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A Tramp Abroad — Volume 01

Mark Twain

  Produced by Anonymous Volunteers, John Greenman and David Widger


  By Mark Twain

  (Samuel L. Clemens)

  First published in 1880

  Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

  * * * * * *




  CHAPTER I A Tramp over Europe--On theHolsatia--Hamburg--Frankfort-on-the- Main--How it Won its Name--A Lessonin Political Economy--Neatness in Dress--Rhine Legends--"The Knaveof Bergen" The Famous Ball--The Strange Knight--Dancing with theQueen--Removal of the Masks--The Disclosure--Wrath of the Emperor--TheEnding

  CHAPTER II At Heidelberg--Great Stir at a Hotel--The Portier--Arrivalof the Empress--The Schloss Hotel--Location of Heidelberg--The RiverNeckar--New Feature in a Hotel--Heidelberg Castle--View from theHotel--A Tramp in the Woods--Meeting a Raven--Can Ravens Talk?--Laughedat and Vanquished--Language of Animals--Jim Baker--Blue-Jays

  CHAPTER III Baker's Blue-Jay Yarn--Jay Language--The Cabin--"Hello, Ireckon I've struck something"--A Knot Hole--Attempt to fill it--A Tonof Acorns--Friends Called In--A Great Mystery--More Jays called A BlueFlush--A Discovery--A Rich Joke--One that Couldn't See It

  CHAPTER IV Student Life--The Five Corps--The Beet King--A FreeLife--Attending Lectures--An Immense Audience--IndustriousStudents--Politeness of the Students--Intercourse with the ProfessorsScenes at the Castle Garden--Abundance of Dogs--Symbol of BlightedLove--How the Ladies Advertise

  CHAPTER V The Students' Dueling Ground--The Dueling Room--The SwordGrinder--Frequency of the Duels--The Duelists--Protection againstInjury--The Surgeon--Arrangements for the Duels--The FirstDuel--The First Wound--A Drawn Battle--The Second Duel--Cutting andSlashing--Interference of the Surgeon

  CHAPTER VI The Third Duel--A Sickening Spectacle--Dinner betweenFights--The Last Duel--Fighting in Earnest--Faces and HeadsMutilated--Great Nerve of the Duelists--Fatal Results notInfrequent--The World's View of these Fights

  CHAPTER VII Corps--laws and Usages--Volunteering to Fight--Coolnessof the Wounded--Wounds Honorable--Newly bandaged Students aroundHeidelberg--Scarred Faces Abundant--A Badge of Honor--Prince Bismarkas a Duelist--Statistics--Constant Sword Practice--Color of theCorps--Corps Etiquette


  [The Knighted Knave of Bergen]

  One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the worldhad been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertakea journey through Europe on foot. After much thought, I decided thatI was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So Idetermined to do it. This was in March, 1878.

  I looked about me for the right sort of person to accompany me in thecapacity of agent, and finally hired a Mr. Harris for this service.

  It was also my purpose to study art while in Europe. Mr. Harris was insympathy with me in this. He was as much of an enthusiast in art asI was, and not less anxious to learn to paint. I desired to learn theGerman language; so did Harris.

  Toward the middle of April we sailed in the HOLSATIA, Captain Brandt,and had a very pleasant trip, indeed.

  After a brief rest at Hamburg, we made preparations for a longpedestrian trip southward in the soft spring weather, but at thelast moment we changed the program, for private reasons, and took theexpress-train.

  We made a short halt at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and found it aninteresting city. I would have liked to visit the birthplace ofGutenburg, but it could not be done, as no memorandum of the site of thehouse has been kept. So we spent an hour in the Goethe mansion instead.The city permits this house to belong to private parties, insteadof gracing and dignifying herself with the honor of possessing andprotecting it.

  Frankfort is one of the sixteen cities which have the distinction ofbeing the place where the following incident occurred. Charlemagne,while chasing the Saxons (as HE said), or being chased by them (as THEYsaid), arrived at the bank of the river at dawn, in a fog. The enemywere either before him or behind him; but in any case he wanted to getacross, very badly. He would have given anything for a guide, but nonewas to be had. Presently he saw a deer, followed by her young, approachthe water. He watched her, judging that she would seek a ford, and hewas right. She waded over, and the army followed. So a great Frankishvictory or defeat was gained or avoided; and in order to commemorate theepisode, Charlemagne commanded a city to be built there, which he namedFrankfort--the ford of the Franks. None of the other cities where thisevent happened were named for it. This is good evidence that Frankfortwas the first place it occurred at.

  Frankfort has another distinction--it is the birthplace of the Germanalphabet; or at least of the German word for alphabet --BUCHSTABEN.They say that the first movable types were made on birchsticks--BUCHSTABE--hence the name.

  I was taught a lesson in political economy in Frankfort. I had broughtfrom home a box containing a thousand very cheap cigars. By way ofexperiment, I stepped into a little shop in a queer old back street,took four gaily decorated boxes of wax matches and three cigars, andlaid down a silver piece worth 48 cents. The man gave me 43 centschange.

  In Frankfort everybody wears clean clothes, and I think we noticed thatthis strange thing was the case in Hamburg, too, and in the villagesalong the road. Even in the narrowest and poorest and most ancientquarters of Frankfort neat and clean clothes were the rule. The littlechildren of both sexes were nearly always nice enough to take into abody's lap. And as for the uniforms of the soldiers, they were newnessand brightness carried to perfection. One could never detect a smirchor a grain of dust upon them. The street-car conductors and drivers worepretty uniforms which seemed to be just out of the bandbox, and theirmanners were as fine as their clothes.

  In one of the shops I had the luck to stumble upon a book which hascharmed me nearly to death. It is entitled THE LEGENDS OF THE RHINE FROMBASLE TO ROTTERDAM, by F. J. Kiefer; translated by L. W. Garnham, B.A.

  All tourists MENTION the Rhine legends--in that sort of way whichquietly pretends that the mentioner has been familiar with them all hislife, and that the reader cannot possibly be ignorant of them--but notourist ever TELLS them. So this little book fed me in a very hungryplace; and I, in my turn, intend to feed my reader, with one ortwo little lunches from the same larder. I shall not mar Garnham'stranslation by meddling with its English; for the most toothsome thingabout it is its quaint fashion of building English sentences on theGerman plan--and punctuating them accordingly to no plan at all.

  In the chapter devoted to "Legends of Frankfort," I find the following:

  "THE KNAVE OF BERGEN" "In Frankfort at the Romer was a great mask-ball,at the coronation festival, and in the illuminated saloon, the clangingmusic invited to dance, and splendidly appeared the rich toilets andcharms of the ladies, and the festively costumed Princes and Knights.All seemed pleasure, joy, and roguish gaiety, only one of the numerousguests had a gloomy exterior; but exactly the black armor in which hewalked about excited general atte
ntion, and his tall figure, as well asthe noble propriety of his movements, attracted especially the regardsof the ladies.

  Who the Knight was? Nobody could guess, for his Vizier was well closed,and nothing made him recognizable. Proud and yet modest he advanced tothe Empress; bowed on one knee before her seat, and begged for the favorof a waltz with the Queen of the festival. And she allowed his request.With light and graceful steps he danced through the long saloon, withthe sovereign who thought never to have found a more dexterous andexcellent dancer. But also by the grace of his manner, and fineconversation he knew to win the Queen, and she graciously accorded hima second dance for which he begged, a third, and a fourth, as well asothers were not refused him. How all regarded the happy dancer, howmany envied him the high favor; how increased curiosity, who the maskedknight could be.

  "Also the Emperor became more and more excited with curiosity, and withgreat suspense one awaited the hour, when according to mask-law, eachmasked guest must make himself known. This moment came, but although allother unmasked; the secret knight still refused to allow his featuresto be seen, till at last the Queen driven by curiosity, and vexed at theobstinate refusal; commanded him to open his Vizier.

  He opened it, and none of the high ladies and knights knew him. But fromthe crowded spectators, 2 officials advanced, who recognized the blackdancer, and horror and terror spread in the saloon, as they said who thesupposed knight was. It was the executioner of Bergen. But glowing withrage, the King commanded to seize the criminal and lead him to death,who had ventured to dance, with the queen; so disgraced the Empress,and insulted the crown. The culpable threw himself at the Emperor, andsaid--

  "'Indeed I have heavily sinned against all noble guests assembled here,but most heavily against you my sovereign and my queen. The Queen isinsulted by my haughtiness equal to treason, but no punishment evenblood, will not be able to wash out the disgrace, which you havesuffered by me. Therefore oh King! allow me to propose a remedy, toefface the shame, and to render it as if not done. Draw your sword andknight me, then I will throw down my gauntlet, to everyone who dares tospeak disrespectfully of my king.'

  "The Emperor was surprised at this bold proposal, however it appearedthe wisest to him; 'You are a knave,' he replied after a moment'sconsideration, 'however your advice is good, and displays prudence, asyour offense shows adventurous courage. Well then,' and gave him theknight-stroke 'so I raise you to nobility, who begged for grace for youroffense now kneels before me, rise as knight; knavish you have acted,and Knave of Bergen shall you be called henceforth,' and gladly theBlack knight rose; three cheers were given in honor of the Emperor, andloud cries of joy testified the approbation with which the Queen dancedstill once with the Knave of Bergen."



  [Landing a Monarch at Heidelberg]

  We stopped at a hotel by the railway-station. Next morning, as we sat inmy room waiting for breakfast to come up, we got a good deal interestedin something which was going on over the way, in front of another hotel.First, the personage who is called the PORTIER (who is not the PORTER,but is a sort of first-mate of a hotel) [1. See Appendix A] appearedat the door in a spick-and-span new blue cloth uniform, decorated withshining brass buttons, and with bands of gold lace around his cap andwristbands; and he wore white gloves, too.

  He shed an official glance upon the situation, and then began to giveorders. Two women-servants came out with pails and brooms and brushes,and gave the sidewalk a thorough scrubbing; meanwhile two othersscrubbed the four marble steps which led up to the door; beyond these wecould see some men-servants taking up the carpet of the grand staircase.This carpet was carried away and the last grain of dust beaten andbanged and swept out of it; then brought back and put down again. Thebrass stair-rods received an exhaustive polishing and were returned totheir places. Now a troop of servants brought pots and tubs of bloomingplants and formed them into a beautiful jungle about the door and thebase of the staircase. Other servants adorned all the balconies of thevarious stories with flowers and banners; others ascended to theroof and hoisted a great flag on a staff there. Now came some morechamber-maids and retouched the sidewalk, and afterward wiped the marblesteps with damp cloths and finished by dusting them off with featherbrushes. Now a broad black carpet was brought out and laid down themarble steps and out across the sidewalk to the curbstone. The PORTIERcast his eye along it, and found it was not absolutely straight; hecommanded it to be straightened; the servants made the effort--madeseveral efforts, in fact--but the PORTIER was not satisfied. He finallyhad it taken up, and then he put it down himself and got it right.

  At this stage of the proceedings, a narrow bright red carpet wasunrolled and stretched from the top of the marble steps to thecurbstone, along the center of the black carpet. This red path cost thePORTIER more trouble than even the black one had done. But he patientlyfixed and refixed it until it was exactly right and lay precisely in themiddle of the black carpet. In New York these performances would havegathered a mighty crowd of curious and intensely interested spectators;but here it only captured an audience of half a dozen little boys whostood in a row across the pavement, some with their school-knapsacks ontheir backs and their hands in their pockets, others with arms full ofbundles, and all absorbed in the show. Occasionally one of them skippedirreverently over the carpet and took up a position on the other side.This always visibly annoyed the PORTIER.

  Now came a waiting interval. The landlord, in plain clothes, andbareheaded, placed himself on the bottom marble step, abreast thePORTIER, who stood on the other end of the same steps; six or eightwaiters, gloved, bareheaded, and wearing their whitest linen, theirwhitest cravats, and their finest swallow-tails, grouped themselvesabout these chiefs, but leaving the carpetway clear. Nobody moved orspoke any more but only waited.

  In a short time the shrill piping of a coming train was heard, andimmediately groups of people began to gather in the street. Two or threeopen carriages arrived, and deposited some maids of honor and some maleofficials at the hotel. Presently another open carriage brought theGrand Duke of Baden, a stately man in uniform, who wore the handsomebrass-mounted, steel-spiked helmet of the army on his head. Last camethe Empress of Germany and the Grand Duchess of Baden in a closedcarriage; these passed through the low-bowing groups of servants anddisappeared in the hotel, exhibiting to us only the backs of theirheads, and then the show was over.

  It appears to be as difficult to land a monarch as it is to launch aship.

  But as to Heidelberg. The weather was growing pretty warm,--very warm,in fact. So we left the valley and took quarters at the Schloss Hotel,on the hill, above the Castle.

  Heidelberg lies at the mouth of a narrow gorge--a gorge the shape ofa shepherd's crook; if one looks up it he perceives that it is aboutstraight, for a mile and a half, then makes a sharp curve to theright and disappears. This gorge--along whose bottom pours the swiftNeckar--is confined between (or cloven through) a couple of long, steepridges, a thousand feet high and densely wooded clear to their summits,with the exception of one section which has been shaved and put undercultivation. These ridges are chopped off at the mouth of the gorgeand form two bold and conspicuous headlands, with Heidelberg nestlingbetween them; from their bases spreads away the vast dim expanse of theRhine valley, and into this expanse the Neckar goes wandering in shiningcurves and is presently lost to view.

  Now if one turns and looks up the gorge once more, he will see theSchloss Hotel on the right perched on a precipice overlooking theNeckar--a precipice which is so sumptuously cushioned and draped withfoliage that no glimpse of the rock appears. The building seems veryairily situated. It has the appearance of being on a shelf half-wayup the wooded mountainside; and as it is remote and isolated, and verywhite, it makes a strong mark against the lofty leafy rampart at itsback.

  This hotel had a feature which was a decided novelty, and one whichmight be adopted with advantage by any house which is perched in acommanding situation. This feature may be descr
ibed as a series ofglass-enclosed parlors CLINGING TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE, one againsteach and every bed-chamber and drawing-room. They are like long, narrow,high-ceiled bird-cages hung against the building. My room was a cornerroom, and had two of these things, a north one and a west one.

  From the north cage one looks up the Neckar gorge; from the west one helooks down it. This last affords the most extensive view, and it is oneof the loveliest that can be imagined, too. Out of a billowy upheavalof vivid green foliage, a rifle-shot removed, rises the huge ruinof Heidelberg Castle, [2. See Appendix B] with empty window arches,ivy-mailed battlements, moldering towers--the Lear of inanimatenature--deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still,and beautiful. It is a fine sight to see the evening sunlight suddenlystrike the leafy declivity at the Castle's base and dash up it anddrench it as with a luminous spray, while the adjacent groves are indeep shadow.

  Behind the Castle swells a great dome-shaped hill, forest-clad, andbeyond that a nobler and loftier one. The Castle looks down upon thecompact brown-roofed town; and from the town two picturesque old bridgesspan the river. Now the view broadens; through the gateway of thesentinel headlands you gaze out over the wide Rhine plain, whichstretches away, softly and richly tinted, grows gradually and dreamilyindistinct, and finally melts imperceptibly into the remote horizon.

  I have never enjoyed a view which had such a serene and satisfying charmabout it as this one gives.

  The first night we were there, we went to bed and to sleep early; butI awoke at the end of two or three hours, and lay a comfortable whilelistening to the soothing patter of the rain against the balconywindows. I took it to be rain, but it turned out to be only the murmurof the restless Neckar, tumbling over her dikes and dams far below, inthe gorge. I got up and went into the west balcony and saw a wonderfulsight. Away down on the level under the black mass of the Castle, thetown lay, stretched along the river, its intricate cobweb of streetsjeweled with twinkling lights; there were rows of lights on the bridges;these flung lances of light upon the water, in the black shadows of thearches; and away at the extremity of all this fairy spectacle blinkedand glowed a massed multitude of gas-jets which seemed to cover acres ofground; it was as if all the diamonds in the world had been spreadout there. I did not know before, that a half-mile of sextuplerailway-tracks could be made such an adornment.