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Chapter XVII

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

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Summary

And now the last weeks of the holidays approached, and they were different from the bright beginning. In the narrow space of the fisherman’s cottage, each lived through them, but so entirely alone.

Only for Gitta did those days, right to the end, reveal a life of splendor of which she had never dared dream.

She had no doubts at all: even the stupor of the first days at the shore could mean nothing less than that her whole soul had escaped into the sea, and her poor body had to stand by and watch, as it moved farther from her with each wave. Yet that didn't matter, for it was as if the sea knew everything that had ever lived within her. As if it returned to her, in enhanced form, what she had lost to it — particle by particle, her soul was coming back to her from the infinity into which it had disappeared. — “Are you singing for me? Are you singing me?” she asked, astonished and timid, as the waves, hastening to the shore out of the vast boundlessness, came roiling and foaming round her feet. But whatever they said to her, she could never hold fast to its song; it surged back into the tide — it remained the sea’s. When Gitta recalled how only a short time ago she had been so caught up with invented tales and even created the worst scandal over them, all that seemed far away and ludicrous. A thing of ink and paper, completed out on the heath, that now lay buried in her suitcase. It seemed to her like some fossilized thing in the ocean, ancient and quite unremarkable. Never could she forget how, sand-grain small, it had sunk into the immeasurable vastness.

In comparison, wasn't something else sand-grain small, namely what had driven her into love — and away from it? She did not know. Only that she was no longer carrying any of that around with her, not even in her suitcase. So perhaps it was not the same soul that had disappeared into the sea and now returned to her.

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Anneliese's House , pp. 167 - 176
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2021

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