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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXI - LETTERS, 1891, TO HOWELLS, MRS. CLEMENS AND OTHERS. RETURN TO LITERATURE. AMERICAN CLAIMANT. LEAVING HARTFORD.EUROPE. DOWN THE RHINE
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The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXI - LETTERS, 1891, TO HOWELLS, MRS. CLEMENS AND OTHERS. RETURN TO LITERATURE. AMERICAN CLAIMANT. LEAVING HARTFORD.EUROPE. DOWN THE RHINE Post by :StillHill Category :Nonfictions Author :Mark Twain Date :April 2011 Read :1212

Click below to download : The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXI - LETTERS, 1891, TO HOWELLS, MRS. CLEMENS AND OTHERS. RETURN TO LITERATURE. AMERICAN CLAIMANT. LEAVING HARTFORD.EUROPE. DOWN THE RHINE (Format : PDF)

The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXI - LETTERS, 1891, TO HOWELLS, MRS. CLEMENS AND OTHERS. RETURN TO LITERATURE. AMERICAN CLAIMANT. LEAVING HARTFORD.EUROPE. DOWN THE RHINE

Clemens was still not without hope in the machine, at the beginning of
the new year (1891) but it was a hope no longer active, and it presently
became a moribund. Jones, on about the middle of February, backed out
altogether, laying the blame chiefly on Mackay and the others, who, he
said, had decided not to invest. Jones "let his victim down easy" with
friendly words, but it was the end, for the present, at least, of machine
financiering.

It was also the end of Mark Twain's capital. His publishing business was
not good. It was already in debt and needing more money. There was just
one thing for him to do and he did it at once, not stopping to cry over
spilt milk, but with good courage and the old enthusiasm that never
failed him, he returned to the trade of authorship. He dug out half-
finished articles and stories, finished them and sold them, and within a
week after the Jones collapse he was at work on a novel based an the old
Sellers idea, which eight years before he and Howells had worked into a
play. The brief letter in which he reported this news to Howells bears
no marks of depression, though the writer of it was in his fifty-sixth
year; he was by no means well, and his financial prospects were anything
but golden.


To W. D. Howells, in Boston:

HARTFORD, Feb. 24, '91
DEAR HOWELLS,--Mrs. Clemens has been sick abed for near two weeks, but is
up and around the room now, and gaining. I don't know whether she has
written Mrs. Howells or not--I only know she was going to--and will yet,
if she hasn't. We are promising ourselves a whole world of pleasure in
the visit, and you mustn't dream of disappointing us.

Does this item stir an interest in you? Began a novel four days ago, and
this moment finished chapter four. Title of the book

"Colonel Mulberry Sellers.
American Claimant
Of the
Great Earldom of Rossmore'
in the
Peerage of Great Britain."

Ys Ever
MARK.


Probably Mark Twain did not return to literary work reluctantly. He had
always enjoyed writing and felt now that he was equipped better than ever
for authorship, at least so far as material was concerned. There exists
a fragmentary copy of a letter to some unknown correspondent, in which he
recites his qualifications. It bears evidence of having been written
just at this time and is of unusual interest at this point.


Fragment of Letter to -------, 1891:

. . . . I confine myself to life with which I am familiar when
pretending to portray life. But I confined myself to the boy-life out on
the Mississippi because that had a peculiar charm for me, and not because
I was not familiar with other phases of life. I was a soldier two weeks
once in the beginning of the war, and was hunted like a rat the whole
time. Familiar? My splendid Kipling himself hasn't a more burnt-in,
hard-baked, and unforgetable familiarity with that death-on-the-pale-
horse-with-hell-following-after, which is a raw soldier's first fortnight
in the field--and which, without any doubt, is the most tremendous
fortnight and the vividest he is ever going to see.

Yes, and I have shoveled silver tailings in a quartz-mill a couple of
weeks, and acquired the last possibilities of culture in that direction.
And I've done "pocket-mining" during three months in the one little patch
of ground in the whole globe where Nature conceals gold in pockets--or
did before we robbed all of those pockets and exhausted, obliterated,
annihilated the most curious freak Nature ever indulged in. There are
not thirty men left alive who, being told there was a pocket hidden on
the broad slope of a mountain, would know how to go and find it, or have
even the faintest idea of how to set about it; but I am one of the
possible 20 or 30 who possess the secret, and I could go and put my hand
on that hidden treasure with a most deadly precision.

And I've been a prospector, and know pay rock from poor when I find it--
just with a touch of the tongue. And I've been a silver miner and know
how to dig and shovel and drill and put in a blast. And so I know the
mines and the miners interiorly as well as Bret Harte knows them
exteriorly.

And I was a newspaper reporter four years in cities, and so saw the
inside of many things; and was reporter in a legislature two sessions
and the same in Congress one session, and thus learned to know personally
three sample bodies of the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and
the cowardliest hearts that God makes.

And I was some years a Mississippi pilot, and familiarly knew all the
different kinds of steam-boatmen--a race apart, and not like other folk.

And I was for some years a traveling "jour" printer, and wandered from
city to city--and so I know that sect familiarly.

And I was a lecturer on the public platform a number of seasons and was a
responder to toasts at all the different kinds of banquets--and so I know
a great many secrets about audiences--secrets not to be got out of books,
but only acquirable by experience.

And I watched over one dear project of mine for years, spent a fortune on
it, and failed to make it go--and the history of that would make a large
book in which a million men would see themselves as in a mirror; and they
would testify and say, Verily, this is not imagination; this fellow has
been there--and after would cast dust upon their heads, cursing and
blaspheming.

And I am a publisher, and did pay to one author's widow (General Grant's)
the largest copyright checks this world has seen--aggregating more than
L80,000 in the first year.

And I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55.

Now then; as the most valuable capital or culture or education usable in
the building of novels is personal experience I ought to be well equipped
for that trade.

I surely have the equipment, a wide culture, and all of it real, none of
it artificial, for I don't know anything about books.

(No signature.)


Clemens for several years had been bothered by rheumatism in his
shoulder. The return now to the steady use of the pen aggravated
his trouble, and at times he was nearly disabled. The phonograph
for commercial dictation had been tried experimentally, and Mark
Twain was always ready for any innovation.


To W. D. Howells, in Boston:

HARTFORD, Feb. 28, '91.
DEAR HOWELLS,--Won't you drop-in at the Boylston Building (New England
Phonograph Co) and talk into a phonograph in an ordinary conversation-
voice and see if another person (who didn't hear you do it) can take the
words from the thing without difficulty and repeat them to you. If the
experiment is satisfactory (also make somebody put in a message which you
don't hear, and see if afterward you can get it out without difficulty)
won't you then ask them on what terms they will rent me a phonograph for
3 months and furnish me cylinders enough to carry 75,000 words. 175
cylinders, ain't it?

I don't want to erase any of them. My right arm is nearly disabled by
rheumatism, but I am bound to write this book (and sell 100,000 copies of
it--no, I mean a million--next fall) I feel sure I can dictate the book
into a phonograph if I don't have to yell. I write 2,000 words a day; I
think I can dictate twice as many.

But mind, if this is going to be too much trouble to you--go ahead and do
it, all the same.
Ys ever
MARK.


Howells, always willing to help, visited the phonograph place, and a
few days later reported results. He wrote: "I talked your letter
into a fonograf in my usual tone at my usual gait of speech. Then
the fonograf man talked his answer in at his wonted swing and swell.
Then we took the cylinder to a type-writer in the next room, and she
put the hooks into her ears and wrote the whole out. I send you the
result. There is a mistake of one word. I think that if you have
the cheek to dictate the story into the fonograf, all the rest is
perfectly easy. It wouldn't fatigue me to talk for an hour as I
did."

Clemens did not find the phonograph entirely satisfactory, at least
not for a time, and he appears never to have used it steadily. His
early experience with it, however, seems interesting.


To W. D. Howells, in Boston:

HARTFORD, Apl. 4, '91.
DEAR HOWELLS,--I'm ashamed. It happened in this way. I was proposing to
acknowledge the receipt of the play and the little book per phonograph,
so that you could see that the instrument is good enough for mere letter-
writing; then I meant to add the fact that you can't write literature
with it, because it hasn't any ideas and it hasn't any gift for
elaboration, or smartness of talk, or vigor of action, or felicity of
expression, but is just matter-of-fact, compressive, unornamental, and as
grave and unsmiling as the devil.

I filled four dozen cylinders in two sittings, then found I could have
said about as much with the pen and said it a deal better. Then I
resigned.

I believe it could teach one to dictate literature to a phonographer--and
some time I will experiment in that line.

The little book is charmingly written, and it interested me. But it
flies too high for me. Its concretest things are filmy abstractions to
me, and when I lay my grip on one of them and open my hand, I feel as
embarrassed as I use to feel when I thought I had caught a fly. I'm
going to try to mail it back to you to-day--I mean I am going to charge
my memory. Charging my memory is one of my chief industries ....

With our loves and our kindest regards distributed among you according to
the proprieties.
Yrs ever
MARK.

P. S.--I'm sending that ancient "Mental Telegraphy" article to Harper's
--with a modest postscript. Probably read it to you years ago.
S. L. C.


The "little book" mentioned in this letter was by Swedenborg, an
author in whom the Boston literary set was always deeply interested.
"Mental Telegraphy" appeared in Harper's Magazine, and is now
included in the Uniform Edition of Mark Twain's books. It was
written in 1878.

Joe Goodman had long since returned to California, it being clear
that nothing could be gained by remaining in Washington. On receipt
of the news of the type-setter's collapse he sent a consoling word.
Perhaps he thought Clemens would rage over the unhappy circumstance,
and possibly hold him in some measure to blame. But it was
generally the smaller annoyances of life that made Mark Twain rage;
the larger catastrophes were likely to stir only his philosophy.

The Library of American Literature, mentioned in the following
letter, was a work in many volumes, edited by Edmund Clarence
Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson.


To Joe T. Goodman:

April (?) 1891.
DEAR JOE, Well, it's all right, anyway. Diplomacy couldn't have saved
it--diplomacy of mine--at that late day. I hadn't any diplomacy in
stock, anyway. In order to meet Jones's requirements I had to surrender
the old contract (a contract which made me boss of the situation and gave
me the whip-hand of Paige) and allow the new one to be drafted and put in
its place. I was running an immense risk, but it was justified by
Jones's promises--promises made to me not merely once but every time I
tallied with him. When February arrived, I saw signs which were mighty
plain reading. Signs which meant that Paige was hoping and praying that
Jones would go back on me--which would leave Paige boss, and me robbed
and out in the cold. His prayers were answered, and I am out in the
cold. If I ever get back my nine-twentieths interest, it will be by law-
suit--which will be instituted in the indefinite future, when the time
comes.

I am at work again--on a book. Not with a great deal of spirit, but with
enough--yes, plenty. And I am pushing my publishing house. It has
turned the corner after cleaning $50,000 a year for three consecutive
years, and piling every cent of it into one book--Library of American
Literature--and from next January onward it will resume dividends. But
I've got to earn $50,000 for it between now and then--which I will do if
I keep my health. This additional capital is needed for that same book,
because its prosperity is growing so great and exacting.

It is dreadful to think of you in ill health--I can't realize it; you are
always to me the same that you were in those days when matchless health.
and glowing spirits and delight in life were commonplaces with us. Lord
save us all from old age and broken health and a hope-tree that has lost
the faculty of putting out blossoms.

With love to you both from us all.
MARK.


Mark Twain's residence in Hartford was drawing rapidly to a close.
Mrs. Clemens was poorly, and his own health was uncertain. They
believed that some of the European baths would help them.
Furthermore, Mark Twain could no longer afford the luxury of his
Hartford home. In Europe life could be simpler and vastly cheaper.
He was offered a thousand dollars apiece for six European letters,
by the McClure syndicate and W. M. Laffan, of the Sun. This would
at least give him a start on the other side. The family began
immediately their sad arrangements for departure.


To Fred J. Hall (manager Chas. L. Webster & Co.), N. Y.:

HARTFORD, Apl. 14, '91.
DEAR MR. HALL,--Privately--keep it to yourself--as you, are already
aware, we are going to Europe in June, for an indefinite stay. We shall
sell the horses and shut up the house. We wish to provide a place for
our coachman, who has been with us a 21 years, and is sober, active,
diligent, and unusually bright and capable. You spoke of hiring a
colored man as engineer and helper in the packing room. Patrick would
soon learn that trade and be very valuable. We will cease to need him by
the middle or end of June. Have you made irrevocable arrangements with
the colored man, or would you prefer to have Patrick, if he thinks he
would like to try?

I have not said anything to him about it yet.

Yours
S. L. C.


It was to be a complete breaking up of their beautiful
establishment. Patrick McAleer, George the butler, and others of
their household help had been like members of the family. We may
guess at the heartbreak of it all, even though the letters remain
cheerful.

Howells, strangely enough, seems to have been about the last one to
be told of their European plans; in fact, he first got wind of it
from the papers, and wrote for information. Likely enough Clemens
had not until then had the courage to confess.


To W. D. Howells, in Boston:

HARTFORD, May 20, '91.
DEAR HOWELLS,--For her health's sake Mrs. Clemens must try baths
somewhere, and this it is that has determined us to go to Europe.
The water required seems to be provided at a little obscure and little-
visited nook up in the hills back of the Rhine somewhere and you get to
it by Rhine traffic-boat and country stage-coach. Come, get "sick or
sorry enough" and join us. We shall be a little while at that bath, and
the rest of the summer at Annecy (this confidential to you) in Haute
Savoie, 22 miles from Geneva. Spend the winters in Berlin. I don't know
how long we shall be in Europe--I have a vote, but I don't cast it. I'm
going to do whatever the others desire, with leave to change their mind,
without prejudice, whenever they want to. Travel has no longer, any
charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to see except
heaven and hell, and I have only a vague curiosity as concerns one of
those.

I found I couldn't use the play--I had departed too far from its lines
when I came to look at it. I thought I might get a great deal of
dialogue out of it, but I got only 15 loosely written pages--they saved
me half a days work. It was the cursing phonograph. There was abundance
of good dialogue, but it couldn't befitted into the new conditions of the
story.

Oh, look here--I did to-day what I have several times in past years
thought of doing: answered an interviewing proposition from a rich
newspaper with the reminder that they had not stated the terms; that my
time was all occupied with writing, at good pay, and that as talking was
harder work I should not care to venture it unless I knew the pay was
going to be proportionately higher. I wish I had thought of this the
other day when Charley Stoddard turned a pleasant Englishman loose on me
and I couldn't think of any rational excuse.
Ys Ever
MARK.


Clemens had finished his Sellers book and had disposed of the serial
rights to the McClure syndicate. The house in Hartford was closed
early in June, and on the 6th the family, with one maid, Katie
Leary, sailed on the Gascogne. Two weeks later they had begun a
residence abroad which was to last for more than nine years.

It was not easy to get to work in Europe. Clemens's arm remained
lame, and any effort at writing brought suffering. The Century
Magazine proposed another set of letters, but by the end of July he
had barely begun on those promised to McClure and Laffan. In
August, however, he was able to send three: one from Aix about the
baths there, another from Bayreuth concerning the Wagner festival,
and a third from Marienbad, in Bohemia, where they rested for a
time. He decided that he would arrange for no more European letters
when the six were finished, but would gather material for a book.
He would take a courier and a kodak and go tramping again in some
fashion that would be interesting to do and to write.

The idea finally matured when he reached Switzerland and settled the
family at the Hotel Beau Rivage, Ouchy, Lausanne, facing Lake Leman.
He decided to make a floating trip down the Rhone, and he engaged
Joseph Very, a courier that had served him on a former European
trip, to accompany him. The courier went over to Bourget and bought
for five dollars a flat-bottomed boat and engaged its owner as their
pilot. It was the morning of September 20, when they began their
floating-trip down the beautiful historic river that flows through
the loveliest and most romantic region of France. He wrote daily to
Mrs. Clemens, and his letters tell the story of that drowsy, happy
experience better than the notes made with a view to publication.
Clemens had arrived at Lake Bourget on the evening before the
morning of their start and slept on the Island of Chatillon, in an
old castle of the same name. Lake Bourget connects with the Rhone
by a small canal.


Letters and Memoranda to Mrs. Clemens, in Ouchy, Switzerland:

Sept. 20, 1891.
Sunday, 11 a.m.
On the lake Bourget--just started. The castle of Chatillon high overhead
showing above the trees. It was a wonderfully still place to sleep in.
Beside us there was nobody in it but a woman, a boy and a dog. A Pope
was born in the room I slept in. No, he became a Pope later.

The lake is smooth as glass--a brilliant sun is shining.

Our boat is comfortable and shady with its awning.

11.20 We have crossed the lake and are entering the canal. Shall
presently be in the Rhone.

Noon. Nearly down to the Rhone. Passing the village of Chanaz.

3.15 p. m. Sunday. We have been in the Rhone 3 hours. It is
unimaginably still and reposeful and cool and soft and breezy. No rowing
or work of any kind to do--we merely float with the current--we glide
noiseless and swift--as fast as a London cab-horse rips along--8 miles an
hour--the swiftest current I've ever boated in. We have the entire river
to ourselves--nowhere a boat of any kind.
Good bye Sweetheart
S. L. C.


PORT DE GROLEE, Monday, 4.15 p.m.
(Sept. 21, 1891)
Name of the village which we left five minutes ago.

We went ashore at 5 p. m. yesterday, dear heart, and walked a short mile
to St. Geuix, a big village, and took quarters at the principal inn; had
a good dinner and afterwards along walk out of town on the banks of the
Guiers till 7.30.

Went to bed at 8.30 and continued to make notes and read books and
newspapers till midnight. Slept until 8, breakfasted in bed, and lay
till noon, because there had been a very heavy rain in the night and the
day was still dark and lowering. But at noon the sun broke through and
in 15 minutes we were tramping toward the river. Got afloat at 1 p. m.
but at 2.40 we had to rush suddenly ashore and take refuge in the above
village. Just as we got ourselves and traps safely housed in the inn,
the rain let go and came down in great style. We lost an hour and a half
there, but we are off again, now, with bright sunshine.

I wrote you yesterday my darling, and shall expect to write you every
day.

Good-day, and love to all of you.
SAML.


ON THE RHONE BELOW VILLEBOIS,
Tuesday noon.
Good morning, sweetheart. Night caught us yesterday where we had to take
quarters in a peasant's house which was occupied by the family and a lot
of cows and calves--also several rabbits.--(His word for fleas.)--The
latter had a ball, and I was the ball-room; but they were very friendly
and didn't bite.

The peasants were mighty kind and hearty, and flew around and did their
best to make us comfortable. This morning I breakfasted on the shore in
the open air with two sociable dogs and a cat. Clean cloth, napkin and
table furniture, white sugar, a vast hunk of excellent butter, good
bread, first class coffee with pure milk, fried fish just caught.
Wonderful that so much cleanliness should come out of such a phenomenally
dirty house.

An hour ago we saw the Falls of the Rhone, a prodigiously rough and
dangerous looking place; shipped a little water but came to no harm.
It was one of the most beautiful pieces of piloting and boat-management
I ever saw. Our admiral knew his business.

We have had to run ashore for shelter every time it has rained
heretofore, but Joseph has been putting in his odd time making a water-
proof sun-bonnet for the boat, and now we sail along dry although we had
many heavy showers this morning.

With a word of love to you all and particularly you,
SAML.


ON THE RHONE, BELOW VIENNA.
I salute you, my darling. Your telegram reached me in Lyons last night
and was very pleasant news indeed.

I was up and shaved before 8 this morning, but we got delayed and didn't
sail from Lyons till 10.3O--an hour and a half lost. And we've lost
another hour--two of them, I guess--since, by an error. We came in sight
of Vienne at 2 o'clock, several miles ahead, on a hill, and I proposed to
walk down there and let the boat go ahead of us. So Joseph and I got out
and struck through a willow swamp along a dim path, and by and by came
out on the steep bank of a slough or inlet or something, and we followed
that bank forever and ever trying to get around the head of that slough.
Finally I noticed a twig standing up in the water, and by George it had a
distinct and even vigorous quiver to it! I don't know when I have felt
so much like a donkey. On an island! I wanted to drown somebody, but I
hadn't anybody I could spare. However, after another long tramp we found
a lonely native, and he had a scow and soon we were on the mainland--yes,
and a blamed sight further from Vienne than we were when we started.

Notes--I make millions of them; and so I get no time to write to you. If
you've got a pad there, please send it poste-restante to Avignon. I may
not need it but I fear I shall.

I'm straining to reach St. Pierre de Boef, but it's going to be a close
fit, I reckon.


AFLOAT, Friday, 3 p.m., '91.
Livy darling, we sailed from St. Pierre de Boef six hours ago, and are
now approaching Tournon, where we shall not stop, but go on and make
Valence, a City Of 25,000 people. It's too delicious, floating with the
swift current under the awning these superb sunshiny days in deep peace
and quietness. Some of these curious old historical towns strangely
persuade me, but it is so lovely afloat that I don't stop, but view them
from the outside and sail on. We get abundance of grapes and peaches for
next to nothing.

Joseph is perfect. He is at his very best--and never was better in his
life. I guess he gets discouraged and feels disliked and in the way when
he is lying around--but here he is perfection, and brim full of useful
alacrities and helps and ingenuities.

When I woke up an hour ago and heard the clock strike 4, I said "I seem
to have been asleep an immensely long time; I must have gone to bed
mighty early; I wonder what time I did go to bed." And I got up and lit
a candle and looked at my watch to see.


AFLOAT
2 HOURS BELOW BOURG ST. ANDEOL.
Monday, 11 a.m., Sept. 28.
Livy darling, I didn't write yesterday. We left La Voulte in a driving
storm of cold rain--couldn't write in it--and at 1 p. m. when we were
not thinking of stopping, we saw a picturesque and mighty ruin on a high
hill back of a village, and I was seized with a desire to explore it; so
we landed at once and set out with rubbers and umbrella, sending the boat
ahead to St. Andeol, and we spent 3 hours clambering about those cloudy
heights among those worn and vast and idiotic ruins of a castle built by
two crusaders 650 years ago. The work of these asses was full of
interest, and we had a good time inspecting, examining and scrutinizing
it. All the hills on both sides of the Rhone have peaks and precipices,
and each has its gray and wasted pile of mouldy walls and broken towers.
The Romans displaced the Gauls, the Visigoths displaced the Romans, the
Saracens displaced the Visigoths, the Christians displaced the Saracens,
and it was these pious animals who built these strange lairs and cut each
other's throats in the name and for the glory of God, and robbed and
burned and slew in peace and war; and the pauper and the slave built
churches, and the credit of it went to the Bishop who racked the money
out of them. These are pathetic shores, and they make one despise the
human race.

We came down in an hour by rail, but I couldn't get your telegram till
this morning, for it was Sunday and they had shut up the post office to
go to the circus. I went, too. It was all one family--parents and 5
children--performing in the open air to 200 of these enchanted villagers,
who contributed coppers when called on. It was a most gay and strange
and pathetic show. I got up at 7 this morning to see the poor devils
cook their poor breakfast and pack up their sordid fineries.

This is a 9 k-m. current and the wind is with us; we shall make Avignon
before 4 o'clock. I saw watermelons and pomegranates for sale at St.
Andeol.

With a power of love, Sweetheart,
SAML.


HOTEL D'EUROPE, AVIGNON,
Monday, 6 p.m., Sept. 28.
Well, Livy darling, I have been having a perfect feast of letters for an
hour, and I thank you and dear Clam with all my heart. It's like hearing
from home after a long absence.

It is early to be in bed, but I'm always abed before 9, on this voyage;
and up at 7 or a trifle later, every morning. If I ever take such a trip
again, I will have myself called at the first tinge of dawn and get to
sea as soon after as possible. The early dawn on the water-nothing can
be finer, as I know by old Mississippi experience. I did so long for you
and Sue yesterday morning--the most superb sunrise!--the most marvelous
sunrise! and I saw it all from the very faintest suspicion of the coming
dawn all the way through to the final explosion of glory. But it had
interest private to itself and not to be found elsewhere in the world;
for between me and it, in the far distant-eastward, was a silhouette
mountain-range in which I had discovered, the previous afternoon, a most
noble face upturned to the sky, and mighty form out stretched, which I
had named Napoleon Dreaming of Universal Empire--and now, this prodigious
face, soft, rich, blue, spirituelle, asleep, tranquil, reposeful, lay
against that giant conflagration of ruddy and golden splendors all rayed
like a wheel with the upstreaming and far-reaching lances of the sun. It
made one want to cry for delight, it was so supreme in its unimaginable
majesty and beauty.

We had a curious experience today. A little after I had sealed and
directed my letter to you, in which I said we should make Avignon before
4, we got lost. We ceased to encounter any village or ruin mentioned in
our "particularizes" and detailed Guide of the Rhone--went drifting along
by the hour in a wholly unknown land and on an uncharted river! Confound
it, we stopped talking and did nothing but stand up in the boat and
search the horizons with the glass and wonder what in the devil had
happened. And at last, away yonder at 5 o'clock when some east towers
and fortresses hove in sight we couldn't recognize them for Avignon--yet
we knew by the broken bridge that it was Avignon.

Then we saw what the trouble was--at some time or other we had drifted
down the wrong side of an island and followed a sluggish branch of the
Rhone not frequented in modern times. We lost an hour and a half by it
and missed one of the most picturesque and gigantic and history-sodden
masses of castellated medieval ruin that Europe can show.

It was dark by the time we had wandered through the town and got the
letters and found the hotel--so I went to bed.

We shall leave here at noon tomorrow and float down to Arles, arriving
about dark, and there bid good bye to the boat, the river-trip finished.
Between Arles and Nimes (and Avignon again,) we shall be till Saturday
morning--then rail it through on that day to Ouchy, reaching the hotel at
11 at night if the train isn't late.

Next day (Sunday) if you like, go to Basel, and Monday to Berlin. But I
shall be at your disposal, to do exactly as you desire and prefer.

With no end of love to all of you and twice as much to you,
sweetheart,
SAML.

I believe my arm is a trifle better than it was when I started.


The mention in the foregoing letter of the Napoleon effigy is the
beginning of what proved to be a rather interesting episode. Mark
Twain thought a great deal of his discovery, as he called it--the
giant figure of Napoleon outlined by the distant mountain range.
In his note-book he entered memoranda telling just where it was to
be seen, and added a pencil sketch of the huge profile. But then he
characteristically forgot all about it, and when he recalled the
incident ten years later, he could not remember the name of the
village, Beauchastel, from which the great figure could be seen;
also, that he had made a record of the place.

But he was by this time more certain than ever that his discovery
was a remarkable one, which, if known, would become one of the great
natural wonders, such as Niagara Falls. Theodore Stanton was
visiting him at the time, and Clemens urged him, on his return to
France, to make an excursion to the Rhone and locate the Lost
Napoleon, as he now called it. But Clemens remembered the wonder as
being somewhere between Arles and Avignon, instead of about a
hundred miles above the last-named town. Stanton naturally failed
to find it, and it remained for the writer of these notes, motoring
up the Rhone one September day, exactly twenty-two years after the
first discovery, to re-locate the vast reclining figure of the first
consul of France, "dreaming of Universal Empire." The re-discovery
was not difficult--with Mark Twain's memoranda as a guide--and it
was worth while. Perhaps the Lost Napoleon is not so important a
natural wonder as Mark Twain believed, but it is a striking picture,
and on a clear day the calm blue face outlined against the sky will
long hold the traveler's attention.

To Clara Clemens, in Ouchy, Switzerland:

AFLOAT, 11.20 a.m., Sept. 29, Tuesday.
DEAR OLD BEN,--The vast stone masses and huge towers of the ancient papal
palace of Avignon are projected above an intervening wooded island a mile
up the river behind me--for we are already on our way to Arles. It is a
perfectly still morning, with a brilliant sun, and very hot--outside; but
I am under cover of the linen hood, and it is cool and shady in here.

Please tell mamma I got her very last letter this morning, and I perceive
by it that I do not need to arrive at Ouchy before Saturday midnight.
I am glad, because I couldn't do the railroading I am proposing to do
during the next two or three days and get there earlier. I could put in
the time till Sunday midnight, but shall not venture it without
telegraphic instructions from her to Nimes day after tomorrow, Oct. 1,
care Hotel Manivet.

The only adventures we have is in drifting into rough seas now and then.
They are not dangerous, but they go thro' all the motions of it.
Yesterday when we shot the Bridge of the Holy Spirit it was probably in
charge of some inexperienced deputy spirit for the day, for we were
allowed to go through the wrong arch, which brought us into a tourbillon
below which tried to make this old scow stand on its head. Of course I
lost my temper and blew it off in a way to be heard above the roar of the
tossing waters. I lost it because the admiral had taken that arch in
deference to my opinion that it was the best one, while his own judgment
told him to take the one nearest the other side of the river. I could
have poisoned him I was so mad to think I had hired such a turnip.
A boatman in command should obey nobody's orders but his own, and yield
to nobody's suggestions.

It was very sweet of you to write me, dear, and I thank you ever so much.
With greatest love and kisses,
PAPA.


To Mrs. Clemens, in Ouchy, Switzerland:

ARLES, Sept. 30, noon.
Livy darling, I hain't got no time to write today, because I am sight
seeing industriously and imagining my chapter.

Bade good-bye to the river trip and gave away the boat yesterday evening.
We had ten great days in her.

We reached here after dark. We were due about 4.30, counting by
distance, but we couldn't calculate on such a lifeless current as we
found.
I love you, sweetheart.
SAML.


It had been a long time since Clemens had written to his old friend
Twichell, but the Rhone trip must have reminded him of those days
thirteen years earlier, when, comparatively young men, he and
Twichell were tramping through the Black Forest and scaling Gemmi
Pass. He sent Twichell a reminder of that happy time.


To Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, in Hartford, Conn:

NIMES, Oct. 1, '91.
DEAR JOE,--I have been ten days floating down the Rhone on a raft, from
Lake Bourget, and a most curious and darling kind of a trip it has been.
You ought to have been along--I could have made room for you easily--and
you would have found that a pedestrian tour in Europe doesn't begin with
a raft-voyage for hilarity and mild adventure, and intimate contact with
the unvisited native of the back settlements, and extinction from the
world and newspapers, and a conscience in a state of coma, and lazy
comfort, and solid happiness. In fact there's nothing that's so lovely.

But it's all over. I gave the raft away yesterday at Arles, and am
loafing along back by short stages on the rail to Ouchy-Lausanne where
the tribe are staying.
Love to you all
MARK.


The Clemenses settled in Berlin for the winter, at 7 Kornerstrasse,
and later at the Hotel Royal. There had been no permanent
improvement in Mark Twain's arm and he found writing difficult.
Some of the letters promised to Laffan and McClure were still
unfinished.

Young Hall, his publishing manager in America, was working hard to
keep the business afloat, and being full of the optimism of his
years did not fail to make as good a showing as he could. We may
believe his letters were very welcome to Clemens and his wife, who
found little enough in the general prospect to comfort them.


To Mr. Hall, in New York:

BERLIN, Nov. 27, '91.
DEAR MR. HALL,--That kind of a statement is valuable. It came this
morning. This is the first time since the business began that I have had
a report that furnished the kind of information I wanted, and was really
enlightening and satisfactory. Keep it up. Don't let it fall into
desuetude.

Everything looks so fine and handsome with the business, now, that I feel
a great let-up from depression. The rewards of your long and patient
industry are on their way, and their arrival safe in port, presently,
seems assured.

By George, I shall be glad when the ship comes in!

My arm is so much better that I was able to make a speech last night to
250 Americans. But when they threw my portrait on the screen it was a
sorrowful reminder, for it was from a negative of 15 years ago, and
hadn't a gray hair in it. And now that my arm is better, I have stolen a
couple of days and finished up a couple of McClure letters that have been
lying a long time.

I shall mail one of them to you next Tuesday--registered. Lookout for
it.

I shall register and mail the other one (concerning the "Jungfrau") next
Friday look out for it also, and drop me a line to let me know they have
arrived.

I shall write the 6th and last letter by and by when I have studied
Berlin sufficiently.

Yours in a most cheerful frame of mind, and with my and all the family's
Thanksgiving greetings and best wishes,
S. L. CLEMENS.


Postscript by Mrs. Clemens written on Mr. Clemens's letter:

DEAR MR. HALL,--This is my birthday and your letter this morning was a
happy addition to the little gifts on the breakfast table. I thought of
going out and spending money for something unnecessary after it came, but
concluded perhaps I better wait a little longer.
Sincerely yours
O. L. CLEMENS.


"The German Chicago" was the last of the six McClure letters and was
finished that winter in Berlin. It is now included in the Uniform
Edition of Mark Twain's works, and is one of the best descriptive
articles of the German capital ever written. He made no use of the
Rhone notes further than to put them together in literary form.
They did not seem to him to contain enough substance to warrant
publication. A letter to Hall, written toward the end of December,
we find rather gloomy in tone, though he is still able to extract
comfort and even cheerfulness from one of Mr. Hall's reports.


Memorandum to Fred J. Hall, in New York:

Among the MSS I left with you are a few that have a recent look and are
written on rather stiff pale green paper. If you will have those type-
writered and keep the originals and send me the copies (one per mail, not
two.) I'll see if I can use them.

But tell Howells and other inquirers that my hopes of writing anything
are very slender--I seem to be disabled for life.

Drop McClure a line and tell him the same. I can't dare to make an
engagement now for even a single letter.

I am glad Howells is on a magazine, but sorry he gave up the Study.
I shall have to go on a magazine myself if this L. A. L. continues to
hold my nose down to the grind-stone much longer.

I'm going to hold my breath, now, for 30 days--then the annual statement
will arrive and I shall know how we feel! Merry Xmas to you from us all.

Sincerely,
S. L. C.

P. S. Just finished the above and finished raging at the eternal German
tax-gatherer, and so all the jubilant things which I was going to say
about the past year's business got knocked out of me. After writing this
present letter I was feeling blue about Huck Finn, but I sat down and
overhauled your reports from now back to last April and compared them
with the splendid Oct.-Nov. business, and went to bed feeling refreshed
and fine, for certainly it has been a handsome year. Now rush me along
the Annual Report and let's see how we feel!
S. L. C.

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