Heidelberg was the only spot I ever wept at leaving. I loved it then, and I love it now, as I love no other place on earth and Carl felt the same way. We were mournful, indeed, as that train pulled out.
The next two weeks were filled with vicissitudes. The idea was for Carl to settle the little family in some rural bit of Germany, while he did research work in the industrial section of Essen, and thereabouts, coming home week-ends. We stopped off first at Bonn. Carl spent several days searching up and down the Rhine and through the Moselle country for a place that would do, which meant a place we could afford that was fit and suitable for the babies. There was nothing. The report always was: pensions all expensive, and automobiles touring by at a mile a minute where the children would be playing.
On a wild impulse we moved up to Clive, on the Dutch border. After Carl went in search of a pension, it started to drizzle. The boys, baggage, and I found the only nearby place of shelter in a stone-cutter’s inclosure, filled with new and ornate tombstones. What was my impecunious horror, when I heard a small crash and discovered that Jim had dislocated a loose figure of Christ (unconsciously Cubist in execution) from the top of a tombstone! Eight marks charges! the cost of sixteen Heidelberg sprees. On his return, Carl reported two pensions, one quarantined for diphtheria, one for scarlet fever. We slept over a beer-hall, with such a racket going on all night as never was; and next morning took the first train out—this time for Duesseldorf.
It is a trifle momentous, traveling with two babies around a country you know nothing about, and can find no one to enlighten you. At Duesseldorf Carl searched through the town and suburbs for a spot to settle us in, getting more and more depressed at the thought of leaving us anywhere. That Freiburg summer had seared us both deep, and each of us dreaded another separation more than either let the other know. And then, one night, after another fruitless search, Carl came home and informed me that the whole scheme was off. Instead of doing his research work, we would all go to Munich, and he would take an unexpected semester there, working with Brentano.
What rejoicings, oh, what rejoicings! As Carl remarked, it may be that “He travels fastest who travels alone”; but speed was not the only thing he was after. So the next day, babies, bundles, baggage, and parents went down the Rhine, almost through Heidelberg, to Munich, with such joy and contentment in our hearts as we could not describe. All those days of unhappy searchings Carl had been through must have sunk deep, for in his last days of fever he would tell me of a form of delirium in which he searched again, with a heart of lead, for a place to leave the babies and me.