Contributed by Kathleen Haynes
Contact Myrtle Bridges June 04, 2008
Thursday, August 15, 1912
My dear Mother,
From Dresden I think my last letter was, and from there to Berlin - and wonderful ride of about two and a
half hours over a very rich and prosperous looking country, farms and factories, industry on every hand and
then Berlin. A great city - grand in its distances and quite New Yorkish in it's appearance. Sunday afternoon
I walked out Unter der Linden it's principal street thru a gateway in the style of a Roman arch and thru the
Tier Garten to the Zoological Gardens. The Tier Garten was quite pretty- lovely diverse monuments here and
there and a rather imposing looking Avenue of Victory adorned with statues of all the Prussian Kings and German
Emporers. At one end is an enormous statue of Victory all in gilt and near are monuments to Moire and Bismark.
Not far is the House of Parliament. It seems queer to spend so much time in a Zoo, but I spent almost all afternoon
looking at the animals. All the well known ones to be sure, and then hundreds I'd hardly ever seen, if ever. Storks
and Ibis and queer wading birds whose locomotion on land gave you the impression of being deformities - and gorgeous
birds of paradise and white peacocks - orang- outangs, then hundreds of monkeys and everything else. The best
collection in the world, except that at Hamburg.
Then I went to the palaces, rather gaudily decorated in the Rococo style - saw some good monuments, all the
warriors, a splendid one of Frederick the Great. The galleries were disappointing, especially so since I'd seen
Vienna and Italy, but there was a Murillo - St. Anthony with the Infant Christ that was lovely, and a portrait
of a London merchant by Hans Holbein that I especially liked. The Berlin Cathedral (Protestant) was especially
pretty and some good bronzes showed Luther and Calvin and Melancthon and other reformers. The interior was quite
plain and handsome and the altar carried just enough gilding and mosaic to set it apart from the rest of the church.
I saw the house where the Grimm Brothers lived and the Arsenal and the Stables and then Tuesday went to Potsdam,
or rather Wildpark, and walked up to the New Palace built by Frederick the Great. There was nothing very striking
here save the shell room. A rather large apartment with stone floor, whose walls and ceiling were covered with shells
and agates and onyx and conchs and lapis lazuli. It wasn't very pretty and the ceiling did not have shells for I
remember that spoilt it. It is here that the Royal Christmas trees were held. I suppose that's the proper word.
Then down to the Orangerie and past an old windmill whose owner refused to sell it so they say - to Sans Souci -
high up on terraces - long and rambling and quite comfortable looking. Fred the Great designed this you know,
lived here and died here. I saw the library in the shape of a circle whose door fitted in and made itself
invisible as it were, having book cases on the back - rather snug and cozy I thought this was. Quite a few
English books he had too, and I noticed a 'Horace' that seemed to be well used. I also went in the room in which
the great man died and here was a beautiful marble of him in a chair by the window with his greyhounds. They are
buried at one end of the lawn. Then back to town.
As I said it's all quite pretty and they are working to make it more beautiful - and so clean - I never saw
such streets. I went to some stores and cafes - beautifully decorated, but their attempts at imitation of thing
Parisian shows the - well, German. I went to the Der Palace - a sort of theatre whose arena was ice and on it saw
'Yvonne' a ballet in their act. It was perfect. Such lovely costumes and the hundred or more figures simply floated
across the ice to sweet music. I never imagined anyone could skate so. It was so very, very pretty.
And then to Heidelberg where I saw the old castle - a splendid ruin of red sandstone perched on a hill high
above the town - a perfect ruin it was to use a missed metaphor, and then the university - rather disappointing
in its appearance, but a good library. Some Luther … and some old Gutenberg books and other things interesting including
their law library, and then hurry to Maintz.
Tomorrow I go down the Rhine. Its cold and rain, rain almost all the time - not sheets of it, but misty and all that,
tho I can still get around, and am quite well and enjoying myself. Devotedly, Donald
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