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April 25 Thursday – The Clemens family arrived at Hamburg and took rooms at the Crown Prince Hotel [MTLE 1: vii; MTNJ 2: 46, 71].

April 25 to 30 Tuesday Sam insisted that the family rest in Hamburg a week [Rodney 98]. They stayed five days [MTNJ 2: 46]. Livy wrote her mother on Apr. 26 that Hamburg “was the finest city I was ever in” [Rodney 79], which suggests she was well enough to do some sight seeing. Some sights Sam registered in his notebook:

Church St. Nicholai, very beautiful open-work stone spire (said to be next to the highest in the world) set upon a huge brick edifice. One account says this spire is the highest in the world. Well, no matter, the Church can claim one pre-eminence, I think, which cannot safely (successfully) be disputed—that inside it is the dismalest, barrenest, ugliest barn that exists in the boundless universe of God. Grumbler.

Haven’t seen or been accosted by a beggar. Haven’t seen a tramp—what luxury this is!

Watched a man on spire of St. Petri 400 ft above ground to see him fall, as he was handling a heavy rope & wind blowing—but was disappointed.

Got lost yesterday, wandered many miles & returned by water through the Alster.

View of Alsterbassin from front window.

The hackman lifted his hat when we left.—A perfectly astounding & gratifying piece of politeness [MTNJ 2: 71-2].

Note: Sam assigned certain statements in his notebook to “G” or “Gr” for “Grumbler,” a preparing of character for “Harris” (Twichell) in A Tramp Abroad. He had signed Grumbler in 1853 articles for his brother’s paper, the Hannibal Daily Journal.

April 25 to May 1, 1878 Hamburg, Germany.  Sam and daughter Susy were walking on the street and met Miss Marie Corelli (born Mary Mackay; 1855-1924; see insert). On Apr. 6, 1897 Sam replied to an invitation by John Y. MacAlister to some gathering with Corelli. Sam replied, “…it would move me too deeply to see Miss Corelli. When I saw her last it was on the street in Hamburg, & Susy was walking with me.” [MTP].

Note: The family was only in Hamburg one known time–these five days in 1878, though Sam and Joe Twichell were there for two days Aug. 20 to 21, 1892; and Sam went again (alone?) on Aug. 25 and 26 to meet the Prince of Wales (see entries Vol. 2). Corelli, British novelist, would luncheon with Sam in 1907. She would become the best-selling UK female novelist of the early 20th century, though critics ripped her books.

Dilemmas are often noted when using Sam’s Autobiographical dictations recalling events of many years prior. Sam’s dictation of Aug. 16, 1907 suggests 1892 as the first meeting with Corelli.

“I met Marie Corelli at a small dinner party in Germany fifteen years ago [ ca. 1892], and took a dislike to her at once, a dislike which expanded and hardened with each successive dinner course until when we parted at last, the original mere dislike had grown into a very strong aversion” [MTFWE 73]

Note: the dilemma here is that no other time spent in Hamburg (Homburg) was found besides these 3 periods, though it’s possible there were other visits there in 1892 while the Clemens family was staying at Bad Nauheim. In the 1878 period, Susy was only six; Corelli 23, and had not yet switched her career from music to writing (her first book, A Romance of Two Worlds (1886). The Clemens family was in Berlin in 1891-2, and it’s possible that they made a short visit to Homburg, a few hours away by train, though there is no record of such a trip—and, that Sam and Susy met Corelli on the street there in 1892. More research on Corelli’s whereabouts in 1878 and 1892 may prove to settle this question.

Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.