Letter from Ellen Welsh to Her Sister, Anna Maria Welsh, from Berlin, June 1, 1871

NOTE: This letter has an area of about one square inch cut out of it at the top of the first page, which also affects the second page, on the other side of that sheet; the affected areas are noted with “Deletion.” Evidently this part of the letter had a picture of a bird, which Ellen mentioned near the end of the letter, and suggested it should be cut out and placed in a scrapbook.

June 1st, 1871


My dearest sister Anna,

Your letter to Alice came this evening, telling of Somers sickness, & also one of less recent date to Father. We have been out all day long at Potsdam & did not get back to dinner until about eight, so that it is now ten, entirely too late to begin a letter, but I must just write a few lines to tell you how very sorry I am to hear that Somers has been sick. You know his is my especial pet among them all & I can not bear to think that he is otherwise than well & bright, his own dear little lively self, full of fun & mischief.

We found Alice with a bad headache, & very much worried about him, when we came home, for she was not very well & had not gone out with us. Your letter speaking of your fears, yet not saying what they were, had alarmed her a great deal. She had imagined the worst, & thought he must have been threatened with convultions [sic], or something of that sort.

When Father opened his letter we [Deletion] much relieved. We had a splendid [Deletion] today, indeed I do not think [Deletion] enjoyed a days sightseeing [Deletion] Father is calling to me to go [Deletion] I will wait till tomorrow to tell you about it.

Friday, June 2d

We saw seven palaces & a church yesterday, yet they were all so interesting that, though they occupied the whole day, we felt none of that weariness so universally attendant on sightseeing. A great many rooms were interesting on account of their connection with Frederic the Great, but I think you would have been much more pleased with Babelsberg than any of the other palaces. It is the summer residence of the Emperor & Empress, & is much more like an exquisite country home than a palace. Most of the rooms are rather small, much filled up with furniture, pictures, & a quantity of armaments, but everything in perfect taste. No matter in which direction you turn in these rooms you see most beautiful vistas out of the windows, through glass so clear you can hardly convince yourself that it exists.

No one is permitted to see the private rooms of the Emperor & Empress, but our commissionaire was a great friend of the head steward, and after we had been sworn to secrecy they let us enter the forbidden ground. The Emperor had two rooms of the plainest nature, cain [sic] seated chairs, of beautiful white wood, a writing table in front of the sofa, with some little bronze ornaments on it, one of which was a tiny clock. The walls were covered with a lot of little prints, underneath the mirros was an apparently well used pincushion, on which were these words, “to the Saviour of our oppressed Fatherland.”

The next room was equally plain, whereas all over the house were a number of clocks, some very small, some large, Swiss clocks, & every variety. The girl who took us round said there were between eighty & ninety in the house. The Empress’ rooms were very nice but not nearly so interesting as the Emperor’s. The only thing I remarked especially in them, was a large Crucifix, which we saw, when they drew back the curtains, at the head of the bed. Among the many little articles in [the] Emperor’s room there was no such thing & it seemed unlike a Protestant, but Protestants here are very different from those in England & America.

Father has gone out this morning to visit the hospitals; he has a little cold but is quite well otherwise. Alice is better this morning. Mary W. is pretty well, but she is very impatient [?] indeed. Do not tell aunt Mary so but it is the case.

What a dreadful accident Anna Lapsley had. Please give aunt Lapsley my love. We are going to the first Passion play. Give Somers a great many kisses from me, & tell him if he has a scrap book now to cut this bird off the paper & put it in, for there are a quantity of that kind of birds here. Thank sister Lill very much for her letter to me, & give her much love, as also to the rest of the family, & with much to yourself believe me

Yours most affectionately