Letter to David Donaldson from Peter E Dart



Letter to David Donaldson from Peter E Dart


Letter to David Donaldson who was in France on a cycling holiday from a former school friend who wrote from Germany relating some of his experiences. Additional information about this item was kindly provided by the donor.



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Six page handwritten letter






bei Frau Prof Nierhaus,
[underlined]Freiburg I, B.{\underlined]
Busastrasse 5.
(Allemagne to you!)
Sunday , June 3
My very dear Boot!
Thanks for your very rude letter about mine. I believe I told you about the trouble I had with the geysers over the way about getting a bath? The noise that sounded like [deleted] squil [/deleted] an explosion was really me stropping my razor with the guts hung on the door handle! However I have now moved into the house proper, and as most of the conversation is in English I have now learnt the tone to use for several quite pretty oaths!
I had a letter from A.B. Cow about the Pansy walking tour; he was very pleased with himself because if ever the party split up he was one of the cautious half and the other half never [word deleted] got properly through as they intended.
I can't understand how it is, but I am beginning to get the reputation of a pedant here.
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When I last wrote I told you that if ever I saw a female in Freiburg I looked hastily the other way because it was so painful. Well, the truth is that if you know where to look it's worth looking. (Yes, I'm sure you've managed to see some second meaning in ”where to look”, but I mean naturally what part of the town). The dames of Freiburg flourish between 13 1/2 and 16 1/2. Then they either disappear or get hopelessly fat and ugly. We had a grand fair here which lasted for a fortnight. The main attraction was a switchback-roundabout – or rather its passengers – combined with paper streamers. I went to the fair, and by chance I met there the fair-y-princess of my dreams; I gave her a look which could mean a whole book, and threw paper streamers in reams. Her eyes were as blue as the jewels of dew when they lie on the grass in the sun; her hair was as brown as you'll find it in the town, and done up behind in a bun. At least it wasn't really as she was only about 13 1/2; but what style. I though it was very brave of me with my knowledge of German to address
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her. First of all I threw about 600 streamers at her, then I boarded her car on the roundabout and asked her if she would rather I didn't throw so much paper at her. She said “Es is gleich” which means “it doesn't matter”, but fortunately I didn't understand that till later, and asked her to walk round the place with me. But I had hurried her too much, and she said she was going home. I haven't (sob) seen her (sob) since. However the other two here both got hold of quite good ones.
By the way, when we both get back I'll meet you at the club one day and play a game of billiards. I play a lot here, and am getting extremely good. I can now hit the ball I am aiming at about once in six times.
We couldn't think what to do one evening after dinner, and Tiny (one of the fellows here) said: ”I'll be [deleted] f [\deleted] fu- (how [underlined] do [/underlined] you spell it?) if I go to bed now!” But the silly idiot didn't!
There was a grand remark made the other day. We had been to a pub but couldn't find the room in the pub. set
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aside for doing the natural result of going to a pub. After a bit Tiny opened a door, we all recoiled a bit, and he said “There you are, that's instinct.” Like a flash the other fellow said: ”Not instink, just stink”. Which was particularly true.
I heard what was to me a new Stokes story the other day – you may know it. Apparently he was staying in the country with a married couple, and one day the man came up and heard him say to the wife: “Mrs. - I do love your cou-cou ----- countryside. No, I don't think I've told it quite right. Can [underlined] you [/underlined] think what it out to be?
The town is full of English people. One whom we know once went into the music dept. at Harrods & was put into a box to listen to some gramophone records. He was, by the way wearing a suit whose trousers were very loose round the middle. The girl attendant came in with the records & showed him a chair, actually very low, but he thought it was fairly high. He began to sit down, and when he passed the level he first thought of he gave a lurch to stand
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up again and in doing so tore off both his back braces buttons so that his trousers fell right down to his knees. The girl screamed and ran out of the room, and he had to go home holding up his sacks with one hand and paying for his 'bus with the other.
When a German wants to say “Sit down” he says “Nehmen Sie Platz.” the literal translation is “Take place”, and it is rather surprising to be told to do that! when they try to talk English to you.
I don't have to get up very early here., but if I want to [character deleted] I have to go to the bath between the Frau & the Fraulein (temporal, not local).
Sorry to be telling you all these stories – that's all I feel like. I heard a speech in English recently in which the speaker talking about a Club, referred to some rich American as the man who was always ready to put oil in the motor when a puncture happens.” Ripe fruit on the tree of metaphor!
Well, you men, I don't suppose you have been able to read this letter as it is so gloriously hot here today, but you have
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not missed much.
I have, by the way, [character deleted] a large stock of aunts, some of whom have written to me and most of whom end their letters like this:
Well, [attempts to write in Kurrent script] auf Wiedersehen [/Kurrent script] (is that right, I've forgotten how to write German?). It means [underlined] auf Wiedersehen [/underlined], or [underlined] au revoir [/underlined] (literal translation into French for your benefit).
What a disjointed letter!
Well, hors d'oeuvres,
[underlined] Peter E. Dart [/underlined]
Messrs Boot, Boot & Boots, [character deleted]
on Cell 33a
Le Bastiille
c/o Madame de la Rive
La Babinière
Près du Tours



P E Dart, “Letter to David Donaldson from Peter E Dart,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 24, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11971.

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