D O C . 1 8 5 D E C E M B E R 1 9 1 9 1 5 7 know that those days of heated rooms and sumptuous feasting were not a mere friendly gesture but a mighty feat, even a heroic act of self-denial. For now you are sitting by the only heat-emitting stove, and the lady of the house is keeping a watch- ful eye on the bread for the next few days, and the flour is acrid, not satisfying even to the mouse.[2] Those days that I was allowed to spend with you were fine, scarcely affected by the pompous excesses of the alma mater and the rhetorical feats of her sons.[3] The trip proceeded without any impediments. Mr. S. was pleasant but has, with the exception of some political routine, nothing in his head.[4] Even so, he may have been right that a consequence of this celebration will be that Rostock professors will be kept on smaller rations. He is convinced that a conservative majority isn’t possible anymore—if anything, only a growing conservative minority. Over here I found everything orderly, made my way home from the train station with effort but also with some luck, and found a number of hefty manuscripts wait- ing for me there to review[5] and such a lot of other duties that I cannot be com- pletely envied. Yesterday evening I attended a discussion by experts on the eco- nomic situation, at which a gradual but inevitable total collapse of the economy was prophesied. Any difference from Austria was purportedly only temporal. I am merely reporting what they said I myself do not have the requisite overview for making prophecies, the others probably neither. Nonetheless, they all shared the same pessimism. The tone was: a year ago one really could have done this or that, but as to now, . . . With cordial thanks to you and your kind and solicitous wife, and greetings to your little ones,[6] yours, Einstein. Yesterday I visited Planck, without being able to hold back my tears at the sight of him.[7] He was in command of himself and composed—a truly great and excep- tional person. I read with amazement Stumpf’s article on the psychophysically mixed causal chain.[8] I will espouse his view when it is shown that one can change one’s weight by sheer willpower! 185. From Willem de Sitter Arosa, Wald Sanatorium, 1 December 1919 Dear Einstein, The firm Methuen & Co., 36 Essex Street, London W.C. 2, wrote me to act as mediator between you and them.[1] They write that they would like to translate your
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