Vol 3 Section 0288

238                                                                        1899

train approached Budapest.”[Abstract for Katona’s Spring 1982 article “An Interview With Mark Twain,” Hungarian Studies Review, p. 73-81.

March 25 Saturday – Budapest, Hungary. Magyar Hirlap ran an article about Sam’s activities the day before, including Sam joking about bringing something to every place he ever visited: cholera to the Sandwich Islands, starvation to India, the jubilee of the Queen to England, and filibustering to Vienna; the paper added scarlet fever to Australia [Katona 112].

Mark Twain’s 8 p.m. lecture in the great hall of the Lipótvárosi Kaszino was a grand success. Tickets were in great demand. Sam’s notebook entry below shows it was the same he had used in his triumphant lecture on Feb. 1 in Vienna. At the close of his readings, the crowd “erupted in wild enthusiasm”

[Dolmetsch 57].

Sam’s notebook

25th. Read there:


Lucerne Girl.



1 hour





5 minutes


Mexican Plug [NB 40 TS 55]

Dolmetsch reviews reaction of the press to Sam’s reading:

Ilona Györy, in the Pesti Hirlap, described the program’s content as “thin” but praised Twain’s “superb platform manner,” as did Pesti Napló, which remarked upon his histrionics and effective sense of timing. Several newspapers, according to [Anna] Katona, were quite skeptical, even sharply critical of the audience’s celebrity madness, Twain’s mingling of German, and his “lack of culture.” Bela Toth, a popular newspaper humorist who was perhaps the Magyar counterpart to Eduard Pötzl, asserted in Pesti Napló that Twain’s peculiarly American brand of humor, not just his language, was alien to the Hungarian mentality. The leading literary weekly, A Hét, hostile as ever, went so far as to allege, apparently without basis, that the sponsors had hired him an “interpreter” to stand behind Twain on the platform and give the audience laugh cues “by twirling his moustache” [57]. Katona points out that “tickets were to be distributed between noon and 2 p.m. on the day of the lecture; they were numbered but non-transferable, and this suggests a selected audience” [112].

Sam also inscribed an aphorism card in a copy of TA to an unidentified person; It is best to do everything to-morrow, because it saves so much time to-day. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / March 25/99” [Bonhams Auction

Nov. 23, 2004 Sale 13058, Lot 5137].

March 26 SundayIn Budapest, Hungary Sam and his daughters went sightseeing, leaving Livy behind at the hotel with flu-like symptoms. There were many modern features of Budapest, a city of 800,000 with a quarter of those Jews, “even more assimilated and less discriminated against than the Jews of Vienna…” Budapest boasted the first electric streetcars in Europe and the first subway of any city, which would become a model for New York’s subway system. A “sumptuous” opera house, world-famous mineral springs and hot baths, pleasure gardens and attractive streets—all contributed to Budapest as a most up -to-date and fascinating place. Livy’s illness forced cancellation of a farewell banquet [Dolmetsch 58].

Fatout reports a possible additional charity reading in Budapest for this month; this is the most likely open day [MT Speaking 666]. Note: Fatout gives no particulars and none were found.

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.