You are capable of immense things--man. You can make a perfect success in life. All you want is somebody to steady you and boost you along on the right road. Do you own anything in the business?"

"No--not exactly; but if I continue to give satisfaction, I suppose I can keep my--"

"Keep your place--yes. Well, don't you depend on anything of the kind. They'll bounce you the minute you get a little old and worked out; they'll do it sure. Can't you manage somehow to get into the firm? That's the great thing, you know."

"I think it is doubtful; very doubtful."

"Um--that's bad--yes, and unfair, too. Do you suppose that if I should go there and have a talk with your people-- Look here--do you think you could run a brewery?"

"I have never tried, but I think I could do it after a little familiarity with the business."

The German was silent for some time. He did a good deal of thinking, and the king waited curiously to see what the result was going to be. Finally the German said:

"My mind's made up. You leave that crowd--you'll never amount to anything there. In these old countries they never give a fellow a show. Yes, you come over to America--come to my place in Rochester; bring the family along. You shall have a show in the business and the foremanship, besides. George--you said your name was George?--I'll make a man of you. I give you my word. You've never had a chance here, but that's all going to change. By gracious! I'll give you a lift that'll make your hair curl!"



Bayreuth, Aug. 2d, 1891

It was at Nuremberg that we struck the inundation of music- mad strangers that was rolling down upon Bayreuth. It had been long since we had seen such multitudes of excited and struggling people. It took a good half-hour to pack them and pair them into the train--and it was the longest train we have yet seen in Europe. Nuremberg had been witnessing this sort of experience a couple of times a day for about two weeks. It gives one an impressive sense of the magnitude of this biennial pilgrimage. For a pilgrimage is what it is. The devotees come from the very ends of the earth to worship their prophet in his own Kaaba in his own Mecca.

If you are living in New York or San Francisco or Chicago or anywhere else in America, and you conclude, by the middle of May, that you would like to attend the Bayreuth opera two months and a half later, you must use the cable and get about it immediately or you will get no seats, and you must cable for lodgings, too. Then if you are lucky you will get seats in the last row and lodgings in the fringe of the town. If you stop to write you will get nothing. There were plenty of people in Nuremberg when we passed through who had come on pilgrimage without first securing seats and lodgings. They had found neither in Bayreuth; they had walked Bayreuth streets a while in sorrow, then had gone to Nuremberg and found neither beds nor standing room, and had walked those quaint streets all night, waiting for the hotels to open and empty their guests into trains, and so make room for these, their defeated brethren and sisters in the faith. They had endured from thirty to forty hours' railroading on the continent of Europe--with all which that implies of worry, fatigue, and financial impoverishment--and all they had got and all they were to get for it was handiness and accuracy in kicking themselves, acquired by practice in the back streets of the two towns when other people were in bed; for back they must go over that unspeakable journey with their pious mission unfulfilled. These humiliated outcasts had the frowsy and unbrushed and apologetic look of wet cats, and their eyes were glazed with drowsiness, their bodies were adroop from crown to sole, and all kind-hearted people refrained from asking them if they had been to Bayreuth and failed to connect, as knowing they would lie.

We reached here (Bayreuth) about mid-afternoon of a rainy Saturday.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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