Sam wrote to his mother that the distractions of life in America were too interruptive of his writing, so he decided to relocate to Europe "until I shall have completed one of the half dozen books that lie begun, up stairs.". Part of this period was spent in the company of Joe Twichell, in the guise of Mr. Harris in the book "A Tramp Abroad". Sam and his family spent most of this time in Germany and Switzerland but also visited France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England before returning to Hartford, Connecticut.
Mark Twain Day By Day: 1878
Aftermath of Disgrace – Orion Apes Jules Verne – Bliss Contract for Europe Travel Book Quick
Jaunts to Fredonia & Elmira – Family Sails for Europe
Frankfort, Hamburg to Heidelberg – Mannheim Operas – Speech at Heidelberg University Twichell
Joined in Baden Baden – Excursions by Foot, Boat, Rail, and Cart – The Alps Twichell Departs – Italy
– Munich for the Winter
March 27, 1878 Wednesday
March 27 Wednesday – The Clemens family and their nurse, Rosa, left Hartford for New York, where they spent the night and all of the next day [MTLE 3: 34]. From Twichell’s journal:
March 28, 1878 Thursday
March 28 Thursday – The Clemens family spent the day in New York City [Susan Crane to Paine, June 14, 1911, The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p4].
March 29, 1878 Friday
March 29 Friday – Sam and Livy, the children and their nurse, Rosa, left New York and took the ten-hour train trip to Elmira, arriving at Mrs. Langdon’s [MTLE 3: 34; Susan Crane to Paine, June 14, 1911, The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p4].
April 4, 1878 Thursday
April 4 Thursday – Sam went to New York and checked into the St. James Hotel. He was to give a dinner speech at the Bayard Taylor Farewell Dinner in New York City, but “…was so jaded & worn…that I found I could not remember 3 sentences of the speech I had memorized, & therefore got up & said so & excused myself from speaking” [MTLE 3: 43].
April 5, 1878 Friday
April 5 Friday – Sam wrote a note at noon from New York to Frank Fuller, who was staying at the Sturtevant House. The note was not postmarked, so was likely delivered by courier. In an unidentified business matter, Sam wrote to give “him (unidentified) any interest that will fetch him.” He wrote that he’d been to the Sturtevant House to call on Mrs.
April 6, 1878 Saturday
April 6 Saturday – Sam left New York for Elmira [MTLE 3: 39].
April 7, 1878 Sunday
April 7 Sunday – Sam arrived in Elmira at 3 AM [MTLE 3: 43]. Later that day he finished the Mar.
April 10, 1878 Wednesday
April 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to David Gray, his old friend and editor from Buffalo. Sam thanked Gray for the visit to his house. The Clemens family would sail at 2 PM the next day.
Sam also wrote a goodbye note to Joe Twichell. Joe had agreed to let Sam pay his way to Germany after the family had been there some time, and Sam promised to write from Germany and advise him when to come [MTLE 3: 45].
April 11, 1878 Thursday
April 11 Thursday – Before sailing, Sam wrote from New York to Moncure Conway, sending a letter of introduction for his nephew, Samuel Moffett, who would also travel to England. From the New York Times of Apr. 12:
THE HOLSATIA CARRIES AWAY THE NEW MINISTER, ACCOMPANIED BY MARK TWAIN AND HIS FAMILY, AND THE WIFE AND CHILDREN OF MR. MURAT HALSTEAD.
April 12, 1878 Friday
April 12 Friday – The New York Times, on page 8, ran an interview titled, “The Start for Germany,” where Sam said his new travel book would not imitate Innocents Abroad [Scharnhorst, Interviews 14-16].
April 13, 1878 Saturday
April 13 Saturday – Bill & receipt from Arnold, Constable & Co., New York of $113.70 for various clothing items [MTP]. (Likely purchases made on Apr. 11.)
April 14, 1878 Sunday
April 14 Sunday – From Sam’s notebook:
3d day out, Bayard Taylors’ colored man, being constipated, applied to the ship’s doctor for relief, who sent him 6 large rhubarb pills, to be taken one every 4 hours; the pills came by a German steward, who delivered the directions in German, the darkey not understanding a word of it. Result: the darkey took all the pills at once & appeared no more on deck for 6 days [MTNJ 2: 68].
April 17, 1878 Wednesday
April 17 Wednesday – From Sam’s en route letter of Apr. 20 to his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon:
“On the 17th we had heavy seas, then easy ones, then rough again; then brilliant skies, with thick driving storms of rain, hail, sleet & snow—sunshine again, followed by more snow, hail, rain & sleet—& so on, all day long; we sighted an ice-berg in the morning & a water-spout in the afternoon” [MTLE 3: 47-8].
April 20, 1878 Saturday
April 20 Saturday – Sam wrote a letter, en route on the SS Holsatia from New York to Hamburg, to Olivia Lewis Langdon. He wrote the letter on a ship’s menu.
April 22, 1878 Monday
April 22 Monday – From Sam’s notebook:
“It breaks out hearts, this sunny magnificent morning, to sail along the lovely shores of England & can’t go ashore. Inviting” [MTNJ 2: 68].
Sam reflected on “Lying story-books which make boys fall in love with the sea.” He referred to more realistic stories, such as Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast (1840). Sam wrote:
April 24, 1878 Wednesday
April 24 Wednesday – The Holsatia stopped at Cherbourg and/or Le Havre, France. The American-Hamburg line went through Havre and normally took twelve days from New York to Havre, then an additional day from Havre to Hamburg, a deep-water port in Germany.
April 25, 1878 Thursday
April 25 Thursday – The Clemens family arrived at Hamburg and took rooms at the Crown Prince Hotel [MTLE 1: vii; MTNJ 2: 46, 71].
May 1, 1878 Wednesday
May 1 Wednesday – From Hamburg, the Clemens family traveled south by rail to Hanover and Göttingen. They took an excursion to Wilhelmshöhe [MTNJ 2: 46]. MTNJ says they “stopped briefly” at these places [73n65]. From Sam’s notebook:
May – Sam’s short story, “About Magnanimous-Incident Literature” ran in the Atlantic Monthly
[Wells, 22]. During this month, Sam pinned a clipping from a James Payn essay, “An Adventure in a
Forest; or, Dickens’s Maypole Inn,” to his Notebook 14. “Payn describes his futile search for Epping
Forest and the famous Maypole Inn of Barnaby Rudge” [Gribben 536]
An entry following one dated May 25 in Sam’s notebook decries the censorship of his age:
May 2, 1878 Thursday
May 2 Thursday – The Clemens family traveled by rail through the Harz Mountains, to Cassel (Kassel) [MTLE 3: 49-50]. They took rooms at the Hotel du Nord in Cassel [MTNJ 2: 73]. From Sam’s notebook:
Who is buried here?
Then why the monument?
May 3, 1878 Friday
May 3 Friday – The Clemens family traveled to Frankfort where they rested a day or so [MTNJ 2: 46]. “The prettiest effect is a cloud-ceiling in fresco in our parlor at Frankfort” .
May 4, 1878 Saturday
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.”
May 5 or May 6, 1878 Monday
May 5 or May 6 Monday – The Clemens family arrived in Heidelberg, Germany and stayed at the beautiful Schloss Hotel, which overlooked the old castle with its forest setting, the flowing Neckar River, and the distant valley of the Rhine [MTLE 3: 50]. Rodney notes that the hotel’s “family-style accommodations suited the needs of the party.