Effi Briest (1974) Movie Script

In front of the Briests'
manor in Hohen-Cremmen...
the famiIy seat since the time
of EIector Georg WiIheIm...
the viIIage street Iay stiII,
bathed in the midday sun.
On the park side,
a wing buiIt on at right angIes...
cast a broad shadow
on a white-and-green chequered path...
and on a Iarge, round fIower bed
with a sundiaI in the middIe...
and Canna indica and rhubarb
around its edge.
Effi, you should have become
an equestrian artiste.
Always on the trapeze, an aerial spirit!
l do believe you would enjoy it.
Perhaps, Mama.
But then who would be to blame?
Whom do l take after if not you?
Or do you think Papa?
You have to laugh yourself.
Why don't you make a lady out of me, then?
Would you like that?
Don't be so boisterous, Effi!
Not so impetuous!
lt worries me when l see you like this.
Baron lnnstetten was not even 20...
when he was garrisoned over there
with the Rathenow regiment...
and was on friendly terms
with the local landowners.
He especially liked to visit
my grandfather's estate in Schwantikow.
Not because of grandfather, of course.
When Mama talks about it...
it's obvious for whom he came...
and l think the feeling was mutual.
What happened then?
Everything took its natural course...
as it always does.
He was still so very young.
Then father came along.
He was already in the council of nobles
and owned Hohen-Cremmen...
and she accepted him without more ado...
and became Frau von Briest.
And what became of lnnstetten?
He didn't kill himself,
or he wouldn't be coming today.
He resigned his commission...
and began to study law.
But Frau von Briest,
who couId aIso be unconventionaI herseIf...
detained Effi as she was hurrying off.
She Iooked at
the charming young creature...
who was stiII fIushed from pIaying
and in the bIoom of youth.
And she confided to her.:
''I think you had best stay as you are.
''Yes, stay as you are.
You Iook very comeIy...
''so innocent and unprepared,
not at aII primped up.
''And that's the main thing right now.
''I have something to teII you, Effi.''
She took her daughter by both hands.
''I must teII you....''
''What's the matter, Mama?
You frighten me.''
''I have to teII you, Effi...
''that Baron Innstetten
has asked for your hand.''
''Asked to marry me? SeriousIy?''
''It's not a matter to joke about.
''You saw him two days ago,
and I think you Iiked him.
''He is oIder than you,
but that is aII to the good.
''He's a man of good character,
weII-situated and weII-bred...
''and if you don't say no,
which I scarceIy expect you to do...
''by the age of 20, you wiII be...
''where others are at 40.
''You'II rise much higher than your mother.''
Effi, come here!
Effi was not greatIy interested...
in mundane possessions...
but when she went stroIIing
with her mother...
perusing the window dispIays
and went into the Demuth store...
to purchase aII manner of things
for her honeymoon in ItaIy...
her true character reveaIed itseIf.
OnIy the most eIegant things wouId do...
and she wouId renounce
aII idea of the second-best.
Second-best meant nothing to her anymore.
She knew how to do without things...
and in forgoing things Iike that,
she seemed undemanding.
But when she reaIIy
set her heart on something...
it had to be quite exceptionaI...
and in that respect, she was demanding.
What else have you set your heart on?
-Nothing, Mama.
-Nothing at all?
Nothing, quite seriously.
But if there were something....
lt would be a black Japanese screen...
with golden birds on it...
with long bills like cranes.
And a lamp for our bedroom
that would radiate a red light.
Now you're silent and look at me...
as if l'd said something improper.
No, Effi, not improper...
and certainly not to your mother.
l know you too well.
You have a great imagination...
and you conjure up pictures of the future.
The more colourful they are...
the lovelier and more desirable
they seem to you.
l became aware of that when we were
shopping for your honeymoon.
Now you think it would be wonderful...
to have a bedroom screen...
with all kinds of fabulous beasts on it...
and all lit by a dim red lamp.
lt seems like a fairy tale to you...
and you would like to be the princess.
Yes, Mama, that's how l am.
Yes, that's how you are.
l'm aware of that.
But, my dear Effi,
we have to tread warily in life...
especially we women.
Don't you love Geert?
Why shouldn't l love him?
l love Bertha,
l love Hulda, l love old Niemeyer...
and needless to say, l love you and Papa.
l love everyone
who's nice to me and spoils me.
Geert will spoil me, too.
He wants to buy me jewellery in Venice.
He doesn't know l don't care for jewellery.
l prefer to clamber around
and play on the swing...
fearing that something will break
and l'll fall...
but knowing it won't cost me my neck.
Do you love your cousin Briest?
Very much. He's always so amusing.
Would you have liked to marry him?
Good heavens, no!
He's hardly more than a boy.
Whereas Geert's a man...
a handsome man...
with whom l can cut a dash...
who will make a mark on the world.
-What entered your mind?
-You're right, Effi. l'm glad to hear it.
-But you have something else on your mind.
Tell me, then!
Well, you see, Mama...
the fact that he's older than l am...
doesn't matter. Perhaps it's a good thing.
He's not really old.
He's fit and well...
and soldierly and dashing.
l could almost say l'm all for him...
if only...
-if only he were just a little different.
-Different in what way?
Yes, in what way?
You mustn't laugh at me, Mama.
lt's something l heard only recently
at the pastor's house.
We were talking about lnnstetten...
when suddenly old Niemeyer frowned...
in an admiring sort of way and said:
''The baron is a man of principles.''
-So he is, Effi.
-Of course.
l think Niemeyer even said...
lnnstetten was a person...
of great probity...
and that seems to me to be even higher.
But l am not at all.
You see, Mama...
that's something
that pains and frightens me.
He's so kind and good to me...
so considerate.
But l'm afraid of him.
There's nothing like a wedding!
Except one's own, of course.
l don't know how you can
say such a thing, Briest.
lt's news to me that you
have suffered from marriage.
l can't imagine why.
Let's not talk about us.
We didn't even have a honeymoon!
Your father was against it.
But Effi is going on honeymoon.
How l envy her!
On the ten o'clock train, off they went!
They must be...
somewhere near Regensburg by now.
l imagine he'll describe...
the treasures of the Valhalla,
without alighting, of course.
lnnstetten is...
an excellent person...
but a bit of an art fiend.
Whereas Effi...
our poor Effi is a child of nature.
l'm afraid he'll torment her...
with his enthusiasm for art.
All men torment their wives.
There are worse things
than a passion for art.
You're right.
We don't want to quarrel over that.
lt's much too vast a subject.
And every person's different.
You would have been in your element.
You'd have suited lnnstetten
far better than Effi.
A pity! Now it's too late.
The other things will be sent on.
Thank you.
Off we go, Kruse!
They are dependent
on the regions they trade with...
and since they have
connections throughout the world...
you'll find people among them
from all over the world...
even in our good old Kessin,
although it's out in the sticks.
But it's delightful, Geert.
You always speak of ''the sticks''...
but l find a whole new world to discover.
All sorts of exotic things.
That's what you really meant?
A whole new world...
with a black man or a Turk perhaps...
or even a Chinese.
Even a Chinese.
How well you guess!
Possibly we do still have one.
We certainly used to have one.
He's dead now and buried
in a little fenced-off plot of earth...
right next to the churchyard.
lf you're not afraid, l'll show you...
his grave sometime.
lt lies among the dunes...
surrounded by marram grass
and a few immortelles.
And always the sound of the sea.
lt's very beautiful...
but also rather eerie.
Yes, eerie...
and l'd like to know more about it.
Then again, maybe not.
lf l hope to sleep well tonight,
l won't want to see a Chinese by my bed.
How you spoil your poor little Effi!
A grand piano, and this rug...
l do believe it's Turkish.
And the bowl with fish, and the jardinire!
l'm being spoiled on all sides!
The master was quite right.
''Up with the lark''
was my parents' motto, too.
lf you sleep away the morning...
the whole day is in disarray.
But the master won't be too strict with me.
l lay awake a long time last night.
l was even somewhat afraid.
What do l hear, ma'am? What happened?
l heard a strange sound above me...
not loud, but insistent...
like dresses with long trains
brushing over the floorboards.
ln my agitation, l thought
l saw small, white satin shoes...
as if someone were dancing up there,
very quietly.
That's in the hall upstairs.
We used to hear it in the kitchen, too.
But not anymore.
We've grown accustomed to it.
you're a delightful creature.
You have no idea how much l think so...
and how l wish to show you every moment...
that l think so.
There's plenty of time for that.
l'm only 17...
and don't intend to die yet.
Not before me, at least.
if l were to die,
l would like to take you with me.
No one else should have you.
What do you say to that?
l'll have to think it over.
But let's forget it.
l don't like talking about death.
l'm in favour of living.
What sort of life shall we lead here?
ln ''good old Kessin,'' as you call it...
there must be some society we can keep.
Are there good families in the town?
No, Effi...
in that respect
you'll be greatly disappointed.
You'll meet a few members...
of the local aristocracy.
But here in the town there's nobody.
Nobody at all?
That's hard to believe.
Nearly 3,000 people live in the town.
And among a population of 3,000,
apart from people like Beza, the barber...
there must be some kind of elite or so....
...and the room upstairs,
where the curtains brush the floor....
what do you know about that room?
Only what l just said.
For a good hour...
when l woke up last night...
it was as if l heard shoes
shuffling over the ground...
as if someone were dancing...
and something like music, but very faint.
When l told Johanna about it this morning...
in excuse for having
slept so long afterwards...
she said it was the long curtains
in the room upstairs.
To put an end to the matter...
l think we should simply cut them shorter...
or close the windows.
The stormy season
will soon be here anyway...
by the middle of November.
Show him in!
My husband already told me.
He's in his office...
but he should be back any minute.
l'd like to tell you how much pleasure...
your beautiful flowers
and card gave me yesterday.
l ceased to feel like a stranger here.
And when l told lnnstetten,
he said we would become firm friends.
The district councillor said that?
The councillor and your dear self...
are, if l may say so, ma'am...
the perfect match of two kind persons.
For l know what your husband is like...
and l can see how you are, ma'am.
l hope your eyes don't deceive you.
l'm so very young...
-and youth--
-Ah, my dear lady...
don't say anything against youth.
with all its faults...
is something beautiful and engaging.
Whereas age...
for all its virtues...
is not worth much.
Personally, l can't say much on the matter.
About age, l can, but not about youth...
because l was never really young.
People like me...
are never young.
That is the saddest thing of all.
One has no pluck.
One lacks self-confidence.
The years go by...
one grows old...
and life was meagre...
and empty.
Oh, you shouldn't say such things!
We women are not that bad.
No, of course not.
GieshuebIer wouId have Iiked
to decIare his Iove...
and, Iike EI Cid or some other hero...
sought her permission
to fight and die for her.
Since this was not possibIe
and his heart couId bear no more...
he stood up, Iooked for his hat,
which he found at once...
and, after repeatedIy kissing Effi's hand,
quickIy withdrew...
without a further word.
Everywhere Effi went...
she had the same impression.
Mediocre peopIe,
usuaIIy of dubious charm...
who, whiIe taIking about Bismarck
and the Crown Princess...
were reaIIy eyeing Effi's attire.
Some thought it too pretentious
for such a young Iady.
Others found it unseemIy
for a Iady of her sociaI standing.
They recognized the infIuence of BerIin.
A regard for appearances,
a strange awkwardness...
and uncertainty
in her approach to major issues.
For the Borckes in Rothenmoor...
and the famiIies in Morgnitz
and Dabergotz...
she was ''affIicted with rationaIism''...
whiIe the Grasenabbs in Kroschentin
decIared her to be an ''atheist.''
AdmittedIy, oId Frau von Grasenabb...
ne StiefeI von StiefeIstein
from south Germany...
had made a vague attempt
to cIaim Effi for the ideas of deism.
But Sidonie von Grasenabb,
a 43-year-oId spinster...
wouId have none of it.
''She's an atheist, Mother...
''and that's the truth of the matter!''
Whereupon, the oId Iady,
who feared her own daughter...
wretchedIy heId her tongue.
we should celebrate this day...
but l'm not sure how.
Shall l play you...
a victory march?
Or should l...
bear you in triumph across the hall?
We ought to do something...
for you should know...
today's courtesy visit was the last.
Thank goodness!
But the mere feeling that
we can relax now is celebration enough.
You might give me a kiss, though.
But you don't even think of that.
Not a token of affection the whole journey.
You're as icy as a snowman.
Don't go on!
l shall mend my ways.
Can l....
You called, ma'am?
Johanna, l'm going to bed.
lt's still early, l know.
But l feel so alone.
Please post the letter first.
When you return, it will be time for bed.
And even if it isn't....
What's she like?
She's very young.
But that's no bad thing, quite the opposite.
The young ones just stand
in front of the mirror...
titivating themselves all the time,
so they don't see or hear too much.
They don't count candle stumps...
or begrudge a person a kiss...
just because they don't
get any themselves anymore.
My previous mistress was like that...
but the present one's not.
ls he very affectionate?
Oh, yes.
You can imagine.
But he leaves her alone...
Yes, but don't forget
there's the prince, Frau Paaschen!
And he is district councillor, after all.
He may want to rise even higher.
Of course he does. And he will.
lt lies in his nature.
My husband says so, too.
He's a good judge of people.
l'm so afraid.
That'll pass, ma'am. We've all been afraid.
You've all been afraid?
What do you mean?
lf you're really afraid, ma'am,
l can make up a bed here...
and sleep here till tomorrow...
or until the master comes back.
The master shouldn't find out l'm afraid.
He doesn't like that.
He wants me to be brave.
But l can't be.
l know l have to overcome my fears...
and do as he wishes.
What's the matter with your mistress?
Kruse said you'd slept over there.
Yes, sir.
Madam rang three times quickly.
Not without reason, l thought.
And l was right.
Probably a dream, or the other thing.
What other thing?
-Oh, you know, sir--
-l know nothing.
Anyway, it must stop.
HaIf an hour Iater, Effi appeared.
She Iooked IoveIy, quite paIe,
and Ieaning on Johanna's arm.
But when she saw Innstetten...
she ran to him and hugged and kissed him...
and the tears ran down her cheeks.
You see, Effi...
l can't just go away from here...
even if one could sell the house
or exchange it for another...
it would be like a rebuff to the prince.
l can't have the people here saying:
''lnnstetten is selling his house...
''because his wife thought the picture
of a Chinaman near her bed was a ghost.''
That would be the end of me.
One would never live down...
the ridicule.
You have no idea how ambitious l am.
l married you out of ambition.
Don't pull such a serious face!
l love you.
What does one say when one plucks
a flower and pulls out the petals?
''l love you...
''with all my heart...
''with every part.''
-ls someone buried there?
-Yes, the Chinese.
-Yes, ours.
Then there is something to it? Some story?
You'd better tell me all about it.
The truth can't torment me
more than my imagination.
Where does one begin?
Even with stories it's difficult.
Oh, Geert, how delightful it all is...
and what a dull existence
l led in Hohen-Cremmen!
Never anything out of the ordinary!
You shouldn't talk like that.
Whatever you think about ghosts...
beware of things that are unusual...
or what people call ''unusual''!
What you find so enticing,
including the sort of life...
Miss Trippelli leads...
is usually gained at the cost of happiness.
lt arrives in Berlin at 6:50...
and an hour later...
if the wind's right,
they'll hear it in Hohen-Cremmen...
rattling past in the distance.
Would you like to be on it, Effi?
GieshuebIer was very fond
of his artist friend...
and esteemed her taIents highIy.
But his enthusiasm did not
bIind him to the fact...
that she possessed...
onIy modest sociaI accompIishments.
And these were what he cuItivated
assiduousIy himseIf.
Marietta, l have ordered
a modest supper for 8 o'clock.
We still have 45 minutes...
unless you'd prefer to sing
a cheerful song at table.
l wonder what he'll bring.
Something by Gluck, l imagine...
something highly dramatic.
lf l may say so, Miss Trippelli...
l'm surprised to hear
you're only a concert singer.
l think you'd be ideally suited...
to the stage more than most.
LuIIaby by Louis Spohr.
AII is sIumbering, sweet and deep
Come, my chiId, now you must sIeep
Outside it's the wind that sighs
Whispering ''sususu, '' its IuIIabies
SIeep, my chiId, sIeep
That's enough!
l wish l could tell you...
how grateful l am to you!
lt was all so...
lovely, so assured...
so fluent.
But most of all, l admire...
the calmness with which you perform.
l'm so impressionable.
The least mention of ghosts...
makes me tremble...
and l am unable to regain my composure.
You sing these things
so powerfully, so movingly...
yet you remain so serene yourself.
l come from an enlightened family.
When the phonograph appeared...
my father said,
''There's something to it, Marie.''
And he was right. There is something to it.
We are beset on all sides.
You will come to realize that.
Shall we go in to supper?
''Three wise kings came to Christ's door.
''One among them was a blackamoor.
''Today, a Moorish purveyor brings
all kinds of spiced and dainty things.
''lnstead of myrrh and incense, though...
''he brings morsels of almond
and pistachio.''
To receive the respects of a good person...
is something special, agreeable.
Don't you think so, Geert?
l do indeed.
lt is perhaps the only true source of joy.
Or it should be at least.
But everyone is so wrapped up
in mundane things.
lncluding me.
ln the end, though...
we are what we are.
''What I hinted at recentIy
has now been confirmed.
''Every day anew,
Innstetten expresses his joy at the news.
''I need not teII you how happy I am myseIf...
''since I shaII have new Iife
and distraction about me...
''or, as Geert puts it, 'a precious toy.'
''Those are probabIy the right words,
but he shouIdn't use them.
''They're Iike a stab in the heart...
''and remind me how young I am...
''and that I'm scarceIy out of the nursery.''
-Who was she?
-Registrar Rode's widow.
l always imagined
registrars' widows to be poor.
So they are as a rule.
She was an exception.
She was altogether a very peculiar woman...
sickly and weak on her legs.
That's why she had a woman servant
strong enough...
to protect and carry her
if anything happened.
l've seen her.
Kind brown eyes
with a frank and honest look.
-But a bit simple.
-That's right.
To shake off her sense
of coIdness and duIIness...
she feIt the desire to go for a Ionger waIk.
And her doctor had toId her
that exercise in the fresh air...
was the best thing for her condition.
What is your name?
That's an uncommon name. lt must be....
You're right, ma'am.
lt's a Catholic name.
And l am a Catholic.
l'm from Eichsfeld.
Being Catholic makes things even harder.
A lot of people won't take Catholics...
because they always
run to church to confess...
but don't confess the main thing.
The times l've heard that!
l'm a bad Catholic.
l've completely lapsed.
Perhaps that's why things
have turned out badly for me.
You have to stick to your faith...
and take part in everything.
l'd like to ask you something.
Are you fond of children?
lt's terrible, the things you have to do
for old women like that.
But a dear little thing...
like a doll...
that stares at you with its little eyes...
that's something...
to put joy in your heart.
You are a good, true soul.
l can see that.
Somewhat plainspoken,
but they're often the best people...
l felt at once l could trust you.
Would you like to work for me?
The baby will have to be nursed...
and cared for...
perhaps even specially fed.
l sure l'm not mistaken in you.
You did quite right, Effi.
lf there's nothing bad
in her serving record...
we'll take her
on the strength of her kind face.
One rarely goes wrong with that, thank God!
All will be well now.
l'm no longer afraid.
''PlTY lT'S A GlRL!
She compIeteIy forgot that she was married.
Those were happy hours.
But best of aII...
she Iiked to stand on the swing
and fIy through the air...
with the feeIing, ''I'm going to faII!''
A strange, tingIing sensation...
a sweet thriII of danger.
lnnstetten is a man of honour.
He is indeed.
And he loves me.
Of course he does.
And where there's love, it will be returned.
That's how things are.
l'm just surprised he hasn't taken
time off for a quick visit.
-When one has such a young wife--
-lnnstetten is so conscientious...
and wants to stand high in favour.
Kessin is just a stepping stone.
And anyway...
l won't run away from him.
l belong to him.
lf one is too affectionate
with such an age difference...
people just laugh.
Yes, they do, Effi.
But one has to live with that.
By the way, don't mention it to anyone...
not even to your mother.
lt's hard to know what to do.
And it's much too vast a subject.
lsn't that Crampas coming?
And from the beach?
Surely he hasn't been bathing
on September 27th!
He often does things like that.
Just showing off!
Good morning.
Come in!
Please forgive me...
for not receiving you
with all due ceremony...
but 10:00 a.m. is an ungodly hour.
One is informal, not to say familiar.
Take a seat...
and tell us what you have been up to.
Judging by your hair...
which l wish for your sake
you had more of, you've been bathing.
lt's going to be a wonderful winter...
if we can count on your support.
Miss Trippelli is coming.
-Then my presence is superfluous.
-By no means.
Trippelli can't sing the whole week.
lt would be too much for her and for us.
Variety is the spice of life...
a truth...
that every happy marriage
would seem to refute.
lf there is such a thing
as a happy marriage, mine excepted.
How about hunting seals next time?
That's not possible. The harbour police.
When l hear things like that!
Does everything have to be so legal?
Legality is boring.
Crampas, that's typical of you...
and Effi applauds you.
Women, of course...
are the first to cry for a policeman...
but the law doesn't interest them.
That has always been their privilege,
and we...
can't change it, lnnstetten.
And l don't want to.
l don't want to exculpate anyone.
But you, Crampas...
you have learned discipline...
and know very well
that law and order are vital.
A man like you
really shouldn't talk like that...
not even in jest.
You have a sublime disregard
for these things.
''lt won't be the end of the world,'' you think.
Not yet, perhaps...
but one day it will be.
The eIection campaign,
which began in October...
prevented Innstetten taking part
in further excursions.
Crampas and Effi wouId have stopped, too...
in deference to the peopIe of Kessin...
if Kruse had not been present
as a kind of chaperone.
As it was, they continued
their rides into November.
A good conversationaIist...
Crampas wouId teII stories
about war and his regiment...
and anecdotes about Innstetten...
who, with his earnestness and reserve...
had never fitted into
the spirited circIe of his comrades...
so that he had been respected
rather than heId in affection.
lt's just as well, respect is the main thing.
He loved to tell us ghost stories.
And when he had got us all excited,
and had scared some people perhaps...
suddenly, it would seem as if he were
just making fun of our credulity.
Once l told him to his face...
''lnnstetten, that's a load of poppycock!
''You don't believe it any more than we do...
''but you want to make yourself interesting.
''You think that being unusual
will help your career...
''that ordinary people
are not wanted at the top.
''And since that's your ambition...
''you've hit on something
out of the ordinary, namely ghosts.''
You say nothing?
ln all seriousness, Crampas,
and l should like a serious reply...
how do you explain all this?
My dear lady...
as well as furthering his career,
regardless of cost...
and with the aid of a ghost if necessary...
lnnstetten has another passion.
He has an urge to be didactic.
He's a born schoolmaster.
And he wants to educate me?
Education by means of ghosts?
''Educate'' is perhaps the wrong word.
But education in a roundabout way.
l don't understand you.
A young wife...
is a young wife...
and a district councillor...
has to travel around a lot...
which means leaving his house alone...
and unguarded.
A ghost is like an angel with a sword.
The fact that Innstetten kept a ghost...
so as not to Iive in a commonpIace house,
might be accepted.
It met his need to distinguish
himseIf from the crowd.
But to use the ghost
as a means of education...
was mean, aImost insuIting.
And she reaIized
that this ''means of education''...
was not even haIf the story.
What Crampas had impIied
went much further.
Heine's writing pulses with life.
Above all, he understands love...
and that is the main thing.
But he's not one-sided in this.
What do you mean?
He's not just on the side of love.
Well, even if he were...
there are worse things.
What else is he in favour of?
He's a strong adherent of romance...
which comes close behind love.
Some people regard them as identical.
Major, please excuse my thumbs
when l give you the sandwiches.
As long as you don't give me
the thumbs down!
At Don Pedro's court,
was a dark, handsome Spanish knight...
who wore the Cross of Calatrava
on his breast.
This knight, whom the queen
secretly loved, of course--
-Why, ''of course''?
-Because we're in Spain.
Oh, l see.
This knight had a magnificent hound.
This had all been going on for some time...
and the secret love affair
was no longer really a secret.
Unable to bear it anymore...
and because he didn't like
the Knight of Calatrava anyway...
the king was not only cruel...
but consumed by envy.
He decided to have the knight
secretly murdered...
for his secret love.
l can't say l blame him.
Well, just listen to what follows!
ln some ways, the king was right...
but he went much too far.
Allegedly in honour of
the knight's heroic exploits...
he held a banquet.
And there was...
a long table...
at which all the grandees of the empire sat...
with the king in the middle...
Opposite him was the place
for the guest of honour...
the Knight of Calatrava.
But he didn't appear, and finally
the feast had to begin without him.
There was an empty seat...
an empty seat exactly opposite the king.
And then?
Just imagine, as Don Pedro, the king...
was about to rise to express
his hypocritical regrets...
that his ''dear guest'' had not appeared...
cries of horror were heard
from the servants outside...
and before one knew what had happened...
something raced along the table,
sprang onto the chair...
and set a cut-off head
at the unoccupied place.
And over the head of the knight,
his hound stared...
at the person opposite...
the king.
The dog had accompanied his master
on his final journey...
and at the moment...
the axe descended...
the trusty animal
had seized the falling head.
There he was, our friend...
sitting at the banqueting table...
accusing the royal murderer.
Effi was content...
and gIad they had agreed...
to discontinue their excursions together
for the rest of the winter.
When she considered what had
been discussed and intimated...
during aII those days and weeks...
she couId find nothing that wouId
directIy occasion seIf-reproach.
Was it the major's plan?
Yes. As you know,
he was elected unanimously...
to the entertainments committee.
We can look forward to
a pleasant winter at the club.
He's ideal for the position.
will he be acting as well?
He declined to do that...
He could play Arthur von Schmettwitz
quite excellently.
He's just directing.
All the worse.
All the worse?
Oh, don't take me too seriously.
lt's just a way of saying the opposite, really.
On the other hand...
there's something forceful about the major.
He likes doing things over one's head.
One has to do things the way he wants.
What pleased me most...
was my charming little wife,
who turned all heads.
Don't talk like that! l'm vain enough.
Vain enough perhaps...
but not nearly as vain as the others.
-And your 7 beautiful attributes!
-Everyone has 7 beautiful attributes.
A slip of the tongue.
Multiply that number by itself!
How gallant you are.
lf l didn't know you, l might be afraid of you.
Or is there something else behind it?
Do you have a guilty conscience?
Have you been eavesdropping?
Sometimes one suddenly realizes...
what a treasure one has.
After all, you might be
someone like poor Frau Crampas.
A dreadful woman, unfriendly to everyone.
She's a bit like our Frau Kruse.
l don't know whom l'd choose
between the two of them.
l know very well.
There is a difference between them.
The major's wife is unhappy.
Kruse's is uncanny.
And you're more in favour of the unhappy?
Quite definitely.
He's half-Polish.
The name alone...
No reliability...
not in anything...
least of all with women.
A gambler...
not at the gaming table...
but constantly taking risks in life.
One has to keep an eye on him.
l'm glad you told me that.
l shall watch my step with him.
Yes, do that.
But not too much. That's no use either.
Just behave naturally. That's always best.
Best of all, of course...
is to be of steadfast character...
and to have, if l may use such
a high-flown expression...
a pure soul.
No doubt, but say no more...
especially things that don't make me happy.
l thought l heard footsteps upstairs again.
Strange, they keep coming back.
And l thought you were joking.
l wouldn't say that, Effi.
But it makes no difference.
As long as one is upright...
one has nothing to fear.
If it goes on Iike this, we'II have...
a coId winter and be snowed in.
There are worse things than that.
Being snowed in evokes...
pIeasant sensations,
such as protection and support.
That's new to me.
Associations are strange things.
They're based not onIy
on personaI experience...
but on things one has heard
or just happens to know.
You're a weII-read man, Major...
but there's one poem
I suspect you don't know.
It's caIIed God's Wall.
God's Wall?
A nice titIe.
What is it about?
It's a modest story and quite short.
In some war, there was a winter campaign...
and a terrified oId widow prayed to God...
to buiId a waII round her to protect
her from her country's enemies.
God Iet the house be buried in snow,
so that the enemy simpIy marched past.
She feIt as if she were about to faint.
Did you sleep well?
You're fortunate.
l can't say the same for myself.
l dreamt your carriage fell into the river...
and Crampas was trying to save you.
l have to put it that way.
And he went down with you.
You speak so strangely, Geert.
There's a hidden reproach in your words,
and l sense why.
lt irks you that Crampas came
and offered us his help.
Yes, us. You and me.
Have you forgotten?
The major helped at your request.
Why shouldn't l drive with him
in his carriage, then?
Where l come from...
one says it is wrong...
to mistrust a gentleman.
A gentleman!
lsn't he one?
You yourself said how gallant he is...
a perfect cavalier.
Yes, he's gallant enough...
a perfect cavalier.
No doubt about it. But a gentleman?
My dear Effi,
a gentleman is something different.
Do you see anything noble about him?
l don't.
lt would seem we're of the same opinion.
as you remarked, it's my fault.
l won't say it was a faux pas.
That's not the appropriate expression.
lt was my fault.
And it won't happen again if l can prevent it.
But you, too...
should be on your guard,
if you'll take my advice.
He's an unscrupulous man.
He has his own ideas about young women.
l know him of old.
l shall heed your words...
but l must say...
l think you misjudge him.
l do not misjudge him.
Perhaps me, then.
Nor you, my dear Effi.
You're a delightful little woman...
but steadfastness is not your strong point.
l'm going down to the square
where the merry-go-round is.
l'll wait for you there.
The first day, they met as arranged.
UsuaIIy, though, when Roswitha
reached the merry-go-round...
nobody was there...
and when she entered the haII
at home again...
Effi wouId come toward her and say.:
''Where have you been, Roswitha?
I got back ages ago.''
It went on Iike this for weeks.
''Forgive my sudden departure, lnnstetten.
lt all happened so quickly.
''l shall try to spin it out.
''lt's good to get away for a while.
''My regards to your charming wife
and my benefactress.
''Major Crampas.''
A good thing, too!
-What do you mean?
-That he's gone away.
He's always saying the same things.
When he comes back, at least
he'll have something new to talk about.
l must go away as well. To Berlin.
Perhaps l can bring back
something new, too.
My Effi always likes to hear something new.
She's bored in dear old Kessin.
l'll be away for about a week...
perhaps one day longer.
And don't be afraid.
lt won't come back.
You know what l mean...
that thing upstairs.
Effi smiIed to herseIf...
and in her smiIe was a hint of meIanchoIy.
She recaIIed the day
Crampas had Iast toId her...
Innstetten was enacting a comedy
with the ghost and her fear.
''The born schooImaster!''
But wasn't he right?
Wasn't the comedy justified?
ConfIicting thoughts, good and eviI,
went through her mind.
Three days Iater, Innstetten Ieft.
He said nothing about
his reasons for going to BerIin.
Either it was unrequited love,
or it might have been requited...
and the Chinaman couldn't bear
the thought that it was suddenly all over.
The Chinese are human beings as well.
They feel everything just as we do.
-l need the leather varnish.
-l'll bring it out to you, Kruse.
Everything as we do.
There's a time and place for everything.
But that business with the Chinaman
is very strange.
lt's a load of nonsense.
And instead of attending
to what's important...
my wife talks about things like that.
When l need a clean shirt,
there's a button missing.
Then there's the black chicken!
lt doesn't even lay eggs.
And anyway...
how should it lay eggs?
lt doesn't even get out.
You men are worse than one thinks.
l ought to take the brush...
and paint your moustache.
l could accept that from you, Roswitha.
l must remind you
that Kruse is a married man.
l know, ma'am.
One knows so many things
and behaves as if one didn't.
lf you're reckoning on her illness,
you'll be disappointed.
Sick people live longest of all.
How was it the first time with you?
ls it something you can tell me?
Yes, l can tell you.
lt was terrible...
and for that reason...
you can set your mind at rest
as far as Kruse is concerned.
When you've been through
what l've been through, you've had enough.
The next day, l always feel shattered.
And such terrible anxiety!
Tell me, then. How was it?
l know from at home, with women like you,
it's always the same story.
in the end, it probably is always the same.
l don't want to pretend
my case was anything special.
Not in the least.
But when they accused me to my face...
and l suddenly had to admit:
''Yes, it's true.''
That was dreadful.
My mother wasn't too hard on me.
But my father, the village blacksmith,
was strict and terrible.
When he heard about it, he went for me
with an iron bar from the fire.
He wanted to kill me.
l had a younger sister...
who used to point at me and say,
''Shame on you!''
When the child was due,
l went into a nearby barn...
because l didn't dare show my face at home.
Strangers found me half dead.
They carried me into the house
and put me to bed.
On the third day...
they took my child away...
and when l asked later where it was...
they said it was in good hands.
Oh, ma'am...
may the Holy Virgin
protect you from such heartache!
The things you say!
l'm a married woman.
You shouldn't say things like that.
lt's out of place.
lt's unseemly.
Oh, ma'am....
Tell me...
how do you imagine a ministry?
A ministry?
That can mean two things.
lt may mean clever, distinguished men
who govern the country...
or it could be a building, a palazzo.
Would you like to live in such a palazzo?
l mean...
in such a ministry?
Heavens above, Geert!
They haven't made you a minister?
Gieshuebler said something of the kind.
And the prince is all-powerful.
He's done it at last...
and l'm only 18!
No, Effi, not a minister.
We haven't come that far yet.
To tell the truth...
we won't even live in a ministry...
but l'll be going to one every day.
And you'll be the wife of
a leading official and live in Berlin...
Soon, you'll hardly remember...
you once lived in Kessin...
with only Gieshuebler...
and the dunes...
and the plantation for company.
Thank God!
Get up, Effi! What's the matter?
What's the matter?
l thought you were happy here.
You say ''Thank God''
as if it had been an affliction here.
Was l the affliction?
Tell me!
How can you ask such a thing, Geert?
Oh, ma'am...
Kessin is...
all well and good...
but it's not Berlin.
Some days, you see no more
than half a dozen people.
And nothing but the dunes...
and the sea out there...
rushing and surging.
But that's all there is.
Yes, you're right, Roswitha.
lt rushes and surges...
but that's not life.
One has all kinds of foolish ideas.
You have to admit...
that matter with Kruse was not right.
Yes, my dear Gieshuebler,
but just for a moment.
l've come to say goodbye.
But, my dear lady, surely you'll be back.
l heard it was for just 3 or 4 days...
Yes, l should return.
ln a week at the latest,
l'm supposed to be back in Kessin.
But who knows if l shall return?
l don't have to tell you,
so many things can happen.
You want to say l'm too young...
but even young people die.
And if l lived to be a hundred,
l'd never forget you.
There were times when l felt lonely here.
Sometimes my heart was heavy,
more than you can imagine.
l haven't always done the right thing.
But whenever l saw you...
l felt better, a better person, too.
But, my dear lady....
And l want to thank you for that.
Goodbye, my dear friend!
Give my regards to your friend,
Miss Trippelli.
l have thought of her a lot recently
and of Prince Kotschukoff.
lt's a strange relationship.
Yet l can understand it.
Let me hear from you.
Or l shall write.
''I am Ieaving tomorrow by boat,
and this is a fareweII note.
''Innstetten expects me back in a few days,
but I shaII not return.
''You know why.
''It wouId have been better
if I had never seen this pIace.
''I beg you not to take this as a reproach.
''It was aII my fauIt.
''In view of your home Iife...
''your actions may be excusabIe,
but not mine.
''I bear a heavy burden of guiIt,
but perhaps there's a way out.
''Being transferred from here
seems Iike a sign...
''that I may stiII find mercy.
''Forget me.
''Your Effi.''
What a lovely place you have, Mama!
But what's wrong with your eyes?
ln the carriage, all we talked about...
was lnnstetten and our career.
Far too much.
There must be an end to it.
Your eyes are more important to me.
ln one respect, they're unchanged.
They have the same old kindness
when you look at me.
You're so impetuous. The same old Effi!
No, Mama.
Not the old Effi.
l wish l were.
Marriage changes a person.
lnnstetten is impatient for me to return.
To cut matters short,
l suggest we rent the apartment today...
and l'll go back tomorrow.
lt's so hard to leave you.
Which apartment will you take?
The one in Keithstrasse...
which we both liked
from the very beginning.
lt's probably not quite dried out yet...
but it's summer now,
which is some consolation.
lf l feel a twinge of rheumatism...
there's always Hohen-Cremmen.
Don't tempt providence!
Suddenly one has rheumatism
without knowing why.
Dr. Rummschuettel...
l don't know how to describe it.
lt keeps changing.
At the moment, it seems to have gone.
At first, l thought it was rheumatism...
but now l think it might be neuralgia.
Very likely, my dear lady.
Rest and warmth...
are the best thing.
And a little medicine...
nothing bad, will do the rest.
But no mental exertion...
no visits...
-no books.
-lt's Scott.
Oh, l've no objection to him.
Travel books are best.
l'll call again tomorrow.
The question of costs has to be considered.
Our expenses wiII increase anyway.
RummschuetteI wiII have to be paid
if he remains our doctor.
He's a very pIeasant oId gentIeman...
aIthough medicaIIy,
he's not considered top rank.
His detractors caII him a ''Iadies' doctor, ''
but there's an eIement of praise in that.
How are Gieshuebler and all the others?
Who are ''all the others''?
Crampas sends you his regards.
That's nice of him.
And Frau von Padden sends her respects.
She said you are a charming woman...
but l should take good care of you.
And when l replied...
you regarded me more
as a teacher than a husband...
she murmured...
almost absently:
''A little lamb...
''white as the driven snow....''
Then she broke off.
Has Johanna ever shown you
her Chinaman?
Which one?
Ours, of course.
Before she left our old home,
she detached him from the chair...
and put him in her purse.
When she changed a mark for me recently...
l saw it.
she admitted it with embarrassment.
She told me...
that her sense of
being a stranger had gone...
and that she was very glad.
Kessin wasn't the right place for her...
with its spooky house and the people.
Some were too pious, others too pedestrian.
Since her move to Berlin,
she says she feels at home.
He's the best of husbands...
a bit too old and too good for her.
But now the worst is over.
That was the expression she used...
and it rather surprised me.
Why? lt may not be
the best of expressions, but....
There's something behind it...
which she wanted to allude to.
You think so?
Yes, Briest.
You think butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.
But you're wrong.
She likes to drift with the current...
and if the current is good, so is she.
Fighting and resistance
are not her strong points.
She recaIIed the day...
scarceIy two years before...
when the visitor had come...
and she had cIimbed
the steps beside the bench...
and an hour Iater she was betrothed.
Images of her Iife in Kessin
rose unbidden before her inward eye.
There was Crampas coming to greet her...
then Roswitha with the baby.
She took the chiId,
heId her up and kissed her.
''That was the first day,
when everything had begun.''
The nearby cIock began to strike...
and Effi counted the strokes.
''This time tomorrow, I'II be in BerIin.
''It's our wedding anniversary.
''He'II say nice things,
an affectionate word perhaps...
''and I shaII sit and Iisten...
''with guiIt weighing on my souI.
''Yes, it is there...
''but does it weigh on my souI?
No, it doesn't...
''and that's what frightens me about myseIf.
''What weighs on me is something different.
''Fear, a mortaI dread...
''that aII wiII be discovered.
''And on top of the fear, I feeI ashamed.
''But I don't feeI true repentance.
Nor do I feeI true shame.
''I'm tormented by fear
and ashamed of the whoIe web of Iies.
''But I feeI no shame for my guiIt,
or not properIy and not enough...
''and that is what's destroying me.
''If women are Iike that, it's terribIe!
''And if they're not, as I hope,
things are iII with me.
''Then something's wrong with my souI.
I Iack the right sentiments.
''OId Niemeyer once said to me...
''when I was onIy a chiId...
''that it's important to have
the right sentiments.
''If one had them,
one wouId be spared the worst.
''If one didn't have them,
one Iived in constant danger...
''and what peopIe caII 'the deviI'
wouId have you in his power.
''MercifuI God, is that how I am?''
She Iaid her head on her arms
and wept bitterIy.
l thought you might not keep your word.
Really, Geert! That's the least l can do.
Don't say that. lt's not always easy.
Sometimes one can't. Just think back.
l was expecting you back in Kessin,
after you'd rented the apartment...
and who didn't come? Effi.
That was something different.
Our life in Berlin is just beginning, Effi.
ln April, when we moved in...
the season was coming to an end.
We hardly had time to pay our calls.
And Woellersdorf...
the only person we know better...
is a bachelor unfortunately.
From June onward, everything's dead.
The lowered shutters...
tell you everything.
''Everyone's gone''...
regardless whether it's true or not.
what was left?
A chat with cousin Briest...
dinner at Hiller's...
That's not real Berlin life.
But now things will change.
l've noted the names of all top officials
who are active enough to entertain.
We shall entertain, too.
And when winter comes,
the whole ministry should be saying:
''The most charming woman in our circle...
''is the wife of lnnstetten.''
Oh, Geert, l hardly know you like this.
You're talking like a ladies' man.
lt's our wedding anniversary.
You must allow me that.
First and foremost, Crampas...
Major Crampas, quite the beau...
and something of a Barbarossa
to whom my wife...
understandably or not...
had taken a liking.
Let's say ''understandably''...
because l assume he was chairman
of the club and playing a role...
the lover or bon vivant.
Perhaps something even grander.
He may have been a tenor, too.
A second year passed...
and when a new foundation
was estabIished...
the empress chose
the ''privy counciIIor's wife''...
as a Iady-in-waiting.
At the court baII, the oId Kaiser
addressed appreciative words...
to the IoveIy young woman,
of whom he had heard so much.
Well then...
Schwalbach to begin with, let's say...
three weeks.
Then the same length of time in Ems.
During the cure in Ems,
your husband may join you.
ln other words...
three weeks' separation.
That's the best l can do for you, lnnstetten.
Tell me, Roswitha...
you're a Catholic.
Don't you ever go to confession?
Why not?
l used to go.
But l didn't confess the important things.
Didn't you ever feel it a relief...
to be able to unburden your soul?
No, ma'am.
l was afraid...
when my father went for me
with the red-hot iron.
l was scared to death...
but it wasn't more than that.
You have no fear of God?
No, ma'am.
lf you feared your father as much l did...
you wouldn't be so afraid of God.
l always thought God was good...
and would help a poor creature like me.
Let's see who gets up the stairs first.
lt's nothing, sir.
Annie fell on the stairs.
There, there!
Where were the letters?
Right at the bottom, sir.
Johanna, bring me a cup of coffee!
''Come to the dunes again this afternoon.
''We can taIk at Frau Adermann's pIace.
The house is isoIated enough.
''Stop worrying about everything.
We have our rights, too.
''Get that into your head,
and you wiII cease to be afraid.
''Life wouIdn't be worth Iiving if aII
the random ruIes had to be observed.
''The finest things Iie beyond them.
Learn to deIight in these things.''
I have asked you to come for two reasons.
To issue a chaIIenge on my behaIf...
and to act as my second in the dueI.
The first is not agreeabIe,
the second even Iess so.
And what is your answer?
You know l am at your service.
But before l know more,
forgive a naive question.
Does it have to be?
We're both too old...
you to take a pistol in the hand...
and l to assist you in the deed.
Don't misunderstand me.
That doesn't mean l'm saying no.
How could l refuse you anything?
But tell me what it's all about?
lt concerns a suitor of my wife...
who was also a friend of mine, or almost.
That's impossible!
lt's not only possible, it's a fact.
Read these!
Addressed to your wife?
l found them in her sewing table.
-And who wrote them?
-Major Crampas.
Then these things happened
when you were still in Kessin...
-six or more years ago?
It seems aImost, WuIIersdorf...
as if those 6 or 7 years
make you think differentIy.
There is a theory of Iimitations, of course...
but I'm not sure this is a case
where that theory can be appIied.
I don't know either.
But everything wouId seem
to turn on that question.
Are you serious?
AbsoIuteIy serious.
It's not a matter of jeu d'esprit...
or for sophistry.
What do you mean by that?
Tell me frankly. How do you see the matter?
You're in a terrible situation.
Your happiness is destroyed.
But if you kill the lover...
your happiness will be doubly destroyed.
The pain you have suffered...
will be compounded
by the pain you have caused.
lt all turns on the question,
do you have to do it?
Do you feel so injured, insulted, incensed...
that one of you must die, he or you?
ls that the position?
l don't know.
You have to know.
No, that's not how it is.
How is it then?
The thing is...
I'm desperateIy unhappy.
I've been injured and shamefuIIy deceived.
I harbour no feeIings of hatred.
I don't even thirst for revenge.
And if l ask myself why not...
all l can say is, the time that has passed.
People always talk about inexpiable guilt.
ln God's eyes, that is wrong,
and in man's eyes, too.
l would never have believed
that time could have such an effect.
What is more...
l love my wife.
Strange as it may seem, l still love her...
and however terrible l find these things...
I am so captivated by her good nature...
and her own serene charm...
that, in spite of myseIf,
in my heart of hearts...
I'm incIined to forgive her.
Can understand you entirely.
Might feel the same way myself.
But if that's how you feel, and you say:
''l love this woman so much
l can forgive everything''...
and if one considers
that this happened long, long ago...
like something on a distant star...
if that's the case, lnnstetten, l ask you...
does it have to be?
What's the good of it?
lt has to be done.
l've looked at it all ways.
One does not live alone.
One is part of a larger whole.
And we always have
to bear the whole in mind.
We are entirely dependent on it.
lf l lived in isolation,
l could drop the matter.
l would bear the burden assigned to me.
My happiness would be over, but...
so many have to live without happiness...
and l would have to as well, and l could.
One does not have to be happy.
Least of all, one has a right to be.
One wouldn't need to remove
from the world the person...
who has robbed us of our happiness.
One could also...
let him go free,
if one turned one's back on the world.
in living together in society,
a certain something has evolved.
lt simply exists...
and we're accustomed
to judging everything by its rules.
and ourselves.
One cannot contravene them...
without society despising us.
We wouId come to despise ourseIves, too...
and uItimateIy bIow our brains out.
Forgive my holding forth like this
and merely saying...
what everyone has said
to himself a hundred times.
But then...
who can really say anything new?
I repeat...
it's not a matter of hatred
or personaI happiness.
That tyrannicaI sociaI eIement...
is not concerned with charm or Iove...
or the Iapse of time.
I have no choice.
I simpIy have to.
I'm not so sure, Innstetten.
You must decide, WuIIersdorf.
It's ten o'cIock now.
Six hours ago, I admit...
I stiII had a free hand.
There was stiII a way out.
But not any Ionger. I'm in a bIind aIIey.
I've onIy myseIf to bIame, you might say.
l should have been more on my guard,
kept everything to myself...
fought it out in my own heart.
But it all came too suddenly
for me to give myself the blame...
for not having kept my nerves under control.
l went to your place and wrote you a note...
and in doing so relinquished control.
From that moment...
someone else was half-aware
of my misfortune...
and, more importantly,
of the stain on my honour...
and with this discussion,
that person is now fully aware.
And since there is such a person...
there's no going back.
I wouIdn't say that.
I don't Iike using trite phrases...
but I know no better way of putting it.
l'll be as silent as the grave.
That's what people always say.
But there's no such thing as secrecy.
You may be the soul of discretion...
but you know about it...
and the fact that you express
your consent and understanding...
does not save me from you.
l am, and l remain...
from this moment on,
an object of your sympathy.
Every word you hear me say to my wife
is subject to your control.
lf my wife talks about being faithful...
or, as women do...
sits in judgement over others...
l shan't know where to look.
Or suppose l urge...
reconciliation in some
everyday affair of honour...
because no ill intent is involved.
A smile will cross your face...
or it will twitch, at least...
and in your heart you'll say,
''Good old lnnstetten...
''has a passion for analysing
the chemical content of all insults...
''but he never finds the precise amount
of poison they contain.
''He can swallow anything.''
Am l right, or not?
lt's a terrible thought, but you're right.
l'll stop asking, ''Does it have to be?''
The world is as it is.
Things don't work out as we want them to,
but as others want.
All that talk about divine punishment...
is nonsense, of course.
On the contrary...
our cult of honour is idolatry...
but we have to submit to it,
as long as the idol stands.
Crampas wishes
to speak with you, lnnstetten.
Grant him his wish.
He has only a few minutes to live.
Will you....
-How is Annie?
-She's well, sir.
-She's not asleep if you--
-No, that'll only excite her.
-Who was here?
-Only the doctor.
''Arrived back this morning.
''Many experiences,
both painfuI and touching...
''above aII GieshuebIer,
the nicest hunchback I've ever met.
''He didn't speak much of you.
But your wife, your wife!
''He was inconsoIabIe.
''FinaIIy, he burst into tears.
The things that happen!
''There shouId be
more peopIe Iike GieshuebIer.
''Then the scene in the major's house!
''Enough said. One is on one's guard again.
''I'II see you tomorrow. Yours, W.''
Another thing, Johanna...
my wife will not be coming back.
You will find out why from others.
Annie should not be told.
Not yet, at least, poor child!
Break it to her gradually
that she has no mother.
l can't do it. Do it properly...
and make sure Roswitha
doesn't ruin everything!
Back in the kitchen...
she feIt a sense of pride
and superiority, aImost happiness.
Not onIy had her master confided in her...
he had toId her to make sure
Roswitha didn't ruin everything.
That was the main thing.
AIthough she had a good heart...
and feIt sympathy for her mistress...
what most moved her
was the sense of triumph...
at enjoying a certain
intimacy with her master.
The things these papers write!
and people read it...
and say nasty things about my mistress.
And the poor major's dead, too.
-Should the master be dead instead?
-No, Johanna.
Our master should live.
Everyone should live.
But don't forget...
it all happened so long ago.
The letters are yellow with age.
-How can anyone dig up--
-That's how you see it, Roswitha.
''As for your future, my dear Effi,
you are on your own now.
''You may count on
some materiaI support from us.
''Live in BerIin,
where you'II be one of the many...
''who have deprived themseIves
of air and sunIight.
''It wiII be a IoneIy Iife if you don't
want to descend beIow your cIass.
''Your former worId wiII be cIosed to you.
''The saddest thing for aII of us...
''is that you wiII aIso be excIuded
from your parentaI home.
''We cannot offer you a refuge
in Hohen-Cremmen...
''for that wouId mean...
''cutting ourseIves off from the worId...
''which we are not prepared to do.
''Not because we couIdn't bear to bid
fareweII to what one caIIs 'society.'
''No, that's not the reason.
''But we have to make our position cIear...
''and show the worId
that we condemn your actions...
''the actions of our one and onIy daughter
whom we Iove so dearIy.''
After receiving her parent's
Ietter of refusaI...
and taking the train back to BerIin...
Effi did not at first
move into an apartment of her own.
She sought Iodgings in a boarding house
with reasonabIe success.
Do you remember how Gieshuebler came
and had to join us at table...
and said he'd never eaten
anything so delicious?
He was always so well-mannered.
ln fact, he was the only person
who knew anything about food.
The others said everything was nice.
Have you thought it over?
You've had it good all these years.
There was always enough.
We never had to think about saving.
But now l have to economize.
l am poor.
All l have is what l receive
from Hohen-Cremmen.
My parents are very good to me...
as far as their means allow...
but they're not wealthy.
What do you say?
May l move in next Saturday
with my suitcase?
Not in the evening.
ln the morning, so as to be here
when you arrange the household.
l'm more robust than you are, ma'am.
Don't say that, Roswitha. l can do it.
One can do anything if one has to.
And you needn't worry about me.
As if l could ever think:
''That's not good enough for Roswitha.''
For Roswitha, everything is good...
that she can share with you...
and most of all the sad things.
One day, coming from her
painting Iessons near the zoo...
she got on a horse-drawn tram
passing aIong Kurfuerstenstrasse.
It was very hot...
and the curtains, fIapping to and fro
and biIIowing in the breeze...
refreshed her.
She Ieaned back in the corner...
and Iooked at the sofas enameIIed
on a pane of gIass...
bIue, with bobs and tasseIs.
The tram was moving sIowIy...
when three schooIgirIs with satcheIs
and IittIe pointed hats jumped on.
Two of them were fair-haired and IiveIy.
The third was dark and serious.
It was Annie.
Effi started. The thought of
a meeting with her chiId...
which she had Iong desired...
now fiIIed her with mortaI fear.
What shouId she do?
She opened the door to the front pIatform,
where onIy the driver stood...
and asked him to Iet her get off at the front.
''Not aIIowed, miss, '' the driver said...
but she gave him a coin
and such a pIeading Iook...
that the good-hearted man
reIented and muttered.:
''ShouIdn't reaIIy,
but aII right, just this once.''
And he removed the grating,
and Effi jumped down.
She's half one and half the other.
ln her prettiness, her specialness...
she takes after her mother...
but she has her seriousness...
from her father.
All things considered,
she's probably more like the master.
Thank goodness!
Well, ma'am, that's the question.
Many would be more
in favour of the mother.
You think so, Roswitha?
l don't.
You can't pull the wool over my eyes...
and l think my mistress knows
the truth of the matter...
and what men really want.
Let's not talk about that, Roswitha!
Effi was oppressed by the notion...
of having run away from her own chiId.
''l'm delighted to be able
to tell you the good news.
''lt worked out as we hoped.
Your husband is a man of the world...
''and would not refuse a lady's request.
''At the same time,
l should not conceal the fact from you.
''His consent was evidently
not in accordance...
''with what he considered wise and proper.
''But let's not find fault
when we should be rejoicing.
''lt was agreed that your Annie
should visit you at lunch time.
''May your reunion
stand under a lucky star.''
One makes the bed one Iies on,
and I wish to change nothing in my Iife.
It is right as it is. It was my own doing.
But the situation with my chiId is too hard.
I wish to see her from time to time...
not furtiveIy or in secret...
but with the consent of aII those concerned.
Annie, darling, how glad l am.
Come and tell me about yourself!
How you've grown!
And that's the scar?
Roswitha told me about it.
You were always so wild when you played.
You take after your mother in that.
She was just the same.
How are things at school?
You look as if you were
always first in your class...
a model pupil...
who always has the best grades.
-What are you best at?
-l don't know.
Oh, you must know.
Everyone knows that.
What do you get the best marks in?
-ln religious instruction.
-There, you see. You do know.
That's good.
l wasn't so good at that...
but that may have been the teacher.
We only had an ordinand.
We had an ordinand, too.
Has he left now?
Why did he leave?
l don't know.
We have the preacher again now.
Whom you all like?
Yes. Two girls in the first class
want to convert.
l see.
That's good.
And how is Johanna?
Johanna brought me here.
l shouldn't keep her waiting too long.
You're very considerate,
and l suppose l should be glad.
lt's all a matter of apportioning things.
Now tell me how Rollo is.
Rollo's very well.
But Papa says he's getting lazy,
always lying in the sun.
l can believe it.
He was like that when you were very young.
Tell me, Annie...
-will you come and see me often?
-Certainly, if l may.
We could go for a stroll
in Prince Albert Gardens.
Certainly, if l may.
Or go to Schilling's and eat ice cream.
Pineapple and vanilla were your favourites.
Certainly, if l may.
l think it's time for you to go.
Johanna will be getting impatient.
Roswitha, go with Annie
as far as the church!
Johanna's waiting there.
Let's hope she hasn't caught cold.
Give my regards to Johanna.
Oh, God in heaven,
forgive me for what l've done!
l was a child.
No, l wasn't a child anymore.
l was old enough to know what l was doing.
l don't want to diminish my guilt.
But this is too much!
What is happening with the child...
is not You, God, punishing me. lt is he...
and he alone.
And l thought he had a noble heart!
l always felt small beside him.
But now l know it's he...
who is small and petty.
And because he's petty, he's cruel.
Everything that's petty is cruel.
He taught the child to behave like that.
He was always a schoolmaster.
That's what Crampas called him...
sarcastically perhaps, but he was right.
''Certainly, if l may''!
You don't have to ask if you ''may'' anymore.
l don't want either of you.
l hate you both...
even my own child.
Too much is too much!
He was ambitious...
and that was all.
Honour, honour, honour...
and then he shoots the poor man dead,
whom l didn't even love.
Nothing but stupidity...
and then blood...
and murder.
And l'm to blame.
Now he sends me my child...
because he can't refuse a minister's wife.
But before he sends her,
he trains her to answer like a parrot...
and teaches her to say, ''lf l may.''
What l did disgusts me...
but your virtuousness
disgusts me even more.
Be gone the pair of you!
l have to go on living...
but it won't be forever.
When RummschuetteI was caIIed...
he was concerned about Effi's condition.
The hectic state
he had observed for some time...
seemed more pronounced than before.
''But it must be at Hohen-Cremmen.
''To regain her heaIth, your daughter
needs more than just a change of air.
''She's pining away. AII she has is Roswitha.
''LoyaI service is good,
but parentaI Iove is better.
''Forgive an oId man interfering in matters...
''that are no concern of a doctor.
''And yet, it is as a doctor
that I write to you...
''and make these demands
out of a sense of duty.
''I've seen so much of Iife....''
...l love her at least as much as you do.
Each in his own way.
But we're not here just to be
kind and understanding...
towards things that are
against laws and commandments...
and that society condemns...
and rightly condemns at present.
-One thing counts above all else.
-Of course one thing really counts.
But what is it?
The love of parents for their children.
Even if there's only one.
Then that's the end of...
and morality...
and the claims of society?
lt's hard to get along without society.
Without one's child, too.
It was determined that Annie...
wouId inherit Hohen-Cremmen.
Effi's spirits revived, and her mother,
who was not averse...
to regarding the matter
as an interesting, but painfuI, incident...
vied with her husband in showering
Iove and attention on their daughter.
Pastor Niemeyer!
Effi! You're the same as ever!
No, no.
That all belongs to the past.
l just wanted to try it out once more.
How wonderful it was!
How stimulating the air!
lt was like flying up to heaven.
Shall l ever go there?
Tell me, dear friend. You should know.
-Yes, Effi.
You will.
''l'm afraid, Roswitha,
because l'm all alone here.
''But who should accompany me?
Rollo? Yes.
''He bears me no grudge.
That's the good thing about animals.
''Those were my mistress's words.
l'll say no more.
''Please remember me to little Annie
and to Johanna as well.
''Your obedient servant...
''Roswitha Gellenhagen.''
We could learn something from her.
l think so, too.
That's why everything else
seems so questionable to you.
lt's been on my mind a long time,
and these simple words...
with their conscious...
or perhaps unconscious
hint of accusation...
have completely unsettled me.
lt's been tormenting me for some time.
l want to free myself of this whole business.
Nothing gives me pleasure anymore.
The more distinctions l gain,
the more meaningless it all seems.
l've messed up my life.
May was IoveIy. June even IoveIier.
Once Effi had overcome the heartache...
RoIIo's arrivaI aroused in her...
she was deIighted to have
the faithfuI creature with her again.
Roswitha was praised,
and Briest expressed to his wife...
his respect for Innstetten...
who was a perfect gentIeman, not petty...
and whose heart was in the right pIace.
''A pity that stupid affair had to happen!
''They were the perfect coupIe.''
What a glorious summer!
l should never have thought
a year ago that l could be so happy.
Just get well again!
Happiness will come.
Not past happiness, but a new one.
There are many types of happiness.
You'll see, we'll find something for you.
The summer passed...
and the nights with
shooting stars were over.
On these nights,
Effi had sat Iong at her window...
never tired of watching.
''I never was a very good Christian,
but perhaps we do come from up there...
''and when it's aII over here,
we'II return to our heavenIy home...
''to the stars up there, or beyond.
''I don't know, and I don't want to know.
''I simpIy feeI a Ionging....''
You wanted to tell me something.
Yes, because you spoke
of my being still very young.
Of course l'm young.
But that makes no difference.
ln happier days, lnnstetten
would read to me in the evening.
He had some fine books...
and in one of them there was the story...
of a man being called away
from a festive table.
On the following day, the man asked...
what had happened after he'd left.
He received the reply:
''Oh, all sorts of things...
''but you didn't really miss anything.''
You see, Mama,
those words stuck in my mind.
lt doesn't matter if one's called away
from the table earlier than others.
And since l mentioned
old times and lnnstetten...
l must tell you something else.
You're exciting yourself, Effi.
No. Getting something off one's mind...
doesn't excite one. lt's calming.
l wanted to tell you, Mama...
l shall die reconciled
with God and mankind...
with him, too.
Did you feel such bitterness
in your heart towards him?
ln a way...
forgive my saying this now...
you really brought
these sorrows on yourself.
Yes, sadly enough.
But when misfortune befell me...
and finally there was
that business with Annie...
if l may use the absurd expression...
l simply turned the tables...
and convinced myself he was to blame...
because he was sober and calculating
and cruel, too, in the end.
l cursed him.
And now it weighs on your conscience?
Yes, and l want him to know...
that during the days l've been ill...
which have been almost
the loveliest days of my life...
l've come to see...
that he was right in everything.
ln the matter concerning
poor Major Crampas...
what else could he have done?
The thing with which he hurt me most...
was the way he raised...
my own child against me.
But as much as it grieves me...
as hard as it affects me...
he was right in that, too.
Let him know l died convinced of that.
lt will console him, give him new heart,
reconcile him perhaps.
For there was a lot of good in his nature...
and he was as fine a man
as anyone can be...
who doesn't know true love.
A smaII change had occurred
in the circuIar fIowerbed.
The sundiaI was gone,
and its pIace had been taken...
by a white marbIe sIab...
which bore onIy the words ''Effi Briest''...
with a cross beneath.
That was Effi's Iast request.
''I'd Iike to have
my oId name on my gravestone...
''I did no honour to my other name.''
And her request was granted.
Look, Briest...
Rollo's lying by the stone again.
lt has affected him more deeply than us.
He won't eat a thing.
Yes, Luise, these creatures!
That's what l always say...
we're not as remarkable as we think.
We talk about instinct...
and in the end, it's the best thing.
Not a day has passed,
since she was buried there...
-without these questions arising.
-What questions?
Whether we're not perhaps to blame?
Nonsense, Luise!
What do you mean?
Whether we shouldn't
have been stricter with her.
We most of all.
Niemeyer is useless really...
because he casts doubt on everything.
And then, Briest...
l'm sorry to have to say it,
your constant equivocation.
Finally, l ask myself...
since l don't wish to remain
blameless in this matter...
whether she wasn't perhaps too young?
Oh, Luise, don't go on.
That's much too vast a subject.