Adventures and Letters HTML version
Moscow, Budapest, London
The years 1896--1897 were probably the most active of Richard's very active life. In the
space of twelve months he reported the Coronation at Moscow, the Millennial
Celebration at Budapest, the Spanish-Cuban War, the McKinley Inauguration, the Greek-
Turkish War and the Queen's Jubilee. Although this required a great deal of time spent in
travelling, Richard still found opportunity to do considerable work on his novel "Captain
Macklin," to which he refers in one of his letters from London.
As correspondent of the New York American, then The Journal, Richard went from
Florence, where he was visiting me, to Moscow. He was accompanied by Augustus
Trowbridge, an old friend of my brother's and a rarely good linguist. The latter
qualification proved of the greatest possible assistance to Richard in his efforts to witness
the actual coronation ceremony. To have finally been admitted to the Kremlin my brother
always regarded as one of his greatest successes as a correspondent.
En route--May 1896.
The night is passed and with the day comes "a hope" but during the blackness I had "a
suffer"-- I read until two--five hours--and then slept until five when the middle man who
had slept on my shoulder all night left the train and the second one to whom Bernardi was
so polite left me alone and had the porter fit me up a bed so that I slept until seven again--
Then the Guardian Angel returned for his traps and I bade him a sleepy adieu and was
startled to see two soldiers standing shading their eyes in salute in the doorway and two
gentlemen bowing to my kind protector with the obsequiousness of servants-- He sort of
smiled back at me and walked away with the soldiers and 13 porters carrying his traps.
So I rung up the conductor and he said it was the King's Minister with his eyes sticking
out of his head--the conductor's eyes--not the Minister's. I don't know what a King's
Minister is but he liked your whiskey-- I am now passing through the Austrian Tyrol
which pleases me so much that I am chortling with joy-- None of the places for which my
ticket call are on any map--but don't you care, I don't care-- I wish I could adequately
describe last night with nothing but tunnels hours in length so that you had to have all the
windows down and the room looked like a safe and full of tobacco smoke and damp
spongey smoke from the engine, and bad air. That first compartment I went in was filled
later with German women who took off their skirts and the men took off their shoes.
Everybody in the rear of the car is filthy dirty but I had a wash at the Custom house and
now I am almost clean and quite happy. The day is beautiful and the compartment is all
my own-- I am absolutely enchanted with the Tyrol-- I have never seen such quaint
picture book houses and mills with wheels like that in the Good for Nothing and
crucifixes wonderfully carved and snow mountains and dark green forests-- The sky is
perfect and the air is filled with the sun and the train moves so smoothly that I can see
little blue flowers, baby blue, Bavarian blue flowers, in the Spring grass. Such dear old
castles like birds nests and such homelike old mills and red-faced millers with feathers in
their caps you never saw out of a comic opera-- The man in here with me now is a