December 1st, 1882
My dear Dr. Maßenbach,
I was quite fascinated by your letter and the enclosures and am sure they will be of great use in my preparations to visit Mars. Her Majesty has expressed a great interest in my visiting the Tossian Academy and in particular, seeing Mme. Kovalevskaya. She hopes that anything I discover there might be of significant help to Prof. Graf Zerneck’s various projects.
The current plan is for me to fly from Christianshafen near Kronstadt a. d. Elbe in LZ 7 on or about the 14th instant. arriving at the Washington Navy Yard in the United States on or around the 18th. There will be, of course, the usual round of diplomatic functions to attend at our Embassy in Washington and courtesy calls on President Hancock and Vice President Chamberlain, in addition to others. I hope to have time to travel to New York and visit former President Grant and his wife Julia. Of course, I have maintained contact with him since returning home from my time as an observer on his staff during the American War and very much enjoyed being his host when he and his wife visited Ruritania in 1878. I am glad Charlotte met him before she passed away. I miss her so. Anyway, the American’s newest aethership, the A. S. Shenandoah, is scheduled to depart for Mars on January 11th and should arrive on or around February 27th,
Prof. Graf Zerneck wanted to go, of course, but Her Majesty demurred due to his age. He is sixty-three and not always in the best of health, poor man. His two younger children, the twins Christian and Ulrike are too young and at any rate need to attend to their studies. Christian is attending the Königlich Ruritanische Hauptkadettenanstalt at Staackau and is hoping for a commission in my old regiment. Ulrike is incredibly bright and takes after her father. She is very likely to b e an accomplished engineer in her own right someday. The older brother, Friedrich, is a captain in the old regiment, but is already talking about gaining a place at the Foreign Office when he retires. He expresses no desire for such “otherworldly adventures.” Incidentally, Prof. Graf Zerneck has added a new man to his collection of “bright ones,” a remarkable young man from Smiljan in Croatia. His name is Nikola Tesla and at twenty-six he has already attended the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz and made quite a name for himself. He wants to come with me on the voyage and Prof. Graf Zerneck and I agree it would a marvelous opportunity for him.
If my baggage allowance will permit, I will bring a long a case of Zender Urbrau for us to enjoy, but since I’m bringing along some items that might be of use, there may not be enough space for it. I simply must bring the new weapons I am having custom made in America, plus a couple of interesting bits of Ruritanian “hardware.” I hope I can meet a real American cowboy when I get there! Until I reach Mars, farewell. I remain
Your Obedient Servant,
Christian Gottreich Alexander Graf Falke von Falkenhorst
Oberst u. Kommandeur der Ordonnanz-Gendarmen der Königin, and formerly of the Leib-Garde-Husaren-Regiment