This is the last, chronologically, of the letters written by Alice Welsh that I received from Lydia Wiley in Philadelphia:
June 4th, 1871
My dear Sister Anna,
Many thanks for your letter of May 20th. It reached me on the first of this month, only eleven days, which we thought quite fast travelling. I was quite frightened, at first, about Somers. Father was out (his letter came at the same time as mine) and I could not tell what had been the matter, but when I heard I was somewhat relieved, thinking that he must be very much better or you would not have allowed him to go out. I hope he is all right now.
The other day your Pa and I went to visit Harmon’s sister, taking an interpreter with us for she cannot talk English. She seemed very much pleased to see us. Her two sons, aged twenty-two and sixteen, have not yet returned from France. They have been in a great many battles, but fortunately have never been wounded. They have both received the Iron Cross, given for bravery, and the youngest has been made an officer. Tell Harmon about them. His sister has been ill but has quite recovered.
Ellen suffered very much for a day and night during the past week from toothache. Upon going to the dentist, she found the pain was caused by an abscess as the root of an old tooth which had been of no use to her for several years. The dentist advised her to have it taken out, which she did, but it was a very painful operation for it broke in half and altogether was very difficult to extract. But she is very glad to have had it done as she has had scarcely any pain since.
I suppose you are probably all out of town by this time. I hope you have not such a disagreeable day as we are having today for it would be dreary indeed for your first country Sunday. All day the rain has been falling fast and it is cold and windy. Indeed we have had miserable weather ever since we have been here. I think we shall probably leave here on Tuesday for Hamburg. I was much surprised to hear that Miss M. Coles is coming abroad so soon again, particularly as last Spring Mrs. Coles seemed so anxious to get home, and so tired of travelling.
Yesterday I saw the Emperor, and indeed had a capital view of him, he was standing at one of the windows of his palace, laughing and talking to someone in the room with him. He is remarkably fine looking, handsomer, I think, than any photograph that I have seen of him.
The days are very long here, last night when we were coming home at about ten o’clock it was still so light that the stars could not be seen, although the sky was quite clear. And it is light in the morning before three. I must now say Good Night. With much love to Mr. Smith, kisses to Somers and love to everyone at home, including Big Jon.
Your loving sister
Please remember me to the men and girls.