were finished, but would gather material for a book. He would take a courier and a kodak and go tramping again in some fashion that would be interesting to do and to write.
The idea finally matured when he reached Switzerland and settled the family at the Hotel Beau Rivage, Ouchy, Lausanne, facing Lake Leman. He decided to make a floating trip down the Rhone, and he engaged Joseph Very, a courier that had served him on a former European trip, to accompany him. The courier went over to Bourget and bought for five dollars a flat-bottomed boat and engaged its owner as their pilot. It was the morning of September 20, when they began their floating-trip down the beautiful historic river that flows through the loveliest and most romantic region of France. He wrote daily to Mrs. Clemens, and his letters tell the story of that drowsy, happy experience better than the notes made with a view to publication. Clemens had arrived at Lake Bourget on the evening before the morning of their start and slept on the Island of Chatillon, in an old castle of the same name. Lake Bourget connects with the Rhone by a small canal.
Letters and Memoranda to Mrs. Clemens, in Ouchy, Switzerland:
Sept. 20, 1891. Sunday, 11 a.m. On the lake Bourget--just started. The castle of Chatillon high overhead showing above the trees. It was a wonderfully still place to sleep in. Beside us there was nobody in it but a woman, a boy and a dog. A Pope was born in the room I slept in. No, he became a Pope later.
The lake is smooth as glass--a brilliant sun is shining.
Our boat is 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.
3.15 p. m. Sunday. We have been in the Rhone 3 hours. It is unimaginably still and reposeful and cool and soft and breezy. No rowing or work of any kind to do--we merely float with the current--we glide noiseless and swift--as fast as a London cab-horse rips along--8 miles an hour--the swiftest current I've ever boated in. We have the entire river to ourselves--nowhere a boat of any kind. Good bye Sweetheart S. L. C.
PORT DE GROLEE, Monday, 4.15 p.m. [Sept. 21, 1891] Name of the village which we left five minutes ago.
We went ashore at 5 p. m. yesterday, dear heart, and walked a short mile to St. Geuix, a big village, and took quarters at the principal inn; had a good dinner and afterwards along walk out of town on the banks of the Guiers till 7.30.
Went to bed at 8.30 and continued to make notes and read books and newspapers till midnight. Slept until 8, breakfasted in bed, and lay till noon, because there had been a very heavy rain in the night and the day was still dark and lowering. But at noon the sun broke through and in 15 minutes we were tramping toward the river. Got afloat at 1 p. m. but at 2.40 we had to rush suddenly ashore and take refuge in the above village. Just as we got ourselves and traps safely housed in the inn, the rain let go and came down in great style. We lost an hour and a half there, but we are off again, now, with bright sunshine.
I wrote you yesterday my darling, and shall expect to write you every day.
Good-day, and love to all of you. SAML.
ON THE RHONE BELOW VILLEBOIS, Tuesday noon. Good morning, sweetheart. Night caught us yesterday where we had to take quarters in a peasant's house which was occupied by the family and a lot of cows and calves--also several rabbits.--[His word for fleas.]--The latter had a ball, and I was the ball-room; but they were very friendly and didn't bite.