Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,512 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete.
most of the picture is a manifest impossibility, that is to say, a lie; and only rigid cultivation can enable a man to find truth in a lie.  A Boston critic said the “Slave Ship” reminded him of a cat having a fit in a platter of tomatoes.  That went home to my non-cultivation, and I thought, here is a man with an unobstructed eye.

Mark Twain has dwelt somewhat upon these matters in ‘A Tramp Abroad’.  He confesses in that book that later he became a great admirer of Turner, though perhaps never of the “Slave Ship” picture.  In fact, Mark Twain was never artistic, in the common acceptance of that term; neither his art nor his tastes were of an “artistic” kind.

CXVIII

TRAMPING WITH TWICHELL

Twichell arrived on time, August 1st.  Clemens met him at Baden-Baden, and they immediately set out on a tramp through the Black Forest, excursioning as pleased them, and having an idyllic good time.  They did not always walk, but they often did.  At least they did sometimes, when the weather was just right and Clemens’s rheumatism did not trouble him.  But they were likely to take a carriage, or a donkey-cart, or a train, or any convenient thing that happened along.  They did not hurry, but idled and talked and gathered flowers, or gossiped with wayside natives and tourists, though always preferring to wander along together, beguiling the way with discussion and speculation and entertaining tales.  They crossed on into Switzerland in due time and considered the conquest of the Alps.  The family followed by rail or diligence, and greeted them here and there when they rested from their wanderings.  Mark Twain found an immunity from attention in Switzerland, which for years he had not known elsewhere.  His face was not so well known and his pen-name was carefully concealed.

It was a large relief to be no longer an object of public curiosity; but Twichell, as in the Bermuda trip, did not feel quite honest, perhaps, in altogether preserving the mask of unrecognition.  In one of his letters home he tells how; when a young man at their table was especially delighted with Mark Twain’s conversation, he could not resist taking the young man aside and divulging to him the speaker’s identity.

“I could not forbear telling him who Mark was,” he says, “and the mingled surprise and pleasure his face exhibited made me glad I had done so.”

They climbed the Rigi, after which Clemens was not in good walking trim for some time; so Twichell went on a trip on his own account, to give his comrade a chance to rest.  Then away again to Interlaken, where the Jungfrau rises, cold and white; on over the loneliness of Gemini Pass, with glaciers for neighbors and the unfading white peaks against the blue; to Visp and to Zermatt, where the Matterhorn points like a finger that directs mankind to God.  This was true Alpine wandering—­sweet vagabondage.

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Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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