W1337 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his friend J.H. Whittemore
Dec 24 1871
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten
From: Dresden, Principality of Saxony, Empire of Germany
My dear Mac,
The mail of yesterday brought your letter to Moody1 and the World and Tribune to me. Moody and I wrote you two weeks since, which I hope you will receive before this and know something of what we have and are doing. Learning Dutch2 is far better to talk about than to acquire as I know from what little we have attempted to do since we came here. Being like we have not gained as rapidly as we should had we kept more in a Dutch atmosphere, and not so much with ourselves and American friends. It is all very well to say keep away from Americans but it is very difficult to do when you know that friends are nearby. It is also a great pleasure to talk in a familiar tongue once in a while.
Moody has suffered very much from his rheumatism and afflictions, and I feel that it would have been very wrong for him to have been alone. As for self I am not well and have not been since I left home suffering from my old prostration. While in France I felt very much better and feel that I am on the whole better but the close application to study for three months has taken hold of me rather severely, and about the 20th of January I go with some friends into Italy for a while before coming to Vienna for lectures. Moody joins me in Rome two or three weeks later.
I would not advise any person to come to Dresden to study during the winter unless they are quite strong and well as I do not think this dark, damp climate is very good. We have had some exceedingly cold weather and I feel it more windy than in America.
We have continued working as hard as ever and do see that progress is made that we can talk more, understand lectures etc. better but are far from complete Germans and I never expect to be. We continue to attend the Dutch Club Moody wrote you about and find it very amusing. The last we attended two Dr.'s had a set-to just like Dr.'s over the whole world and they did sling Dutch at one another until called to order by the President.
Christmas is made very much of here and all has been given up to it the past week. Moody and I dined with a party of thirteen American friends the 25th and we had a fine time. The Rev. Dr. with whom we live has had two parties the past week and we have seen quite a number of Dutch men and women and found them very pleasant and jolly. They all drink beer kindly and have appetites that would astonish you.
One eve. a famous singer was present and entertained us highly. She intends by & by to go to America. Theatre continues to be our Chief amusement and they are very interesting, entertaining and instructive. I was invited some two weeks since to see a little of Dutch life behind the curtain, and life it was, it was beauty unadorned in the strict sense of the word. You would have laughed to have seen a Russian damsel lightly clad in a short chemise, make for me. I was compelled to talk Dutch and you bet I did.
Moody and I as well as all Americans rejoice at the change of affairs in New York and hope the end is not yet. I hope the Erie faction will go next. I think from what the papers say that things are a little shaky in that direction. I am glad that Ruppaner has rcd. his dues.
I presume that Moody has written you that Al. Kingsland and wife are here. I go with them to Italy. My plan now is to stay several months in Vienna, a short time in Berlin thence to England and Scotland for a couple of months feeling that the last of 72 will call me back to America, but so long ahead I cannot tell. I intend the coming week to see the famous picture gallery here and will by and by write you of it. We have kept very close run but fear of the attractions of this place, in fact I think the winter living not very [? ink blot] but in summer it must be very pleasant.
Dutch living is not up to our ideas, and the comforts we have are not known. Moody and I intend to live in restaurants in Vienna and not trust ourselves to a Dutch family. The German people are all educated in literature but in nothing else. But they think they know all creation. I do not hesitate to tell them they think so and in these little spirts learn much German. Moody joins me in much love to you. After Jan 25th send letters to care of Baring Bros. and Co. London.
As ever, Whit
1 Moody's reply, W1341, was included in the same envelope as this letter from Whittemore.
2 Dutch here is probably archaic for German.