Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Effi Briest

Kruse had already taken the horses back a hundred yards and hoped by working up to a good speed to be able to get the sleigh across; but the moment the horses just touched the Schloon, they sank up to their fetlocks in the sand and it was only with great difficulty that they managed to back out again.

‘Impossible,’ Crampas said and Kruse nodded.

Whilst all this was going on the carriages had finally arrived, the Grasenabb's in the lead, and once Sidonie, with a brief word of thanks to Effi, had taken her rear seat, opposite her father, who was smoking his Turkish pipe, the carriage headed for the Schloon without further ado; the horses sank in deep but the wheels allowed them to overcome the danger easily and within half a minute the Grasenabbs were trotting along on the other side. The other carriages followed and it was not without some envy that Effi watched them go. But not for long, for by this time a solution had been found for those in the sleighs; Innstetten had simply given up all idea of forcing a crossing and decided on the more tranquil alternative of a detour. That is, precisely what Sidonie had predicted from the start. From the right came the Landrat's clear instruction to stay on that side for the time being and to follow him through the dunes to a wooden bridge farther upstream. Once both drivers, Kruse and Knut, had been given their instructions, the Major, who had got down from the sleigh with Sidonie in order to help her, came back to Effi and said, ‘I cannot leave you by yourself, Frau Baronin.’

For a moment Effi was uncertain what to do, but then she quickly moved over to the other side and Crampas got in and sat on her left.

All this could perhaps have been misinterpreted but Crampas knew women too well simply to feel flattered by it. He clearly saw that Effi's reaction was the only right thing to do, given the way things stood. It was impossible for her to refuse to allow him into the sleigh. And so they flew along behind the other two, always close beside the watercourse with the dark mass of trees towering up on the other bank. Effi looked across, assuming that later on the ride would continue along the landward edge of the woods, that is on the same track they had taken in the afternoon. But in the meantime Innstetten had formed a different plan and immediately his sleigh had crossed the wooden bridge instead of choosing the route outside the woods he turned onto a narrower track that went through the middle of the dense mass of trees. Effi started in fright. Until then there had been light and air all around but now that was gone and the dark crowns of the trees were bending over her. She started to shiver and clasped her fingers tight together to keep herself under control. Thoughts and images flashed through her mind and one of those images was the old woman in the poem called ‘God’s Wall’ and just like the old woman she now prayed that God would build a wall round her. She muttered it two or three times but all at once she felt they were empty words. She was afraid yet at the same time was under a spell she didn't want to break.

‘Effi.’ The word was whispered softly in her ear and she could hear that his voice was trembling. Then he took her hand and released her fingers, that she was still clutching tight, and covered them with hot kisses. She felt she was about to faint. When she opened her eyes again, they were out of the woods and not far in front she could hear the jingle of the sleighs racing along ahead of them. It became more and more audible and when, just before Utpatel's mill, they turned off the dunes, the little houses with their snow-covered roofs were either side of them.

Effi looked round and one moment later the sleigh had stopped outside Innstetten's house.