"Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me."
- Mark Twain
In 1895, at the age of 60, Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) embarked on a world wide lecture tour to raise funds to pay creditors. His tour took in Africa, India and Australia, where he lectured at the Athenaeum, visited the Victorian goldfields and attended the Melbourne Cup. The latter event prompted him to make the above comment at a public lecture.
It should be remembered that the Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861, so that the exuberance he described had developed in a relatively brief period.
Unfortunately, whilst in Melbourne he also developed a painful carbuncle.
Twain described Melbourne and the Cup in a chapter in his 1897 book Following the Equator: