Cooper, Ethel – June 1917
I have stated the new campaign, and written to the Dutch Ambassador in Berlin and appealed to him for protection.
This last week has been more like Australia than anything I have known in Europe, except the famous summer of 1911 when the thermometer in London stood for weeks between 100° and 110° Fahrenheit.
Where the rumour has come from I don’t know, but here it is a firm belief that we are to have peace at the end of July or August!
I get scarcely any letters at all now. I know that even the local ones have been often opened of late.
On Monday I found an order in my letterbox not to leave the house till the police had seen me. As you can imagine, I put it back and fled with my letters to you to Frl. Ludicke’s – I bought some bread on the way, wrapped all up together, took a market-bag and stuffed them all in. Well, at 8 the next morning the police came, and turned out everything. They said they heard I kept a diary, and must have it – I said I had a few diaries in the house, and they finally left in pride, with my old diaries of 1911 and 1912!! Then I came back to Frau Jaeger, and we conferred about the letters. I ought to burn them of course, but I won’t, and I mean you to get them some day as a testimony to the idiocy of the German detective corps. So now they are lying (where this will join them in a few minutes) in the inside of Frau Jaeger’s big dinner-table – you pull out a couple of leaves that otherwise lie there, and there is a beautiful hiding-place.
We are having a heat wave that would do credit to Adelaide in the summer. Here three weeks without rain means a drought – the fruit has dried and withered on the trees, and under their breaths people are saying that the harvest is ruined – you daren’t say that aloud – it amounts to treason and agitation. Personally I am living luxuriously as I am still with Mrs. Jaeger – I have been here for three and a half weeks now – but she won’t let me go, and there is really no reason why I should.
I have sent in my last application to leave. The Consulate here has sent it to the Dutch Embassy in Berlin that sends it on to London and gets it granted from that end, then it comes back to Berlin and they put in the formal demand that I should be given my pass to Holland at once. All that takes time, of course – the Consul here says I must reckon upon at least six or eight weeks, but he thinks I must get it eventually.
Mrs. Jaeger has gone for a walk for the sake of her figure – all very well when you can still boast of 12 stone, after having proudly lost two during the last year – but I preserve my six stone four by firmly refusing to take one step more than is absolutely necessary!
We are all in a state of silent excitement during the last three days – on Thursday evening, we were out, just for a walk, there was no moon, and we found the streets all unlighted. Now we hear that aeroplanes have been dropping bombs on Hamburg and Bitterfeld! It is only by word of mouth that one hears such things – the papers are silent.
The drought goes on, and the harvest is ruined. Disgraceful enough, when by day you hope that the harvest of 75 million people may fail, and by night hope that bombs may fall on the town you are living in, but that is what we have come to.