Advent, Advent ... Mark Twain, the famed American humorist, spent half a year in Berlin, from October 1891 to March 1892 — unfortunately, the winter half. On this day, he sent his first letter to a man who would become his best friend in Berlin: Rudolf Lindau, a sixty-two-year-old diplomat, adventurer and also a novelist. Twain would soon call him “Rudolf the incomparable” and “one of the head saints in this family’s calendar.” Lindau was born in 1829 in a village near Berlin, to a lawyer of Jewish faith and the daughter of a pastor, he attended the Lycée Bonaparte in Paris. Later, he traveled to Italy, England, and the Netherlands. In 1860, he left Marseille for East Asia via Egypt, Ceylon, Singapore, and Hong Kong, by ship and train. From Shanghai, he went to Japan, Saigon, Macao, and Vladivostok, all the way to California. In 1873, he became Bismarck’s press secretary in Paris but returned to Berlin when the Iron Chancellor stepped down. Twain wrote to him:
“I am delighted and beg to name Wednesday, as that is the only unengaged evening I have this week.” Four days later, he thanked Lindau for a dinner in the latter’s home at Sigismundstrasse (west of Potsdamer Strasse) that was “too delicious & too exquisite in every way for mere sinful human beings,” and continued, “All through, it was an ideal evening, in ideal quarters, with ideal helps of all kinds to make it perfect.”He also announced that he had “soaked an old cob pipe in whiskey all the morning, for you.” And in an undated letter, presumably from the same week, he wrote, “Yes, time is flying—let us be old friends right away! I’m with you there, and thank you for suggesting it.”
And here is your pic: Rudolf Lindau, when Twain met him
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