Letter:GAUSS, Oscar W. to Charles Henry Gauss - 1865-05-31

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From GAUSS, Oscar William (1842 - 1918)
To GAUSS, Charles Henry (1845 - 1913)
Date: 31 May 1865
Family(s) Gauss
Collection Minna Gauss Reeves collection
Needs annotation: Yes

Berlin May 31st 1865

Dear Henry

I feel as though I ought to have written to you sooner, but I was so much engaged that I could not take the leisure fo it. I got to my journey's end Saturday about 10 P.M. I spent 3 or 4 very pleasant days with uncle Joseph in Hanover. He is a quiet, dignified old gentleman, without the least care apparently for external appearances. I was very kindly received at his house, but in a very deliberate and unostentatious manner. His wife was away on a 2 or 3 weeks yearly visit to her sister. Our cousin Charles is also a very pleasant and amiable young man. In some way he reminded me a little of you, without resembling you. He is going to school at present. uncle was kind enough on Thursday to go to Göttingen with Charley & me, where we spent the day looking at the objects and localities to full of interest to a Gauss. There is a large stone monument erected over grandfather's grave. The house from which to the observatory the first telegraphic wires was stretched was pointed out to me. I of course went into the Observatory and saw the place where our fathers lived and flourished in their youth. Grandfather's likeness is hung in every public place of note. I also met several men who had lived and worked with grandfather. Prof. Ewalt, who married our aunt Minna, Prof. Weber, Prof. Lüsting. Just as we were on our way to the depot I fell in with one old gentleman who sympathized with the South in America. He said that it would hve been better for the world if the South had succeeded. I have forgotten his name; he is in the law faculty of the University. The political state of Germany is not good; Prussia and Austria like two dogs over a bone are quarelling about Denmark. The whole country is cut up into little kingdoms each one of which has a King who must maintain a military force at an expense which is detrimental to the general welfare. To return again to the state of feeling here towards our country, pastor Nilmach, the husband of mother's oldest sister who lives near Hanover, told me that among the clergy here the sympathy was almost altogether with the South. I do not know how uncle Joseph feels. With the desire to find out his ideas I asked him one night what he thought of our affairs in America; he answered that he thought they were in a very sad condition. I thought it was better not to press the matter and so dropped it. I infer though from various remarks that he thinks on a great many subjects in common with pa and uncle. He favors uncle a great deal.

The cars here are altogether different from ours. You don't pass from one to the other, but each one having seats for 8 persons is shut off for itself. Every mile they have a watch stationed, who keeps the track clear. They also have bells here and there on the road which are set in motion by electricity through the passage of the cars, which give notice that the train is coming so that every one may be at his post in good time. There are 3 classes of Coupies, as the coaches are called; in the first only princes and royal personages ride and ladies who are travelling alone; in the second the class of society here which is next to the royalty; the third for the rest. I believe they travel a little faster than we do in America, though the impression here is that we make greater distances in the same time. Fare is undoubtedly cheaper. The way they manage with the baggage however is not so convenient. In Bremen we had to hunt out our own trunks from 600 or 700 and then sent them by a 'Dienstman' wherever you want it. These 'Dienstmen' are all numbered and are arranged a good deal like our hacks only they cannot carry so much at a time. It is the same way in Hanover, excepting that from Bremen out we get checks and these we deliver to the 'Dienstman'. In Berlin the first thing to do is to secure a Droschke, a kind of a carriage, which is best done by going straight through the depot and taking a number from a policeman, which corresponds with a Droschke. If +you are in time to get a number you can get a vehicle, if not you have to do without. If the Droschke is secured you give the number of your baggage to a Dienstman and wait until he brings it out. You can go to any part of the city by day, which lasts until 11, for 5 silber Groschen. With baggage you pay 7½ silber Groschen. At night the fare in both cases is just doubled -- 10 in the first, 13 in the second. 30 Silber Groschen make one thaler; a thaler is about 72 cents. These drivers have no right to demand any more than this, yet if they think you don't know they will try to add to it.-- I am now living in my own room. I commenced my attendance on the hospitals to-day for the first time. I hope I'll soon get to feel more at home. It is all very strange to me as yet. I wrote a long letter home last night. My address is No 13. Albrecht Strasse. I send this letter with postage unpaid because I have not yet learned where I am to pay it here. I just drop it in a letter box.

Your ever loving cousin Oscar W. Gauss


Handwritten original in the private collection of the Chambless family. Transcribed to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, 1999.

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