Lady Harriet Jephson


Altheim, Germany

A letter at last! but only one from the American Consul at Frankfort, saying that the Foreign Office wanted to know my whereabouts as several friends had inquired about me and my safety. I can’t imagine why, when America rescued her stranded citizens long ago, and sent them money to get home, we should be suffering like this. Nothing more about the phantom train! Our nerves are becoming wrought up, and we are developing unexpectedly irritable and argumentative natures. The weather is amazingly windy and horribly cold, one shivers in summer garments, and cannot afford to buy warmer things. A leading article in the “Frankfurter Zeitung” gives us a grain of comfort, since it is headed “Geduld und Zuversicht” (patience and confidence), and begins,

“In consequence of the victorious news of the first weeks, those remaining at home had become[52] accustomed to constant victories, and the pause in the news of the battlefield of the West is a great trial of patience.” Long may that trial last! On the whole we ought to be thankful that we are in Hesse and not in Prussia. The Hessians are a simple, kindly people, pleasant, and good tempered. I have known Germany well for eighteen years. When first we travelled in the Fatherland I found each Duchy, or Kingdom, or Principality, devoted to its own particular Ruler, and little outside it mattered to its people. Nowadays there are no Hessians or Würtembergers, not even Saxons or Bavarians, but all are Germans, and for one photograph of the Grand Duke of Hesse and his Duchess you will see here one hundred of “Unser Kaiser” and “Unsere Kaiserin.” They have become Imperialists, and the ambitious spirit which animates them is shown by the act of a soldier at Liège who chalked up on a wall: “Kaiser Wilhelm the Second, Emperor of Europe.”

I have now 2d. left in the world, and have not taken my inhalation for two days, not being able to pay for it. The money I telegraphed for has not yet come, and life seems very difficult! I think of the old lines:

“‘Tis a very good world we live in,  To lend, or to spend, or to give in;  But to beg, or to borrow, or get a man’s own,  ‘Tis the very worst world that ever was known.”

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