Emma Dumpke, August 1912
August 13, 1912
Hanover is bustling. The city is easily three times the size of San Antonio, with much of the growth recent. But I cannot enjoy the city.
I should have refused to come on this journey with the Koehlers. While Mr. K appears the kindest, most generous gentleman to you, the gentleman part rapidly dissipates with drink. And, with no business demands to distract him during the crossing, drink he did. He was outrageously inebriated by the end of dinner each night. So much so that, when I would come to their table to check, Mrs. K was eager to be wheeled away to her cabin. Of course, she never once spoke of it.
I cringed when Mr. K offered to escort us back. He would stumble down the narrow corridors behind me, snickering as he groped me as though I were a barmaid. He then would return to a group of men who drank and smoked cigars until well after midnight. On several nights, I was awakened by him hammering at my door, a situation particularly horrifying to manage since another nurse shared my cabin.
I know you think me fickle, but everything has changed since spring. I wrote you such glowing letters of how wonderful our lives together would be in San Antonio, yet I have done nothing but weep since your arrival.
Why did I not heed your warnings to keep my distance? I wish I were more like you, practical and not easily fooled by flattery and flowers.
Things will be different upon my return. I will seek new employment immediately. I trust Mrs. K will provide me with a letter of reference if her husband does not make an even bigger fool of himself on the voyage back.
I know not what this means for our home, but do not fret. We are professionals, capable of making it on our own without assistance from this despicable man.
Your remorseful friend,
The Author hopes this characterization of possible behavior aboard the ship is not too unfair. If someone imprisoned the Author aboard a cruise ship, she is positive over-imbibing would be her coping mechanism.