Is he the most attractive prince in Europe?

Just as the world media talked about the interview with the British Harry couple, the celebrity information network Ze-leb issued an article on the 11th entitled “He is the most attractive prince in Europe!” In other words, the Swedish royal family, Prince Philip, is even more “tempting.”

According to reports, Prince Philip is 1.8 meters tall, a typical sporty figure. In addition to having a curly hair and high facial value, he has an elegant manner like the “elven prince” Orlando Bloom, “is the most coveted prince in Europe.” Because of his enthusiasm and proficiency in multiple sports, he also has the title of “Sport Prince”.

The image of this charming prince in the mouth of public opinion has not always been positive. In 2015, Philip rejected the crowd and insisted on marrying Sophia, a model who used to take almost nude photos for men’s magazines, which caused a public outcry. Philip was also described by reporters as a “lazy, passionate seed and liar” because of his love for drag racing and parties. Philip’s image seems to be undergoing transformation in recent years. First of all, Philip suffered from dyslexia since childhood, which created many obstacles for his studies. Therefore, since he understood his responsibility as a public figure, he has been committed to solving bullying in Swedish schools, and his efforts have been widely praised. In addition, serving in the Navy for eight years has tempered Philip’s tough character and is said to “perfectly inherit the Viking spirit.” In the workplace, Philip is also a respectable “independent entrepreneur” in the eyes of everyone. The design company founded by Philip performed well and won the Red Dot Design Award. Although he was controversial when marrying Sophia, Philip finally convinced the royal family with love. The two have two boys and will welcome their third child as early as the end of March.

What the media lamented is that Philip was also the closest person to the Swedish throne, but he passed by. Philip is the only son of the royal family and was also the first heir to the throne when he was born in 1979. However, Sweden changed the law in 1980 and the male heir is no longer the preferred heir. Therefore, the sister Princess Victoria became the first heir. After the birth of Victoria’s child, Philip’s inheritance rights were extended. Now he is ranked after his niece and niece, and he has almost no chance to be a king in this life.

As long as Eva von Ostried stayed in the house of the President, she had never allowed herself to be visibly dominated by excitement. At all times she knew how to maintain the pleasant equilibrium of a serene calm. But now she jumped up with the signs of great excitement and walked hastily up and down the flower-filled room. She never left the letter she had just received from her hand. Again and again she read it over and at times passed it gently over it, as if she wanted to caress something dear. Finally she stopped in front of Eva.

“My old, dear childhood friend had to call me before I could find her. How does it help that I was determined to make this journey? It says that she longed for me for a long time and just didn’t dare to call me earlier because she wanted to be considerate of my heart disease. If I were to be late now. ”

Before Eva could reply, she read the letter aloud:

“Do not be surprised, my dear Hanna, that I write with lead and that the envelope bears other hand signals – namely those of a loving nurse. I am not doing well. I had some before[S. 55]Broken her foot for weeks and has since been sentenced to strict rest. Everything seemed to be going well until I got pneumonia, which gives me a lot of pain. As you know, I’ve always been a tough person, but you can’t predict anything.

I long for you, Hanna, and I would be very happy if your health would finally allow you to come to me. In this case telegraph extensively. You will then be expected at the train station by my nurse, who always has to take an hour’s walk in the afternoons, and will show you to my house.

Your old loyalty

Maria wish. ”

Then she said quickly and firmly:

“Bring me the course book at once, Eva, and instruct Pauline to bring the little suitcase down. We will discuss the rest of this as soon as I have finished the telegram with the exact destination. ”

Eva von Ostried put her hand pleadingly on the president’s arm.

“You can’t possibly travel! Remember how urgently Privy Councilor Schwemann warned against any exertion or excitement. – Even if I promise that you shouldn’t be angry about any of my forgetfulnesses – if I want to be very efficient and careful myself on the trip and during our stay – it would be too much for you. ”

[S. 56]

“I think you misunderstood me, Eva. I am thinking of traveling alone this time. You will stay at home. ”

The beautiful, young face turned pale with shock.

“Are you dissatisfied with me? Wasn’t I loving and attentive enough on the last trip? Oh, I feel it. The unfortunate history of the theater is to blame. ”

“No, my child, she has nothing to do with my decision today. I was completely satisfied with you. The little episode, with the secrecy that saddened me, can’t change that. The reason is different. My old friend’s home is cramped and more than modest. Now that a nurse is already staying there and I will soon find myself there too, there would hardly be a place left for you. And in the hotel? – Yes, then again I would not have much from you and my dear, caring Maria would be constantly upset because she must be so limited in the practice of her hospitality. No no. We have to spare her this unrest. If I remember correctly, I have a longer stay somewhere along the way. I notice that right away. – In any case, enough time to write you a note,

“Do not do it! I beg you, ”begged Eva von Ostried.

“This time I will stay firm. Save every word. A joyful security that I haven’t felt for a long time,[S. 57]tells me that I am doing the right thing. If I still feel bad – if I feel too weak without your little help, to which I have gotten used to, I will call you immediately by telegram. I promise you that. ”

Eva made one more attempt to change the mood.

“If only you will allow me to accompany you to your destination. I could travel back immediately with the next possible train. ”

“How helpless and frail I must appear to you. No and for the last time, no, Eva. You stay here, help the good Pauline with the pickling of the fruit – write to me diligently and sing and study to your heart’s content during the rest of the time. ”

Eva von Ostried had to submit to that. She did it slowly and reluctantly. When the President called her back, she was hoping for a change of heart. But it was a matter of minor importance that did not change anything in what had been decided.

“Quickly something about my travel dress,” said the President freshly, “my dear Maria once especially loved a black, simple silk dress on me that I hadn’t wore for months because it was too solemn for me. You will find it carefully packed in the second attic in the old cupboard. It is of course no longer strictly modern. No matter – I want to make her happy to celebrate our reunion after a long time in it. You will also notice how faithfully I keep even the smallest and most unimportant things from our intercourse in my memory. ”

[S. 58]

Eva von Ostried dared not raise any further objections.

The calm, thoroughly determined tone in which the President spoke made her realize that no change of mind was to be expected along the way. Her heart pounded in an abruptly awakened fear that she herself could not understand. Maybe old Pauline would do more. – The faithful servant shook her head when Eva hastily told her what was necessary.

“She made it up. There is nothing we can do about that, ”she said sadly.

“At least try to dissuade her, Pauline,” asked Eva von Ostried urgently. “Anyone who has been with her for as long as you have – served her – cared for her, and ultimately also endured the hardest part of her husband’s death, must understand how to ask more effectively than I should.”

The wrinkled face drooped sorrowfully.

“How little do you know our Madam President if you believe in it. Yes – if it all came down to them. Would that be a trip for mere relaxation. – She was never stubborn and she was always open to proper advice, even if she was a simple person like us. But it’s about someone to whom she is good and against whom she has something like a bad conscience. It cannot be held there. No, Miss, we both can only pray heartily to God that he will send you back to us in good health. ”

Eva von Ostried did not want to release the strangely oppressive feeling. Their restlessness grew stronger. She was feverishly hardworking, hoping her thoughts were there[S. 59]by distracting. But this means also failed. Finally, when she had finished with the main preparations for the trip, she sat down at the piano, at Frau Melcher’s special request, and began to sing her favorite song:

In the evening when the little stars
Compete for the golden dance,
Then I piously fold my hands
To pray for your happiness.
In the midst of the soft, wonderfully pure tones, her voice failed. With a choked sob, she put her head on the keys.

“What do you have, child?” Asked the President, startled.

“I don’t know myself. Once, many years ago, I felt the same way. At that time the full barn in Waldesruh burned down and the wind was so unfavorable that everyone feared the flames would jump over to our castle. ”

“But in the end it was kept happily, wasn’t it?”

“Yes – as if by a miracle!”

“You see! We too want to hope for this miracle. That means, I hardly know from what need it should help us at the moment. Today has excited you unusually, Evalein. That is understandable. I am sincerely sorry that we were so unable to bring it to a festive and worthy end. ”

Eva lifted her tear-soaked eyes up to the benevolent one.

“Have you really fully forgiven me for my arbitrariness in Oeynhausen,” she asked quietly.

[S. 60]

“I will admit that I suffered badly from it at first. Now everything is fine again. Let yourself be told that I love you like my own flesh and blood. Yes – Eva, you always remember that. Not only today and tomorrow, but also and especially if you have to hike without me one day. – Enough of these things for now. We don’t want to make ourselves unnecessarily soft. ”

Then Eva finally felt freed from the inexplicable alp and shouted a gentle spring song. The President nodded with a smile and thought:

“How soft and good she is, despite her flaws, and how adorable. – Why was I so worried about her? A flower garden without weeds is an impossibility. With God’s help I will exterminate that which is rampant with stump and stalk. – Difficult tasks are always the most rewarding. ”

And she secretly stroked Eva von Ostried’s sleeve with maternal tenderness, without her noticing anything of the silent caress in her enthusiastic contemplation. For many years the President had not been so easy and happy to feel as she was at this hour.

*

At eleven o’clock the next morning, the departure was finally set. Old Pauline insisted on tying a huge bouquet of brightly colored asters and the last few roses, despite the President’s defense. She was just busy fixing it to the umbrella cover when the bell of the garden gate struck.

“We’re not allowed to accept any visitors now,” whispered Eva von Ostried to the faithful. “The last hour has to be[S. 61]Madam President, spend as calmly as possible. Just hear how stormy the doorbell is. ”

“I won’t let anyone in, miss; unless the mailman. ”

But it was just a simple-looking older man in the dress of a simple peasant. At first he did not understand that there should be people who refused entry to an innocent man. But when the gate did not want to open before him at all, he became angry.

“Do you think maybe I came here from the Oderbruch just to have you send me away again, as if I wanted to beg.”

Old Pauline tried to appease him.

“Get on with your senses at last. For the last time I will tell you that it just won’t work today. Our Madam President wants to go away right away. Actually, she is not allowed to because her heart is out of order. That is why it must at least lie very still until the car arrives. ”

“She can do that too, if you want,” grumbled the farmer. “If you think I’m upset you are wrong. What I want from her is just a pleasure. ”

“Wait a moment,” said Pauline, indecisive due to his tenacious perseverance, “I’ll quickly call the lady out. She’ll make all of this clearer to you. ”

Eva tried to be as gentle as possible in spite of her angry impatience, which increased at the sight of the obstinate.

“Really, dear man, it doesn’t work. Come back after a few weeks or – write to Ms.[S. 62] President, if you don’t want to let me know about your business. ”

“Write – write,” echoed the farmer. “If I had wanted to write, I would not have come here in the first place. But I don’t like to deal with such new fashions. From mouth to mouth – from hand to hand – everything is safer. When I had Madam President under my roof ten years ago, we didn’t put anything together in writing. She said to me: You are a righteous man. I have faith in you. And here is the money – ”

“So you want money from her again today, if I understand you right?” Inquired Eva von Ostried.

Then the peasant’s patience broke completely.

“I’m the tobacco farmer Kleinschmidt from the Oderbruch, a mile from Schwedt, and I don’t need any more money. Thank God. And if you still don’t know, at least remember now. I bring your money. What I got as a mere loan on my face and both of my hands without a promissory note or mortgage. I have never seen to this day that someone who brings money is not allowed in. And now order this for her if you don’t want to be in trouble afterwards. ”

After a moment’s deliberation, Eva really did.

The President rose immediately.

“Of course you will now let him come to me unhinge, Eva. I can very well imagine the wrath of this good, capable man. However, for the time being I do not understand how he gave me that loan without prior notice[S. 63]can simply bring termination into the house. However, the way we did business up to now was also peculiar and unusual. In any case, call him for me! ”

She held out her hand in a friendly manner to the person entering.

“No offense, dear Kleinschmidt. You have noticed that those whom I have to call mine because they faithfully take care of me are over-anxious. Check them out. I have to endure it every day and also have to make my most friendly face. You will only be affected by it for a very short time. ”

“If I were you, I would get you going, Madam President.”

“I would like to buy it more than once, dear Kleinschmidt. But – I feel that I need them and therefore patiently accept the occasional little exaggeration. – I want to go away, as you have heard of course. So you are not angry with me if I cannot force you to stay longer. ”

He laboriously pulled out a thick wallet.

“When I was feeling so bad at the time because the two state cows fell and the neighbor had cheated on me with the change, I wanted to get out of the world.” The president put her fingers to her lips.

“Don’t touch it anymore, Kleinschmidt. Everything turned out fine. ”

“It is! I slowly dug my way out because there was still a good person who I no longer wanted to believe in. ”

[S. 64]

“There are many,” she tried to distract him, but he stubbornly persisted on his subject.

“Nah – just one. I will stay with that. Any other fine lady would have screamed herself half to death when she saw that an old useless woman, with whom the blue bird flew everywhere, wanted to take her life. At least she would have run into the village street and made it known. – You just quietly stroked my hands and cried. And stayed with me all night and always comforted me. – And the next morning you took a book out of your pocket and asked how much I needed. ”

“Stop it, Kleinschmidt. It really torments me. ”

“You said you were used to being patient, Madam President. I have to make that really clear to you – you gave me a lot of money and you only knew me as someone who had rented an airy room for – God knows, enough money to you. ‘ – That really saved my life. Now I couldn’t steal away anymore. – You had to have your money back. And here it is! – For a penny and a penny. The last interest is also included. ”

He laboriously began to count the crumpled notes on the table. She made a horrified move.

“Where should I stay now with this sum? As you can see, I am about to go on a journey. I don’t like to take them with me. Leaving them at home in my desk is too scared for me, even though I’ve been protected from thieves so far. ”

[S. 65]

He didn’t give her any advice. It remained incomprehensible to him that good hard cash could be unwelcome.

“Take it back with you, Kleinschmidt, and bring it back or send it to me by post a few months later. Of course, I will not charge you any interest for this period. ”

He shook his head vigorously.

“Nah, Madam President, I won’t do that! Keep it one. Anyone who owns such a beautiful large house also has a basement and hiding place where it is safe from the light-shy rabble. ”

He smiled sly. Realizing that it would take too long to convince him, she began to count the bills mechanically.

“It’s true, of course,” she said. “Twelve thousand marks and two hundred and forty as half-yearly interest. You know, this money is actually completely in the air. I didn’t even book it properly. If you had not been able to repay it, despite the hard work you have made known to me, I would have simply given it to you. ”

The blush of shame rose on his weathered face.

“Giving may be easy, Madam President. Taking is a sour thing. I would not have been happy in my life. – The daughter also said: “Father, we want to get on with it so that the table is clear.” You know well, she is fine. The man is sober and nimble and the four children do some handshakes in the pub. – Now I don’t want to hold back any longer. ”

[S. 66]

As soon as he was gone, the President called Eva von Ostried in, pointed to the money that was still spread out and said hurriedly:

“He just paid me back. Of course, it cannot stay in the house. – The break-ins in the neighborhood are increasing. Take it to the bank at once, dear Eva. How cheap that we have them right on the next corner. You know, I am by no means a fearful person. According to the most recent experiences of our acquaintances, from whom the sum that was carelessly kept in the desk was stolen without the thief yet to be identified, the compulsion to do so would ruin my whole trip. I like giving gifts above all else. I would hardly forgive myself only carelessness from which a deserved loss would come.

Eva was already wearing her hat.

“And I wouldn’t be able to sleep peacefully for a minute with all the fear and responsibility,” she admitted. – She hurried through the front garden and after a few minutes was standing in front of the stately building of the big bank. Her hand was already on the iron handle next to the heavy, retracted protective roll-up wall when her gaze fell on a message that was written in the middle of the door:

Closed today for revision of the cash registers. For a moment she stood frozen. Then, when the clock of some public institution struck, it was terrified that the journey to the station would have to begin in half an hour. Holding the small leather bag convulsively, she hurried back.

[S. 67]

What should be done with the money now? – Was she allowed to admit that the President was concerned? Yes, more than that – that with her strongly developed sense of order and caution she would not be freed for a moment from the tormenting thought of imposed recklessness. Still – it didn’t help! Together they wanted to find the safest possible hiding place. Perhaps old Pauline even knew an iron box that she could bury in the cellar, for example, following the pattern of suspicious old fronts. When she imagined this, she had to laugh. That freed her from all anxiety. A new thought struck her, was hardly checked, but was immediately felt to be the only possible escape route. Wasn’t it downright her sacred duty to relieve the kind-hearted president and second mother of this worry, which suddenly seems by no means excessive? When she reached the villa, the previously ordered cab was waiting there.

“It’s still way too early,” she called to the driver. He just swung his whip in response. It was only when she repeated her words, louder and more impatient, that he made a terse reply.

“My fox is all too late and the fox depends very much, Fraulein.” She had to admit that, however. The President was waiting for them – ready to board – impatiently.

“Well, is everything done, Eva?” A faint red rose under the curly, brown hair on the white forehead.

There was no answer for a second. Her eyes couldn’t withstand the searching look. A sudden contradiction[S. 68]will against the intended lie rose in her. But the president’s apparent unrest put an end to her brief hesitation. As soon as the bank was reopened, everything would be fine …

“Yes, it is properly paid in.” Then she pointed, apparently indignant, outside: “Just hear the old, unfriendly coachman. Now he starts to scold us as loudly as he can because we’re keeping his fox waiting and now – stop – stop – man – we’re coming. ”Was he really about to drive away without her, how she shouted it to the frightened president?

Light-footed, she jumped into the car first, carefully helped the President in, while old Pauline pushed slowly and firmly with both arms, nodded once more in a friendly manner to those who stayed behind, and then spoke to the President with funny eagerness, asking all sorts of unimportant little things on.

– – It was nice to be alone!

From the feeling that Eva von Ostried felt against her will when she returned from the train station and entered the high rooms, she noticed how strictly her day otherwise had to be. With indescribable delight she threw herself into the most comfortable armchair and hummed a song to herself.

Even if the president was angelic – she felt a never-ending gratitude for her that she could and of course dispose of her time as she wanted, these feelings changed nothing in the least. Eva von Ostried suddenly knew how hot her longing – not least for the lost right to self-determination – had been all along. With a shiver of Ent[S. 69]She thought of her first two positions, which she was forced to accept immediately after the patron’s death. The councilor Wullenweber, to whom she had to inform of this change, had temporarily offered her his hospitality, “if another way out cannot be found quickly,” but the thought of leaving the deceased’s warm home furnished with the finest artistic taste Master in his bare and uncomfortably reminiscent of the house, as someone who was reluctantly tolerated to slip into, while seeing the deep red towers of the old Waldesruher castle nearby at any moment – had had something unbearable for her. She would rather let herself be by a demanding,

Now the numerous wounds from the small, daily needle sticks had long since healed. She lived, surrounded by forbearance and kindness, with the noblest of all mistresses, and yet – – if she was honest with herself, she had to admit that only the thought of the future kept her bravely on the path of petty duty. Had she had no prospect of resuming her beloved studies very soon, perhaps this warm place would gradually have become hell for her too. With her eyes closed she dreamed of the times that awaited her after spring. Certainly – it would take a lot of work – struggle and diligence. It is undisputed that there are also days when she despaired of her own ability.

[S. 70]

But then the delicious fulfillment of all longing had to come! – She had completely forgotten the treasure in her little handbag. He lay carelessly on the table while, with her lips slightly parted, she seemed to drink the delicious scent of the blossoming tributes that awaited her in the golden distance!

– At around the third hour of the afternoon that day, Ralf Kurtzig, the old master and former long-time Parsifal of the Bayreuth festival temple, came. At the end of his life he busied himself diligently looking for God-gifted talents. So he found the very promising girl in the house of his younger colleague Eva von Ostried. Coming home from a long journey, he had found out too late the death of the Kammersänger and found the gates of his rich, hospitable home locked. He immediately thought of Eva von Ostried’s future, for he had become aware of her destitution. He had searched feverishly for her. Out of purely artistic interest, as he explained to himself. In truth, deeply hidden and not yet recognized by himself, he was driven by a late, passionate fire. – Your trail seemed gone. He crouched in the fourth tier of the opera to meet her. Because she loved Schubert’s pure art above all, he never missed any of these recitals. It was in vain – until he saw her again at a philharmonic concert at the side of the president, whom he knew from a rich donation to the stage cooperative.

So it came about that he – initiated into Frau Melcher’s plans, which at first seemed cruel to him – became her teacher.

[S. 71]

There was hardly anyone who was more economical with his praise than him. That is why it remained the highest endeavor of his few students at least not to provoke him to blame. – Today Eva ran towards him like an exuberant child. The restrained reverence for his wise artistry had given way to a sparkling joy of existence. He felt this immediately and secretly enjoyed it.

In him the person spoke before the artist. That seldom happened.

“How beautiful she is,” he had to think, and on, “the wonderful astringency, of which she herself has no idea, will not make the path that she has to go easy for her.” He felt, astonished, that this certainty rejuvenated him For a second he lost his cool, sure superiority and shaded his eyes as if he were blinded by the red light that poured unhindered through the arched windows of the hall into the music room. Then he had control of himself again and said in the mocking tone with which he punished every warm movement:

“Your old keeper of the Grail has already announced that the high mistress of this magic castle has gone away. She also mumbled all sorts of fruits and berries, which required your active cooperation. ”

She looked up at him with pleading eyes.

“You owe me another birthday present,” she begged.

“So -” he stretched, “since when?”

“Since yesterday.”

“It’s a shame – otherwise it could have been described as statute-barred.” And with a wink, as if dazzling him[S. 72] still the red glow, he added: “So what is your heart’s desire?”

“I have come of age, master. I can be immodest today. ”

“At least ask. The fulfillment is with me. ”

“You have to sing something to me.”

“So – I have to?” – With childlike trust, she reached for his slender, white right hand.

“I’ve been looking forward to it all morning.”

“Wasn’t it presumptuous to consider the request already fulfilled?”

“Maybe! You have emphasized often enough that the modest person would be very pleasant, but certainly useless for practical life. ”

“Yes – what should it be?”

“Parsifal’s song from the second act,” she asked with the expression of longing in her eyes and voice:

Forever
Would you be damned with me
For one hour
Forgot my broadcast
In your arm.
His face had the stone expression again, for the sake of which many of his former colleagues had denied his soul.

“We’ll talk about it later,” he said shortly. “First of all, you have to be hardworking. So start – ”

She submitted like an obedient child. The wonderful voice sounded soft and full, from every note of the[S. 73]Exercise. Still, he wasn’t satisfied. He reprimanded briefly and sharply and demanded repetitions. To someone unfamiliar with his way, it could easily have made it seem as if, for the sake of daily bread, he was sitting next to a schoolgirl who didn’t give him the least bit of fun teaching. And yet, even today, his artistic feeling basked in the radiant shine of this blessed talent. He deliberately tormented her to check whether her passionately expressed wish would still ask for fulfillment afterwards or whether she would turn away from him in slight hurt. –

She didn’t.

He had scarcely given a nod to indicate that the actual lesson was over when she reminded him – with a completely different expression – to keep his promise.

“I give you the promised talk about my request, master,” she said, smiling mischievously.

He really sang her the belated festival!

She was crouching in a corner with her head on her crossed arms so that he should not see the tears which the highest feeling of devotion blackmailed her. But he saw her nonetheless and was happy about it. – She did not know how long this consecration game had granted. The bright sun had turned pale. A slight haze of tiredness made the bright colors of autumn appear dull.

Like a rich, now fulfilled life, this day awaited its death. It was quiet between them. She came from her corner[S. 74]off, sat down silently in the place he had just left and sang his thanks.

I want to weigh you, I want to watch …
The boy sat on his mother’s lap
Played together until he grew up ….
Life fulfillment here too! The song of the Solveig that finally redeems a tired hurricane!

The master didn’t move. Peace of death blessed space and time.

The wondrous trembling that art gives to the pure celebrated his resurrection.

I want to weigh you and watch
Sleep and dream, my boy
– – Reality reigned again! –

“If it weren’t for the dragon and the blessed orchard, I would now take you to the German Opera House,” said Ralf Kurtzig when she had fallen silent. – And that was thanks to him. – “Today Carmen is given – with the Olitava as a guest.”

Eva von Ostried cheered brightly.

“Old Pauline is happy to allow it with all my heart, because – in confidence – I’m not a great help to her and – yesterday – it was – yes – my birthday.”

– – They sat in the background of a box and listened with bated breath. The song of blood-red passion flamed and burned itself into the heart of the one – and that was not the young one – the hot she-devil triumphed over the gentle, blond angel. The noble, sharp-cut face of the fifties appeared younger by decades. His deep, powerful eyes bored into[S. 75]Eva’s face – they made them confused for a heartbeat – but in the next instant reminded of two others – – back then in Oeynhausen. She had to think again of Paul Karlsen’s stolen tenderness, for which she had for a while no longer been able to muster her earlier anger. – Now she did not understand her judgment, which had been changed to mildness. She was gripped by a strange, strange feeling. In a shuddering rebellion, she fought against receiving and responding to all the passion that was being played – and yet condemned this impulse, without breaking free, as the delusion of a narrow soul.

Did she ever get away from it on stage?

Her mother’s shy purity revived in her. – Meanwhile, fear and anger vanished again. She closed her eyes, listened to the sounds and soon felt perfectly happy – –

She was home around eleven o’clock. Old Pauline was still sitting in the hall in front of the open book of the Bible. Eva began to scold:

“You should be quiet long ago, Pauline! The last two days were far too exhausting for you anyway! ”

“I couldn’t have slept today, miss. My thoughts jump too wild. ”

“Of course you are afraid for our dear mistress, aren’t you?”

The old woman nodded sadly.

“I’ve been seeing her face everywhere for a couple of hours and it looks like she’s dissatisfied with us. – We shouldn’t have left them out. ”

[S. 76]

“What did we want to do about it, Pauline? You yourself considered every countermeasure to be in vain. ”

“You should have sent to the judge behind her back.”

“Have you forgotten that he is in bed with a high fever?”

“He could have written to her.”

“Don’t torture yourself any longer. Tomorrow morning we’ll have a card that tells us that we don’t need it at all. Or – maybe she will even telegraph us her happy arrival. ”

“If something had happened to her on the way, Miss.”

“You are terrible, Pauline. I won’t be able to find peace now either. ”

Loyalty imagined all sorts of terrible possibilities with self-tormenting thoroughness.

“Just think if she got her heart attack and nobody knew who she was and where she belonged.”

“Calm down on that. Her handbag contains her exact address. Below is my name with the comment that every message should be addressed to me. ”

“Did she expressly ask for that, Miss?”

“Naturally. – You know how well she thinks about everything. ”

“If only that isn’t a sad omen. – She must have had some serious inkling. ”

“No, Pauline. Even the healthiest cautious do not fail to do this. I myself never travel without writing down my detailed address beforehand. ”

[S. 77]

“I would be horrible about that. Just as if you had just been waiting for the greatest misfortune. – Do you hear the owl screaming, miss? ”

“She’s been doing this for a few weeks at this time, Pauline.”

“This is really the first time I’ve heard them. We called her the bird of death at home and pulled the heavy feather beds over our noses because we were afraid. – If only it was only tomorrow. ”

Eva von Ostried became impatient. The gold of notes still swayed in her nerves. Everything else sank into an abyss, only to regain a certain shape the next day, when the sun was shining brightly overhead.

“Good night, Pauline,” she said. “I am righteously tired. Finally go to rest too. Then your wish will be fulfilled in the fastest and most natural way. ”

The old girl couldn’t make up her mind. She sat and prayed the same words from the pious song of her childhood:

All people big and small
Shall be ordered to you!
Finally the withered lips moved only mechanically. The head sank heavily on the chest. She dreamed that her good Madam President was ringing impatiently for her and woke up from her restless sleep with a loud scream.

– – Eva von Ostried’s deep, even breaths quickly proved that worry, thoughts and joy are in[S. 78]rested from the slumber of enviable youth. She heard nothing of the constant clinking of the little bell at the garden gate. It was only when she knocked on her own door that she opened.

Old Pauline stood in front of her with a telegram in hand. And she tore – now also gripped by a strangely cold feeling – the blue seal mark in the middle