In early July Sam hired Joseph N. Verey for two dollars a day to serve as their courier during a hasty tour of the Low Countries. Unlike Georg Burk, Verey ‘spoke eight languages, and seemed to be equally at home in all of them; he was shrewd, prompt, posted, and punctual; he was fertile in resources, and singularly gifted in the matter of overcoming difficulties; he not only knew how to do everything in his line, but he knew the best ways and the quickest; he was handy with children and invalids; all his employer needed to do was to take life easy.” Livy shared Sam's opinion; Verey “proved to be perfect,” she wrote her mother. “We had no care whatever” because “he managed everything so splendidly,” adding, “we have wished during all these days that we had him last Fall [as] we should have had so much more pleasure in our Switzerland and Italian trip.” On July 10 they entrained two hundred miles from Paris to Brussels, “a dirty, beautiful (architecturally) interesting town,” and the next day Sam “heard the most majestic organ music & men’s voices, ever listened to” in the cathedral there; “[n]ever have heard anything that rose to the sublimity of those sounds.” On July 12 they proceeded another thirty miles to Antwerp and the next day attended High Mass in the cathedral, where Sam admired Peter Paul Rubens’s altarpiece The Elevation of the Cross, though he thought Rubens’s Christ was so contorted he seemed “to be an acrobat.” The family also socialized with the officers of the steamer USS Trenton and the gunboat Alliance anchored in the Scheldt River. [Page 283 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891]
July 10 Thursday – Sam called Brussels “a dirty, beautiful (architecturally), interesting town” [MTNJ 2: 328].
July 10 to 12 Saturday – The Clemens family spent two days in Brussels, then left in the afternoon of July 12 [MTNJ 2: 328]. Sam’s notebook:
“In Brussels Cathedral heard the most majestic organ music & men’s voices, ever listened to. Never have heard anything that rose to the sublimity of those sounds”.
July 12 Saturday – In the afternoon, the Clemens family went to Antwerp.
July 13 Sunday – In the morning, Sam and the ladies attended high mass at the Cathedral of Antwerp. “There is nothing solemn or impressive about this exasperating mummery. Rubens masterpiece, the Ascent of the Cross—Christ seems to be an acrobat”.
In the evening Sam dined on the flagship Trenton with U.S. consul John H. Stewart and some officers of the Trenton and the Alliance, under the command of Vice-Admiral Stephen Clegg Rowan (1808-1890) hero of the Mexican and Civil Wars.
July 14 Monday – Sam took the family aboard the Trenton and breakfasted.
“Admiral Rowan arrived during the meal. I smoked on the Admiral’s side of the deck, not knowing it was sacred by naval etiquette.
The Clemens family traveled on to Rotterdam.