Submitted by scott on Sat, 12/04/2021 - 00:33

August 15 Thursday – The entire Clemens party took a two-day excursion to the Rigi-Kulm. They spent the night in a hotel on the Rigi to watch the sunset and sunrise.

In a letter of Aug. 20, Sam described the ascent and descent to his mother:

Twichell & I took a stroll ... to the summit of Rigi, where the rheumatism captured me once more & we had to come down with the others by rail. It was a good deal like coming down a ladder by rail. I did not like it.

In a Aug. 18 letter to her mother, Livy described the excursion:

Rigi Kulm

Thursday about two o’clock we started on our trip to the top of the Rigi, we went for nearly an hour in a boat then took an open car in which we were pushed by a steam engine up the mountain.…Mr. Clemens and Mr. Twichell walked up….When we reached the top the rain was pouring and the wind blowing a perfect gale….We went to our rooms took a glass of wine, lay down and I had a nap before the gentlemen came….

After the gentlemen had gotten on dry clothes (Mr. Clemens lay in bed while his pants were dried) we had our supper—The hotel is a beautiful one way up there on the top of the mountains…after supper we tried to get warm at the stove but there were too many people…so after a little while we went to our room. Mr. Clemens got in bed to get warm, we brought all the candles into one room, so that we might have a little cheerful look to things—Mr. Twichell wrote, Mr. Clemens read, Clara sewed. I held a book and pretended to read but most of the time talked to Clara….

The wind blew very very hard all night, about four in the morning the trumpet blew for us all to get up and see the sun rise. Such a spectacle as it is to see the people get up and come out frozen to death to watch for the sun [Salsbury 82].

August 16 Friday – The Clemens party completed their two-day excursion and returned to Lucerne.

From page 261 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891:

On August 15 the family journeyed fifteen miles by boat across the lake to the foot of the Rigi Kulm, the highest peak in the Rigi range. It was "an imposing Alpine mass, six thousand feet high, which stands by itself and commands a mighty prospect of blue lakes, green valleys, and snowy mountains—a compact and magnificent picture three hundred miles in circumference,” Sam related in his travelogue. While he and Twichell hiked up a trail, Livy and the children rode the funicular railroad to the hotel on the summit, where she drank a glass of wine and took a nap. By the time the men arrived, a storm had settled on the slopes and Sam had suffered a rheumatic attack. So much for the purportedly medicinal waters of Baden-Baden. At eleven the next morning, Sam and Twichell joined the family in descending the mountain “by rail. It was a good deal like coming down a ladder by rail. I did not like it,” Sam complained.


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