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Chapter XVIII

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

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Summary

Once again Anneliese found herself on her way to see her husband. But the walk to the clinics was a long one, and she felt weary. As she approached the parklands that ran from the hillside woods into the city, she told herself it would be more sensible to stop at Gitta's first.

She went slowly, lost in thought. These days she often recalled how it had been carrying the other children. What a powerful experience she had with Gitta! Still nearly a child herself, devoting all her strength to her future in music, then suddenly torn from that path by love, she found the desire for a child something foreign to her. Then, one mild summer night, a few months before her delivery, the holiest of insights dawned upon her: he who is sleeping beside you is your husband, but also your child — you are his wife, but also his mother. A rush of music went through her soul like the sound of eternity, wedding it to the eternal.

Then Balder came along — with what jubilant readiness, almost overconfidence, they greeted his arrival! Even though they were living hand-to-mouth, it still seemed he had landed in a veritable fairytale cradle of gold brocade and jewels, with all the good fairies invited as guests and no evil ones abroad in the world. Of course, the young parents soon gained more prudence and experience, and their store of the world's good bounty grew — but it always seemed to Anneliese that, without a little of the blessed, otherworldly abundance that embraced her children like the music of the spheres, like fairy magic, a new little creature was bereft of the barest necessities — a child of poor folk.

Coming from the bright, autumn coolness under the bare trees of Villenstraße into the Mandelsteins’, she felt dizzy and was seeing stars and sunbursts. A child of poor folk, she thought, and felt lightheaded, just as a startled Markus realized what was happening and caught her, before she fainted. She recovered on the divan in his study, and he insisted she stay and rest.

Gitta was not at home. Markus was sitting at his chess board, playing against himself.

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Anneliese's House , pp. 177 - 188
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2021

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