1881: Jobhunting

In the meantime, I’m looking for a job in town. I did not plan on staying on the farm much longer after my brother took over the business. I unsuccessfully sought employment as an accountant, or perhaps a job of a different kind, with Stoker a salesman I had befriended. The unhurried brewer Spieth, an Original from Württemberg, always greeted me friendly, he invited me for lunch several times and also let me use his Piano – those were available here as well – which I happily made use of sometimes.

As long as I was still on the farm, I at least wanted to be of some use, therefore I carried out all sorts of jobs. Amongst other things, I took care of the paper hanging in the bedroom, which was highly praised by the young Farmers wife. Sometimes she regretfully talked about the fact that her husband and I did not get along well; I told her that the progress of the tannery business had probably disappointed the expectations of her husband, a fact I regret most.

Me on my part was expecting that Gottschalk would support me with the treatment of the hides, in processing it the way the Indians did – a practice he appreciated very much. I assumed that from letters we had written back and forth. However, he usually left me with the words: “You are the doctor”, even though I told him from the beginning that I had never worked with such fine hides before. That is a craft which in Germany, and elsewhere, is done by pelt mongers rather than tanners. The large buffalo hide, I had tanned with potassium alum and salt, and set up in the smoothing-frame under high efforts, did not win his applause. It was too stiff for him and not usable as a pelt but only as a carpet.

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