Submitted by scott on Mon, 09/28/2020 - 12:08

They returned to Germany at the end of August, to Nuremberg, which he notes as the ‘city of exquisite glimpses,’ and to Heidelberg, where they had their old apartment of thirteen years before, Room 40 at the Schloss Hotel, with its wonderful prospect of wood and hill, and the haze-haunted valley of the Rhine. They remained less than a week in that beautiful place, and then were off for Switzerland, Lucerne, Brienz, Interlaken, finally resting at the Hotel Beau Rivage, Ouchy, Lausanne, on beautiful Lake Leman” [MTB 923]. (Editorial emphasis.)

September 2 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook:  Came to Heidelberg. 47 car-changes in 7 hours hot day, too, & crowded cars

Went up to Königstuhl & recognized old “gelogen”—the two girls seemed to recognize me (gave me hopes) but didn’t; 2 red-headed children I attributed to the younger (fat) one. I was a skittish young thing of 42 in those days.

We have our old room now, No 40.Albert is gone—he was a brute & hammered the servants.

We carried away Burke (porter) & he got drunk first night.

Europe has lived a life of hypocrisy for ages; it is so in-grained in flesh & blood that sincere speech is impossible to these people when speaking of hereditary power. God Save the King is uttered millions of times a day in Europe, & issues nearly always from just the mouth, neither higher nor lower [NB 31 TS 2].

September 3 Thursday – Sam wrote of this week’s travels once he’d arrived in Interlaken, on Sept. 10:

Last week I was beating around the Lake of Four Cantons, and I saw Rütli and Altorf. Rütli is a remote little patch of a meadow, but I do not know how any piece of ground could be holier or better worth crossing oceans and continents to see, since it was there that the great trinity of Switzerland joined hands six centuries ago and swore the oath which set their enslaved and insulted country forever free; and Altorf is also honorable ground and worshipful, since it was there that William, surnamed Tell (which interpreted means “The foolish talker,” that is to say, the too daring talker), refused to bow to Gessler’s hat. Of late years the prying student of history has been delighting himself beyond measure over a wonderful find which he has made — to wit, that Tell did not shoot the apple from his son’s head. To hear the students jubilate, one would suppose that the question of whether Tell shot the apple or didn’t was an important matter; whereas it ranks in importance exactly with the question of whether Washington chopped down the cherry tree or didn’t. The deeds of Washington, the patriot, are the essential thing; the cherry tree incident is of no consequence. To prove that Tell did shoot the apple from his son’s head would merely prove that he had better nerve than most men and was as skilful with a bow as a million others who preceded and followed him, but not one whit more so. But Tell was more and better than a mere marksman, more and better than a mere cool head; he was a type; he stands for Swiss patriotism; in his person was represented a whole people; his spirit was their spirit — the spirit which would bow to none but God, the spirit which said this in words and confirmed it with deeds. There have always been Tells in Switzerland — people who would not bow. There was a sufficiency of them at Rütli; there were plenty of them at Murten; plenty at Grandson; there are plenty to-day. And the first of them all — the very first, earliest banner-bearer of human freedom in this world — was not a man, but a woman — Stauffacher’s wife. There she looms dim and great, through the haze of the centuries, delivering into her husband’s ear that gospel of revolt which was to bear fruit in the conspiracy of Rütli and the birth of the first free government the world had ever seen [“Switzerland — The Cradle of Liberty” from Neider, Complete Essays 110-19]. (Editorial emphasis

September 4 Friday – Sam’s notebook: Sept. 4. Heidelberg. Drove in a storm over Philosphen Weg. Sept. 4 French Republic came of age [NB 31 TS 3]. Note: Philosphenweg = Philosopher’s path in Heidelberg.

September 5 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: Sept. 5. Left for Lucerne 8.50 a.m. [NB 31 TS 3].

Citations

Fears, David. 2014. “Mark Twain Day By Day”. http://daybyday.marktwainstudies.com/.

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