That was Saturday afternoon. By Monday morning we had decided we would go! Thereupon we wrote West to finance the plan, and got beautifully sat upon for our “notions.” If we needed money, we had better give up this whole fool University idea and get a decent man-sized job. And then we wrote my father,—or, rather, I wrote him without telling Carl till after the letter was mailed,—and bless his heart! he replied with a fat God-bless-you-my-children registered letter, with check enclosed, agreeing to my stipulation that it should be a six-per-cent business affair. Suppose we could not have raised that money—suppose our lives had been minus that German experience! Bless fathers! They may scold and fuss at romance, and have “good sensible ideas of their own” on such matters, but—bless fathers!
We finished our year at Harvard, giving up the A.M. idea for the present. Carl got A’s in every subject and was asked to take a teaching fellowship under Ripley; but it was Europe for us. We set forth February 22, 1909, in a big snowstorm, with two babies, and one thousand six hundred and seventy-six bundles, bags, and presents. Jim was in one of those fur-bags that babies use in the East. Everything we were about to forget the last minute got shoved into that bag with Jim, and it surely began to look as if we had brought a young and very lumpy mastodon into the world!
We went by boat from Boston to New York, and sailed on the Pennsylvania February 24. People wrote us in those days: “You two brave people—think of starting to Europe with two babies!” Brave was the last word to use. Had we worried or had fears over anything, and yet fared forth, we should perhaps have been brave. As it was, I can feel again the sensation of leaving New York, gazing back on the city buildings and bridges bathed in sunshine after the storm. Exultant joy was in our hearts, that was all. Not one worry, not one concern, not one small drop of homesickness. We were to see Europe together, year before we had dreamed it possible. It just seemed too glorious to be true. “Brave”? Far from it. Simply eager, glowing, filled to the brim with a determination to drain every day to the full.
I discovered that, while my husband had married a female who could not cook rice (though she learned), I had taken unto myself a spouse who curled up green half a day out on the ocean, and stayed that way for about six days. He tried so desperately to help with the babies, but it always made matters worse. If I had turned green, too—But babies and I prospered without interruption, though some ants did try to eat Jim’s scalp off one night—“sugar ants” the doctor called them. “They knew their business,” our dad remarked. We were three days late getting into Hamburg—fourteen days on the ocean, all told. And then to be in Hamburg in Germany—in Europe! I remember our first meal in the queer little cheap hotel we rooted out. “Eier” was the only word on the bill of fare we could make out, so Carl brushed up his German and ordered four for us, fried. And the waiter brought four each. He probably declared for years that all Americans always eat four fried eggs each and every night for supper.