I'll get you another mark. Let me see---"
They could not remain permanently in Komerstrasse, but they stuck it out till the end of December--about two months. Then they made such settlement with the agent as they could--that is to say, they paid the rest of their year's rent--and established themselves in a handsome apartment at the Hotel Royal, Unter den Linden. There was no need to be ashamed of this address, for it was one of the best in Berlin.
As for Komerstrasse, it is cleaner now. It is still not aristocratic, but it is eminently respectable. There is a new post-office that takes in Number 7, where one may post mail and send telegrams and use the Fernsprecher--which is to say the telephone--and be politely treated by uniformed officials, who have all heard of Mark Twain, but have no knowledge of his former occupation of their premises.
A WINTER IN BERLIN
Clemens, meantime, had been trying to establish himself in his work, but his rheumatism racked him occasionally and was always a menace. Closing a letter to Hall, he said:
"I must stop-my arm is howling."
He put in a good deal of time devising publishing schemes, principal among them being a plan for various cheap editions of his books, pamphlets, and such like, to sell for a few cents. These projects appear never to have been really undertaken, Hall very likely fearing that a flood of cheap issues would interfere with the more important trade. It seemed dangerous to trifle with an apparently increasing prosperity, and Clemens was willing enough to agree with this view.
Clemens had still another letter to write for Laffan and McClure, and he made a pretty careful study of Berlin with that end in view. But his arm kept him from any regular work. He made notes, however. Once he wrote:
The first gospel of all monarchies should be Rebellion; the second should be Rebellion; and the third and all gospels, and the only gospel of any monarchy, should be Rebellion--against Church and State.
I wrote a chapter on this language 13 years ago and tried my level best to improve it and simplify it for these people, and this is the result--a, word of thirty-nine letters. It merely concentrates the alphabet with a shovel. It hurts me to know that that chapter is not in any of their text-books and they don't use it in the university.
Socially, that winter in Berlin was eventful enough. William Walter Phelps, of New Jersey (Clemens had known him in America), was United States minister at the German capital, while at the Emperor's court there was a cousin, Frau von Versen, nee Clemens, one of the St. Louis family. She had married a young German officer who had risen to the rank of a full general. Mark Twain and his family were welcome guests at all the diplomatic events--often brilliant levees, gatherings of distinguished men and women from every circle of achievement. Labouchere of 'Truth' was there, De Blowitz of the 'Times', and authors, ambassadors, and scientists of rank. Clemens became immediately a distinguished figure at these assemblies. His popularity in Germany was openly manifested. At any gathering he was surrounded by a brilliant company, eager to do him honor. He was recognized whenever he appeared on the street, and saluted, though in his notes he says he was sometimes mistaken for the historian Mommsen, whom he resembled in hair and features. His books were displayed for sale everywhere, and a special cheap edition of them was issued at a few cents per copy.
Captain Bingham (later General Bingham, Commissioner of Police in New York City) and John Jackson were attaches of the legation, both of them popular with the public in general, and especially so with the Clemens family. Susy Clemens, writing to her father during a temporary absence, tells of a party at Mrs. Jackson's, and especially refers to Captain Bingham in the most complimentary terms.
"He never left me sitting alone, nor in an awkward situation of any kind, but always came cordially to the rescue.