My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
My Family

ON the 10th January 1903 I married Luise Sowa whom I had met at the Schlachtensee Tennis Club seven years previously. We had become engaged when I was nineteen and she twenty-one. Then, when I returned from my term at Paris University more than a year later, we broke it off; we both realized that I was too young to commit myself. Our position was very similar to that of my father and mother--our first acquaintance was followed by a long separation.

When after a lapse of five years I saw Luise again in the autumn of 1902, I already had an excellent position. I was earning more than my father and there was nothing to prevent my starting a family. Luise attracted me as much as she had done the first day we met. We resumed our walks by the Schlachtensee, skated together there, and were soon officially engaged.

By that time Luise's father had died. Inspector Sowa had for years served in the immediate Imperial entourage in Potsdam and, ostensibly during that period, had acquired an almost morbid distrust of all mankind. At any rate he kept an eagle-eyed watch on his two daughters. So long as he lived Luise and I had to resort to any amount of subterfuge to be able to meet in peace. There are times when a Prussian detective-inspector's unswerving sense of propriety can be very trying to a courting couple.

When we met again there were no further obstacles to a short engagement. Luise the practical started looking around for somewhere to live. When she had found a flat in Berlin-Friedenau that appealed to me we settled the date and were married, twelve days before my twenty-sixth birthday.

During the drive to the Registrar's office I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to give the ring to the best man. The carriages containing the entire wedding party were proceeding at a comfortable pace along the Berlin street. Being an impulsive sort of fellow I jumped up, clapped on my top-hat, hurled myself out of the carriage, dashed along with flying coat-tails to the one ahead, handed over the little packet and returned to my own carriage--to the great delight of the Berliners who made the most of the opportunity for facetious remarks.

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