Vol 3 Section 0107


1897                                                                              65

Clara still played the piano (though she would later be persuaded that her real strength was her voice), and her father rented an instrument for her in Lucerne. It arrived July 19th, one day after the family settled in Weggis. The transport was arranged by the firm of E.H. Roth- Naf, of Lucerne, who also supplied the bicycles, for Clemens had noted their address and he watched the delivery [Locher 10-11].

Note: Clara and Jean already had bicycles, which were shipped from London by Percy Spalding (referred to July 19 and July 30 to Chatto); it may be that at least one other (for cousin Julia Langdon) was rented. The transport company may have included bicycles in the shipment, though Sam doesn’t mention them. Locher points out the popularity of bicycles in the region, as “two clubs in Lucerne promoted the sport” [10].

Sam’s notebook paints a humorous scene:

Tea was forgotten in the arrangements. It has been added, & costs $21 a month; & we furnish the tea.

The hired piano came from Lucerne. It got wedged in the front door & stayed so 2 hours & blocked the way—the family on the inside, and I on the outside; they anxious to get out, merely because they couldn’t, I burning to get in, for the same reason. The piano, with rent, handling & transportation elevates the expense further.

We are under the eaves of the Rigi & our part of the lake is fenced in in all directions by lofty mountain-bulks—Pilatus the tallest. A most superb & impressive prospect.

Struck one economy, anyway—plenty good enough cigars at $5 a thousand or ten dollars a barrel. In London the cheapest were $4 per 100 [NB 41 TS 56].

Sam wrote to Chatto & Windus, directing them to “obliterate” any letter with “Mark Twain” on it. He was also upset about the printer’s revisions for FE:

If the printer makes any more idiotisms out of that Maxim-credit I hope to God you will kill him. (But don’t tell him I said so.) I foresee enormous trouble with these revises, unless the printer will spell out my abbreviations. The typewriter always did it. The torn-out pages from my notebooks fairly bristle with abbreviations: Xian for Christian, Eng for England, Fr for Frenchman, &c. The printer must spell them out [MTP].

Locher [23] points to this day as Sam’s beginnings on “Villagers of 1840-43.” Rasmussen describes “Villagers”:

“…roughly 8,000 words about everyone he could remember from his childhood, drawing on his memories and an 1884 book on MARION COUNTY containing biographical sketches” [498]. Note: AMT-1 notes that “Villagers” was written in July and August, 1897 [706 1897g]. On the MTPO website which now publishes “Villagers” for the first time:

“This extended series of notes about life in ante-bellum Hannibal contains over one hundred capsule biographies of the town’s residents, including Mark Twain’s only family. Written in 1897, forty-four years after Samuel Clemens left his boyhood home, it is a remarkable feat of memory, compelling both as a historical and a literary document. Evidently Mark Twain intended to use it as a master list of possible characters for any subsequent stories he might set in St. Petersburg or Dawson’s Landing, his imaginary re-creations of Hannibal” [MTPO].