New Fidelity Following the Equator

Samuel Clemens at the sea traveling in a steamboat, 1895. Photographer unknown


Following The Equator which was published in 1897. It was Mark Twain‘s most elaborate travel book, with numerous illustrations, and, for the first time, photographs.


Samuel Clemens’ Pilot Certificate


Drawing by John Harley, illustrator of Life On The Mississippi.


“Do you know what it means to be a boy on the banks of the Mississippi, to see the steamboats go up and down the river, and never to have had a ride on one? Can you form any conception of what that really means? I think not. Well, I was seven years old and my dream by night and my longing by day had never been realized. But I guess it came to pass. That was my first vacation.”

Mark Twain


New Fidelity, steamboat from Love in the Time of Cholera (Mike Newell, 2008)


…In January 1824, Commodore Johann Bernard Elbers, the father of river navigation, had registered the first steamboat to sail the Magdalena River, a primitive old forty-horsepower wreck named Fidelity. More than a century later, one seventh of July at six o’clock in the evening, Dr. Urbino Daza and his wife accompanied Fermina Daza as she boarded the boat that was to carry her on her first river voyage. It was the first vessel built in the localshipyards and had been christened New Fidelity in memory of its glorious ancestor. Fermina Daza could never believe that so significant a name for them both was indeed a historical coincidence and not another conceit born of Florentino Ariza’s chronic romanticism…

Gabriel García Márquez