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Sam Clemens wrote to his mother February 17 if 1878:

Life has come to be a very serious matter with me. I have a badgered, harassed feeling, a good part of my time. It comes mainly of business responsibilities & annoyances, & the persecutions of kindly letters from well-meaning strangers—to whom I must be rudely silent or else put in the biggest half of my time bothering over answers. There are other things, also, that help to consume my time & defeat my projects. Well, the consequence is, I cannot write a book at home. This cuts my income down. Therefore, I have about made up my mind to take my tribe & fly to some little corner of Europe & budge no more until I shall have completed one of the half dozen books that lie begun, up stairs. We Please say nothing about this at present. We propose to sail the 10th April.

From "A Tramp Abroad":  One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Europe on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878.

I looked about me for the right sort of person to accompany me in the capacity of agent, and finally hired a Mr. Harris for this service.

It was also my purpose to study art while in Europe. Mr. Harris was in sympathy with me in this. He was as much of an enthusiast in art as I was, and not less anxious to learn to paint. I desired to learn the German language; so did Harris.

Toward the middle of April we sailed in the HOLSATIA, Captain Brandt, and had a very pleasant trip, indeed.

After a brief rest at Hamburg, we made preparations for a long pedestrian trip southward in the soft spring weather, but at the last moment we changed the program, for private reasons, and took the express-train.


European Itinerary, 1878-1879 (from Mark Twain’s Notebooks and Journals, Vol II)

* Accompanied by Joe Twichell

The Clemens party, including Livy, Susy, Clara, Clara Spaulding and Rosina Hay, the nursemaid, sailed for Hamburg on the S.S. Holsatia on 11 April 1878. They arrived in Hamburg 25 April 1878.

August 12, 1878 Monday – The men left Baden Baden by rail and arrived at Lucerne, Switzerland where they joined Livy, the children and the rest of the party who had been there a few days.

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.

August 21. 1878 The group traveled to Interlaken and from August 23 to the 31st Sam and Twichell went to see the Matterhorn.

Enroute to Hamburg, April 24, 1878, Sam’s notebook mentions passengers getting off at Cherbourg [MTNJ 2: 69].

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.

They traveled on July 14 to Rotterdam and registered at the Victoria Hotel. Sam was impressed. by the countryside, “so green & lovely, & quiet & pastoral & homelike,’ and, as usual, by the “very pretty & fresh & amiable & intelligent” Dutch damsels. ‘The next day they railed fifty miles to Amsterdam, where they spent two nights at the Hotel Doelen. Sam delighted in Rembrande’s paintings in the Rijksmuseum, especially The Night Watch, and Livy bought “a beautiful etching” of it for twenty dollars to hang in the Hartford house.

“We had a comfortable passage, very smooth sea, none of us were sea sick, but crossing the channel is not pleasant at the best,” Livy wrote her mother the next day from the Brunswick House Hotel on Hanover Square in London. ...

They dallied in Liverpool for two days, and then boarded the newly commissioned Cunard steamer Gallia, “a very fine ship.” Coincidentally, they sailed with Sams friend the Earl of Dunraven, “an uncommonly clever fellow.” During the transatlantic voyage, the body of a passenger who had died en route was packed in ice and stored in a lifeboat, and Sam added a grisly note to this news in his notebook: “the hilarious Passengers sing & laugh & joke under him” as “the melting ice drips on them.” The family landed in New York on September 2 after a tour that had lasted nearly eighteen mont