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This book is a record of a pleasure trip. If it were a record of a solemn scientific expedition, it would have about it that gravity, that profundity, and that impressive incomprehensibility which are so proper to works of that kind, and withal so attractive. Yet notwithstanding it is only a record of a pic-nic, it has a purpose, which is to suggest to the reader how he would be likely to see Europe and the East if he looked at them with his own eyes instead of the eyes of those who traveled in those countries before him. I make small pretense of showing anyone how he ought to look at objects of interest beyond the sea—other books do that, and therefore, even if I were competent to do it, there is no need.

I offer no apologies for any departures from the usual style of travel-writing that may be charged against me—for I think I have seen with impartial eyes, and I am sure I have written at least honestly, whether wisely or not.

In this volume I have used portions of letters which I wrote for the Daily Alta California, of San Francisco, the proprietors of that journal having waived their rights and given me the necessary permission. I have also inserted portions of several letters written for the New York Tribune and the New York Herald.


From Page 396-7   The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years, 1835-1871:

Charles Duncan learned the hard way, like Sam when he discovered mica in the mines, that all that glitters is not gold, Each of the celebrities he had recruited for the voyage had withdrawn. Sherman was sent west by the army to fight Indians. Maggie Mitchell simply changed her mind. The Drummer Boy married and preferred to honeymoon somewhere other than on a ship with a gaggle of evangelical Christians. Beecher protested that he needed to finish his novel Norwood but in fact dropped out because he feared the malarious air in Europe. The novel had already been published and, ironically, a copy would circulate among the Quaker City passengers. After Beecher withdrew, so did forty-five of his parishioners. They had not been required, like other prospective passengers, to deposit money to secure their places, In the end, fewer than seventy passengers—the vast majority of them men— booked passage, less than the break-even point on costs. But Duncan had spent thousands of dollars in refurbishing the ship, so canceling the cruise was not an option. His hands were tied, and while the venture would not enable him to recover from his bankruptcy, he would repeatedly trim expenses in the course of the voyage. According to Mary Mason Fairbanks, wife of Abel Fairbanks, co-owner of the Cleveland Herald, “We go without a General Sherman or a Henry Ward Beecher, but stars of lesser magnitude may come to be planets whose light shall yet dazzle.” As late as June 1, however, Sam was uncertain that the excursion would occur. He advised his family that “if the ship sails I sail on her, but I make no calculations, have bought no cigars, no sea-going clothing—have made no preparations whatever.” Despite his earlier insistence that a selection committee would vet all “applicants,” Duncan refused accommodations to no passenger with money to pay the fare and he continued to advertise the excursion literally until the day of departure. Or, as the New York Times reported, the voyage was “originally designed to embrace a select and somewhat exclusive party, but before the steamer sailed it was found necessary to lower the standard a little, and ordinary persons with $1,200 to spend were enabled to purchase tickets.”

Among them was Dan Slote, a New York stationer, who was initially assigned to share the same stateroom as Sam. “I have got a nice moral room-mate” who “has got many shirts, and a History of the Holy Land, a cribbage-board and three thousand cigars,’ Sam reported to his Alta readers with undisguised delight. “I will not have to carry any baggage at all.” In The Innocents Abroad, he described Slote as “intelligent, cheerful of spirit, unselfish, full of generous impulses, patient, considerate, wonderfully goodnatured,” Privately, he was even more candid. “I have got a splendid, immoral, tobacco-smoking, wine-drinking, godless room-mate who is as good & true & right-minded a man as ever lived—a man whose blameless conduct and example will always be an eloquent sermon to all who shall come within their influence.” Before embarking, Sam laid in a couple of cases of expensive champagne and, according to the New York correspondent of the St. Louis Times, a sufficient supply of “good liquors—wines, principally—to keep the Union Club for a twelvemonth went on board before sailing,“ 

In the end, Sam and Dan Slote did not share accommodations, though they doubtless shared their stores of cigars and alcohol. Sam was upgraded to Sherman's vacated stateroom, which was “furnished like a palace.” 

Page 399:

He arrived at the pier shortly after noon the next day in time to stow his luggage and join the band of passengers “arrayed in unattractive traveling costumes’ who “were moping about in a drizzling rain and looking as droopy and woebegone as so many molting chickens,” Unbeknownst to the excursionists, Duncan had filed for bankruptcy—citing debts of twenty-five thousand dollars—a few hours before the ship was scheduled to sail. The Quaker City embarked at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. A crowd of well-wishers, among them Beecher, gathered to bid the “innocents” bon voyage.  The congregants sang “Homeward Bound” from the Plymouth Collection of Hymns to great fanfare as the ship slipped its moorings. It sailed with the tide but against wind and rain a few miles to Gravesend Bay near Brooklyn in lower New York Harbor where, anticlimactically, it dropped anchor. At least sixteen other vessels, four of them passenger ships, including the luxury liner Arago, sailed from New York Harbor during the weekend and did not delay on account of weather—that is, Duncan seemed to have dallied from an excess of caution."


June 10 - 29, 1867: Aboard the Steamship Quaker City

Atlantic island group of volcanic origin, located about 740 miles west of Portugal, which has owned the islands since the mid-17th century. The Quaker City was to land at the largest island, San Miguel, but to avoid a storm, it instead anchored at the port of Horta on the island of Fayal on June 21, 1867. After two days... the passengers voted to skip San Miguel and go directly to Gibraltar.

(Mark Twain A to Z)

We have come five hundred miles by rail through the heart of France. What a bewitching land it is! What a garden! Surely the leagues of bright green lawns are swept and brushed and watered every day and their grasses trimmed by the barber. Surely the hedges are shaped and measured and their symmetry preserved by the most architectural of gardeners. Surely the long straight rows of stately poplars that divide the beautiful landscape like the squares of a checker-board are set with line and plummet, and their uniform height determined with a spirit level.

Mark Twain's first visit to Italy in 1867, before its political unification. Italy had been under foreign domination but following the Napoleonic Wars movements for independence and unification began. The first wave, led by Garibaldi and others created the kingship of Italy in 1861. Venetia was added in in 1866 and Rome in 1870. The Quaker City first made port in Genoa followed by landings in Leghorn and Naples. Twain toured several other cities, mostly by train. These included Milan, Como, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

Departing Italy:  

From Greece to Constantinople:  

The Quaker City departed Constantinople 19 August, 1867, arriving in Sevastopol 21 August at 5am. It departed at 9 pm the same day, arriving in Odessa 22 August at 4 pm. The ship then departed for Yalta 24 August at 11 am, arriving 25 August at noon. A party from the ship visited Tsar Alexander II on the 26th. On the 28th the ship departed Russia returning to Constantinople.

Beirout, September 10, Tuesday The Quaker City has arrived in Beirout, Lebanon. The tourists were broken up into groups, Mark Twain's group was to take 'the long trip"

Quaker City Makes Port in Alexandria:  After a pleasant voyage and a good rest, we drew near to Egypt and out of the mellowest of sunsets we saw the domes and minarets of Alexandria rise into view. As soon as the anchor was down, Jack and I got a boat and went ashore. It was night by this time, and the other passengers were content to remain at home and visit ancient Egypt after breakfast. It was the way they did at Constantinople.

We were at sea now, for a very long voyage—we were to pass through the entire length of the Levant; through the entire length of the Mediterranean proper, also, and then cross the full width of the Atlantic—a voyage of several weeks. We naturally settled down into a very slow, stay-at-home manner of life, and resolved to be quiet, exemplary people, and roam no more for twenty or thirty days. No more, at least, than from stem to stern of the ship. It was a very comfortable prospect, though, for we were tired and needed a long rest.

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