower store.”
“And that affords you pleasure? That satisfies you?”
“I should not say that exactly, but it will help a bit. I shall find various regular guests there drinking their morning glass, but their names I wisely keep secret. One will tell about the Duke of Ratibor, another about the Prince-Bishop Kopp, and a third perhaps about Bismarck. There is always a little something to be learned. Three-fourths of what is said is inaccurate, but if it is only witty I do not waste much time criticising it and always listen gratefully.”
With that he went out.
May was beautiful, June more beautiful, and after Effi had happily overcome the first painful feeling aroused in her by Rollo’s arrival, she was full of joy at having the faithful dog about her again. Roswitha was praised and old von Briest launched forth into words of recognition for Innstetten, who, he said, was a cavalier, never petty, but always stout-hearted. “What a pity that the stupid affair had to come between them! As a matter of fact, they were a model couple.” The only one who remained calm during the welcoming scene was Rollo himself, who either had no appreciation of time or considered the separation as an irregularity which was now simply removed. The fact that he had grown old also had something to do with it, no doubt. He remained sparing with his demonstrations of affection as he had been with his evidences of joy, during the welcoming scene. But he had grown in fidelity, if such a thing were possible. He never left the side of his mistress. The hunting dog he treated benevolently, but as a being of a lower order. At night he lay on the rush mat before Effi’s door; in the morning, when breakfast was served out of doors by the sundial, he was always quiet, always sleepy, and only when Effi arose from the breakfast table and walked toward the hall to take her straw hat and umbrella from the rack, did his youth return. Then, without troubling himself about whether his strength was to be put to a hard or easy test, he ran up the village road and back again and did not calm down till they were out in the fields. Effi, who cared more for fresh air than for landscape beauty, avoided the little patches of forest and usually kept to the main road, which ’at first was bordered with very