Travel Letters: Heidelberg, Germany (1882)

DEAR WILLIAM, — I suppose that Bishop Williams is preaching today at Trinity, so you are all considerably better off than if your own dear pastor were at home.

It has been a very pleasant week for me, but not an eventful one. On Monday I went to Giessen and saw the university and one or two of the professors. It is one of the smaller universities, but a very interesting one. Then I went to Worms, which I had seen before, but at which I wanted to get another look that I might see some things relating to Luther. From there I came to beautiful Heidelberg, and have been here since Tuesday night. You saw Heidelberg, and know something of how beautiful it is. Just now the hill on which the castle stands is one mass of splendid color ; almost as bright as anything that one sees in our American woods are the trees in this valley of the Neckar. I have my German teacher here and the use of a library, where I go every day, so I am far from being idle. Here probably I shall stay through this week, and then begin slowly to work back to Berlin, where I want to get a week or two more before I start for the south.

Egypt looks now as if one might find his way through, but there are great difficulties to be overcome before the question of its government is settled, and all Europe is such a tinder-box that a general war may be lighted at any moment. Just at present it does not seem as if any of the great powers wanted much to fight. Certainly Germany does not. The general feeling among her people seems to be a sort of dull disappointment with the results of the last war. It has not brought the country either the wealth or the freedom that they hoped. Germany is poor, and Bismarck’s watchful and jealous eye is on everything. The people are proud of their splendid army, but they feel the drain of it tremendously. . . .

There will be no war this winter, and I shall go to India as quietly possible in December. You must be just about getting up in Boston. Good-morning to you all !

Most affectionately, P.