Today, I was reading an old post of mine, Reading the Sprengel Letters, and the comments that people made about it. And a question arose in my mind--why didn't Fraulein Sprengel write to Westcott in English?
One of the features of the Sprengel Letters is that they are written in a god-awful form of German. Some claim that it is an older form of German. Other people claim that it is German as it would be written by a person whose native tongue is English. There is also indications that a man was writing the letters, and not a woman (something to do with gender and the German language); or someone who did not know the correct gender tense.
(Honestly, I do not speak a word of German, so I forget the technical aspects to the arguments---hence why I am not even using the right terms for what other people have seen in the German of the letters.)
Now, in the very first letter, November 1887, Sprengel says that "Frater 'In Utroque Fidelis' my secretary, often writes my letters for me." And in the last letter, 23 August 1890, Ex uno disce omnes, the person who informs Westcott of Sprengel's death says, "We are afraid that the young I.U.F. the secretary who has written letters to you for S.D.A. [Sapiens Dominabitur Astris] during recent years will have to stop his studies and take to business."
If I.U.F. was a German speaker, and secretary to Sprengel, he should have written the letters in decent German, even if her command of German was less than perfect. After all, one of the jobs of a secretary is to clean up the drafts of the letters that your boss writes.
If I.U.F. was an English speaker, or Sprengel was, better equipped to communicate in English, given the address of Westcott (England), why wasn't Westcott asked if he would prefer to write and receive communications in English?
It may be a simple thing, but if I received a letter from an Englishman while living in a strange land, I would ask if I could use my native tongue rather than a language that I was not perfect in.
(The cherry on top of this, by the way, is that Mathers introduced an American, Madame Horos as Fraulein Sprengel to the members of the Ahathoor lodge in February of 1900--a definite speaker of English. This was accompanied by an accusation that Westcott forged the Sprengel letters--but not the Cipher Manuscript or the German address that Sprengel was supposed to be living at.)