June, July, & August 1923
The La Grange Journal,
Thursday, July 5, 1923
The Letter Box
On Board Steamer Olympic, June 12.
We will resume the middle of our ocean voyage at noon today, so we are told. The time seems less monotonous as we get better acquainted with the people aboard. There are all nationalities to be met here, even an East Indian priest, whose appearance reminds me one of the portraits of Tagore.
My doctor son, before leaving on our ocean journey, prescribed “cotton in the ears” as a preventative against sea sickness. I can vouch for the remedy, having tried it out these four days. Mrs. Lilly Studemann Andrews and other friends made our stop in Gotham most delightful; for the Judge’s entertainment, however, Babe Ruth knocked a home run. This supreme delight was so much wished for, that the loss of the game was not considered.
Our first stop will be at Southhampton; we then go to see Wright Thomas at Oxford. We have just met a gentleman who has a son at Oxford.
Mrs. George Willrich.
Oxford, June 18, 1923.
It is now seven o’clock in the morning, and we have just been served with coffee in our room; we are lodging in a quaint old English house, No. 19 Paradise street. No matter where we will go later, our visit has had its own charm, enough, in fact to have made the trip worth while. I can fancy myself telling all travelers to go to Oxford; but more than the city itself, our greatest pleasure has been with our very own Rhodes scholar, Wright Thomas of La Grange, Texas. Aside from knowing the University, Wright has informed himself concerning the people, history, conditions, etc., so that under any circumstances one could not wish for a better guide.
We lunched with Wright in his suite – Pembroke College – then were shown through first his own and then a few of the other numerous colleges. Each has a few hundred years of history and tradition. Pembroke will observe its three hundredth anniversary next year. We were shown Pembroke’s collection of rare table silver, it being the custom to present the college with some silver pieces, the gifts coming mainly from students. The mugs from which we drank “cider cup” at lunch were dated 1726. The old servant in charge of the silver displayed it with much pride, saying that this – pointing to one piece – was given by Lord “So and So,” and this to another piece proved his loving care.
It was our privelege [privilege] to go on the river “Isis” – really the Thames – in a “punt,” a sqare flat-bottomed boat, with Wright and two of his college mates. This is distinctively Oxforian, and most relaxing and soothing. The Judge was getting tired, but he regained his lively spirits at once during this leisure hour, being punted down or rather around the beautiful stream. We took tea on the bank, served most simply, and then returned. This is the land of the long twilight, so we spent some time looking at the beautiful English homes and gardens from the top of an omnibus. One must always remember that every part of the ancient city, one of the oldest in England, is rich in history. Our bus ride took us along the Abingdon Road, down which Queen Mathilda fled with her son centuries ago. The old castle from which she started, is to be seen from our room. Wright not only pointed out these places, but told their stories most charmingly. It was all so wonderful, this being in Merrie England, just two weeks after leaving home, with Wright, an ideal day, seeing and learning so many things dimly recalled from our school days.
A short time after our landing at Southhampton, we were swiftly whisked by tram to Oxford. Wright was at the dock, waiting, and when he discovered us, secured a ticket and came aboard. It was one of the moments of a life-time to be cherished, and fondly dwelt upon in memory, this meeting on the big ocean liner. That English landscape from the car window! One instinctively felt its restfullness. Then to our quarters here.
I imagine few people have had the privilege of hearing the British premier speak within a few hours after landing. We were spectators at the banquet given by the Rhodes Scholarship Trust that night. There was a long list of notables present, and about three hundred Rhodes scholars; thus we, of America, were playing a big part, actually, and also in the numerous references made to the purposes in view when the Trust was created, the bringing together of the peoples of one blood. Mr. Baldwin referred to America as really being of the old stock, although “that stock had many grafts upon it.”
We are leaving today, going to London; not to stay, however, just passing through on our way to Oldenburg, Germany, to see Mrs. Watson. Our itinerary brings us to London again, but we had to see Oxford, now, as the students will soon be on their Summer vacation. Wright will travel on the continent, stopping principally in German cities. We’re encouraging the hope to meet him again, perhaps in Dresden.
I am writing this in bed, being covered by blankets, it is very cold for us. A fire is not thought of by the folks here, but we’d like it immensely.
Mrs. George Willrich.
Both of the foregoing letters were received by the Journal Monday and they were much appreciated. We give them publicity because there is contained in them much interesting matter that will appeal to our readers. We sincerely hope to have Mrs. Willrich write again. -- EDITOR.
The La Grange Journal,
Oldenburg, Germany, June 20.
After my last communication, and spending another day at Oxford, we entered upon our journey to Oldenburg, Germany, to meet with our friends from La Grange, Mrs. O. I. Watson, and daughter, Miss Gerda Olive. Our arrival here yesterday was full of thrill, the kind that last through life. Wright Thomas had mapped out the journey most explicitly, with a diagram to be followed at Bentheim, the border town, where persons and baggage are inspected. He had gone over the same route in coming here last April, so knew exactly the information we would need; and to make it sure and give to Mrs. Watson the added pleasure of expecting us at a definite time, he sent a wire the day previous.
But, the plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglee we’re told. A traveling companion took us in charge and managed matters so well that we arrived by an earlier train, so that Mrs. Watson and Gerda Olive missed being at the station. It was a bright and beautiful day, so the Judge promptly seated himself under a tree, with the baggage beside him, while I reconnoitered the situation. I had just decided to go to the address of Mrs. Watson’s parents, Nadorsterstrasse 146, when lo and behold! Here came Mrs. Watson and Gerda, walking in great haste to the station. We had a little advantage in point of seeing them first – the rest is left to the imagination of the reader. The other thrill had really come first – our putting foot, for the first time on German soil. This actually occurred in Oldenburg, ‘though we had traveled several hours in Germany territory and changed trains several times. And to have had the pleasure at this station, Oldenburg, to meet with loved ones from home, was a rare event in our lives. While neither of us four had changed much, with perhaps the exception of Miss Gerda Olive who is now a pretty Miss of sixteen, still we looked at each other with wondering eyes. Could this be true? Could this be true that we should meet so far from home?
Other delights came when Mrs. Albers, Mrs. Watson’s sister, welcomed us into her beautiful home and showed us to our room, most cozy and complete, looking out on a well-kept garden of flowers and vegetables. A short stop there, then to Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder, parents of Mesdames Watson and Albers. It was good to be with these dear people, and enjoy with them and Mr. and Mrs. Albers, the evening meal served at early twilight. After dinner a pleasant hour was passed in the sitting room. Mrs. Schroeder has a plant in her window, a camelia, given as a tiny sprout, at the time of her wedding, forty years past. Things get to be part of one’s life, and are so cherished and cared for here. Mr. Albers is senator, having been re-elected.
Mrs. Geo. Willrich
The La Grange Journal,
Thursday, July 19, 1923
The Letter Box
On Friday, June 22d, Mrs. Watson, Gerda Olive, Judge and myself left Oldenburg for a tour of some of the famous places in Eastern and Southern Germany. Our first stop was at Lueneberg, where we visited briefly with a cousin of the Judge's, then to Hildesheim, which teems with the things that most interest us; legend, folklore houses of ancient date, and customs of other days. The one thing there, which all the world knows about, is the one thousand year old rose bush. It is to be seen in the court yard of this Dorn, and its story is connected with the foundation of that church.
I'm not a souvenir hunter, but a number of small sprigs have dropped from the main stalk, and I am going to preserve the one I picked up for Mr. Heintze, knowing how he treasures and appreciates such things.**
The Rathshaus is most interesting, the frescoes are of a symbolic nature, and all tell in some way the early story of Hildesheim. We had a bottle of wine in the Rathskeller, this being included in any order there, and were shown about this portion of the building - the celler, I mean.
The houses are most noticeable, going up into peaks, with small windows peeping out of the extremely slanting red tiled roofs. One need not to be told that they are very old; there are whole streets of them, special attention being attracted to the small house called the "Inverted Zucker-hut". In Hildesheim we first met up with young people, boys and girls, most of them with packs on their backs. The Judge is always eager for information, and talked with a man who was in charge of the boys thinking he was a teacher. He was a merchant in charge of the "North German Merchants' Jugentag." I have one of their programs before me, and note that it says from June 23 to 26 will be spent in the beautiful old town of Hildesheim. These boys are to be merchants and the Judge enjoyed talking to them, as they enjoyed his conversation. We met up with the crowd often during our sightseeing that day.
We spent the night in Braunschweig, and attended the theatre. The Judge didn't like the shave and massage he got there and could not help but make comparisons with our home barbers. He became quite grouchy after this bit of unsatisfactory treatment, and I fear, will always retain and unpleasant memory of Braunschweig - otherwise, Brunswick. We took an early train for Leipsig, the one great object of interest there being the mighty war memorial. It is the largest of Germany's war memorials, on the scale of the pyramids, one might say, and far beyond mere words of mine to describe.
This is Sunday, being a most beautiful day in point of weather we saw on the one hand, gay parties filling the trains and going to the country for a day in the open, and on the other hand the men and women in the fields, literally, "making hay while the sun shone."
At Leipsig we called up our American consul, Mr. De Soto, not that we needed his services, but to give him greetings from a mutual friend, and his comrade in the service, H. C. von Struve, some years ago a young law student at La Grange and a member of our household. Mr. de Soto managed to locate us at the station, which is said to be the largest in the world, but he stated it wasn't so difficult since he saw the grip which had been lettered by Mr. Rose: "George Willrich, La Grange, Texas, U.S.A." He was most courteous and regretted that he couldn't have shown us some real attention - our time was short. We left this place at six o'clock. Our friend, Mrs. Watson, conducts the party and knows the ways and means of doing things here. She visited these places only recently, which gives her added advantage of taking us at once to the object of interest without loss of time.
Upon our arrival in Germany the mark stood at 150,000 to the dollar, now it is 90,000. When we pay a few thousand marks for a meal, we cannot convince ourselves that it is only a few cents, what we'd in old La Grange would call ridiculously cheap. Another great service Mrs. Watson does for us , is managing our finances, far beyond us, although it is really only about twenty dollars in our money.
Mrs. George Willrich
** Had it been so willed, Mr. Heintze would have been granted a lease on life until your return, and your thoughtfulness would have brought from him a thankful smile. But, he has joined the great majority, and there are many who mourn as you will, at the knowledge here given. - Editor
June 27, 1923.
We came to Nuernberg from Berlin, passed through a most picturesque part of Germany, several hundred miles, since it is an all-day trip. There were castle-tipped hills, almost mountains, in the background, and since the sun was shining, the people were very busy in the hay fields, in the foreground. It has been raining so much that they are kept busy trying to save their hay. This activity added interest to the picture for us and the brightness made the perspective perfect. There was so much to see that the Judge took his seat by a window and wouldn't listen when we called him to look at the other side, saying it was all he could do to keep up with one side.
The train service is splendid, but trains are generally crowded at this time. We didn't happen to get one with a diner, so found variety in making the stations for Frankfurters and beer, or whatever was to be had. This is vacation time in Germany and everywhere there are people, singly, in couples or groups with packs on their backs, going from place to place. Teachers and children go about in this way; we had our picture taken with such a group in Dresden. The children were all in for the lark and hastily climbed upon the gigantic piece of statutary that was to be the background.
People have a time keeping up with the money, and inquiries are made daily by everybody as to how the dollar stands. As foreigners we are charged double, and then it amounts to very little, about twenty-five cents each for an extra good meal. The Judge enjoys talking to the people, and we have enjoyed meeting many in the train. The coupes have room for six or eight generally. The French "adieu" is entirely out, everyone says "auf wiederschen". On entering the hotel you are greeted by each of the attendants, and every morning the same.
At Potsdam the castle used by the late emperor, is open to the public since 1918. It was built by Frederick the Great, and rivals "San Souci". The body of the late empress rests in a mausoleum near by, facing a rose garden; this, according to her request, it is said. The casket is to be seen - the only one there - and fresh flowers, too. There does not seem to be the least sympathy for the late emperor or interest in him, which some account for by his marriage.
The richest treasures in Europe are to be seen in the castles; the "Gruene Gewolbe" in Dresden is the late king of Saxony's storehouse of jewels and works of art, other than paintings, and rivals Ali Baba's cave in richness. The articles, or most of them, were gifts to the king of Saxony through the ages, by other potentates.
This city is known - to us - as a toy manufacturing center. It was fortified, and the ancient towers - immense structures - are to be seen here and there. One is directly opposite this modernly equipped hotel.
Sight-seeing is very hard work, but Mrs. Watson is able to save us annoyance in every way. She attends to the tickets and gets us about in short order, where, left to ourselves, precious time would be consumed in making inquiries. Muenchen, or Munich, is our next stop before going north again for Oldenburg; from there we will go to Bonn on the Rhine. Some say there are difficulties in traveling in that section, but we will be with relatives. Until then.
Mrs. Geo. Willrich.
The La Grange Journal,
Cologne, on Rhine, July 4, 1923.
We passed the “Glorious Fourth” very quietly, just ourselves, though in a large city. It was bright and beautiful outside, and the right temperature for out-door sight-seeing. This city dates back to Roman times and has much to show of the remains of those days. Its fame has reached us in America, principally through its great Dom, or Cathedral, and “Eau de Cologne” or Cologne water. The city spreads out from the Dom, and as its spires over-top everything, one can never get lost. It is the guide for everything, one has but to look up in order to find oneself. Near it is the railway station and around it cluster the hotels and cafes. The British who occupy this territory are quartered in a hotel near the Dom, and have guards posted there. We went to the Dom early this morning and this evening at dusk, about 10:30, we stood in admiration of its grandeurs. While on an auto tour we were shown the original establishment of Johanne Maria Farina, established in 1709, and who was said to have first manufactured “Eau de Cologne.” We made a small purchase for the novelty of it, though the perfume is sold everywhere throughout the city.
The Judge was particularly interested in the remains of the old fortifications, there are four of the original towers in the city. Several bridges span the Rhine, and are highly ornamental structures, particularly the Hohenzollern Bridge. There are numberless statues and fountains, but nothing adds to the beauty of the palaces as does the Rhine.
In an effort to assist some American ladies, we went with them to call on our American Consul, Mr. Emil Sauer. The ladies had lost their trunk and we suggested going to the Consul as we had a personal letter to him from Mr. H. C. von Struve. The office had a notice saying: “Closed on account of holiday.” Of course we might have guessed it, being the Fourth. It is quite the order in continental cities to close from 1 to 3 p.m., which often vexes us considerably. Between these hours they sit in cafes, lingering over cigars and cigarettes. Smoking is done always and everywhere, except when one finds a compartment in the train labeled: “Nicht rauchen.” It is most disgusting to see the whole universe of young men smoking. We have this with us at home but hardly to the extent of the practice here.
We purchased tickets for this place at Oldenburg via Bremen, but when we reached the latter place we were told that a telegram had been received that no trains were to go through. We took the risk but at Elterfeld had to make a change of trains, as the French are occupying the territory just outside that city. We had no trouble in getting through the French lines. We find it very restful here, and will remain another day before going to our next stopping place, Bonn.
This afternoon we called on Miss Mueller and her mother, relatives of Mrs. Diebel’s, who had given us their address. We located the address through the assistance of the street car conductor, and obliging police, and were glad to have met Mrs. Mueller and daughter.
This morning we visited on of the large banks to get $5.00 changed; the dollar stood at 159,000. While there it was quite early – the money was brought into the bank at the front door, in two large iron boxes, and handed out over the counter. One young man in a hurry to catch a train, had to leave without money, as it had not arrived.
Our noon meal was taken at the “Ewige Lampe,” and was served in style; with a bottle of wine; the cost was 270,000 marks. We are shifting for ourselves now, in handling money, Mrs. Watson having very kindly attended to it heretofore. A shoe shine, which cannot be had on the streets, only in the hotels, costs 2,000 marks. The street car fare for the two of us was 3,000 marks. When they say, in reply to a question as how much a thing costs, two, three, or four hundred, they really mean that many hundred thousand. Keeps one figuring about that 150,000 to the dollar.
Hope you sent the Journal to our address in Bonn. It will delight us to find it waiting there. We have had no news from home, though we’ve been away a month today.
Greetings and good wishes to all.
(The above letter should have preceded the letter from Mrs. Willrich that was published last week. In some manner the letter was delayed in the mails. We call the reader’s attention to this delay, as many are preserving the letters we are publishing. In filing them away, let the above letter precede the one that appeared last week, as in the above the statement is made that the travelers are on their way to Bonn, in the letter published last week, they were already in Bonn. The Bonn letter bore the date of July 7; the above letter bears date of July 4. This is merely an explanatory reference note – Editor).
The La Grange Journal,
Thursday, July 26, 1923
The Letter Box
Bonn, Germany, July 7, 1923.
We are up early this morning, Preparatory to making a little excursion by boat to Koenigswinter and then to Drachenfels (called dragon’s rock in reference to the dragon slain by Siegfried.) Upon looking out the window we were greeted by a most entrancing view, the Rhine, with the reflection of the Seven Mountains (Seben Geberge) in its clear waters. We are at the hotel Rheineck and one would think the location alone, the most beautiful imaginable, would make it expensive, yet it is costing us only thirty-two cents per day.
We look out also directly upon the graceful Rhine bridge which bestrides the river in three arches, with a total length of 1415 feet and is the most beautiful in the Rhenisch provinces. Nowhere is the landscape marred as in the case in our country, with the ever present eyesore, the bill board. The bridge connects Bonn with Benel, and on that end of it is the so called “Brueckenmaenchen” who turns his back on that city because the citizens refused to contribute towards its building.
Yesterday we took tea with our relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Karl Lassaulx, who had asked in some friends and other relatives to meet us. Later, in returning to our hotel, we passed the University buildings, there are almost seven thousand students, and visited the “Alte Zoll.” This is an old bastion on the bank of the Rhine with a celebrated view of the seven mountains and other points of interest. There is a monument here to the poet, Ernst Moritz-Arndt, in bronze. What interested us very much was a semi-circular seat a high back. A mere whisper at one [end] carried around to the listeners at the other end, a distance of about seventy feet.
Beethoven was born in Bonn; the home is now a museum – and its contents include his piano, ear trumpets, etc. The garret where he was born, has been preserved, unaltered. The city is occupied by the French, but as transient visitors here, we haven’t seen anything out of the way, except the Tarcos on guard duty. Germans cannot move about the occupied territory very freely, as part of their plan of passive resistance, is not riding on French trains.
Later –Since writing the above we have made the trip to Drachenfels. Some of the original walls are to be seen; the government has repaired one portion of the ancient castle, i.e., to the extent of making it secure. It reaches high up into the blue sky and can be seen for miles, while the panorama spread out before one from that point, cannot be surpassed. It can be described by one in the words of Byron (Child World):
“The castled crag of Drachenfels
The special production of the vineyards near Drachenfels is called Drachenblut (dragon’s blood.) The stone of the cathedral was furnished by the quarries of Drachenfels from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century. As however, they menaced the safety of the castle they were purchased by the Prussian government in 1836 and the retaining walls erected.
There is enough to be seen here, even by a stroll along the streets, which the Judge enjoys more than he does strenuous sight-seeing.
Mrs. George Willrich.
Trier, (Treves), July 12, 1923.
We left Bonn yesterday by boat on the Rhine for Coblenz, from that place here by auto, about sixty miles along the Mosel. The scenery was wonderfully attractive, and different from any we had seen. Mountains on either side of the river, and where there was a sunny exposure, even to the highest point, was planted in grapes. This for miles and miles. At one point we were ferried across the river, and while waiting, drank a glass of Mosel wine at the “Zur Krone.” We found the highway splendid, and people along the roadside gathering great baskets of cherries, the trees lining the way on both sides. Now and then there was a castle in ruins, about which one could picture much of the history of days past. They stood out clearly in the evening landscape, and could be seen now and then as the road wound around the hills – a highly picturesque setting.
At Trier the hotels are occupied by the French, but we were directed to a private house where we found good rooms. The main hotel, the “Portu Nigra,” is named for the old Roman gate which is nearby. An imposing ruin – in splendid preservation. Autos drive through the gate, making a striking contrast between today and the time of its building. Other Roman remains here are the baths and Amphi theatre, which we are yet to see.
July 13; since visiting the above we came by auto to Schloss Thorn, about twenty miles further on the Mosel. We were most cordially received by Baron v. Musiel, the owner, and connected with the Von Lassaulx, his mother having been a Von Lassaulx. In the afternoon all of us walked to the ancient family seat, Schloss Berg, and which on that account, interested us more than anything we have seen. The property passed out of the hands of the family many years ago, and of course it has gone down. The present owner has a meat market in a portion of the building. In spite of this, the buildings are imposing, and a walk inside evidenced the grandeur of days gone by. From there we went to the village church to locate the grave of Katherine Musiel, by whose marriage to a Von Lassaulx, the Schloss came into the family, but it had supposedly been covered by the newly placed tiled flooring.
Further on we were shown a perfectly preserved mosiac floor, which remains from Roman times. It was discovered in 1852, being at that time many feet under ground, and is now protected and preserved for all time. This was at the little village of Mennig.
On our auto tour and walking through the little villages we had the opportunity of observing the people generally, and their habits of life. Everywhere the family treasure of the farmer is to be seen in front of the house and the odor, if nothing else, drew our attention to it; a sort of vat with straw and water and barnyard sweepings. One can readily realize the importance of this conservation of fertilizer, since the land has been cultivated for so many centuries.
We remained over night, the guests of Baron v. Musiel, and today came to visit his sister and family who live in Luxemberg. Everywhere, without distinction as to whether it is a castle or a hut, one hears of how much a pound of butter, or a litre of milk costs. All are without funds except the farmer, who has come into his own, and is making the best of it. We greatly miss the use of cars and suffer from much walking. One should go into training before touring Europe, there is no other way of seeing things, and they don’t mind it like we do.
We return to Treves tomorrow, and from there go to Coblenz. Mr. Schuhmacher will take us there in his car. He is a relative of Johnnie’s and we called on him at Wittlich, and presented Johnnie’s letter, but both father and son were out. We got into communication with Mr. Schuhmacher over telephone and will have time during the drive to tell him of his American relatives.
Judge joins in regards.
The La Grange Journal,
Wonns on Rhine, July 18, 1923.
Mailed last letter to you at Luxembourg the 14th inst. From there we returned to Coblenz by rail. Along the way there were evidences of a celebration – flags and decorations on depots and some buildings. It was the French National holiday – the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille being observed by the French in Germany. In Coblenz there was much gaiety, the French officers being in full regalia, the women stylishly dressed and even grim old Ehrenbreistein, which looks down from the opposite bank of the Rhine, was trimmed around about with hed [red], white and blue lights – colors of the French republic. Everything was peaceable so far as we know. On Sunday our relatives showed us about this city – the houses and particularly the church built by the Judge’s great grandfather, and the house where his (Judge’s) mother was born.
We left early the next day for Mainz by boat up the Rhine, this being the justly named portion of the Rhine. Nothing could surpass the scenery in actual beauty, and to emphasize it – each ruined castle has its own legend. We followed these with our Baedeker. No description could do justice to the grandeur of these ancient strongholds of the nobler barons – some now occupied. One’s imagination easily pictured the rude times at which they were built, and each apparently well served the purpose of plundering the ships in their passage up and down the Rhine. We stopped over night at Mainz and took a look at the Dom and the Gutenberg monument, the inventor of the printing press. This city claims to be the place of his birth and death. The monument is in bronze and the inscription is in Latin. Am enclosing a picture that I thought you would like. We came here for a brief visit with relatives and then to Mannheim and Heidelberg.
The Luther memorial here is very imposing and is placed in a beautiful park – not large, but sufficient – the brightness of the grass and flowers giving a proper sitting to the semicircle of heroic bronze figures with Luther on a higher pedestal in the center. We visited the cemetery and saw the newly erected war memorial – simple but most impressive – a young soldier standing upright, but in the attitude of prayer. There was no inscription and none was necessary.
Nearby there was a place where quite a large number of Russian and English soldiers were buried, having died here in the hospital. The graves were all well cored off [cared for].
One sees so many ancient churches that a hurried visit to one makes only a confused impression. They are all rich in decorations and as examples of architecture are much studied. The Dom here is a very ancient building on a Roman foundation, dating from about the year one thousand. The space in front is said to have been the scene of the quarrel between Brunhilde and Chriemhilde recorded in the Niebelungenlied. Nearby there is a very large odd looking stone which some one of legendorg [legendary] fame threw at some other legendery character from across the Rhine. You see I am indefinite and uncertain – not so with the native, he knows his story and knows it thoroughly, having learned it at school.
The La Grange Journal,
Thursday, August 23, 1923
The Letter Box
Know you will be glad to hear from us at this place, since it is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Moos, the latter formerly Lily Bruns, daughter of Mrs. John Bruns of O’Quinn. Her father was the late John Bruns, known as an exemplary citizen of Fayette county -- a Confederate veteran and a man dearly loved by all who knew him. It was our particular pleasure to be with Mrs. Moos for her birthday, July 26, and to give into her hands a gift made by here mother in far away Texas.
We have been completely captivated by Switzerland. It combines grandeur of scenery with charming flower bedecked homes, so that one’s eyes are always gratified with the view. We have had some wonderful drives with our friends, going yesterday to Zurich and returning by a different route, and every now and then Mr. Moos would stop the car so that we could take in the sweep of landscape spread out from some high point – nearby forest-covered mountains – the distant snow capped Alps, and in between the clear blue lakes and near them cities and towns showing up brightly in the afternoon sunlight. To have been with the Moos’ is one of the greatest delights of our trip, and one that will linger with us always in sweet memory. Their home combines beauty with the highest degree of comfort. Mr. Moos owns and manages a large factory of cotton goods – the buildings are most exemplary, and a large number of people are given employment.
August first is a national anniversary and preparations are being made for observing the event. After that we are going for a tour, Mr. and Mrs. Moos taking us in their car. We are then to see and climb real snow capped peaks and become acquainted with glaciers. Our friends complain that our stay is too short to know except a very little of the wonders of this small country – small only as to its boundaries – large in progressiveness, education, sanitation and matters that concern the population. A short walk this morning brought us to a school where there were children being given physical training in the open air. We enjoyed watching them as we did the few moments conversation with the instructor.
At Zurich yesterday, we passed wonderful university buildings. I naturally thought it was the educational center of the Republic, but mention was made of some other centers that also have universities – at least half a dozen.
In Zurich we were shown the Landes museum – a number of immense buildings Fieled [filled] with objects relating to Switzerland. We passed an hour going through it, which of course, was all too brief a time to see things properly.
From here we go to Paris – then to London. We return to the States by the Homeric – from Southhampton, August 15.
We were greatly grieved as were Mr. and Mrs. Moos to hear of Mr. Heintze’s death.
The La Grange Journal,
Thursday, August 30, 1923.
The Letter Box
Hotel Burgundy, Paris, August 9, 1923
No one could fail to enjoy Paris. It’s very atmosphere whispers of pleasure. Today we went to the Louvre for a brief visit, telling the guide that we only wanted to see the Vinus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. Two hours sped by on wings and we regretted to leave, promising ourselves we would come again to this most wonderful Museum of Art.
We drove yesterday to Reims and Soissons – both cities rising from the ruins caused by war. We passed Belleau Wood and gathered poppies near the graves of our American soldiers buried there. Many of the remains of German trenches are to be seen. We saw the crater of Hill 108, caused by the explosion of an immense shell. At the Reims Cathedral, now being rebuilt, we learned again the story of Joan of Arc. A statue in front of bronze shows her in armor mounted, carrying the tri-color. It was to this place that she brought King Charles to be crowned in this Cathedral, as the other kings of France had been.
On the return trip to Paris we came suddenly upon the spot in the forest of Campeigne where the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. As this had not been previously announced, it took us a moment to realize where we were. There are several monuments commemorating the event. The Judge picked up socks, marked them with a rude “A” and handed them to the ladies of the party as souvenirs. Our auto ride took us over the Chemin de Dames – the road which we read of during the war. It was ten o’clock when we reached the city – just when at its grayest. We searched for a restaurant and found a cabaret where we had splendid food and a rare entertainment. The Dolly Sisters were a feature of the program, and the band played, “Down on the Swanee River.”
Reims is in the Champagne country and we had a bottle with our lunch there – I saved the label and cork.
Mrs. George Willrich.
At Sea, August 19, 1923.
Wrote your last letter from Paris where our week’s stay proved most enjoyable. Our hotel was a few steps from the Boulevard where one could see Paris on parade, particularly during the afternoon when the sidewalk cafes were thronged. These cafes are a feature of the city, which we well know from pictures.
From Paris we went via Calais and Dover to London. Many go daily by airplane route which takes only about two hours. In London we came across so much that we learned in our school histories. Our first morning took us to the Tower, with a guide to point out the scenes when this or that occurrence was staged. The place was built by William, the Conqueror in 1078, in order that he might have control over the city and the most sluggish imagination is readily stirred at the sight of the “traitors gate”, that gate of dreadful memories , and the square plot paved with granite where Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, and as the guide stated , other hardened criminals were executed. Inquiries of the Beefeater as to which was the “bloody tower”, we were told that that adjective applied equally to every corner of the tower. The Beefeaters are the uniformed guards, their costumes being a picturesque survival of the days of Charles II. The Judge was more interested in the soldiers – the Coldstream guards, with uniform of scarlet and white and black shako. The day following we saw guard mount at the barracks, and the new guard relieve the old at the King’s residence, Buckingham Palace nearby. In spite of London being so immense, it happened that everything we happened to inquire about was only just around the corner. We at once became familiar with Charing Cross, Picadilly, and the top of Haymarket. There doesn’t seem to be any speed limit in London or Paris, but there are safety spots in the middle of the streets, to which one can run as a half way ground and then make another dash across. Policemen seem to be efficient and are most courteous. Innumerable large buses are the principal means of transportation. We rode for hours on top of one for rest and recreation at the same time. We paid two visits to England’s greatest shrine, and in which we proudly claim a share – Westminster Abbey. During the first we were shown points of particular interest and during the second visit strolled at leisure unattended. Our steps brought us to the poet’s corner where near the Shakespeare Memorial, and the tomb of Chaucer, (here there was a fresh wreath of green), we noted the bust of Longfellow. Most of the vaults are underneath the floor, so we came unaware to stand on the last resting place of many of the world’s greatest men. Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens and George Frederick Handel, all near together. I copied the inscription on the tablet to the memory of Handel. Adjoining there is a medallion to the memory of Jenny Lind, the only woman honored by a place in this galaxy of intellect. We often felt the nearness of England's history to our own. In St. Margaret’s church near Westminster, we searched for the last resting place of Sir Walter Raleigh. I asked a young man if he knew – he became interested and actually located the memorial in a very dark corner. When the Judge came up there I sat in this secluded spot holding Sir Walter’s wabbly hand. I was so glad to have found him. In addition to the date of interment, which was on the day he was beheaded, October 29, 1618, the inscription bears the following -- “Reader: Should you reflect on his errors, remember his many virtues, and that he was a mortal.”
One point of interest in London is Marble Arch, formerly Tyburn Tree, a place of execution. We noticed excavations being made and the next day the papers stated that skulls had been found there by workmen, one possibly that of Oliver Cromwell, as his body, after being interred in Wetminster for some time, was beheaded, and the body hanged at Tyburn Tree and later buried underneath; this by order of Charles II. By the irony of fate Cromwell’s statue now stands in front of the Abbey.
Saturday night there was an entertainment on board ship, a benefit for sailers’ widows and orphans. We especially enjoyed and appreciated Tex (Texas) McLeod, a wonderful rope twirler, who told jokes most pleasingly while doing astonishing stunts. We later learned that he is A. D. McLeod from Gonzales county, and had been with Buffalo Bill. Aside from his skill, he has an engaging personality.
We hope to arrive in New York Wednesday or Thursday at latest. We stop over in Shreveport for the marriage of Wilburn Lunn, the 28th inst. to Miss Mary Blanche Douglas, also of Shreveport.
Regards to all.