Helene von Mauthner's Letters
To Her Brother-in-Law
August 13, 1915
As an Austrian I read Hedwig's amiable essay with particular pleasure. She is night with all she says, but I had not really been conscious of it. In a way Baden is in this respect a "Klein-Wien": mosaics, pictures, celebrations in the park and similar events. Everyone loves to give as much as possible and indeed an enormous amount is collected. In the streets - and mine is very short and runs only to the bathing establishment - one meets many invalids who are delighted with a few cigarettes. I already have a few close friends among them.
Stefan is inspection officer in a large hospital - Invalidenschule - it is probably the most interesting of all these institutions. Invalids are either re-trained in their old profession or trained in new ones. It is incredible how much is done in this respect: one-armed tailors, carpenters and teachers do an excellent job and the prostheses are not only very well designed and deceptive, but the invalids are instructed to fix any defects, so that later on in the provinces they are not dependent on the help of others. In the next few weeks I will send Hedwig a memorial coin that they produce here that might interest her.
The most unpleasant things made it impossible to finish this letter, but first of all I want to answer your letter that arrived in the meantime. I have not seen Ernst or a member of his family for a long time and think they would be the only ones to know about the events you mention. But reading between the lines, it simply breaks my heart. But I will keep silent until I know more about it and hope that Ernst will visit me soon. I will only press your hand - enough for today.
Marianne who is highly anaemic has gone to Franzensbad for three weeks and Stefanie used the occasion to come down with an infection of the glands and a high fever. The fever is gone, but she is still in bed. Richard visited me yesterday, he has been appointed Director of a Cracow dairy and was in Vienna to order machinery. He likes the work very much and enjoys it a great deal. Liesel is better but will have to be careful for a long time. She rented a furnished apartment in Vienna for a year and will spend the winter there with the child.
It's quite possible that Ernst and Erich will meet one day; Erich now lives near the sea. In the last weeks each new day brought us a fortress - but even so I would be happy, if the bells of peace would ring. But that does not prevent my rejoicing with everybody else.
The harvest in Johrnsdorf suffers from the weather, but all in all it is pretty good; of course, Richard is greatly missed. I gave the bank note you sent me to a poor invalid. I should love to listen, unseen, when you chat with your eighty-two-year-old.
I hope your shoulder is healed; for me, no change since I last wrote.
All the best to you and Hedwig from your Helene
Vienna, Sanitorium Dr. Löwe
November 16, 1915
Another birthday in wartime. Since I do not want you to take any notice of mine, I wish you today the one thing that every German desires - and not only on a birthday - a beautiful proud peace and good health.
Marianne continues to improve, but it all takes a long time - we have already been in the sanatorium for two weeks.
Be well both of you and warm hugs from your Helene
November 30, 1915
Tomorrow three days will have passed since we returned home. lf I wanted to say that I am very satisfied with Marianne's health, I would have to lie. Every day is different - but she is still very weak and never without pain: I myself have not seen her since our return because I came down with the flu when we returned home; fortunately not a bad case. One has to be so careful with Marianne that I did not dare go upstairs, afraid that she might catch the flu from me. Erich has been ill with a bronchial catarrh, his third, for three weeks now.
However, I can report only the best news about Ernst who arrived on the twentieth. Although he has lost a lot of weight he looks marvellous, is always cheerful and his appetite is excellent. Richard who was here for a day and a half, unfortunately does not look well at all, but since he is healthy and likes his work, I have to be content. I think you will both understand that I am not in the proper mood to write when I have so many worries.
The presence of your Kaiser caused Vienna to have flags up everywhere - this homage is spontaneous and not due to government decree.
And how are you - is Hedwig really serious about Constantinople - would you consider accompanying her?
Warmest wishes, your Helene
December 7, 1915
Can you believe it - yesterday I received your dear wire of November 27, with the notice - delayed by the war. My belated thanks; such good wishes I accept even on November 22nd with pleasure. I have not heard from you for a long time and am rather uneasy about it. Did you get my little picture?
The bright spot in my life is Ernst - he looks marvellous, is cheerful and has become more manly his leave ends tomorrow night. Marianne still spends more time in bed than out which is not very good news. News from Richard is pretty good, but Erich's is unpleasant - he suffers from bronchial catarrh, as the climate at Duttole does not agree with him. But, although he is housebound, he gets no leave. Lilli's nerves cannot take all the unfavourable news and the state of her health is poor. I have a bad cough, but I try to ignore it and my ability to walk is improving.
Ernst has the usual house detention and Malwine is so overburdened with work at home and in the hospital that I am afraid she might suddenly collapse. The house is very quiet now; only Georg is still at home, but he is due to go soon. Ernst is alone much of the time.
What about Hedwig's plans for a trip to the Orient - would you accompany her? What does Gretl write?
Keep well both of you, your Helene
I just got this letter back, since I had closed it by mistake! At the same time I received your letter of the twenty-third and a postcard of the thirtieth. It is true that Malwine will be sixty on February 20 we are only a few weeks apart (what German!). You do not mention any plans.
Again all the best
Malwine declared categorically that she wants no celebration of her sixtieth. But I'm not so sure. If I get some insight, one way or the other, I will write immediately.
February 12, 1916
Your request will be taken care of promptly, assuming that the pictures get here. It is forbidden to send photos; I discovered that by my great regret recently when I sent a picture of Richard's boys to Helene. She received the letter, but not the photo. I had a good laugh about your generous proposal not to give me a present for my birthday. I already had my sixtieth in November and was really glad that hardly anyone knew about it. I am a sworn enemy of all celebrations and glad to have avoided the danger. Malwine also does not really want any presents; we will give her mostly things useful for the hospital. But I am sure she would be very pleased with a nice picture.
As to your "dog tragedy" I do understand that better than you seem to believe. I really do like dogs very much and can well understand how fond one can become of such a faithful animal. But if I knew that there is no further help, I would not want to prolong his life. Both Ernst and Erich now own stray dogs in the field; their former owners probably sleep the eternal sleep now. Ernst brought his dog home on his leave, he would have been a charming fox. Ernst's dog seems to be a dreadful mixture. Erich writes most cheerfully and his health is excellent. Ernst also is very well and sent us lots of photos, some better than others. For some time there were very serious avalanches. Usually he only sees patients from time to time and even has time for sport. Of course that can change any day. He seems very popular with the gentlemen in his regiment.
Richard and Liesel are in Johrnsdorf for two weeks, and I only hope that he will remain well. It does not make me feel any better that there are two cases of the pox among the billeted soldiers. Marianne - listen and marvel - will go with Stefan to Berlin for a few days; his office is sending him there for a few days to visit an exhibit of prostheses. While he is there, he will see Grete. I'm afraid it will be a great rush, but I am pleased for Marianne after the very hard winter.
I am surprised that you still worry about Marie never answering your letters; you have known her much longer than I have, but I stopped being surprised long ago. On the whole she is quite well. That she adds unnecessary worries to her real ones, lies in her nature, and she probably cannot do anything about it; her mother was just the same. Do you know that she will be seventy before long?
Gretl lived in your two rooms first; now they are in Hermann's possession - he is Richard's son. I am so very happy with my two little guests - there is nothing lovelier than a child's laughter in an otherwise so very quiet house. The little one looks just like Richard and is just as lively as he was as a youngster. His mouth never stands still and he makes the funniest remarks in his peculiar language. I go on vegetalins and am perhaps just a little bit better, but everything seems such a great effort. This winter is fabulously mild so that Hedwig really has no excuse for running a temperature. But the illness of her wonderful help will create more work for her than is good for her.
Enough for now! I embrace you both and remain faithfully, your Helene
Is there really a possibility that you could come to Vienna in the spring? In about ten days one of the apartments will be available. I just need one day for a thorough cleaning and then heart and doors will be wide open. I would be so very, very happy. The coffee - and I cannot spare you this blow - will not be as good this time as it used to be because we only have milk and no cream. But I suppose it is the same in your place and as a philosopher you will bear the disappointment with dignity.
March 25, 1916
My dear Fritz,
First of all my assurances - I do not consider you a nincompoop! Of course nothing puts one as much into a bad humour as stomach trouble; it often seems hard to think properly. As to doctors, I agree with you wholeheartedly, including Ernst, and yet, had I come into this world as a boy, it would have been the only profession for me. When I was young there were no female doctors and I do not think I was ready to be a pioneer. I hope you are all well again and your stomach troubles are a thing of the past. I read your "Mesmer" article which I assume was written recently, and I could not detect any weakness in it.
One thing in your letter made me very happy and moved me very much indeed: the way in which you speak of Hedwig and your life together. In the whole wide world she probably is the one woman made just for you. And since you both are very special people who perhaps do not always have an easy time living with others, it is all the more remarkable. I hope she is quite well again. I myself wish so much to get to know Hedwig better, for in spite of my great liking for her, in spite of reading her essays, I feel that I have seen so little of her, and certainly never in a leisurely way.
She is so special that one would hardly get to know her even then, but one might at least think so of course you know her truly.
The weather is so unusually mild that it may have made this worshipper of the sun well again. Winter never was her friend and at present she could flee for warmer climates. I am really quite well, but still have trouble moving my right leg. It is still impossible for me to go to the theatre or concerts, and I cannot ride a street car. I do dislike such an inactive life. I dislike always considering myself, but I just have to put up with lt. I feel that my intellectual interests also suffer from lt. I often realize that I have become very silent and that my thoughts wander - assuming that I still have some.
I have not heard from Ernstl since the 4th; Erich is still here and Richard is busy on the farm - he has four weeks of leave. In the fall the stork will visit Liesel again; night now she is quite miserable, thin as a shadow and not only because she is expecting. Marianne is reviving; her hair has turned white, but her face looks young - and even I must admit it - very pretty. Ernst has made a discovery which is being tried out right now; even if nothing should come of it, it will have given him a chance to be home for four weeks. My two grandsons are well, but Stefanie is too thin; I wish her health were steadier.
Anna is visiting the Ernstens right now. She looks better than during her last visit, but she certainly is not well yet.
Marie wants no presents or flowers or congratulations for her seventieth.* I take her wish seriously and am wniting to her already now, without mentioniing any congratulations.
Enough for today - faithfully, your old Helene
*She also wants no visitors. I will write to Hedwig soon.
Lilli is coming back next week; I heard that she sang wonderfully last week.
April 26, 1916
I am delighted to hear about the improvement in your health: in the future report more honestly about it and treat the doctors less politely. I hope that now that you are better you will feel young again - just the old Fritz!
Ernst senior is in Budapest with Franzi. In general he is very careful and speaks little, since he is always afraid that it might harm him. On the whole he is quite well, but very tired. Marie looks old and bent, but Helene looks well. Good news from the sons.
Will write again, Helene
June 26, 1916
I just received your card and am terrlibly upset about the illness of Gretl's daughter. What is the matter with the dear child? I know what a wonderful mother Gretl is and can well imagine her worry. Unfortunately I do not know her address and cannot write directly. Is it perhaps a consequence of last year's illness? I know that is was the heart that was in trouble, but I had thought it had all cleared up.
Erich received the II Signum Laudis; he got the first one a year and a half ago. He really seems to be a fearless, brave person. But he has been complaining for a long time about lack of occupation. One really should be pleased about this.
I am afraid that the excitement of these days will ruin your health again, but unfortunately nothing can be done about lt. I thank you for your kind words about the black and yellow flags to which I say, "Amen." from the bottom of my heart.
My dear old Fritz,
I no longer enjoy sending Happy Birthday greetings, but I do want to send you a sign of life and tell you that I am still as fond of you as ever, very fond indeed. I wish every day of the year that there is nothing more to ask for.
1 have been waiting to write to you until I had heard from you before answering your question; Emstl is about 2400 meters high in South Tyrol in a heavily fought for spot. I do not know the name of the place, but I do know that recently he had uninterrupted bloody work for two days and three nights - without pause. They seem to be very satisfied with him - the authorities have applied for a high distinction that they are planning to give him. lt is likely that he will not get it because he already has two medals, but I am pleased nevertheless. He is a smart and brave human being with great presence of mind. For three weeks he was assigned to the High Command where he substituted for the medical director. He is beautifully housed and well taken care of, but he counts the days until he can return to his battalion. On his way back he got into a bad snow storm and immediately had to work very hard to help the men who were frozen and buried in the snow. He is healthy and cheerful and loves his work.
Liesel is much better and slowly getting out a bit more. Richard will soon be sent to a new destination, but he does not know where they will send him. The kids are all well and cheerful, but I am worried about Lilli who has trouble sleeping and an irregular heartbeat.
I am quite satisfied with my self. I can finally take the street car again, although it still is not easy, but I am able to go out again in good weather. When I was in Baden I walked quite a lot.
How lovely it would be if we could meet again in Johrnsdorf, if people were no longer killing each other, if there were peace again. Will we live to see that day? Well, let us hope so.
I embrace you both and remain lovingly, your Helene - I hope you will continue to be well.
March 9, 1917
My dear Fritz,
Today I received your postcard with the good news of the improvement of Hedwig's health. She should not do too much in the hospital.
Thank you very much for your good wishes on the occasion of Ernst's promotion to Oberarzt. That had been in the cards for a while, but he really seems to be very hard working and able. The chief of staff seems to be very pleased with his work and the way he runs the hospital. He is quite well again and no longer exposed to avalanches as he was before. I can really be satisfied with this son. Richard, however, has a very bad catarrh again, but keeps working. Erich is coughing in Krems, while his home has become a veritable hospital. Lilli is down with tonsillitis, the nurse has influenza and the children are on the verge of getting sick, although they were kept away from all the ill people. I have been unable to visit, since I had a slight cough, but I hope to see them tomorrow. The Stefans seem well - there you have bulletins of the whole family.
The news of the death of Zeppelin caused gnief here too. I well remember our debates in Johrnsdorf about the harshness of the system and the deep impression that the first Zeppelin accident made on us. I would love to know about your literary contribution to the government - if the question is indiscreet, just do not answer.
Today it is sunny here, and I can well imagine how much good this will do to Hedwig. Unfortunately there is an icy wind, so that one cannot enjoy the sunshine. But eventually spring will arrive.
Warmest regards from the Stefanei and Richard.
I hope so much to get some good news soon, your Helene
April 28, 1917
My dear Fritz,
With this letter our correspondence will come to an end.
I now say good-bye to you and Hedwig quite calmly - just as if I were saying good night to you. For me death holds no terror - sometimes life may be far more terrifying. May fate grant you both a long life together in harmony - as it has for many years.
I am asking Richard, my dear Fritz, to send you 30,000 Kronen in my memory.
And thus good bye, your Helene
May 26, 1917
Have been since the 21st once more in my beloved "Julienhof' and now sit in my room expecting Ernstl who arrived late last night in Vienna. On the telephone his voice sounded fresh; he seems to be well. He arrived earlier than he had thought and, of course, I am unhappy that I was not in Vienna when he arrived. It would have been difficult to meet him because of the late hour; nevertheless I am quite anxious which will not improve this letter.
Malwine reported to me about Gretl and the children before I left for Baden. It would be wonderful if she could find suitable employment right where she lives.
You see - in the meantime Ernstl has arrived. This time the rendezvous was pure pleasure because my little "doctor" looks tanned and cheerful; his health and mood leave nothing to be desired, and he visits often. He has to leave on June 15, but that is still a good two weeks away and I have learned to live for the moment. We have hot summer weather here - so I do hope your sun child is well and happy.
Greetings and kisses for her and yourself from your, Helene
September 7, 1917
one of your letters must have gotten lost because I did not know anything about Hedwig's serious illness, nor about yours.
In the meantime I received your postcard of the 2nd. I had not read anything about gleaning; indeed a letter must have been lost. Here also the gleaning played a large role in the life of the people. There are almost no mushrooms to be found this year, although they usually are plentiful.
As to your plans for the winter I would advise you to seek more information. I have heard that the general state of health and the food supply in Germany are in a very precarious situation. I beg you to be careful. Here also summer is coming to an end. Marianne leaves on the 16th with Stefanie. When the house is put in good order, I will leave for a stay of several weeks in Baden.
Ernstl is very busy at the "Infection Hospital" and is so very happy to be useful. From Erich always the same lament; only good news from Richard. He is developing a passion for his work and feels very well - gaining a good deal of weight. Liesel has gotten very thin, but is able to pursue her many different tasks with joy and success. The harvest here was pretty good, but the turnip crop is pretty meager; the potatoes better than expected, at least here.
Our flag fluttered cheerfully because of the news about Riga and everyone was jubilant. You are great guys!
Enough for today - a kiss for Hedwig from your old Helene
November 10, 1917
My dear old Fritz,
Since I want to be sure that you have a sign of life from me on the 22nd, I am writing already today, taking the risk that the letter will arrive early. I hope so much that you will be able to celebrate your next birthday in times of peace - for at this moment peace is, I believe, what we all long for and desire. In addition, I wish you and Hedwig good health - everything else will take care of itself. Today I received your postcard of the 19th - I had been under the impression that you were already feeling better - hope that soon you will feel much better.
I wonder whether Baden near Zurich is the right place for you, but of course I cannot judge it from so far away. I am sorry that Hedwig's teeth give her trouble again. Ask her to give you a birthday kiss from me.
Faithfully, your Helene
December 30, 1917
I do not want to let this year, this horrible year, end without sending you, really both of you, my warmest wishes for a better 1918.
I just received your postcard of the 24th and am so very sorry that you had such a sad Christmas. I am sure you took too little time for rest and relaxation and only hope that you will not regret it later on. Hedwig is a child of the sun and no friend of ice and snow. But nothing can be right now. I f the work at the hospital tires her too much or harms her in any way, she must stop - there can be no question about it. After all, you have to think of yourself first, for if you get sick, you cannot help others, especially your beloved husband.
You should be ashamed to berate yourself. You have certainly achieved a great deal, not only in regard to the "Kritik der Sprache," but in this respect too. Please do send me a line about the state of your health in the old and new year.
January 9, 1918
My dear Fritz,
Since your gloomy Christmas card: "Hedwig had a temperature and you were not feeling well," I have heard nothing from you and am quite anxious. The doctors probably worried you far too much with their uncalled for remarks. I hope the pains were not too bad and are long forgotten. Please, please give me news about both of you. I have had to stay in the house for more than two weeks. My right knee is painful, an after effect of my old troubles three years ago. I limp around, live on aspirin, but am otherwise well. It really is not very funny.
Ernstl's reports are most satisfactory; finally he is able to see and learn new things. He is at a mobile hospital for contagious diseases in Italy, where violets are already out in spite of snow and bitterly cold nights. When I read his letters I am not only full of longing for Ernstl - I also thought of Hedwig. Here the weather changes all the time - sometimes it is very cold - then rain.
We expect Malwine back this week. The youngest granddaughter (Hilde Alexander, born December 31, 1917) waited a long time to show up in this best of all worlds, which made things difficult for her. She rightly felt that she was badly needed here. How different is my life! I would have all the time in the world, but nobody needs me anymore.
Anyway, I could not be much help anymore - and Malwine is needed by so many!
Time to stop! I hope to have good news from you soon - faithfully, Helene
January 14, 1918
I wonder whether our mail will cross again, dear Fritz! I am glad to know that Hedwig is well again - I think the hospital work was just too much for her, especially in the snow and cold weather.
I feel badly that I could not hide my bad mood before L. R. any better. It was too strong; besides I knew that she would not hold it against me, otherwise I would not have gone to see her. I have been home for three weeks with a bad knee, a consequence of my old illness - after almost three years! Otherwise I am quite well, but I have a hard time walking with a stiff knee. I think I already complained about this in my last letter.
Richard has been home for a few days - he is terribly thin and has one cold after the other. In spite of this he is busy all the time and does not even find time to eat.
Malwine is home again, but I have not yet seen her, since I am a prisoner at home, as she is with Ernst and her mother. She is far too busy in the hospital, works much harder than she should.
Stay well in the New Year - Cordially, your Helene
March 26, 1918
My dear Fritz,
While heart and ear of everybody are tumed towards the West and everyone tries in every possible way to alleviate the misery everywhere, I am stuck at home, unable to do anything. There has been a regular plague of sore throats at home; the children were the first, then the grownups - I was the last! All in all eight patients. I have been better for two weeks, but I cannot get my strength back and am sick and tired of the whole thing. My knee got much better during my stay in bed, but my feet got much worse, so that I was hardly able to take a step. And all this in these terrible times.
To my great surprise Ernstl arrived here the day before yesterday, looking very well, tanned and a bit stout. I do not even have the strength to be happy. Please excuse this silly and dejected letter - I just cannot help it.
I embrace you both, your Helene
Erich's children left yesterday for Krems after almost nine weeks here.
April 14, 1918
My dear old Fritz,
Reading your letter was a very moving experience, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, also in the name of one who has been unable to speak for sixteen years, for your very special and loving words honouring him. Gustav seventy years old - and dead for sixteen years! I feel that I am no longer the same person I was then, but a stranger to myself. When my thoughts go back to those days, I seem to be turning the pages of another person's memoirs. It may be that the uncertain state of my health contributes to this; I am unable to accomplish anything and more and more dependent on others.
The publication of your belletristic work is certainly one of the rays of sunshine that still make my life happy. I would like to know which of your works will be published. All this must give you a great deal of pleasure - Gustav would have been so proud of your success. There is one word I cannot read: the contract for my new (4 volumes) will be signed. I gather from the Feuilleton "Prag" that you are writing your memoirs. I suppose that the essay about 1866 which was published two years ago is part of this.
On the whole 1 am better, but have a very bad cold which will prevent my visit to Gustav's grave the day after tomorrow. Ernstl will stay here until the 22nd; Stefan is still in Kiev which probably means that he is successful; it did not seem so at first.
You probably have already heard that Josef Roessler died suddenly one evening at Anna's house, while his wife lay ill in a sanatorium. Malwine retumed yesterday but 1 have not yet seen her.
Farewell, dear Fritz! Let me thank you again and give Hedwig a kiss from your Helene
May 3, 1918
Here I am once again in the Jullenhof, but cannot start the cure as the weather is too rough, but the peace and quiet will do me good. Unfortunately I have trouble with my staff at home and am looking for a personal maid, but cannot find anyone. Being ill for so long has spoilt me - I need more help than I used to. I am quite well apart from some back trouble. 1 suppose that by now you have returned from Stuttgart - are you satisfied with the results? I am returning the Feuilleton - can you tell me when the "Lebenserinnerungen" will appear?
Stefan is still in K - not a very comfortable situation right now. After an interval of three weeks Marianne finally had some news; his stay there may be quite long. Richard still has not finished the addition; he has ordered some new equipment and hopes for great improvement. Here I am quite well provided, but in Vienna everyone suffers from shortages. That seems only just, but I do feel sorry for poor people. Let us hope for a good harvest and peace soon. Your successes in the West are again marvellous - you are splendid fellows.
Say something nice from me to Hedwig and tell me a little about your travel plans. I am sure you both need a holiday. Stay well!
Faithfully, your Helene
July 15, 1918
My dear Fritz,
Today is a holiday and it is raining - that gives me an hour for a long letter.
When I talked to Malwine last time, she was telling me that she was counting on your visit in Baden. I know very well that travelling is no pleasure these days, but I also know that you are unusually flexible; therefore perhaps it is not asking too much that you consider a visit to us on that occasion. We would be so very, very happy to have you with us. Richard and Liesel feel the same way. Depending on the presence of other guests, you could stay with me or with Richard in two rooms. But I hope so much that you will stay with me. Food is quite plentiful considering the times: I think I can promise a cup of good coffee and fresh eggs for breakfast. Do write soon, if you can come, so that I can make some suggestions for the journey. Be adventurous and give us this great pleasure. I hope that Gretl is well again - will she need a cure? Richard's two boys are very different: the older boy is a wild beautiful little devil with bright blue eyes. The younger one is gentle and tender; not pretty but very sweet and affectionate. Liesel and Miss Maude look miserable, but they seem quite healthy. Richard is terribly busy; he hopes for a pretty good harvest - but of course every thing depends on the weather. If the rain does not stop soon, things will be pretty bad. Marianne and Stefanie are taking the cure and will arrive only at the end of August. The Erichs are going through a dreary period - more about that later. Ernstl is sending good reports from the South - he is fine. lf only peace would come soon.
Answer soon, the way we would just like it, and give Hedwig a good kiss from your Helene.
I was interrupted at this point because a cow was having a bad time calving. The calf was dead and the whole process quite frightful. One of our diversions.
August 5, 1918
My dear Fritz,
Although my life here is very easy, I never seem to have time for writing - everybody is amused how many letters I have to write - someone suggested that 1 hire a secretary.
I can well understand that you are unable to come now, but I count on your visit in September; it is really scandalous that Hedwig has never been to Johrnsdorf. Since the journey is really a bit difficult, do plan for a good long vacation; let me know as soon as possible when you hope to come. Then 1 can look forward to it for weeks. Richard would also be very pleased and Liesel would be delighted to meet her famous uncle, about whom she has heard so many nice things. She would also love to meet his dear and interesting wife. September can be wonderful here.
I hope that Hedwig's teeth no longer bother her. I was really astonished to hear that you were alone with the children. Even if they were very good, it cannot have been easy. I hope that Gretl will not need an operation.
I do not know anymore what I reported about Erich; he often suffers from liver and gall bladder trouble and should go to Karlsbad, but never seems to find the time for lt. The children flourish Lilli sleeps poorly; she will probably go away for awhile. And then, quite unexpected, Ernstl visited me for 36 hours. He is thin but well and cheerful. Unfortunately he missed his connection in Prerau - and so I lost almost eight hours of his visit.
I will try to get your memoirs through Heller; it seems you wrote something nice about Marie's brother-in-law.
Everyone at Johrnsdorf sends his best regards. I kiss you both and hope for a cheerful get-together in September. Stefan has finally returned and he'll be here Friday with wife and child.
Faithfully, your Helene
September 8, 1918
My dear Fritz,
Last night I finished reading your "Erinnerungen" and want to write you at length about it.
You will believe me when I say that the book from beginning to end was not only interesting for me, but also terribly exciting. Of course, I remembered a great deal from early days that you did not mention, some of it not very pleasant. Since the reviews of your book are very favourable, I hear many flattering remarks about my "famous brother." I do not believe that people will only read the reviews - they will read the book too. The writing is so full of life and wit and absolutely fascinating; no special knowledge is required of the reader, except for the philosophical chapter.
Your dear sympathetic words about Rudolf made me very happy and would have pleased him very much.
I am afraid my mood is lousy - to improve it I try to remember what a blessing it is that Ernst is quite recovered from his very serious illness. Yesterday 1 had one of his affectionate letters, together with a copy of the Feuilleton about you in the Budapest World - you will have seen it.
October 24, 1918
Once again I write from Vienna. I had planned to leave during the fall cleaning, but in the end was unable to. In spite of the general disorder I do feel more comfortable at home. The times are so serious that I want to be as close to my children as possible. The Richards will be here for the winter. He and Liesel are already here; the children will arrive tomorrow together with the other grandmother and will stay with Marianne for the next week - it won't be easy.
Richard and Liesel will stay with me and Ernstl may arrive any day. Half of the apartment is still in disarray - in short a wild affair. I am quite well again - still have a bit of a cough; but I still hardly venture outside. Erichs have arrived from Krems - only for a few days, but both do not seem to be well.
The general state of health of the Viennese population is terrible. As you may know Friederich Pach, Lucy's son in law, was a victim of the influenza. It was a very good marriage and the despair is great. Lucy seems to be able to bear her misfortune much better than expected.
Do remain well and undisturbed.
November 6, 1918
Wishing to have news from you often in these difficult times, I am sending you frequent signs of life. My health is all night - in addition I am learning that it is possible to bear the unbearable. I am very glad that Ernstl is home on leave - his belongings got lost.
The Erichs are back, but I have not yet seen them, since I cannot go out when the weather is very bad, and he also must be very careful. But I heard that he looks splendid, that he is better than he has been for years. Georg is in Prague.
It is peaceful here - the rest is silence.
I embrace you both, your old Helene
March 27, 1919
My dear Fritz,
I have not written for much longer than I should have, but writing letters seems a difficult task right now - I lack the outer and inner calm. Everybody has been sick: first Richard, then Stefan; Stefanie and two maids came down with influenza. After that the Erichs were ill; I am just worn out. Marianne, Ernstl and I seem to have remained reasonably well.
You will have read in the papers what life is like here. We are dangerously close to Budapest, and I do not believe that all is well and that calm reigns; but I know no facts. Who knows what tune we will sing in the future? lf plenty of food will arrive in time, I put high hopes on the generally friendly and peace-loving character of the Viennese. But if there is nothing to eat for much longer, desperation will win out. It really is impossible to live on official rations; everybody depends on the black market and relatives in the country. Unfortunately we cannot get any food from Johrnsdorf because it is in Bohemia.
The police enters many houses to confiscate whatever people bought illegally, even the smallest and most necessary provisions. So far I have been lucky, but there really is no household in Vienna that depends entirely on rationed goods. The hardest to satisfy are the servants who always think that they do not get enough to eat. Right now I have great trouble with my staff.
Malwine returned quite suddenly from the Semmering because she discovered that she cannot see out of one eye. The doctor diagnosed it as a cataract and thinks that it is harmless, that is easy to correct. He wants her to come back in September. But it gave us all a sudden scare.
Not much news from Franzi and Mitzi, but rather good reports from Anna. What do you hear from Grete and the children?
This is not a cheerful letter, but I just cannot help lt.
I embrace you both and remain whatever may happen, your faithful Helene
Ernstl will start work at the Hospital for Women next week. He is dissatisfied with himself and says that he will never be able to make up what he missed in the war.
Vienna, Mayerhofgasse 4
Easter Sunday 1919
The last days were so eventful that I only want to tell you that we are all quite well and that the food shortage - at least this week - has been a little less severe. Of course there is still a great deal that could be better, but all is quiet now; let us hope that it will remain that way.
I envy the children who in spite of the bad times were just as excited about looking for Easter eggs as always, although the booty was quite small compared to past years. They were just as eager and just as happy. Richard is in Johrnsdorf, will move his family there soon. I hope that I will be able to join him.
My love to you and Hedwig, your Helene
The family Horowitz is with Ernst; they are well and pleased to be here.
October 2, 1919
My dear Fritz,
From your card of 9/28, I see that another letter got lost because I knew nothing about your bronchitis, the last news I had from you was a letter from Hedwig, written on September 7th and 11th, in which she told me about your trip to Stuttgart. Postal conditions are terrible now and innumerable letters get lost; this has created a great deal of trouble for me. The opinion of your doctor that your bronchitis is simply a sign of old age does not give me great confidence in his judgment. It is true that you will soon be seventy, but in spite of your age you are not old at all, if you are still the same person you were when we met last time.
Yesterday I had a letter from Malwine who writes that the trip from Berlin to Vienna was easy - she even was able to get a sleeper. I suppose this would hold true for Lindau. I would so very, very, much like to see you again. We are not getting any younger these days, the years pass and, therefore, we should give fortune an extra push.
Right now I have no idea when I can return home. So far I have been unable to get any coal delivered, and I feel that I cannot and should not return to an unheated apartment. Stefan is doing all he possibly can, but so far success is quite uncertain. Richard is trying to persuade me to stay here altogether, but I am most anxious to return to Vienna, to be with Marianne and Stefanie, the Erichs and Ernstl. The "Bellaria" is not an ideal place in winter, as it is a tremendous job to keep it warm, but things are probably easier than in Vienna, especially getting enough food. I have no idea how Marianne will keep her place warm - her situation is as bad as mine.
Should I really try to persuade you under these circumstances? - You see my old honesty is not gone. Malwine is more optimistic; perhaps she will find a way. As a matter of fact she is expecting Anna with two children. Ernstl was here for ten days, but had to return to the General Hospital. He is full of plans for an important research study. Stefan was unfortunately unable to visit you during his Swiss trip - he was in a terrible hurry and just did not have the time.
A thousand greetings to your splendid wife. Her letters give me the greatest pleasure, even if they are not very cheerful. How could you possibly ever have lived without Hedwig?!
Stay well, your Helene
Berlin W. 10, Matteikirkstrasse 1
November 14, 1919
Dear Onkel Fritz,
For the first time in my life I realize that I am the "Senior" member of the Vienna Mauthner children who composed a birthday letter every year in honor of your birthday. It often was a difficult task to face our famous and critical uncle. We were all a little scared of you until you invited us all for that charming swim holiday that we all enjoyed so much. During those days all worries disappeared, at least for me, and only the dearest love remained - Hedwig, I hope you will not be angry - because you were the good companion only, not the famous uncle. And you always remained my dear friend, although we have seen so little of each other.
I have always been grateful for this love and will always remember the sad hours in St. Margharita during my father's illness one and a half years ago - where your words were such a comfort. And thus my heartfelt wishes are not for the scholar whom the intellectual world admires, but for the dearest, forever youthful Onkel Fritz. I hope our modest present will give you a pleasant quarter of an hour while you smoke the cigar that Grete will bring to you from us.
I cannot tell you how much we would love to be with you on this day, and we had actually toyed with the idea of coming, but already during our stay at the Semmering we heard that our dear old house had been sold and that we must move out on the first of December. You will understand our inner turmoil and realize how much work is involved in the move.
I will write soon to Hedwig. Once more my warmest wishes, your Anna it was a great risk for Anna to let me add to this letter because I got very jealous when I read all her confessions. It is hard for me to imagine that you will really be seventy, but I am confident you will spend the day in the best of health with Frau Hedwig and Grete looking out over the beautiful Bodensee.
Faithfully yours, Carl
The Alexander house stood in one of the most beautiful spots in Berlin, at the corner of the Matteikirchstrasse and the Tiergartenstrasse. Paul told me that the villa was surrounded by a large garden. It belonged to my father-in-law jointly with his brother who decided to sell the house to invest his share in what turned out to be a worthless scheme. During the terrible years of the German inflation that ruined the middle class, the Alexanders lost everything. I had often heard about these sad events, but when I read about it in this letter, my heart went out to my mother-in-law whom I love so dearly. Eventually the Alexanders moved to Hamburg where my father-in-law worked at the Bank of M. M. Warburg. The house was destroyed during the air raids of the second world war and the new Berliner Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal is in its place.
Fritz Mauthner's letter of thanks
on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.
I do not want to sound solemn, for then I would have to tell you first how much it oppresses me that in these days of great suffering and terrible disappointment I speak of myself.
I have been reading so often during the last days how surprisingly fresh and dreadfully clever I was in my old age that 1 started to feel very tired and quite stupid. It is a good thing that so much praise is wasted on a person only once in seventy years; otherwise it might have ruined my character. Even if I take away all that custom prescribes to say in praise of someone who has a special birthday, I still sense in letters and wires the expression of so much love and friendship that there grows in me a feeling of gratitude I had never expected to know.
I want to say thank you to all of you who gave me this wonderful present: a deep feeling of gratitude. And I promise you that I will make every effort to continue my work as long as I am able. Some of the letters and essays regret that my contributions to a philosophy of language have not found proper recognition, I cannot share this regret - I never expected it. My thoughts about a philosophy of language can wait, and it is reward enough to see a gradual change of opinion.
To all the well-wishers who gave me great happiness by their friendly words and gifts, I give my warmest thanks.
Meersburg am Bodensee
November 27, 1919
December 6, 1919
My dear old Fritz,
I was deeply moved by your letters and the carefully chosen newspaper clippings because I know only too well how little time you have for writing personal letters and how important it is to take care of your eyes.
Your telegram on the occasion of my birthday pleased me very much; when your explanation followed, I was greatly cheered, but even without your explanation, I seemed to understand you very well. "Der Weise und die Welt" I find charming; I had read it already. Stefan's brother, a great admirer of your spiritual children sent me three newspapers with essays on your seventieth. The other items were new to me and seemed to me like a family outing. The various pictures give me the greatest pleasure - the Glaserhäusle must really be lovely and charming. I did not like your picture at all - it is almost like a caricature. Stefanie exclaimed: Uncle Fritz looks like a "Hexerich" (a male witch); she invented this word for you! The Neue Freie Presse brought only a short notice on your seventieth - I suppose that means you are still on the warpath. It is too bad that a selection of your writing will appear only in January, but it is a good decision from a practical point of view.
I would have loved to be with you on the 22nd: I buried this wish silently with many others. Your thanks made me feel deeply ashamed. I really mean it - it is not just a facon de parler. I also do not deserve thanks for the contact with Vischer.
I am sure Hedwig had a deep feeling of happy pride in you on your day of honour. Every single newspaper article says that it is impossible to think of Fritz Mauthner without his lovely and so very special partner. My own feelings go even deeper: I deeply regret that fate did not bring you and Hedwig together much sooner. However - who knows - perhaps it is better this way. Poor Grete must have been very unhappy; I hope she feels better again. How about the picture of your Berlin friends; I should love to hear more about it. For my birthday I got some butter, corned beef, a few cans, apples and more. These provisions are just as welcome here, as they are for you. Perhaps even more so!
Isn't it strange that we mean more to each other now than ever, although we live so far apart and are getting older? At least it seems so to me; and the wish to see you again gets stronger and stronger.
Are you thinking of a special place in Southern Tyrol? But even there travel has become much more difficult, and I am no longer the intrepid traveller who surprised Gustav so often.
Now a general report before I send this letter. Ernst continues to stay in the Semmering; I heard that he looks fabulous, but a few days ago he felt very dizzy. Fortunately he got over it very quickly and is quite well again; please do not mention this in your letter. Stefanie seems to be well, except for some frostbite. All would be fine if they were not threatened with losing half of their apartment. Lilli's health unfortunately is not very good - she is losing weight all the time, looks miserable and is terrlibly nervous. The sunshine of the house is Maria; her little head is full of light and brown curls, a hardly visible nose and smiling blue eyes. She is also a very good child, while Gustl's troubles in school - he is eight years - worry his parents a great deal.
Good report from Johrnsdorf. They asked me to send them the newspaper articles about you. Liesel wishes so much finally to get to know her famous uncle, but not so much because of fame, but because I have told her so much about you. In the quiet summer and fall evenings she read to me the "Grüne Heinrich" that I had almost forgotten. Unfortunately she is a very delicate little person, often sick, with large sad eyes: the great love that the two have for each other makes me so very happy. Richard is by no means a gentle husband and he kicks up a row more often than I like. She smiles and waits patiently until the storm has passed.
My Benjamin is a good guy and works hard. I myself am all right. The other day I stumbled and fell down when the electricity was off and the house was dark; my weak knee took it hard, but it is all right again. In general life is difficult, but I do have the warm room, the dining room. I had an oven put in and, except for my bedroom, I hardly use the rest of the apartment.
Enough for today - I embrace you both. Faithfully, your Helene
December 10, 1919
My dear Fritz,
.... It is a great joy for me that you are an honorary citizen of Meersburg and that there was also a celebration in Constance. I always believed that I am not ambitious, but that it is not the case and if someone I am fond of is honoured, I am proud and feel great satisfaction. I remember when Gustav became a member of the "Herrenhaus," I went in my old fashioned sentimentality to the grave of our mother and said out loud: "Well, Mother, what do you say now to Gustl's success?" Now I cannot go to the cemetery because I have not been outdoors for a year, but I think of our mother in my room and think of what happened to her troubled child who became hard-working, loving what he was doing, and was honoured by the world.
January 20, 1920
Your postcard of the 4th arrived yesterday. I was quite prepared to learn that the shortest way to the South is not via Vienna, but still I am very sorry. Anyway I must admit that people who have not been used to the hard life here should not come to Vienna right now. Getting enough food would be the least problem - it is our cold apartments.
Fortunately it is mild outdoors, but all the rooms except the dining room warmed by the stove, register at the most - 10 degrees R. Outdoors it is often 10 - 12 degrees. In addition we have a terrible sirocco. The dining room is now maid of all things; besides its normal life it serves as salon, smoking and writing room. The cold bedroom would not be so bad, but washing at 8 - 10 degrees is no fun. What it will be like in really cold weather I cannot imagine. We'll have to pay later for our mild January.
I stay home a great deal, since I cannot go out if the weather is stormy or rainy, or if it is snowing. My right knee has remained weaker which makes it hard for me to walk. I am always in danger of falling, especially on asphalt. It is so much easier in Johrnsdorf in the summer. I cannot go to the theatre or to the concerts, but that does not worry me. What is worse is that the light of the kerosene lamp is bad for my eves, so that I have trouble reading or writing. When I go to bed I treat myself to electric light, and then I read with the greatest pleasure your old "Xantippe."
I was particularly excited about the "Don Juan" fragment. It is sad but quite understandable that it had to remain a fragment. I think it is marvellous that this fairy tale was written before the beginning of the war. You have every right to be proud of this achievement - you probably are. Many critics did not like this fairy tale - I really cannot understand it. But I can easily understand that it was not printed at the time it was written. Certainly the epilogue is the most daring piece of writing that a writer ever permitted himself. I should love to say more and hear what you have to say, but unfortunately it is not possible, since it is hard for me to do so in writing. I am afraid that the sale of your book of selected essays is not very good, as the book is very expensive: 277 kronen; by now the book probably costs even more. The price corresponds to everything else, but everyone except the war profiteers will buy necessities first.
Sobotkas live at No. 2 in the house next to mine, but they left for Prague for at least six months (Mariengasse 17). Only the future will tell whether this is a permanent move.
You asked me which newspaper is considered the best. Oh dear, that is hard to say - I think they are all very bad. The Neue Freie Presse is considered the most prestigious, but in the last months the Tageblatt seems to have become more prominent, with good editorials. It is now in the hands of Sieghard who is probably well known to you, an unusually intelligent man. That your lectures were so successful makes me and the children very happy.
A week ago Stefanie started to receive American food, especially milk, which Marianne was unable to procure for her. She is very thin and has a very bad cough, but the doctor claims that she is well. When she was examined in school, she got a bad report, as did many other children. Gustl is a sturdy youth. Ernst sen. had another attack of dizziness. He is quite well again, but nervous and anxious. I think it is the fault of the doctor there who is particularly inept; he told Ernst that such an attack may very well happen again. Ernst and Malwine plan to retum next week. Please do not mention this in your letters to the Opernring.
I should love to hear what you decided to do. I hope you are both well and can start your trip soon.
Faithfully, your Helene
It took me four days to finish this letter.
I remember meals by American Quakers in school in Berlin: my sister received Quaker Oats and cocoa, but I was considered too chubby. However, I did not miss out on cod liver oil.
February 27, 1920
I just tore up a three page letter to you, which I had started on the 8th, adding to it continuously. Evidently I was rather mixed up - so I suddenly decided to start all over again. I also just got your letter from Leutkirch which truly moved me; in it you propose to have Stefanie stay with you. The Stefans were overwhelmed by your generous interest in their children. Actually many of Stefanie's friends at school have been sent to Holland, Sweden and Switzerland. The idea of leaving makes her cry, because she does not want to leave Jornsdorf even for a single day. She is a thin little girl, but does not look badly right now. All the milk she gets in the American kitchen helps her a lot; she likes their cooking even if there is a poor meal once in a while; at home she often eats a second dinner. The Americans give them cocoa or milk almost every day, rice pudding or cereal with milk, rice and beans, cookies and cake, often sliced white bread. At home she does not like rice pudding at all, but there she is delighted to get it; often they have to stand in line to get it for a long time - she accepts it all gladly. For us the situation isn't so desperate, but for the middle class, people on pensions, civil servants, professors and teachers, the situation is alarming. Every day the price goes up for groceries; I really cannot understand how people manage.
When the new taxes on unearned income start, it will be hard on people like myself. Every child, girls included, will have to train for a profession. Stefanie who has no interest in academic studies wants to train as a children's nurse and look after children - hopefully her own. She is a passionate friend of the young, careful and loving and absolutely reliable. in general that is not always the case.
I am not at all calm about what you write about priests; you really taunt them too much; even a worm reacts when you step on him, and they are not worms. They will be able to embitter your life in your beloved "Glaserhäusle"; they might even drive you out. I fully understand that a man of your character, a writer, cannot make concessions when he is finally able to write in a way that pleases him. But did you have to be so rude to people who are true believers and hurt them so cruelly? After all there are many true believers in this world.
Gradually I am reading all your poems and often shake my head. You would have been the same great, honest writer if you had smoothed down the rough edges. You will say,"Cobbler stick to your last," but the truth is I cannot help myself. I did not know any of your poems and read them with the deepest interest - many touched my heart. The most significant seems to me to be "the last little Church," although it is the one that might make you many enemies. No priest will ever be able to forgive words like "thief" or "liar," but even ordinary believers will be totally unable to accept such words. There are still many believers, and your words will certainly not rob them of their faith. I myself read the poem again and again with growing joy. I have to say the same about "Narr und König," but later about that.
I really have a lot of time for reading, but rarely get around to it. The unsatisfactory light is partly the reason, but now that the days get longer, it should get better. Ernst really seems to feel quite well at the Semmering; the cough is much better. The dizziness may possibly be caused by hardening of the arteries. These attacks may disappear just as quickly as they started.
All my love to Hedwig, also from Stefanie. It is possible to get condensed milk here on the black market, but one can cost 50 - 60 kronen. We do not have any dried milk, it disappeared here long ago.
Enough for today! Do write me soon whether my remarks amused or annoyed you. Do write about your travel plans and tell me what your Häuserl looks like.
This is Helene's last letter to Fritz, still full of good advice. Letters follow announcing Helene's death and a generous gift to Fritz, followed by another announcing the death of Fritz's sister, Marie.
March 28, 1920
My dear Fritz,
In your letter of the 20th, which I received yesterday, there was something that requires a prompt answer. What you write about your health is not as unpleasant as your doctor's remark. When he is unable to explain things, he mutters: sign of old age. Easy for him, but unpleasant for the patient. I remembered that he diagnosed you the same way before - eventually the trouble disappeared, without your getting any younger. However, you should go away for several weeks; that would be the best for your mood and your health. But where? I realize that it would be hard to leave Germany because of monetary restrictions, but I am sure there are lots of lovely spots nearby, and that's where you should go.
As to your answer to the priest, be sure to consider it thoroughly. The man may become much more disagreeable than he is now. Is the quarrel worth the trouble of losing your pleasure in the glaserhäusle. The problem is strange; I do not know this Father Aberhard.
All is well with the Stefans who send you warm greetings. Marianne looks well, but her hair gets whiter every day. At this point the contrast between her white hair and the young face is charming-, but it's hard to tell what she will look like in a few years. Stefan does not look very well. He is terribly thin and needs a holiday badly, but he is so busy that he cannot think of taking a vacation. Stefanie really looks fabulous, the success of the American meals. They now accept all children, strong and needy, rich and poor, and most of them look ever so much better - a big success.
Ernstl works hard and is rarely seen; they all have bad colds. News from Johrnsdorf is very good, but not very recent. I myself had a relatively good winter; it seems the cold rooms agreed with me.
Events in Germany were as exciting as terrifying for us. I never could have thought such happenings possible. Did it remain peaceful near you?
Please do write again soon. Ernst sen. was here for a week and returned to the Semmering with a bad catarrh, but seems to be well again.
All the best, your Helene Because of the letters on the occasion of Benedict's death, it is hard to find any political news in the Neue Freie Presse.
March 31, 1921
Dear Uncle Fritz,
I hope this picture will bring back memories of Johrnsdorf, but with your fabulous memory that will not be necessary. Since our get-together in Prague I have often regretted that Tante Hedwig's illness made a short trip to Johrndorf impossible. However, I am glad that we were able to have many wonderful talks, and I was delighted to find you fresh and vigorous and cheerful in our company; those days were not undisturbed and if you could have come here, I would have been able to see much more of you.
Among other things we talked of my mother's bequest, and I asked you to use it in any way that you would like. You thought at that time that it would be useful to discuss the matter first with Onkel Ernst. When I heard no more about it, I wrote to Onkel Ernst, but soon realized that you did not talk to him about the matter. I heard that Tante Hedwig had been unwell on the trip home and you had postponed your trip to Vienna.
After talking to my siblings I sent to you, also in the name of my siblings, a credit of 10,000 kronen to the Rheinische Creditanstalt branch at Constance, thus executing the last will of my poor mother. Almost a year has passed since these terrible weeks in Vienna, but these days are as vivid, as if it all had happened only yesterday.
Whether my planned visit will ever take place, is quite uncertain, although I think of it with great anticipation. Liesel is not strong enough for a long trip, and the health of our youngest is also not as satisfactory as I should like. We would be very glad about news from you and Tante Hedwig, hopefully good news.
My most affectionate greetings to you, dear Onkel Fritz. I kiss Tante Hedwig's hand, also in the name of Liesel and Richard.
I am thinking of going to Vienna for a few days, but dare not leave here for a long time, since the farm and the present situation of my workers give me a great deal of work.
October 6, 1922
My answer to your postcard comes together with the sad news I have to tell you. Suddenly, at eleven o'clock last night, my mother died very peacefully. I think it would be better to keep this news from Onkel Fritz for a while, unless there is a danger that he will hear about it from Vienna. The last report about his health seemed much more satisfactory; his slow pulse may be caused by the digitalis.
My warmest greetings to Onkel Fritz, lf you tell him about the letter, and to yourself.
From your Otto (Kuh)
PS On the express wish of my mother, the funeral will take place very quietly. I hope that nobody will come from Vienna. My mother also requested "no flowers." The news of her death will be published only after her funeral. My sister and brother-in-law will probably arrive tomorrow.
October 8, 1922
My dear Uncle Fritz,
I know how much Tante Marie's death will sadden you and want not only to express my sympathy to you but also tell you of my own deep sadness. I remember so well with how much love everyone spoke of her when my siblings and I were children, and this same love remained part of our lives and leaves a painful gap.
I was already on my way to the station when I heard that Tante Marie did not want anyone at the funeral - so I went home again - and now think all the more of the Mariengasse.
I hope you feel quite well again - I should be grateful to Hedwig for a word about your health.
In alter Liebe, Anna
January 3, 1927
Your kind letter of December 27 surprised me in the most pleasant way. Reading it I realized that by now you are a grown-up young man, full of all sorts of interests. I also was glad to learn that you are well and aware of the date of my birthday.
By the time you get to my age, presents are no longer so important and birthdays not as pleasant, since getting older is not as satisfactory as at your age.
Again my warmest wishes - be sure to give my best regards to all the members of the family who sent me birthday greetings.
Prost Neujahr, your Uncle Georg Mauthner
Just when I was finishing my translation of the Mauthner family letters, a beautiful postcard of Pylos in Greece arrived. My nephew, Anthony Alexander, wrote: "Dear Lore, Louise and I are spending a week in Greece and are staying in Pylos. On the way we passed Nemea, and I was much reminded of Paul. All our love, Anthony and Louise."
October 5, 1999
Nemea is the dig of the Berkeley Classics Department - which Anthony had visited a few years ago and where he had discovered Paul's name among a list of donors, and had been very excited by this find. Anthony studied Classics at Cambridge and he and Paul had many interests in common. By now Nemea has become a very important site.