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The passivity of her husband had been the thing that irked Amalia most throughout their ten-year marriage. When a neighbour had planted a row of cypress trees at the border of their estates, Georg had shrugged it off. We have more than enough land, he’d reasoned, what is a few hundred feet to us? When their eldest daughter had complained that her pianoforte lessons were too difficult, Georg had indulged her, and allowed her to leave off. No point in making the poor child miserable for an accomplishment that’s purely decorative, he’d smiled. He hadn’t minded her decorative accomplishments, Amalia had fumed.
Which was why she was so shocked when Georg had turned up at her brother’s house in Vienna, the week of her planned liaison with Captain Muller. George proceeded to spend the week attending to Amalia’s every whim, dancing until their feet were sore, riding out with her in her sister-in-law’s carriage, even reading poetry with her in the library, until Amalia quite forgot all about Fritz and his lasciviously curling golden locks. Georg had begun to reveal shades of the man he’d been when they first married married, and Amalia’s curiosity had grown until it was a pleasure to spend time with him.
On their last day, the men decided to get up a shooting party. The women protested – it was foggy, the season was almost over, why traipse into the country for the dregs? Captain Muller was injured, and carried home screaming and thrashing in a manner most unbefitting an army captain suffering a mere flesh wound. Amalia felt more than a little repelled by his behaviour, and watched anxiously for her husband.
‘What a horrid accident,’ remarked Amalia absent-mindedly, as she and Georg climbed into their carriage for the station.
‘It was certainly horrid, that’s for sure,’ replied her husband.
Amalia laughed as she settled herself amongst her furs. ‘Why, Georg, whatever do you – ’
Georg fixed his young wife with a grim stare, and she stopped laughing.