Submitted by scott on

May 4 Saturday Sam wrote from Frankfort on the Main, Germany to Howells. Sam felt a relaxing sense of escape, described as only he might:

“Ah, I have such a deep, grateful, unutterable sense of being ‘out of it all.’ I think I foretaste some of the advantage of being dead. Some of the joy of it. I don’t read any newspapers or care for them.”

Sam was complimentary about Bayard Taylor (“a really lovable man” who had been on the Holsatia). He wrote that they were traveling from Hamburg to Heidelberg (a distance of about 359 miles) only four hours a day and taking six days to do it because Livy had “picked up a dreadful cold & sore throat on board ship.” They would be in Heidelberg the next day. Sam gave a “permanent address” care of bankers there. He was impressed with the “clean clothes…good faces, tranquil contentment…prosperity…genuine freedom…superb government!” of the Germans. Sam later wrote of Frankfort:

We made a short halt at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and found it an interesting city. I would have liked to visit the birthplace of Gutenburg, but it could not be done, as no memorandum of the site of the house has been kept. So we spent an hour in the Goethe mansion instead. The city permits this house to belong to private parties, instead of gracing and dignifying herself with the honor of possessing and protecting it [A Tramp Abroad, Ch. 1].

Goethe’s house—the courier had the effrontery to propose we visit birthplace of Rothschild. My dear sir, 2 or 300 years ago, they’d have skinned this Jew in old Frankfort, instead of paying homage to his birthplace—but it is an advance—we have quit loathing Jews & gone to worshipping their money.—Come, let us exhibit the birthplaces of Vanderbilt & Stewart to admiring foreigners [MTNJ 2: 75].

Sam and Livy had directed their nursemaid to only speak German to Susy and Clara; Susy wished “Rosa was made in English” [MTLE 3: 49-50].

Sam inscribed: “S. L. Clemens, Frankfort-a-M. / May 4, 1878.” – on the flyleaf of Johann Philipp Benkard’s Geschichte der Deutschen Kaiser und Konige (1869) [Gribben 59].

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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.