Bonn, October 8, 1854
My dear brother Ludwig!
I returned here eight days ago from a three month long trip, during which I meant to write to you on numerous occasions and never found the time. Thus your dear letter dated September 9th, which arrived some days ago, was a very pleasant surprise, and I do not want to wait any longer to express my heartfelt thanks for it! Just as you were writing to me on a quiet Sunday, I am also sitting at my desk today totally by myself; my Emma is out visiting a little friend, Julius and his wife, Gustav and Frau Schmaffhausen have traveled to Cologne to admire the [?] Kunstreuter Renz [/?] there, and because of this they are only going to return tomorrow morning! In the past, we used to celebrate this date today very festively, after all it was our dear father's birthday; on such an occasion my thoughts love to linger in the past, more than usually. I must ask your forgiveness quite seriously for not writing to you in such a long time, and I am doubly grateful to you for still writing to me, I was already afraid that from now on brother Julius would be the only person lucky enough to get letters from you. In our church, they collected donations today for a preachers' seminar in Martha'ville, and I am astonished at this because I had imagined Martha'ville to consist of only a few houses. This collection of donations is run through all of Prussia, in August I was in the Priegnitz region in a poor village church, in September in Berlin and here today, where the same cause was being publicized. Please, let me have an answer eventually if you really have a needy seminar there? I undertook a rather beautiful journey during which I somewhat managed to recuperate my health again, for that was badly needed after the sad winter and spring that I went through when my Julchen, so very talented, was snatched from me by dying! In this life I must go through many a sad moment before I reach the goal of my runway, but God has obviously strengthened me , otherwise I would not have been able to endure all of this. After having several nieces stay here with me on and off, my household is only small at the moment, I only have Emma here right now, who is going to attend a good boarding school one year from now. For some weeks now, the second youngest daughter of our late brother Karl, Sophie, is also living in that same boarding school, 300 Thaler are being paid for her annually in that institution! She is a nice girl, but hasty and wild, and she requires a strict discipline. Only one time in two weeks is she permitted to see her family, which makes her somewhat sad. She spent last year in a boarding school in Wiesbaden, where they had an outbreak of nervous fever recently, which caused several casualties. In May I took Natalie to Nachrodt to Frau Emma Schmidt, who had asked for her and may keep her for good, as three of her own daughters are already married and only the youngest is still living with her.
Right now she is visiting here with me and tells me over and over again with how much love she is being treated in their house. This week, Julius and his wife want to take her back there. The luxury that is prevalent in Nachrodt is beyond all description, the Pudlings hammers must yield a fortune! Do you know that Robert Löbbecke - Uncle Ludwig's youngest son - married the youngest daughter from Nachrodt, Emma? One and a half years ago, he had traveled to Iserlohn to say goodbye, as he was about to go to America, when he saw Emma, fell in love and got engaged, and now as the son-in-law takes over the business with the iron hammers. The newlyweds spent all of last winter in Spain on their honeymoon and used a tremendous sum of money. Frau Schmidt's second son-in-law is Assessor Schnitglen from Cologne, and the third is a lieutenant von Bülow from Braunschweig. Our Alexander was in Nachrodt for part of his vacation, and like everywhere he goes, he is very popular there, then again he is an sincere and friendly person. He is already turning 20 tomorrow. Eight days ago, he went back to his school, the Business Institute in Berlin. Everyone of my many friends there likes to entertain him and thus he is leading a very pleasant life. Now I also want to tell you a bit about my journey, which I embarked on on July 4th, together with my little Emma; she suffers badly from [Skropheln] [= morbus scrophulosus] and therefore should also make use of the health cure in Rehmo. The saltwater spa in Westphalen near Minden has now become very popular during the last few years. Gustav, Frau Schmaffhausen together with her son, Aunt Etta Loebbecke with her daughter Louise and granddaughter Etta Du Roi were there at the same time, which was very nice. When I was done with my regimen with the best of results, I extended it a little into a post-regimen, and sent Emma back to Bonn where she stayed with Julius until I returned. First I was in Braunschweig with Aunt Etta for 8 days, she now lives a very quiet life after Uncle Ludwig passed away. Their son Otto has taken over his father's position, he married one of Frau Emilie v. Mayer's - nee Emilie Denike - daughters. The Maiers have been living in Braunschweig for ten years now, before that they were in Frankfurt. In Braunschweig, many people asked about you and they all wonder if you won't ever come back to visit your old home? The pious widow Bertha von Hünersdorf gives her daughters away in marriage to preachers, that means they are marrying down as far as possible, where neither wealth, beauty, graciousness nor youth are prevalent! All the relatives find themselves in a conflict of opinion with her over this, and they barely see Bertha anymore! Marie's daughters in Marienborn also do not marry well, all of the upbringing in Marienborn is inadequate. The oldest son, Julius, is a partner in the Loebbecke trading company in Braunschweig, he took himself a rich wife, is constantly bored and is rumored to be very miserly. The second son, Victor, bought himself a nice estate on the Oder and lives there as an odd character. Old Aunt Karl Dietrich Loebbecke (Frau Sophie) is still alive as well. I am not sure if after such a long
absence you are still interested in those people, but I assume so. Braunschweig has the most beautiful railroad station in all of Germany, it is very grand and lies right next to Uncle Ludwig's garden. It was from there that I paid a visit to the von Freier family at the Rosenwinkel Estate in Priegnitz , between Berlin and Hamburg. These people love me so much that they absolutely spoil me. Since Alexander's vacation was just beginning, he spent one week with me at the estate, and then traveled on to Bonn. I witnessed a harvest being brought in that was full of blessings, nevertheless there is terrible complaint again about the potato disease, and one bushel of potatoes now costs 1 1/2 Thaler, twice of what they were before. Here along the Rhine we have a huge inflation rate despite the good harvest, people can barely afford their food and the poor are threatened by starvation. In Silesia there has been such devastating flooding of the river Oder after heavy rains that most inhabitants are ruined, and charities are collecting money for them all through Germany. In early September, there was a fabulous concert with 12 regiment choirs in the Tiergarten, 100,000 tickets were sold for it, and all the theaters staged shows benefiting the poor people in Silesia. I left Rosenwinkel on September 10 and spent almost three weeks in Berlin, where I encountered so much old love and friendship from all of my many friends there. It was very enjoyable to be able once again to talk about the past, as my acquaintances here know plain nothing about the days gone by, and thus our interest for each other is not quite so lively. However, right now I do not wish to move back again into the hustle and bustle of the big city, I rather like it here in Bonn. If only Julius wanted to stay here! He is still undecided in this respect and lives in a furnished place. Together with his wife, he spent time at the Bertrich spa, between Koblenz and Trier, where they were so happy. We learned to our astonishment that the number of your offspring is yet to increase, I guess you are already approaching the second dozen by now?! Please, dear Ludwig, can you send me a list some day of all your children so far, together with their birthdays. Eduard spent three months in his village [?] Spastr [/?], and his married children Nikolai and Eugenie from Orenburg joined him there. Eugenie has just lost another one of her little sons due to dysentery, which was rampant in Russia. In Munich, the cholera was raging and did a lot of damage to the great exhibition. Now, my dear sweet brother, I have told you quite a lot from the old world, and I do hope that it won't be boring to you. Send my sincerest greetings to both your wife and children, and may you yourself also be the recipient of a thousand wishes from all of us, but it is me who sends you the most hugs, Your faithful sister Marie.
Since May I now live at Weberstraße # 4
Brother Julius has me tell you, in addition to saying hello, that he is looking forward to a response to his latest letter to you.