Submitted by scott on

Friday, August 9, 1878 – Twichell and Sam took a boat from Heilbronn for a trip down the Neckar River, stopping for beer and chicken at Jagtfeldt, then continuing toward Hirschhorn in a new and smaller boat [MTNJ 2: 132].

Powers: “Sam maintained his near-preternatural gift for spotting undraped females while traveling: ‘dozen naked little girls bathing’ just below Jagtfeldt, and, a little later on a ‘[s]lender naked girl’ who ‘snatched a leafy bow of a bush across her front & then stood satisfied gazing out upon us as we floated by—a very pretty picture’” [419-20].

Sam’s notebook:
“Hasshersheim (?) town where we tarried & took beer & H [Twichell] went swimming above where 25 girls were & was warned away. Below this town on right bank, 200 ft up on top of the steep bank, castle of Hornberg, high old vine clad walls enclosing trees, & one peaked tall tower 75 ft high” [2: 132-3].

Sam, Joe, Edward Meigs Smith and “young Smith” spent the night at the Hotel Zum Naturalisten in Hirschorn. The Smith boy slept on the floor under a stuffed “great gray cat with staring, intelligent glass eyes.” The boy couldn’t sleep until he got up and turned the cat’s head away [MTNJ 2: 136n50].

August 10 Saturday – In the morning the men explored Dilsburg Castle [Rodney 103]. Sam and Joe started back to Baden Baden by train.

PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN, for STARS AND STRIPES • July 20, 2023 has written a current day description of Twain's route along the Neckar River:  Retrace Twain’s footsteps along the Neckar River with help from his 140-year-old prose


[From pages 259-60 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891]

On August 7 Sam and Twichell began a four-day tour of the Neckar River towns between Heidelberg and Heilbronn along the “romantic road,” traveling mostly by carriage, train, and boat. More specifically, they traveled by train upriver from Heidelberg to Neckargemünd, which was as far as the spur line had been built in 1878; by carriage from Neckargemünd to Hirschhorn, a distance of about ten miles; and then by boat another thirty miles to Weinsburg, Bad Wimpfen, and Heilbronn. There they “found a good hotel and ordered beer and dinner” and “took a stroll through the venerable old village. It was very picturesque and tumble-down, and dirty and interesting.’ Reversing course, they traveled downriver by small boat “7 or 8 miles to Jagsfeldt,” according to Twichell, “where we stopped for lunch and took another boat.” Sam records in A Tramp Abroad their (fanciful?) negotiation with the boat owner. He was unable to comprehend Sam's broken German, so Twichell “faced this same man, looked him in the eye, and emptied this sentence on him, in the most glib and confident way: ‘Can man boat get here?’” The “mariner promptly understood” because, Sam explained, "all the words except ‘get’ have the same sound and the same meaning in German [Kann Mann Boot geht hier?] that they have in English.” About this time, too, when Sam mentioned “some rather private matters” within earshot of some locals, Twichell cautioned him to “speak in German” because someone overhearing their conversation “may understand English.” The afternoon of August 9 the travelers floated downriver past Eberbach to Hirschhorn, where they registered overnight at the Zum Naturalisten and visited the ancient castle and ruined church nearby, The next day they drifted downriver to Neckarsteinach and Dilsberg, where they again toured the village and a local castle atop a steep hill overlooking the river, then back to Neckargemünd, where they ditched the skiff and took the train back to Heidelberg.


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