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Chapter XIV

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

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Summary

Everything at the Mandelsteins’ was topsy-turvy, or so it seemed to Thesi. The bells that summoned her didn't start as early in the morning anymore. Holidays had begun, but nowhere to such an extent as at the Mandelsteins’.

The father-in-law complained about his son-in-law. Branhardt was sorry Markus now had little to contribute to their professional interests and discussions. “Which shows again why doctors shouldn't marry!” Branhardt concluded, with a favorite maxim he used only when he was most convinced of the opposite. Anneliese was pleased, too, since she had always hoped Gitta might have some real newlywed bliss. But then one day she found her daughter weeping more bitterly than ever before — and was relieved to learn that her tears were the result of childish grief. Bending her head over the flame of the gas stove, Gitta had come within a hair's breadth of going completely up in flames. Only the crown of her Madonna-like hairstyle was burned, on the right side — down to the skin. The young girl of before would have endured the loss with better humor than the young woman did now, thought Anneliese, watching Gitta's stunned misery. She wrapped the poor victim in her peignoir, sat her down at the vanity table, and contrived clever ways of at least concealing the worst damage. Markus wouldn't look so closely, she consoled her daughter — men were happy to be deceived about that sort of thing in their own best interests, and that cheered Gitta up again. Unfortunately, things took a different turn. While Anneliese was called away to do something downstairs for her tearful, singed daughter, Markus came home. Returning, Anneliese saw the two of them standing face-to-face — and both in tears. Markus was stamping almost rhythmically on the floor. Gitta had squinted her eyes tight, as if otherwise she’d be looking at her own head, for she saw herself in his face!

Anneliese froze. Was that a man? Or was it a boy crying over a broken toy? Didn't it occur to him at all that his wife had escaped a terrible fate? Didn't it occur to him that the first thing to do was to help her get over it?

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Anneliese's House , pp. 135 - 146
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2021

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