Vol 3 Section 0977

1903                                                                            913

November 4 WednesdayThe Clemens family was at sea on the Princess Irene en route for Naples, Italy: Sam’s notebook: “At Sea. / The disposition of the average ‘lady’ & ‘gentleman’ to stand in the door-way, the passage-way, the middle of the sidewalk, & be a nasty obstruction” [NB 46 TS 22]. Also, in the printed slot for Nov. 4: NEVER take a promenade-deck room again at any price: a mad-house is preferable. Get the Captain’s apartment, or go down cellar. And NEVER travel in an emigrant-ship. Bugs, fleas, stinks, &c” [TS 29].

November 5 ThursdaySam’s notebook: “NAPLES. Arr. 6 a.m. / The entire promenade deck is enclosed in canvas screens—not even God knows why. It is a prison. One might as well be in the hold” [NB 46 TS 29; MTHHR


Muriel M. Pears wrote another effusive and long letter to Sam, whom she called the “greatest, kindest, and more Unswerving Magician of Ours.” She gushed her thanks for Sam’s “unfailing goodness and generous remembrance” of his photograph [MTP].

November 6 FridayThe Clemens family arrived in Genoa, Italy. The last leg of their journey was to be by train to Florence, Italy, some six or seven hours. The New York Times ran a squib on Nov. 9, p. 7 which revealed that George Gregory Smith met the family in Genoa and accompanied them on to Florence, so likely he had arranged the rail travel, some 480 miles. This would make the family’s arrival in Florence at about 8 or 9 p.m. They took rooms for the night rather than going directly to the Villa Reale di Quarto, in Castello, likely also arranged by Smith. Hill writes that Smith arranged rooms at the Grand Hotel [71], but Luscher, quoting journalist Carlo Paladini, who interviewed Mark Twain between Nov. 7 and 9, reported it was the Hotel Pace [223].

The Critic of June 1904 ran an illustrated article, “Mark Twain from an Italian Point of View” by

Raffaele Simboli, correspondent for the Nuova Antologia:

ON the sixth of last November, Mark Twain disembarked at Genoa from the German steamship Princess Irene, after a delightful passage, during which he had taken advantage of every stop to go ashore and see all the sights. The curiosity of the professional reporter is still in his blood; he scents in the very air an interesting bit of news, a fresh note, an attractive detail. At Genoa an actual reporter was lying in wait for him as he made his way towards the Ponte Federico Guglielmo. The journalist lost no time in serving up his little dish of impressions; and this was the manner of it:

I caught him while he was getting out of the train, surrounded by a whole outfit of nice little brass-studded trunks and portmanteaus of all sizes. With him were his daughters, lively girls, with the real American freedom of manner; his wife, whose face looks dry and severe under the large spectacles which bestride her thin nose, and a smooth-faced young valet of the proper woodenness of bearing. With the purpose of avoiding any indiscreet questions, he seized some cushions, a shawl-strap, and a bag or two, huddling them together under his left arm, while a large book peeped out from under his right. Thus loaded down, he went off towards the custom-house at a rapid pace.

Countess Frances Rebaudi Massiglia (1861-1953), (born Frances Lloyd Paxon) landlady of the Villa di Quarto, wrote to Sam.

“The Countess …Massiglia regrets to be unable to accommodate Mrs Ross—That it has been arranged with Mr Smith for Mr Clemens to take over the inventory & the servants cannot enter the Villa until after Mr Clemens is in possession” [MTP]. Note: this was perhaps the first bone of contention with the Countess; Janet Ross had wished to make things ready for the Clemens family to take possession, but was denied entrance. In his Feb. 25-6 to Rogers, Sam would call Massiglia “the American bitch who owns this Villa.” For more on Massiglia see AMT 1: 540-1n231.13.

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