Letter from Walter von Poellnitz to Wynne, February 4th, 1921.
35 Isabellastrasse, Munich.
My dearest Wynne
Your letter has just arrived and I lose no time in answering it, as I want to show you how much I appreciate your epistles. They are so interesting that I keep them and reread them at intervals – always finding that my answers ought to try and contain more, not only the meagre bits of news relating to my ailments and my personality in general. But the fact of our suffering under the terrible conditions which we are subject to is not conducive to a lighter and more cheerful train of thought. All the more as I have, and I suppose rightly, have abstained from entering into details as naturally our views and our standpoint are apt and likely to be totally different. However, having broached the subject and feeling confident that you are able to take an unbiased view I think I may venture to tell you of the difficulties that beset us on every side. The Republican government has unsettled everything. Beginning with an unprecedented augmenting of officials in every public office, raising their salaries to heights beyond all proportion, payments to hordes of unemployed, partly unemployed owing to the failing of coal and material, the constant and unceasing printing of paper currency, the possibility for profiteers enriching themselves at the expense of the middle classes, the scarcity and high prices of the necessary ingredients for food – milk, fat, butter and grain – the failing of stuffs, woollen, cotton, linen, leather and metal – and the diminished value of the Mark (owing the the afore mentioned flooding of paper) – all these things have affected the balance on which alone a state can exist. Taxation is heavy and as you say, the higher the taxation the less permanencey of the same is to be expected – as property and capital will have to be put into requisition to meet the demands. The outlook is decidedly not pleasant but time may heal or destroy.
Just to give you an illustration what buying powers the Mark has with us I must tell you that I was forced to buy 2 sheets, 4 pillow cases and 6 towels (half cotton) for which I had to pay 1025 Marks – viz £50! Also a sleeping suit £18. If the heart sinks in the face of such prices it is not to be wondered. It reminds one of the days of the French revolution 1795 when the price of a dinner was thousands of Assignates!
However away with melancholy. We’ll float till we sink and be happy withall. Don’t think ill of me for expatiating on all this misery – perhaps your mention of the utter disappearance of ancient Egypt has forced my pen. Yes, that ancient Egypt! A wonder of wonders. Look at their creed and compare it with our Christian religion. What is Isis and her son Horus? Born of a virgin like the parallel of the Virgin Mary! The rites practised by the priests of Egypt have been preserved and are enacted by the Roman Catholic and also the high church functionaries in our times. Nobody knows how the pyramids were built, how the gigantic stones were raised to the height necessary. In the museum at Giza I saw a most delicate jewelry and such enamel as can hardly be produced in our time. As soon as I am able to mount the stairs of the library I will get some good books on the subject.
I have at last got some moneys pertaining to the arrears of my ? (pension?) but no intimation as to the payment of the annuity due since Jan 1920. I trust that it will be forthcoming.
Theodore Poellnitz with his wife and daughter have been staying here for some dances. For we dance! Mirabile dictum! I gave them your news and your greetings on my own responsibility and they asked me to be most kindly remembered to you and Herbert. Theodore is a good chap – a bit cynical but clever. He has fitted the old castle with electric light and water arrangements (much wanted!) and is only sad that having no son the place will pass out of the family on his daughter marrying.
Now dear Wynne take the first part of my letter in lenient consideration. I don’t complain or judge. I only mention facts, facts which affect me personally. You mention the possibility of a parcel! Joy and happiness! If it contained a tin of Colman’s mustard powder I would be most glad. Sometimes I do get meat. And now with kindest love, blessing and greetings to you and Herbert, ever your loving old Hamster.