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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.

From pages 262-3 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891:

On the morning of August 23 Sam and Joe left Livy, Susy, Clara, and the servants in Interlaken and traveled by buggy—a concession to Sam's theumatism—through the Kiental and Frutigen to Kandersteg at the foot of the Gemmi Pass. On August 24 they “skirted the lonely little lake called the Daubensee” and trudged over the pass to Leukerbad. Much as he remembered retreating in time by climbing the volcanoes in Hawaii in 1866, Sam wrote to Livy that evening,

Joe & I have had a most noble day. Started to climb (on foot) at 8.30 this morning among the grandest peaks! Every half hour carried us back a month in the season. We left them harvesting 2d crop of hay. At 9 we were in July & found ripe strawberries; at 9.30 we were in June & gathered flowers belonging to that month; at 10 we were in May... ;at 11.30 we were in April (by the flowers); at noon we had rain & hail mixed, & wind & enveloping fogs, & considered it March; at 12.30 we had snow-banks above us & snow-banks below us, & considered it February.

During the next few days they walked and railed through the Rhone Valley to Visp and St. Niklaus. At three in the afternoon on August 27, nine hours by foot from Saint Niklaus, they reached Zermatt near the Matterhorn, where they registered at the Cervin Hotel. Sam was awed by the “tall sharp peak” of the massif, describing in Whitmaniacal prose “his vast wreaths of white cloud circling about his summit & floating away from it in rolling & tumbling volumes twenty-mile wreaths floating slanting toward the sun.” Still, he was disgusted by the squalor in the villages of this “wretched canton.” The “narrow ill paved alleys or streets” of St. Niklaus and Zermatt, he noted, ran foul with “liquid dung,” filthy fluid he euphemistically termed “fertilizer-juice” in A Tramp Abroad. “The only clean members of the family,” he insisted, “are the cattle.” The morning of August 30, after day trips to the Gornergrat and the Gorner glacier, Sam and Twichell left Zermatt in a wagon and a rainstorm to retrace their steps to St. Niklaus, then tramped seven miles downhill to Visp, where they registered at the Hétel du Soleil. The next day they traveled by rail to Bouveret and by boat across Lake Geneva to Lausanne, where they rejoined the family at the Hôtel Beau Rivage.”


Twain and Joseph Twichell joined Twain's family in Lucerne August 12, 1878. They stayed at the Schweitzerhof Hotel until August 21. Twain returned to Lucerne in August of 1897. (See Baden to Lucerne)

From Page 260-1 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891:

August 22 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

At Jungfrau Hotel, Interlaken—Superb view of the Jungfrau.

Confounded crow woke us all up at daylight.

Set your umbrellas up on these polished wood floors, down it goes. Step suddenly on them, down you go. The lowest snow on the Jf seems but little above the valley level [drawing inserted] [MTNJ 2: 141].

August 23 Friday  Sam and Twichell said goodbye to the family and left Interlaken.

August 24 Saturday  From Sam’s notebook:“…up, shaved breakfasted, before 8—everybody gone but us…visited Gasternthal—gushing waterspout from rock. Sun shining on green ice & blazing snow…Chased a chunk down stream” [MTNJ 2: 143]. 

August 26 Monday  Sam and Joe took a train to Locchi-Suste (Visp). They met John Dawson and wife, an English family going their way. From Visp the two hiked “6 hours through mud & rain” the ten miles to St. Nicklaus, Switzerland [MTNJ 2: 148]. Rodney: “Ensconsed in a new hotel, they changed into dry clothes and revived with a good dinner” [107].

August 26 Monday – Sam and Joe took a train to Locchi-Suste (Visp). [I have not find a reference to Locchi-Suste] From Visp the two hiked “6 hours through mud & rain” the ten miles to St. Nicklaus, Switzerland.

Sam wrote from St. Nicklaus to Livy: “Livy darling, we came through a-whooping, to-day, 6 hours tramp up steep hills & down steep hills, in mud & water shoe-deep, & in a steady pouring rain which never moderated a moment. I was as chipper & fresh as a lark all the way & arrived without the slightest sense of fatigue”

August 31 Saturday – Sam and Twichell took the train from Visp at 10:51 AM to Breveret (Bouveret). At Breveret they took a boat to Ouchy on Lake Geneva, arriving at 5 PM to the waiting family, staying at the Hotel Beau Rivage. Sam noted that a band played in front of the hotel in the evenings, as at Lucerne.

I had always had a deep and reverent compassion for the sufferings of the "prisoner of Chillon," whose story Byron had told in such moving verse; so I took the steamer and made pilgrimage to the dungeons of the Castle of Chillon, to see the place where poor Bonnivard endured his dreary captivity three hundred years ago. I am glad I did that, for it took away some of the pain I was feeling on the prisoner's account. His dungeon was a nice, cool, roomy place, and I cannot see why he should have been dissatisfied with it. If he had been imprisoned in a St.

September 4 Wednesday – Sam and Joe set off [from Ouchy] on their last Alpine tramp. Bound for Chamonix, France, they took the train to Martigny, Switzerland, where they arrived at 9 PM and took rooms at the Hotel Clerc

September 5 Thursday – The two “tramps” left Martigny on foot at 8 AM, bound for Chamonix, nineteen uphill miles in the hot sun. They skirted the Tête Noir Mountain. Sam noted the beauty of Argientiere as they approached. They dined at Argientiere and hired a wagon for the last six miles into Chamonix.

Next morning we left for Geneva on top of the diligence, under shelter of a gay awning. If I remember rightly, there were more than twenty people up there. It was so high that the ascent was made by ladder. The huge vehicle was full everywhere, inside and out. Five other diligences left at the same time, all full.

September 14 Saturday – Sam was awakened at 3 AM by a braying jackass in front of the hotel. The party left Geneva for Italy, stopping at Chambéry, France for a break. More from his notebook: