He tells how he really enjoyed two of the operas, and rejoiced in supposing that his musical regeneration was accomplished and perfected; but alas! he was informed by experts that those particular events were not real music at all. Then he says:
Well, I ought to have recognized the sign the old, sure sign that has never failed me in matters of art. Whenever I enjoy anything in art it means that it is mighty poor. The private knowledge of this fact has saved me from going to pieces with enthusiasm in front of many and many a chromo. However, my base instinct does bring me profit sometimes; I was the only man out of 3,200 who got his money back on those two operas.
His third letter was from Marienbad, in Bohemia, another "health- factory," as he calls it, and is of the same general character as those preceding. In his fourth letter he told how he himself took charge of the family fortunes and became courier from Aix to Bayreuth. It is a very delightful letter, most of it, and probably not greatly burlesqued or exaggerated in its details. It is included now in the "Complete Works," as fresh and delightful as ever. They returned to Germany at the end of August, to Nuremberg, which he notes as the "city of exquisite glimpses," and to Heidelberg, where they had their old apartment of thirteen years before, Room 40 at the Schloss Hotel, with its wonderful prospect of wood and hill, and the haze-haunted valley of the Rhine. They remained less than a week in that beautiful place, and then were off for Switzerland, Lucerne, Brienz, Interlaken, finally resting at the Hotel Beau Rivage, Ouchy, Lausanne, on beautiful Lake Leman.
Clemens had agreed to write six of the newspaper letters, and he had by this time finished five of them, the fifth being dated from Interlaken, its subject, "Switzerland, the Cradle of Liberty." He wrote to Hall that it was his intention to write another book of travel and to take a year or two to collect the material. The Century editors were after him for a series after the style of Innocents Abroad. He considered this suggestion, but declined by cable, explaining to Hall that he intended to write for serial publication no more than the six newspaper letters. He said:
To write a book of travel would be less trouble than to write six detached chapters. Each of these letters requires the same variety of treatment and subject that one puts into a book; but in the book each chapter doesn't have to be rounded and complete in itself.
He suggested that the six letters be gathered into a small volume which would contain about thirty-five or forty thousand words, to be sold as low as twenty-five cents, but this idea appears to have been dropped.
At Ouchy Clemens conceived the idea of taking a little trip on his own account, an excursion that would be a rest after the strenuous three months' travel and sightseeing--one that he could turn into literature. He engaged Joseph Very, a courier used during their earlier European travels, and highly recommended in the Tramp Abroad. He sent Joseph over to Lake Bourget to engage a boat and a boatman for a ten days' trip down the river Rhone. For five dollars Joseph bought a safe, flat-bottom craft; also he engaged the owner as pilot. A few days later--September 19--Clemens followed. They stopped overnight on an island in Lake Bourget, and in his notes Clemens tells how he slept in the old castle of Chatillon, in the room where a pope was born. They started on their drift next morning. To Mrs. Clemens, in some good-by memoranda, he said:
The lake is as smooth as glass; a brilliant sun is shining.
Our boat is so comfortable and shady with its awning.
11.20. We have crossed the lake and are entering the canal. Shall presently be in the Rhone.
Noon. Nearly down to the Rhone, passing the village of Chanaz.
Sunday, 3.15 P.M. We have been in the Rhone three hours. It is unimaginably still & reposeful & cool & soft & breezy.