Submitted by scott on Fri, 10/15/2021 - 12:35
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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:

In the opinion of many people Mr. Rhodes is South Africa; others think he is only a large part of it. These latter consider that South Africa consists of Table Mountain, the diamond mines, the Johannesburg gold fields, and Cecil Rhodes. The gold fields are wonderful in every way. In seven or eight years they built up, in a desert, a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants, counting white and black together; and not the ordinary mining city of wooden shanties, but a city made out of lasting material. Nowhere in the world is there such a concentration of rich mines as at Johannesburg. Mr.

But I learned a good deal about the Boers there, and that was a fresh subject. What I heard there was afterwards repeated to me in other parts of South Africa. Summed up—according to the information thus gained—this is the Boer:

Several long journeys—gave us experience of the Cape Colony railways; easy-riding, fine cars; all the conveniences; thorough cleanliness; comfortable beds furnished for the night trains. It was in the first days of June, and winter; the daytime was pleasant, the nighttime nice and cold.

Before the middle of July we reached Cape Town, and the end of our African journeyings. And well satisfied; for, towering above us was Table Mountain—a reminder that we had now seen each and all of the great features of South Africa except Mr. Cecil Rhodes. I realize that that is a large exception.

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