Submitted by scott on Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:35

This was Mark Twain's second visit to the African continent. In "The Innocents Abroad" he visits North Africa. Now, three decades later, he visits South Africa as presented in "Following the Equator". Rasmussen notes "While he had mixed feelings about Britain's proper role in the South African (Boer) War, he was unreservedly opposed to the ruthless commercial exploitation of the Congo Free State -- and denounces it in "King Leopold's Soliloquy".

April 7. We are far abroad upon the smooth waters of the Indian Ocean, now; it is shady and pleasant and peaceful under the vast spread of the awnings, and life is perfect again—ideal.
The difference between a river and the sea is, that the river looks fluid, the sea solid—usually looks as if you could step out and walk on it.

Wednesday, April 15. Mauritius. Arrived and anchored off Port Louis 2 A. M. Rugged clusters of crags and peaks, green to their summits; from their bases to the sea a green plain with just tilt enough to it to make the water drain off. I believe it is in 56 E. and 22 S.—a hot tropical country. The green plain has an inviting look; has scattering dwellings nestling among the greenery. Scene of the sentimental adventure of Paul and Virginia.

Island under French control—which means a community which depends upon quarantines, not sanitation, for its health.

All that I remember about Madagascar is that Thackeray's little Billie went up to the top of the mast and there knelt him upon his knee, saying, "I see "Jerusalem and Madagascar, And North and South Amerikee."

Monday, May 4. Steaming slowly in the stupendous Delagoa Bay, its dim arms stretching far away and disappearing on both sides. It could furnish plenty of room for all the ships in the world, but it is shoal. The lead has given us 3 1/2 fathoms several times and we are drawing that, lacking 6 inches.

At 3 P.M., May 6th, the ship slowed down, off the land, and thoughtfully and cautiously picked her way into the snug harbor of Durban, South Africa.

From Following the Equator, Chapters 66-7:

Citations

Twain, Mark. 1897. Following The Equator. American Publishing Company.
Rasmussen, Kent. 2007. Critical Companion To Mark Twain. 2 vol.. New York: Facts On File.

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