1 0 0 D O C U M E N T 8 2 M A R C H 1 9 2 2
help in this better than anyone else; and by accepting you will do a very great ser-
vice to your colleagues from Germany and France and above all to our common
vision.”
I answered my friend’s letter initially with a polite refusal, indicating that my
main reason grew out of a sense of solidarity with my colleagues
here.[4]
I could not rid myself of the feeling, however, that by my refusal I had followed
the path of least resistance rather than my true duty. A conversation with Minister
Rathenau[5]
had the result of turning this feeling into firm conviction. That is why
a few days after my first refusal I wrote a second letter to Prof.
Langevin[6]
in which
I retracted my refusal and stated my willingness to accept the invitation if other
arrangements had not in the meantime been made regarding the relevant guest lec-
tures. Thus I agreed with Langevin to travel to Paris at the end of the month, in
order to deliver the
lectures.[7]
In view of the circumstance that the academy is interested in all events that con-
cern international relations, I consider it appropriate to submit the above informa-
tion to the academy.
With great respect,
A. Einstein.
82. From Paul Ehrenfest
[Leyden,] 13 March 1922
Dear Einstein,
The devil take you—to Leyden!—You drive your contemporaries crazy, not just
with but also with your routine
activities.[1]
1.° You are going to Japan in the
fall[2]
—very rightly so—at least in the sense: I
naturally would go to Japan, too, if anyone invited me.— But translated from Jap-
anese into Dutch this means: In the fall you are in any case not coming to Ley-
den.—
2.° So I have to thank God Almighty that I grabbed you by your spring coattails
when you wrote with such conviction: “Should I come and see you yet again; isn’t
it better if I come in the
fall?”[3]
3.° Now you’re piping yet another tune and want to come “through” Leyden
instead of “to” Leyden (on 7 April not a single cat—besides me—will be in Leyden
anymore!)—Oh my, oh my, oh my!—I’d sooner take a mortgage on a soap bubble
than on you.
4.° No—Mr. Privy Councillor: You come nicely and like a normal bourgeois to
Leyden, not during but after (our) Easter vacation. Whereby, as a special favor, I
Ghk,uv st
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