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October– In Vienna, Austria Sam inscribed a small card to an unidentified person: “Very Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Oct. ‘97” [MTP].

Sam also inscribed a copy of American Drolleries, a London book by Ward, Lock and Co. (1890), with one of his aphorisms: “By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Wien, Oct./97” [, Bloomsbury Auctions 25 Nov. 2007, Lot 56A]

Dolmetsch writes that within days of the family’s arrival [Sept. 28] at the Metropole Hotel, Sam began “Conversations with Satan,” an unfinished, 29-page typed manuscript, the plural “Conversations” implying it was to be the first in a series. Sam would work on this sketch until Feb. 1898. It would be unpublished until 2009 [Who Is Mark Twain? xxvi, 31-45]. Dolmetsch illuminates:

In Vienna, his interest in Satan would become almost obsessive as he struggled inconclusively with two different versions of the novella popularly known as The Mysterious Stranger: “The Chronicle of Young Satan” and “Schoolhouse Hill” [28]. Note: F. Kaplan (553) gives September as the beginning of the first nineteen pages of this piece. October seems more likely. Sam began “The Chronicle” in Nov. 1897; the unfinished “Schoolhouse Hill” in Nov. 1898 [AMT-1: 707;1898c]

The 2010 “authoritative” edition of the Autobiography of Mark Twain puts another piece of writing to “clearly soon after the Clemenses arrived in Vienna in late September, 1897,” this “Travel–Scraps I, which was a description of “London, Summer, 1896” [AMT 1: 107]. Note: due to gout attacks in late September, it is estimated that this work did not begin until Oct. 1897. It is published for the first time in the above source. An excerpt from that essay:

I believe that London is the pleasantest and most satisfying village in the world. The stranger soon grows fond of it, and the native lives and dies worshipping it. It is a most singular and interesting place, and the engaging simplicities of its fifty village populations are an unending marvel and delight to the wandering alien. For instance, he sees three or four brisk young men come along—idiots, apparently—with great loud-colored splotches painted on their faces, and wearing fantastic and bright-hued circus-costumes, and he will wonder how they can expose themselves like that and not perish with shame; and why they are not jeered at, and made fun of, and driven to concealment or suicide. But they are not thinking of being ashamed; they are gay and proud, and they hold their heads up, and smirk and grimace and gambol along, utterly complacent and happy; and they are not jeered atm but admired. They stop in the middle of the village street and begin to perform—for these sorry animals are comedians [113-14]. Note: see the whole piece p. 107-117. It may be noteworthy that upon arrival in Vienna, with all of its charms and culture, that Sam would write a descriptive piece about London, where the family had spent many months, mostly in mourning.

The Oct. issue of Canadian Magazine included “My Contemporaries in Fiction,” by David Christie Murray, p. 497-98. Tenney: “MT is distinctively American, as Henry James and Mary Wilkins Freeman are not. Although he can be eloquent, ‘the medium he employs is the simplest and plainest American English.’ His creed is ‘manly, and clean, and wholesome.’ MT shows his limitations in CY: ‘Apart from its ethics, the book is a mistake, for a jest which could have been elaborated to tedium in a score of pages is stretched to spread through bulky volume, and snaps to pieces under that tension’” [27].

Links to Twain's Geography Entries

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.