Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
The small addition with a wooden veranda, above the “trunk room,” was next to Branhardt's study, separated from it by a double door and fitted with large, multi-paned sash windows that let in the sunshine from all sides and afforded a lovely view of the hills across the valley. Plants spent the winter there on boards and benches, and there was a small iron stove for them. Beside it, a door opened out onto the roofed veranda — just big enough for one comfortable armchair — from which a wooden stairway dropped steeply into the garden.
Anneliese thought this should be Balduin's domain during the day, and since they were expecting his return tomorrow, she was getting it ready for him. She had the plants and most of the racks removed and his books placed on the main shelf. She went over the pale-green oil paint of the walls with a moist cloth, covered the old garden table with dark-green baize, drew some polka-dot muslin along the lower windowpanes, and then brought in a few wicker chairs kept on the balcony in the summer. That left no room for a bed.
Yet, as she worked at making the room pleasant and comfortable, she quietly wished this were not necessary. She admitted to herself how much she longed for a son who would stand by her, cheerful and strong, in the bloom of manhood — his father's youthful mirror, and one day, the “support in old age” one routinely wishes for.
Was it natural that she had to be so anxious about shielding him from disturbances? That she was already worried that his bedroom next to theirs was too close to the stairway and all the comings and goings? It was also too close to the guest room, for which a visitor had just announced herself: Renate, a friend of Anneliese since childhood, who was rather lively in manner and generally expected more consideration than she was inclined to show.
As fresh as Anneliese's heart had been when she began her work, such reflections had tired her by the time she went upstairs to dust herself off and remove her apron.