The Dresden Literary American Club 8 i
should a thunder-storm occur. "Ellie" describes in another letter how all the family, in the middle of the night, because of a sudden thunder-storm, crawled in between their mattresses and woke the irrelevant and uninterested small Americans from their slumbers to incite them to the same attitude of mind and body. His description of "Teedie" under these circumstances is very amusing, for he says: "Teedie woke up only for one minute, turned over and said, 'Oh-it's raining and my hedgehog will be all spoiled."' He was speaking of a hedgehog that he had skinned the day before and hung out of his window, but even his hedgehog did not keep him awake and, much to the surprise of the frightened Minckwitz family, he fell back into a heavy sleep.
In spite of the sentimentalities, in spite of the racial differences of attitude about many things, the American children owe much to the literary atmosphere that surrounded the family life of their kind German friends. In those days in Dresden the most beautiful representations of Shakespeare were given in German, and, as the hour for the theatre to begin was six o'clock in the evening, and the plays were finished by nine o'clock, many were the evenings when we enjoyed "Midsummer Night's Dream," "Twelfth Night," "The Taming of the Shrew," and many more of Shakespeare's wonderful fanciful creations, given as they were with unusual sympathy and ability by the actors of the German Theatre.
Perhaps because of our literary studies and our ever-growing interest in our own efforts in the famous Dresden Literary American Club, we decided that the volume which became so precious to us should, after all, have no commercial value, and in July I write to my aunt the news which I evidently feel will be a serious blow to her-that we have decided that we cannot sell the poems and stories gathered into that immortal volume
About the middle of the summer there was an epidemic of smallpox in Dresden and my mother hurriedly took us to the Engadine, and there, at Samaden, we lived somewhat the life