ST. NICHOLAS, Aug. 26th, '78. Livy darling, we came through a-whooping today, 6 hours tramp up steep hills and down steep hills, in mud and water shoe-deep, and in a steady pouring rain which never moderated a moment. I was as chipper and fresh as a lark all the way and arrived without the slightest sense of fatigue. But we were soaked and my shoes full of water, so we ate at once, stripped and went to bed for 2 ?hours while our traps were thoroughly dried, and our boots greased in addition. Then we put our clothes on hot and went to table d'hote.
Made some nice English friends and shall see them at Zermatt tomorrow.
Gathered a small bouquet of new flowers, but they got spoiled. I sent you a safety-match box full of flowers last night from Leukerbad.
I have just telegraphed you to wire the family news to me at Riffel tomorrow. I do hope you are all well and having as jolly a time as we are, for I love you, sweetheart, and also, in a measure, the Bays.-- [Little Susy's word for "babies."]-- Give my love to Clara Spaulding and also to the cubs. ` SAML.
This, as far as it goes, is a truer and better account of the excursion than Mark Twain gave in the book that he wrote later. A Tramp Abroad has a quality of burlesque in it, which did not belong to the journey at all, but was invented to satisfy the craving for what the public conceived to be Mark Twain's humor. The serious portions of the book are much more pleasing--more like himself. The entire journey, as will be seen, lasted one week more than a month.
Twichell also made his reports home, some of which give us interesting pictures of his walking partner. In one place he wrote: "Mark is a queer fellow. There is nothing he so delights in as a swift, strong stream. You can hardly get him to leave one when once he is within the influence of its fascinations."
Twichell tells how at Kandersteg they were out together one evening where a brook comes plunging down from Gasternthal and how he pushed in a drift to see it go racing along the current. "When I got back to the path Mark was running down stream after it as hard as he could go, throwing up his hands and shouting in the wildest ecstasy, and when a piece went over a fall and emerged to view in the foam below he would jump up and down and yell. He said afterward that he had not been so excited in three months."
In other places Twichell refers to his companion's consideration for the feeling of others, and for animals. "When we are driving, his concern is all about the horse. He can't bear to see the whip used, or to see a horse pull hard."