Section title taken from Shillingsburg;s "At Home Abroad". Mark Twain returns to Sydney from his trip to New Zealand December 17th, 1895 and departs the shores of Australiasia January 4, 1896. He visits Sydney, Scone, Melbourne, Malverne and Adelaide. His final anchorage is at Albany, Western Australia. He does not go ashore.
December 17 Tuesday
The Mararoa reached Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m. Sam’s notebook records that the weather had turned cool [NB 36 TS 3].
The Clemens family took rooms at the Australia Hotel on Castlereagh St., and probably attended the dramatization of Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Sydney. Sam felt the play could not bring out the depth of the convict system as well as the book had done; Clara called the play “gruesome” .
December 18 Wednesday
Sam likely visited the Sydney Botanical Garden, and may have gone fishing at Bondi, where he heard several stories of sharks. His notebook entry gives several anecdotes about watches, money, and even prayer books that people found in sharks. Sam felt these were “doubtful.” Sam claimed to have caught one on the line: Caught one myself, but he thought he caught me — & as he was doing most of the pulling I conceded the argument & let go [Shillingsburg, At Home 185; “Down Under” 31].
December 19 Thursday
Sam and Carlyle G. Smythe left Sydney on a train at 11:25 a.m. for Scone, a country town some 125 miles northwest and the farthest north the tour reached in the Australian leg, arriving at 7:15 p.m. Sam noted the war scare between England and America [NB 36 TS 1, 6]. Livy and Clara remained in Sydney, and may have gone to the National Park with Justice Sir William Windeyer.
Sam of the scenery: That of the Hawksbury river, in the National Park region, fine — extraordinarily fine, with spacious views of stream and lake imposingly framed in woody hills....Further along, green flats, thinly covered with gum forests, with here and there the huts and cabins of small farmers engaged in raising children. Still further along, arid stretches, lifeless and melancholy. Then Newcastle, a rushing town, capital of the rich coal regions. Approaching Scone, wide farming and grazing level....Blazing hot all day [FE ch. XXXVI 326-7].
Sam performed his “At Home” lecture in Scone. Sam and Smythe stayed the night in Scone. Sam made notes about the threat of war between the US and Britain over Guiana. [Shillingsburg, “Down Under” 31; At Home 186-7].
December 20 Friday
Sam and Smythe left Scone, Australia by train at 11:25 a.m. While on the train Sam kept notes of town names, possibly for use in a poem he included in FE.
Sam arrived in Sydney at 7:15 p.m. and was a bit late for his “At Home” performance at the School of Arts on Pitt Street. He made a few closing remarks on the war scare, hoping that “we shall soon cease to be annoyed by all this unpleasant, unprofitable and unbrotherly war talk.”
December 21 Saturday
In Sydney in the evening Sam repeated his “At Home” lecture from the previous night, except he used his remarks on the war scare as an introduction, and also included the
December 22 Sunday
In Sydney the Clemens family visited the Hawkesbury River National Park with H.S. Chipman, who later gave Sam an illustrated book on Australia. A sightseeing boat usually left the Market St. Wharf for Hawkesbury.
December 23 Monday
At 1 p.m. the Clemens party (including Carlyle G. Smythe) sailed on the P&O liner Oceana for Ceylon. Sam’s notebook includes an entry about twenty “male & female cranks — rivals of the Salvationists — in no uniform but waterproofs (it was raining) sang hymns on the dock,” begging for money. From FE:
A Lascar crew mans this ship — the first I have seen. White cotton petticoat and pants; barefoot; red shawl for belt; straw cap, brimless, on head, with red scarf wound around it; complexion a rich dark brown; short straight black hair; whiskers fine and silky; lustrous and intensely black. Mild, good faces; willing and obedient people; capable, too; but are said to go into hopeless panics when there is danger. They are from Bombay and the coast thereabouts....Left some of the trunks in Sydney, to be shipped to South Africa by a vessel advertised to sail three months hence. The proverb says: “Separate not yourself from your baggage.” ...This Oceana is a stately big ship, luxuriously appointed. She has spacious promenade decks. Large rooms; a surpassingly comfortable ship. The officers’ library is well selected; a ship’s library is usually not that....For meals, the bugle call, man-of-war fashion; a pleasant change from the terrible gong....Three big cats — very friendly loafers; they wander all over the ship; the white one follows the chief steward around like a dog
December 24 Tuesday
The Clemens party was en route to Melbourne on the P&O Co.’s Oceana.
December 25 Wednesday – Christmas
The Oceana arrived in Melbourne in the morning. The Clemens party was driven to the Malvern home of John H. Wagner, whom they’d spent many hours with in October. They had an afternoon tea with the Wagners and visited at Lloyds’ large home at Stoningham. Christmas dinner was enjoyed at Highgate-on-the-Hill with the R.S. Smythe family. They stayed overnight with the Wagners [Shillingsburg, “Down Under” 32; At Home 189].
December 26 Thursday
On Boxing Day in Melbourne, the Clemenses enjoyed Johnny cakes and buckwheat cakes at the John Wagner’s. Sam played billiards “a good part of the day” [NB 36 TS 13] with young Jack Wagner (John H. Jr.) and Mrs. Sue McCulloch, his sister. Livy and Clara enjoyed tea with Mrs. Sue McCulloch, perhaps as guests elsewhere. In the evening Sam gave his “At Home” (No. 2) in the Athenaeum Hall in Melbourne. He included an expanded version of his Australian poem.
December 27 Friday
In Malvern, a suburb of Melbourne, Sam spent all day playing billiards with the Wagners [NB 36 TS 13]. In the evening Sam gave his “At Home” (No. 2) lecture at Athenaeum Hall in
December 28 Saturday
The Clemens party left Melbourne aboard the P&O Co.’s 3,175 ton Oceana, captained by Commander E. Stewart, bound for India. A “very heavy sea all night” probably caused some concern. Sam left behind him many good memories and friends; financially he had done well, with most halls being filled to the brim and enthusiastic
December 29 Sunday
On a moonlit night the Clemens party was en route to Adelaide on P&O Co.’s Oceana. Sam’s notebook: “Dec. 29. Arr. At Adelaide early in the morning” [NB 36 TS 13].
December 30 Monday
In Adelaide, Early in the morning the Oceana anchored in Largs Bay, South Australia. The Clemens party arrived in Adelaide in time for Commemoration Day (59 years before the province of South Australia was proclaimed). The weather was perfect; 50,000 people came in on special trains to Glenelg, some seven miles from Adelaide and the site of the proclamation and celebration.
Toasts by Sir Richard Baker were given. Sam, an unexpected guest, spoke against the rumors of war between England and America. His speech was reported verbatim in the South Australian Register, Dec.
31 [Fatout, MT Speaking 305-7].
An article titled “Australians Ridicule War; References to the Venezuelan Question at a Banquet in
Adelaide” in the Washington Post, Dec. 31, 1895, p.11 stated:
A banquet was held at Adelaide to celebrate Foundation Day, and many patriotic speeches were made. Hon. James Henry Young, the Minister of Works of New South Wales, who is American born, ridiculed the idea of war. Mark Twain was also present and echoed the statement that talk of war between blood relations was absurd.
Later in the Mayor’s Parlor with Town Council members, Mark Twain was toasted and he made a humorous answer. Livy and Clara evidently did not go to the Mayor’s Luncheon; most often these were male-only affairs. Sam declined overnight housing at the Government House, but secured an unnamed hotel or residence in Adelaide [Shillingsburg, “Down Under” 33-4].
December 31 Tuesday
In Adelaide, Australia Sam lunched with Lt. Gov. Dr. Samuel J. Way, then called at Government House and left his card, but was unable to see the Gov. General. The Clemens
family went sightseeing at the Adelaide Zoological Gardens. Sam saw a Laughing Jackass (bird) that laughed and a dingo.
In the Zoological Gardens of Adelaide I saw the only laughing jackass that ever showed any disposition to be courteous to me. The one opened his head wide and laughed like a demon, or like a maniac who was
consumed with humorous scorn over a cheap and degraded pun. It was a very human laugh. If he had been out of sight I could have believed that the laughter came from a man. ...In that garden I also saw the wild Australian dog — the dingo. He was a beautiful creature — shapely, graceful, a little wolfish in some of his aspects, but with a most friendly eye and sociable disposition.
January 1 Wednesday
At noon, Sam, Livy and Clara Clemens with Carlyle G. Smythe sailed from Adelaide for Ceylon on the P&O’s liner, Oceana [Shillingsburg, “Down Under” 34].
January 4 Saturday
The Clemens party was at sea on the Oceana en route to Colombo, Ceylon. Sam’s notebook reveals anchoring off Albany, Western Australia for mail pickup and delivery, and newspapers. [Shillingsburg, “Down Under” 34; NB 36 TS 14]. Tied up in the “perfectly landlocked roadstead — the most desolate-looking rocks & scarred hills.” Many ships were arriving, “full of people rushing to the mines,” hoping to get rich [At Home 196]. Note: Sam must have thought of his own mining days in Nevada. His notebook contains opinions of Australia, including: One must say it very softly, but the truth is that the native Australian is as vain of his pretty country as if it were the final masterpiece of God, achieved by Him from designs by that Australian. He is as sensitive about her as men are of sacred things — can’t bear to have critical things said about her [196: quoting NB by Paine265].
...Thinks he is going to build a mighty nation there, & some day be an independent one — a republic — cut up his 60 & 100,000-acre sheep runs into farms, maybe — irrigate the deserts, &c — Federation is sound; but better not hurry to cut loose from England...Australasia is the modern heaven — it is bossed absolutely by the workingman.
January 5 Sunday
At 9 this morning we passed Cape Leeuwin (lioness) and ceased our long due-west course along the southern shore of Australia. Turning this extreme south-western corner, we now take a long straight slant nearly N.W., without a break, for Ceylon. As we speed northward it will grow hotter very fast — but it isn’t chilly, now [FE ch XXXVII 335].