From Iwanne Müller1    29 December 1840

Tonning2 29th. Dec. 1840.

Dearest Brother,

First I will answer your questions, so that your worries will be a little lessened.

Grandfather's sickness3 has taken a different course. He is no longer in danger, as Dr. Stobarn had maintained. He has a severe cold with fever — which most likely was increased by his worry about Uncle. What we are worried about is his age if he has a relapse. He asks whether you are not coming, but does not express a wish. Therefore Uncle4 thinks no need for you to come. Should he get worse I will let you know at once. He has no pain so only weakness is keeping him in bed — his cheeks have sunken in so you would be astonished if you saw him. He always lies quietly, awake. Uncle is quite all right he came to Church with us the next day after his experience on the ice. From your letter I can see how people's tongues exaggerate everything. There was no ice in the Eider when Uncle went across, and no ice could be seen when he returned — though so much ice had accumulated that it carried the boat along. As he came past the harbour he called to Mr. Paulsen Mr. P. was not outside at that moment and we heard nothing — as Uncle was carried further. Near the Pack house he called to Mr. Koch. S. K. who heard him first went straight away to his father and he went outside and spoke to Uncle, who at the time was quite alright. After that Mr. Paulsen heard of it, and he fetched Gaagge[,]5 Bruening Kleinert, and Jarick, and at 12 they arrived here well and happy. "There was hardly any life left in Uncle" is very exaggerated, as he walked by himself from the Mill home. Uncle had another sail in the boat with which he could have covered himself — but he hoisted it as he thought the boat could not be seen amongst the ice. Feldmann was with Uncle, and the poor animal nearly lost his life. When he noticed the cold he jumped out of the boat, taking the ice for dry ground. Uncle saved him and after he had dried him kept him warm. The bright moonlight favoured them. We only heard at 9.30 that Uncle was being carried down stream The whole Nibbenburg was full of people, but everyone we asked seemed to know nothing. Also Mr. Paulsen said nothing. This seemed very queer to us. Now just imagine at 9.30 two Schuster's came from the other side, and to Auntie's6 question whether her husband had not been on the other side, they answered, "Good Lord! — is he not yet here — and left by himself in a boat about 5.30." Imagine our fright. Mr. Koch who had also heard of it, and who also was on the hill, came straight to Auntie and tried to calm her. This is the whole story dear Ferdinand.

Now about Christmas. Xmas Eve we were as usual at the Mertens. However we were not very happy because this time 3 members of the family were missing, and the gap was too great.

[Then comes a list of presents everyone got, and a few remarks about the Laundry. Clara and Marie7 each a doll — and so on.]

Signed8] your loving sister

Iwanne Muller.

Letter not found. The text used here was 'Translated in Sydney from the German', and placed in Louise Wehl's scrap-book.
See also I. Müller to M, 21 December 1840.
Johann Ferdinand Mertens.
editorial addition.
Magdalene Mertens.
Marie Mertens.
Then comes ... Signed is a note by the translator.

Please cite as “FVM-40-12-29,” in Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, edited by R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells accessed on 22 May 2022,