That all sounded highly promising. But reading between the lines, a different story emerges. In the five letters that Rudolf Heer wrote to his mother between 1868 and 1872, money was the main topic. Again and again, he compared the prices in the USA with those in Switzerland, pointing out how much various items cost and who owed him money or to whom he owed money. Even when Maria, his younger daughter, became seriously ill, all Rudolf was concerned about was the amount of the doctor’s bill:
“Marieli has been ill with pleurisy for 3 weeks. She was so sick that we had quite given up hope of saving her; now she is on the mend. If you go to the doctor it costs 3 dollars, if the doctor has to come to the house, each visit costs 5 dollars, and then you go to the pharmacy for the prescription, where you have to pay extra. So sometimes you leave it too long before you go to the doctor.”
Not a word of concern for the child. It seems as if Rudolph Heer just couldn’t make any headway financially. Whether they were leading “happier lives than in our old homeland” seems more than a little doubtful. Later on, he also abandoned the plan to purchase land.
“I’ve given up my decision to take land for the time being, and I’m doing pretty well here and I’m happy so far."