Letter from Ellen Welsh to Her Sister, Anna Maria Welsh, from Hamburg, June 11, 1871

Hamburg June 11th 71

My dear sister Anna,

On Friday I rec. a very pleasant letter from you, dated 24th & 25th. Father also had one written before mine, & Alice one from sister Lill. Alice told Mary of her daughter’s death, & she seems much distressed.

I hope Somers enjoyed his birthday party. I think it was very nice to have one, but I was rather surprised you should let them keep such late hours, as from ten till twelve.

We left Berlin Thursday at 2 p.m., but before we left, we saw a fine show of many of the great people of the earth. Quite early in the morning we noticed an unusual number of plumed grooms etc. moving about, & thinking there was some remarkable stir among the nobility we determined to go out, & look about us. When we got down stairs we met Father who came to tell us that the Emperor of Russia was expected to pass by, in a few minutes, on his way to the Russian ambassador’s palace, where he was to stay for a day & a half, en route for Ems. So we walked up & down Unter den Linden for a while, then took up our position in front of the Emperor’s palace, from where we had an excellent view of the show, excepting the carriages went much too fast. The two Emperors came together in a four horse carriage, after them came the Crown Prince of Prussia & one of the Russian princes, & a long line of elegant equipages, filled with princes & generals, among whom we were only able to recognize Prince Carl & the Grand Duke of Baden, son in law to the Emperor of Prussia.

We went to look at the Emperor of Russia but I could hardly give him more than a glance for King Wm is so attractive I had to give him all my eyes. I wish you could see him, he is such a jolly looking old gentleman, & bows & smiles at the people, as though he were speaking to intimate friends, whom he was delighted to see.

This is the third day we have been in Hamburg. The first we drove out to a reformatory institution for children, on the home system. The place itself is very pretty but the houses in which the children live were rather damp & comfortless in appearance, there was not that order & neatness in the arrangement of things which I had expected, & on the whole I was disappointed.

Today Alice has on her new brown silk, which she got in Vienna. You would be surprised to see how beautiful it is, & how stylish she looks in it. Indeed she has many very stylish gowns & will quite stun you when she gets back.

As for me I have nothing. I believe my money melts. I spend as much as she, & have nothing to show for it. If things keep on looking as bright as they do at present, we shall go to Paris to do our shopping which will be delightful, as Miss Kate writes it is impossible to do anything at Brussels.

Willie’s wedding must have been very pleasant. Please to give my love to him & to my new sister in law. I wonder you did not move out of town sooner than the 8th & am very glad you attended to having things fixed up a little.

Next Sunday we will be watching the Passion play! Give much love to all the family, & kisses to the children. I dreamt of them all last night, & that Sam could read quite nicely. I am afraid that is only a dream though. It is rather strange Herbert has not written to me since he received my letter but I suppose his mind is so much engrossed with art, & love & poetry, that he finds it hard to descend to the ordinary level of common life. With love,

Yours very truly E.W.