THE START FOR GERMANY
BAYARD TAYLOR OFF FOR BERLIN.
THE HOLSATIA CARRIES AWAY THE NEW MINISTER, ACCOMPANIED BY MARK TWAIN AND HIS FAMILY, AND THE WIFE AND CHILDREN OF MR. MURAT HALSTEAD.
The first name on the passenger list of the Holsatia, that sailed yesterday, was "Hon. Bayard Taylor, United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary;" then followed Mrs. Bayard Taylor and Miss Lillian Taylor, Mrs. Murat Halstead, Miss Jenny Halstead, Master Robert Halstead, Mr. Samuel L. Clemens and family.
Mr. Bayard Taylor, Envoy E. and Minister P., was on board, bright and early, being an old-enough traveler to go early and avoid the crowd. Although the rain trickled through the muddy-looking skies in a light drizzle, he carried one of the crimson plush chairs from the upper salon to the after deck, where, thickly surrounded by his colored servant, "Gawge," he kept a watchful eye upon eight lead-colored trunks that lay upon the wharf. These trunks were not pieces of high art, but they fully made up in bulk and number for anything else they may have lacked. It was painfully evident that the new Minister had made a raid upon his friends' trunks. Some of them were marked "L.T." and others "H.B.W." while all bore the words, in large black letters, "Bayard Taylor, U.S. Legation, Berlin." Two were also marked "Wanted on the Volge." Gawge kept up a constant line of communication between his master and the trunks, perhaps to assure him that they were still safe, or perhaps again, to show that the opera-glass he carried swung from each shoulder was not too much for his strength. Several cords of steamer chairs, bearing the same ministerial marks, were piled upon the trunks.
The new Minister was smoking another of those large cigars, one eye upon the trunks, with the other watching the wreaths of smoke that puffed to leeward, when a peculiar-looking caravan drove down the pier. It might once have been a coach, but it had been transformed into a sort of pyramid on wheels. As it stopped, and a door opened in its side, a gentleman and two ladies alighted, drawing after them a nurse and a large number of children, whom they carefully counted. The lifting of a few dozen trunks from the top of the pyramid disclosed the Gilsey House coach, shining with gilt. It had brought to the steamer Mr. and Mrs. Samuel L. Clemens, a lady friend of Mrs. Clemens, several children, and a nurse. "Mark Twain," the innocent, who was soon to be abroad again, wore a small black silk cap, which, as one of they bystanders said, made him "look like a brakeman." Having checked off his family into the saloon, he came out upon the deck to shake hands with the new Minister.
"Where's Halstead?" said the innocent.
"I don't know, " replied the Minister. "I haven't seen him today. I left him about 1 o'clock this morning."
"One o'clock!" echoed Mark Twain; "why, you ought to have been in bed by that time."
"I know it," replied the Minister, "and I begged Reid not to keep it up the last night, but he insisted; and they were all so jolly, I couldn't get away. I've had a hard time of it the last two weeks."
"I've had just as hard a time," said Mark; "I've been railroading for two weeks, and taking mixed drinks. I suppose you stick to one thing all the time - straight."
"Well, I don't know," said Bayard Taylor; "what do you call straight drinks?"
"Coffee," said Mark, "or whisky, if you drink it all the time."
A heavy increase in the shower here rudely broke up what promised to be an important State communication.
Mr. Samuel L. Clemens, while in one of the fits of sober earnest that strike him occasionally, said that he was going to Germany, partly for the health of his family, and partly to give him an opportunity to write, which he finds he cannot do well at home.
"I am going to the most out-of-the-way place in Germany I can find," said he; "fifty miles away from any railroad, where I can sleep more than half the time. We have not rented our house in Hartford, so, if we get tired soon, there is nothing to prevent us from coming back at any time; but, if we like it, we may stay for two or three years."
On being asked whether he had more "Innocents Abroad" in mind, he replied:
"I am going to do some writing. I have been contemplating it for a long time, and now I'm in for it. But it will not be any more "Innocents Abroad." That is done up and done for.
"You'd better travel this time as the Sage of Hartford," suggested Minister Taylor.
"I will," said Mark, "or the Thyme, or any other herb."
Mark Twain was accompanied to the steamer by the historical character "Dan," with whom every reader of the Innocents Abroad is well acquainted. "Dan" is Mr. Daniel Slote, a wholesale stationer, of William street, and the manufacturer of the "Mark Twain Scrap-books." Dan engaged Mark's state rooms several weeks ago, anonymously, and, as he confessed, "was warned by Sam that he must be careful what he said to those newspaper fellows."
Dan insisted upon saying that Sam is one of the best fellows in the world, and the funniest; and the latter statement was so evidently true, that it carried the other through without question.
"I know him from top to bottom," said Dan. "When we were out on the Quaker City expedition, he was the hardest working man I ever say. Why, out in Egypt, where the fleas were so thick you couldn't breath without swallowing a thousand, that man used to sit up and write, write, half the night. I used to have to get my clothes off in a second, and hustle into bed before any of the fleas had a chance to get between the sheets, and as I was vainly trying to get to sleep, I'd say to Clemens, 'Sam, how the deuce can you stand it to write out there among the fleas?' 'Oh, I'm all right,' Sam would say; 'They've got a railroad track eaten out around both ankles, and they keep in that pretty well, so I don't bother with them.' "
Mr. Taylor went below an hour before the sailing time to avoid the rain that at 1 o'clock came down in torrents. Mark Twain, however, having soothed the youngest baby into a quiet state, went down to the pier to have a last chat with Dan, who, by the way, is the image of his picture in the Innocents Abroad. They were at once surrounded by an army of press representatives, one of whom went so far as to ask Twain, "Are you going to Europe?" a thing that in the most matter-of-fact newspaper might safely have been taken for granted under the circumstances. Somebody spoke of the quantities of flowers the passengers had taken into the saloon.
"Yes," said Mark, "it's all nonsense; they run it into the ground. I was talking with some of my relations about it the other day and told them what I thought about it, particularly at funerals. They said they had intended to give me a good send-off when I died; but if I didn't like flowers they wouldn't send any. I told them that was all right, I'd rather have ice anyhow.
Our new Minister appeared upon deck again. He walked to the stern and looked anxiously up the street. There was nobody in sight but an old lady selling beaded pin-cushions, and a peanut man. It was not either of these that the new Minister wished to see. He kept up his anxious look while Mark Twain, still standing upon the wharf, told how all the ocean steamers feed their passengers well, except one line that he named, which he said still gives its passengers the same fare it did 30 years ago, invariably giving them boiled rice and stewed prunes every Thursday for the benefit of their health.
The steamer had been waiting for the mail wagon; and at last the wagon drove up. The ship would sail in a quarter of an hour. The Minister kept up his anxious look over the stern-post. At last a coupe, drawn by a lame horse, came in sight. The Minister knew the limp of that lame horse, and a look of joy overspread his face. He rushed to the gang-plank. The lame horse pranced furiously up on three legs. A gentleman alighted. He sprang up the gangway. He grasped the new Minister.
"By Jove," panted Whitelaw Reid, "I was afraid I'd be too late."
"Well, don't break my umbrella," said Minister Taylor, "there's time enough for a last embrace."
"There is, my noble friend, there is," responded the alleged editor. "But the morning waxeth damper. Let us within, and get a ---." The voice was lost in the stairway. The last word was probably "blanket." When they reappeared one of the Holsatia's gold-laced Captains was on the gang-plank, driving everybody ashore who was not going to cross the ocean.
"Come, young feller," said he to the editor, in singularly pure German, "you'd better be a getten' off'n here."
"Sir," retorted the latter, "do you know who I ---."
"No," said the officer, still in German, "but you've got to skip, I don't care a (some German word) who you are."
"We must part," said the editor, suddenly, to Bayard Taylor.
"That's so," said Mr. Taylor.
"Good-bye, old boy. Don't be soft, if you were out late. Good-bye." The whistle blew. The steerage passengers began to leak about the eyes. They were off. Good-bye, new Minister at Berlin. Good-bye, Mark Twain.
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