• May 1878

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    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 1, 1878 Wednesday

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    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:

    “Woman at Napoleon’s prison-palace at Wilhelmshöhe–Heinrich said ‘If she look at you, if she say something, if she do anything, she all time look like a cat which is unwell’” [MTNJ 2: 74].

  • May 2, 1878 Thursday

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    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?

    It is not a monument. It is a stove.

    We had reverently removed our hats. We now put them on again.

  • May 3, 1878 Friday

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    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” [74].

  • May 4, 1878 Saturday

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    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

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    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.

  • May 8, 1878 Wednesday

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    May 8 WednesdayEdmond About (1828-1885), French novelist and journalist wrote from Paris in French [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the margin., “Autograph of Edmond About. Preserve it.”

  • May 17, 1878 Friday

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    May 17 Friday – Sam’s notebook about the traditional dueling (“How I Escaped Being Killed in a Duel”) of Heidelberg college students:

    One knows a college bred man by his scars.

    This morning 8 couples fought—2 spectators fainted. One student had a piece of his scalp taken. The others faces so gashed up & floor all covered with blood. They only wear protecting spectacles [MTNJ 2: 82] (See chapter 7 of A Tramp Abroad.)

  • May 21, 1878 Tuesday

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    May 21 Tuesday – From Sam’s notebook:

    “At breakfast we saw the fields & villages or landslides (whichever they were) on the great sides of the Haard Mts, 35 or 40 miles away—the first time these mountains have shown anything but dark blue distance…Pink sunset through haze—black cloud with fringe circling over end of ridge at that town” [MTNJ 2: 84].

    From Livy’s May 26 letter, referring to this day:

  • May 23, 1878 Thursday

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    May 23 Thursday Sam wrote from the Schloss Hotel in Heidelberg to Joe Twichell, enclosing a note to George P. Bissell & Co., Hartford to pay Joseph H. Twichell three hundred dollars and charge it to Sam’s account [MTLE 3: 52].

  • May 24, 1878 Friday

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    May 24 Friday – Sam, Livy and Clara Spaulding went to the opera (King Lear) at nearby Mannheim, some 30 minutes by rail [MTNJ 2: 46, 85n82]. Rodney concludes that Sam “reluctantly” accompanied the ladies, bearing a dislike for opera that stemmed “from his earliest exposure in America” [99]. From Sam’s notebook:

    May 24—Theatre, Mannheim —Lear—performance began at 6

    Sharp. Never understood a word—Gr grumbling—by & by terrific

  • May 25, 1878 Saturday

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    May 25 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook:

    How we miss our big wood fires, these raw cold days in the end of May. In all this region I suppose they’ve nothing but their close stoves, which warm gradually up & then stink & swelter for hours. It is the same vile atmosphere which a furnace has which has no cold-air box & so heats & reheats the same air [MTNJ 2: 86].

    The thunder generally preceded the lightning last night at theatre, which was wrong [88].

  • May 26, 1878 Sunday

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    May 26 Sunday Sam wrote from the Schloss Hotel in Heidelberg to Howells. He loved the setting, the view of the Neckar River, the old castle and the Rhine Valley. He also enjoyed the glass-enclosed porches, which extended from the bedrooms, where he could read, rest and smoke. He sent compliments on Charley Warner’s latest Atlantic article. Sam had been resting and waiting for “the call” to write, which came a week before.

  • May 28, 1878 Tuesday

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    May 28 Tuesday – Sam described another “curious sunset” in his notebook, and the Lohengrin opera program at Mannheim. “Opera is not a fashion, but a passion & it isn’t dependent upon the swells, but upon every body.” Sam remarked on getting the Frankfort daily the day it was printed, but the Heidelberg paper the day after [MTNJ 2: 91].

  • May 30, 1878 Thursday

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    May 30 Thursday – Sam again accompanied Livy and Clara Spaulding to Mannheim for an opera, this time Lohengrin [MTNJ 2: 46; 92]. From Sam’s notebook: 

    May 30— Mannheim—Went to a shivaree—(this is John) polite name, Opera.

    In midst of it John who had not moved or spoken from the beginning, but looked the picture of patient suffering, was asked how he was getting along. He said in a tremulous voice that he had not had such a good time since he had his teeth fixed. 

  • June 1878

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    June – Sam wrote “The Lost Ear-ring,” which was not published in his lifetime [Fables of Man 145- 148]. Note: source notes: “The tale begins with the date 6 June 1878, and the verso of manuscript page 13 bears the heading ‘Schloss Hotel Heidelberg, June 5’…The title was supplied at the time Bernard DeVoto was the Editor of the Mark Twain Papers.”

  • June 1, 1878 Saturday

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    June 1 SaturdayFrancis D. Millet wrote from Paris to Sam. “What good fortune that you are over here. I certainly appreciate your suggestion that I meet you in Germany—it will be no trifle that deters me from coming where you are if it be agreeable to you all. I want to see you all very much for I feel as if you owned a part of me.” He was hard at work on a book [MTP]. Note in file: “Note SLC’s reference to this letter in ‘Mental Telegraphy’ (Harper’s, Dec. 1891).”

  • June 2, 1878 Sunday

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    June 2 Sunday Sam wrote from the Schloss Hotel, Heidelberg to Moncure Conway. Sam had misgivings about giving his 17-year-old nephew, Samuel Moffett, a letter of introduction to the Conways, which he had done while visiting Fredonia. Sam asked them not to let the Moffett boy inconvenience them and suggested they simply give him a card of admission to the British Museum.