On the next day Frau Brohl spoke to her grand-daughter. She made her understand that there were no real objections to be made, that she was silly and was acting against her own happiness. Paul was much the better match of the two, was more chic and practical than Wilhelm, had better prospects in life, and was really better-looking than his friend. Above all she liked Paul, and did not like Wilhelm, and that ought to be taken into account. Malvine was not inaccessible to such arguments, as Paul was really sympathetic to her. Soon her tears ceased to flow, and her sighs became fainter and fainter. In two days’ time she regained her appetite, signs which Frau Brohl noticed, and quickly imparted to Paul. At their first meeting he showed a little anxiety, and she, a good deal of constraint, but that soon passed off, and as they were constantly together, she found a great deal of pleasure in his manly good looks and honorable qualities. Beside, it was spring! the sun shone, the sky was blue, her room was full of the fragrance of flowers, which Paul brought every day with the regularity of a postman, and fourteen days later they were engaged, and his first kiss was given in the presence of her grandmother, mother, and Paul’s parents. Her heart felt very warmly toward him, and she would have felt dreadfully confused had not Wilhelm, with characteristic good feeling, declined the invitation to be present.
Frau Brohl arranged for the wedding to take place after Whitsuntide. At the Zwolf-Apostelkirche she wore her heavy silk dress and all the family ornaments, as on the Sundays at church at Stettin. Her bent figure was straighter than usual, and a smile of proud satisfaction lighted up her pale, melancholy face. Several rich friends from Stettin had come over to Berlin for the wedding. She leaned on the arm of the bridegroom’s father, Herr Haber, a dignified old gentleman with a long beard. Paul wore his uniform and a Japanese order, which had been conferred on him by a Japanese pupil at his lectures on agricultural chemistry. Several officers in uniform were in the church, and a large number of professors, councilors, etc. Paul’s round face beamed with happiness, his blond mustache looked triumphant, his hair was mathematically cut, and a field-marshal might have sworn that he was a regular officer. The bride was rosy, and looked happy. Her veil and wreath were made by the family, and her satin dress covered with their embroidery. Wilhelm was one of Paul’s witnesses. When he went to congratulate the happy pair after the ceremony, Malvine looked at him; a gentle glance, with perhaps a mild reproach in it. Paul, however, grasped his hand, and whispered into his ear:
“Your friend for life, Wilhelm, for life.”