“We shall not be able to remain here; Mrs. Kurd,” were the first words spoken by Mrs. Ehrenreich when she came to breakfast the next morning. “We have come into such an objectionable neighborhood that we must move away today.”
Mrs. Kurd stood still in the middle of the room, quite speechless, and stared at the lady as if unable to grasp her meaning.
“I am fully convinced of the absolute necessity of our immediate departure,” said Aunt Ninette, with emphasis.
“But indeed no more respectable, no quieter spot can be found in all Tannenburg than this. You cannot hope to be more comfortable anywhere else; either you or the gentleman,” asserted the good widow as soon as she had recovered from her surprise.
“How can you say so, Mrs. Kurd, after hearing that intolerable uproar last evening? noises far surpassing anything that I described to you in my letters as ‘absolutely to be avoided.’”
“Oh, my dear lady, that was only the children! You know they were having a family festival, and they were of course unusually lively.”
“Indeed! if this is your method of celebrating family festivals in these parts, first a tempest of shouts and cries and then a fire with all its accompanying noise and hubbub, I can only say that such a neighborhood seems to me not only undesirable for an invalid, but positively dangerous.”
“I do not think you can call the fire a part of the celebration,” said Mrs. Kurd gently. “It was an accident, and it was very quickly extinguished, you must admit. A more orderly and well regulated family is nowhere to be found, and I cannot understand how the lady and gentleman can seriously think of leaving. I can assure you that no other such spot is to be found in all Tannenburg! If the gentleman needs quiet he will do well to walk into the wood, where it is healthful and quiet too.”
After talking awhile, Mrs. Ehrenreich became more composed, and seated herself at the breakfast table, where Mr. Titus and Dora also took their places.
At the other house, breakfast had long been finished. The father had gone about his business, and the mother was occupied with her household affairs. Rolf was off to his early recitations in Latin, with the pastor of a neighboring parish. Paula was taking her music-lesson of the governess, and Wili and Lili took this opportunity to look over their lessons once more. Little Hunne sat in the corner with his newly-acquired nut-cracker before him, gravely studying its grotesque face.
Presently ‘big Jule’ came in, whip in hand, all booted and spurred from his morning ride.