David Fears's Mark Twain Day by Day

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition. Please recognize that this is a preliminary, BETA version of a resource which we will continue to develop in the coming years. While we are excited about the functionality it currently offers - for instance, the searchbar in the upper left-hand corner - we also recognize that there are numerous errors (to formatting, spacing, punctuation, etc.) which were not part of the print edition. Moreover, the formatting may change based upon which browser you use to access the site. Rest assured, we are continuing to work to correct these problems and increase functionality so as the maximize the accuracy, accessibility, and user-friendliness of the resource. If you encounter major technical difficulties or find entries that have been made particularly messy or indecipherable during the digitization process, please let us know via [email protected]

Vol 1 Section 0021

Third Territorial Legislature – Jennie Clemens Dead

Miscegenation Firestorm – ­“Poltroon and a Puppy”

San Francisco City Beat for the Morning Call – Jackass Hill



January – A photograph of William H. Clagett, Mark Twain, and A.J. Simmons was taken for the third Territorial Legislature at Carson City. The handwritten caption reads: “three of the suspected men still in confinement in Aurora[MTL 1: 279].


January 1 Friday On New Year’s Day, Sam wrote in the Territorial Enterprise:

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath” [Fatout, MT Speaks 10-11].

Charles F. Browne (Artemus Ward) wrote from Austin, Nev. to Sam

My Dearest Love,—I arrived here yesterday a.m. at 2 o’clock. It is a wild, untamable place, but full of lion-hearted boys. I speak to-night. See small bills.

      Why did you not go with me and save me that night?—I mean the night I left you drunk at that dinner party. I went and got drunker, beating, I may say, Alexander the Great, in his most drinkingest days, & I blackened my face at the Melodeon, and made a gibbering, idiotic speech. God-damit! I suppose the Union will have it. But let it go. I shall always remember Virginia [city] as a bright spot in my existence as all others must or rather cannot be, as it were.

      Love to Jo. Goodman and Dan. I shall write soon, a powerfully convincing note to my friends of “The Mercury.” Your notice, by the way, did much good here, as it doubtlessly will elsewhere. The miscreants of the Union will be batted in the snout if they ever dare pollute this rapidly rising city with their loathsome presence.

      Some of the finest intellects in the world have been blunted by liquor.

      Do not, sir—do not flatter yourself that you are the only chastely-humorous writer onto the Pacific slopes.

      Good-bye, old boy—and God bless you! The matter of which I spoke to you so earnestly shall be just as earnestly attended to—and again with very many warm regards for Jo. and Dan., and regards to many of the good friends we met. I am Faithfully, gratefully yours…[MTLP 93-94]. Note: The Union newspaper in Va. City; The NY Sunday Mercury, to which Ward had urged Sam to contribute. See Ward’s second letter of Jan. 21.


January 2 Saturday Sam wrote his mother from Carson City about the fraudulent proceedings of the Nevada convention. He urges his mother to welcome Artemus Ward when he reached St. Louis: “But don’t ask him too many questions about me & Christmas Eve, because he might tell tales out of school.” Ward never went to the Moffett home due to illness. Clemens also asked his mother another favor: “If Fitzhugh Ludlow, (author of the ‘Hasheesh Eater,’) comes your way, treat him well also. He published a high ecomium upon Mark Twain, (the same being eminently just & truthful, I beseech you to believe,) in a San Francisco newspaper [S.F. Golden Era Nov. 22, 1863] [MTL 1: 267]. Fitz Hugh Ludlow (1836-1870) was a NY Bohemian. See source notes for more on Ludlow. See also Sept. 8, 1865 entry.

January 4 Monday Sam, urged by Artemus Ward on his visit, wrote an article for the New York Sunday Mercury on this day titled “Doings in Nevada” [MTL 1: 268n1].


January 9 and 10 Sunday – Sam wrote from Carson City to his mother, and sister Pamela. He told them about the New York Sunday Mercury article, which was printed Feb. 7. Overnight Sam wrote “Those Blasted Children,” the two Mercury articles [MTL 1: 271; ET&S 1: 348]. He also wrote to Clement T. Rice, who discussed Sam’s “joking” letter about threats to move the capital of Nevada [Smith 126].

January 11 Monday “Letter from Mark Twain” (dated Jan. 10) ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.]. Sections: “Politics,” “Baggage,” “Young Gillespie,” “Legislature,” “House Warming,” “Warren Engine Co.,” “Religious,” “Squaires Trial,” “Marsh Children,” and “Artemus.”


I received a letter from Artemus Ward, to-day, dated “Austin, January 1.” It has been sloshing around between Virginia and Carson for awhile. I hope there is no impropriety in publishing extracts from a private letter – if there be, I ought not to copy the following paragraph of his:

“I arrived here yesterday morning at 2 o’clock. It is a wild, untamable place, but full of lion-hearted boys. I speak tonight. See small bills. ### I hope, some time, to see you and Kettle-belly Brown in New York. My grandmother — my sweet grandmother — she, thank God, is too far advanced in life to be affected by your hellish wiles. My aunt — she might fall. But didn’t Warren fall, at Bunker Hill? (The old woman’s safe. And so is the old girl, for that matter.—MARK) DO not sir, do not, sir, do not flatter yourself that you are the only chastely-humorous writer onto the Pacific slopes. ### I shall always remember Virginia as a bright spot in my existence, and all others must or rather cannot be, ‘as it were.’”

I am glad that old basket-covered jug holds out. I don’t know that it does, but I have an impression that way. At least I can’t make anything out of that last sentence. But I wish him well, and a safe journey, drunk or sober. / MARK TWAIN [Smith 127-30].

Sam paid $60 in cash to Daggett & Myers for two months rent shared with De Quille [Mack 246].

January 12 Tuesday – Sam joined in a photograph of 17 other men in formal garb, legislators and newspaper men, most wore top hats [MTP].

Sam enjoyed R.G. Marsh’s Juvenile Comedians perform at the Opera House in Carson City and wrote about it in his “Legislative Proceedings” letter of Jan. 13. The troupe performed in Carson on Jan. 11, 12 and 13, and included William M. (“Billy”) O’Neil in the farce, The Limerick Boy; or Paddy’s Mischief. Sam wrote that O’Neil, on Jan. 11, had been “The drunkest white man that ever crossed the mountains.” George Boulden and Mr. Alexander sang “When this Cruel War is Over, as it Were” and were encored three times. The Marsh group also presented The Toodles which had first been performed in New York in 1848 [Smith 129, 131-2].


January 12 to February 20 Saturday The Third Territorial Legislature met in Carson City. Sam reported on the proceedings for the Enterprise. His daily reports, “LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS, exist for January 12 to 15, 20, 21, 27, 28, and February 8 to 20. These were humorous weekly updates by Sam on the political goings-on in Carson [For text of these see Schmidt or Smith].

Benson points out the contrasting influence that Sam had with his brother Orion, and the increased influence Sam’s writings from Carson gave:

“Now, in Carson City, his humor became more substantial writing, more thought-provoking, less ephemeral, and much less coarse than some of his previous writings. No doubt, the fact that he felt that he now had some real influence in public affairs had much to do with the change in content, style, and tone of his articles” [101]. From Sam’s Autobiography:

Orion was soon very popular with the members of the legislature, because they found that whereas they couldn’t usually trust each other, nor anybody else, they could trust him. He easily held the belt for honesty in that country, but it didn’t do him any good in a pecuniary way, because he had no talent for either persuading or scaring legislators. But I was differently situated. I was there every day in the legislature to distribute compliments and censure with evenly balanced justice and spread the same over half a page of the Enterprise every morning; consequently I was an influence [MTA 2: 307-8].

January 14 Thursday – Sam visited the school of Miss Clapp and Mrs. William K. Cutler, accompanying William M. Gillespie, member of the House Committee on Colleges and Common Schools. Sam noted changes in school lessons and tactics since he’d attended.

They sing in school, now-a-days, which is an improvement upon the ancient regime; and they don’t catch flies and throw spit-balls at the teacher, as they used to do in my time—which is another improvement, in a general way….The “compositions” read to-day were as exactly like the compositions I used to hear read in our school as one baby’s nose is exactly like all other babies’ noses [Smith 136].


January 15 Friday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—FOURTH DAY

…we had better let “parliamentary usage” alone for the present, until our former knowledge on the knotty subject returns to our memories. Because Providence is not going to put up with this sort of thing much longer, you know. I observe there is no lighting rod on these county buildings. —MARK TWAIN [Smith 141].


January 19 Tuesday The election was held and Orion won the Secretary of State office. But the electorate, putting Nevada’s statehood in doubt, rejected the new constitution. Fatout describes the scene in Virginia City:

Voting day was a carnival in Virginia. Business houses closed, and the holiday spirit brought on a number of good fights, one of the best being a brisk encounter in which a butcher attempted to decapitate his adversary with a cleaver. His aim was poor….Band wagons, representing both sides, rolled around town all day, musicians playing “John Brown’s Body,” “Hail Columbia,” “Yankee Doodle.” Decorating the wagons were garish slogans: “Vote the Constitution and Union,” “Vote Down the Constitution and Taxation,” “Down with the one lead party, Bill Steward and the other Politicians, “White Men vote anywhere—Niggers can’t.” At night a huge transparency opposite Stewart’s law office depicted the burial of the constitution [MT in VC 147].

Sam’s article on schools was published in the Enterprise this day or the next [ET&S 1: 333].


January 19 or 20 Wednesday Sam wrote “Letter from Mark Twain,” from Carson City (dated Jan. 14) about schools. The description of “Miss Clapp’s School” is quite similar to the “Examination Evening” scene in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch. 21 [ET&S 1: 333-8].


January 20 Wednesday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—NINTH DAY

Mr. Dean offered a resolution to employ a copying clerk.

Mr. Gillespie offered an amendment requiring the Engrossing and Enrolling Clerks to do this proposed officer’s work. (These two officers are strictly ornamental—have been under wages since the first day of the session—haven’t had anything to do, and won’t for two weeks yet—and now by the eternal, they want some more useless clerical jewelry to dangle to the Legislature. If the House would discharge its extra scribblers, and let the Chief Clerk hire assistance only when he wants it, it seems to me it would be better. —Rep.)

Without considering the appointment of a new jimcrack ornament, and starting his pay six weeks before he goes to work (only thirteen dollars a day), the House adjourned [Smith 141].


The Gold Hill Daily News had been pro-constitution, and with the defeat of the bill, ran an announcement of loss:

The good old ship “Constitution,” Captain Bill Steward, master and George W. Bloor, pilot, will leave the wharf in front of the Bank Exchange, Gold Hill, at sunrise to-morrow morning, for the head of Salt River….Mark Twain is expected to get aboard at Carson City, with the seat of government in his breeches [Fatout, MT in VC 148-9].


January 21 Thursday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—TENTH DAY


Mr. Stewart rose to a question of privilege, and said the ENTERPRISE and Union reporters had been moving Ellen Redman’s toll-bridge from its proper position on the Carson Slough to an illegal one on the Humboldt Slough. (I did that. If Ellen Redman don’t like it, I can move her little bridge back again—but under protest. I waded that Humboldt Slough once, and I have always had a hankering to see a bridge over it since.—Mark.)

The Gold Hill Daily News continued to rib Sam about the election, calling him the “historian of the Hopkins family,” referring to the Dutch Nick massacre hoax. It was a common theme for opposing newspapers [Fatout, MT in VC 149].

Charles F. Browne (Artemus Ward) wrote from Salt Lake City:

      My Dear Mark,—I have been dangerously ill for the past two weeks here, of congestive fever. Very grave fears were for a time entertained of my recovery, but happily the malady is gone, though leaving me very, very weak. I hope to be able to resume my journey in a week or so. I think I shall speak in the Theater here, which is one of the finest establishments of the kind in America.

      The Saints have been wonderfully kind to me, I could not have been better or more tenderly nursed at home—God bless them!

      I am still exceedingly weak—can’t write any more. Love to Jo and Dan, and all the rest. Write me at St. Louis. / Always yours… [MTLP]. Note: Sam’s reply is not extant.


January 23 Saturday Sam responded to a request by Seymour Pixley and G.A. Sears, trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Carson City, to charge a dollar for attendees of the mock “Third House” of the legislature and donate the funds to the church. Sam wrote:

Gentlemen:—Certainly. If the public can find anything in a grave state paper worth paying a dollar for, I am willing they should pay that amount or any other. And although I am not a very dusty christian myself, I take an absorbing interest in religious affairs, and would willingly inflict my annual message upon the church itself if it might derive benefit thereby [MTL 1: 272].

January 25 Monday – Sam spoke to a sold out benefit for the Third House [A. Hoffman 86]. Paine quoted those who attended as Sam’s “greatest effort of his life” [MTB 246; Fatout, MT Speaking 648]. Sam was presented with a gold watch from wealthy Theodore Winters and Alexander W. (Sandy) Baldwin (1835-1869). The engraving read, “To Gov. Mark Twain,” etc. Sam wrote to his sister Pamela on Mar. 18 [MTL 1: 275].

January 26 TuesdayJennie Clemens, eight-year-old daughter of Orion and Mollie, took ill. A. Hoffman cites this as “one day after” Sam’s speech [86]. Note: Fanning claims Jennie was stricken on Jan. 29 [91].

January 27 Wednesday Sam’s “Message to the ‘Third House,’ Delivered in Carson City, 27 January” ran on or about this date in the Enterprise. The paper is lost but the piece was reprinted on Jan. 29 and 30 in two other Virginia City newspapers [Camfield bibliog.]. Sam wrote in HOUSE –SEVENTEENTH DAY, Jan. 28 of the speech:

I delivered that message last night [Jan. 27], but I didn’t talk loud enough—people in the far end of the hall could not hear me. They said “Louder—louder,” occasionally, but I thought that was a way they had—a joke, as it were. I had never talked to a crowd before, and knew none of the tactics of the public speaker…Some folks heard the entire document, though—there is some comfort in that. Hon. Mr. Clagett, Speaker Simmons of the inferior House, Hon. Hal Clayton, Speaker of the Third House, Judge Haydon, Dr. Alban, and others whose opinions are entitled to weight, said they would travel several miles to hear that message again…One of these days, when I get time, I will correct, amend and publish the message, in accordance with a resolution of the Third House ordering 300,000 copies in the various languages spoken at the present day.

P.S.—Sandy Baldwin and Theodore Winters heard that message, anyhow, and by thunder they appreciated it, too. They have spent a hundred dollars apiece to San Francisco this morning, to purchase a watch chain for His Excellency Governor Twain. I guess that is a pretty good result for an incipient oratorical slouch like me, isn’t it? I don’t know that anybody tendered the other Governor a testimonial of any kind. MARK TWAIN [Smith 146-7].


January 29 Friday“Carl” (Clement T. Rice) reported from Carson City to the Virginia City Union about Sam’s speech (now lost) to the burlesque assembly known as the “Third House.”

Last night [Jan. 27] a large and fashionable audience was called out to hear a message delivered by the Mark Two—otherwise called Twain. Indeed, this was the resuscitation of the celebrated Third House, or rip-snorting gymnasium, prepared for the benefit of outsiders who must orate or bust. Hal. Clayton assumed the chair, and the levities spread spontaneously. Mark Two’s message only helped to keep up the effervescing spirit of the good work in behalf of that same, ever-present gaping skeleton of a church. The benefit on this occasion was large—perhaps $200—which will take the institution in out of the weather and hasten its completion very materially [Smith 145-6].

Smith notes that this may have been Sam Clemens’ “first appearance on what seemed to him a public occasion…noteworthy as the beginning of a long and brilliant career as a platform artist” [146].


February 1 MondayOrion and Mollie Clemens only daughter and niece of Sam’s, Jennie, died of cerebrospinal meningitis (“spotted fever.”) [MTL 1: 383].

Sam’s article “Satirical Account of Bill Stewart’s Party” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].

February 3 Wednesday – The Nevada Territorial Legislature adjourned to attend Jennie Clemens’ funeral at 10 AM [MTL 1: 383; Mack 278].


February 5 Friday Sam wrote “Winter’s New House,” published a week later in the Enterprise, along with a second article written this day “An Excellent School” [ET&S 1: 343].

February 6 Saturday Sam wrote to the Territorial Enterprise describing the fierce competition for 72 positions of county notary created by the legislature. “There are seventeen hundred and forty-two applications for notaryships already on file in the Governor’s office.” Sam decided he might as well apply, too. The article, “Concerning Notaries,” appeared in the Enterprise on Feb. 9 and was reprinted in the Golden Era on the 28 [MTL 1: 278n9; Sanborn 224].

February 7 Sunday The New York Mercury ran Sam’s article, “Doings in Nevada” [Powers, MT A Life 134; Camfield bibliog.]. Note: Fatout reports this as “For Sale or to Rent,” a spoof advertising used territorial officials rejected by the voters, and connects this publication to the help of Artemus Ward [MT in VC 131].


February 8 to 15 Monday – Sam and Clement T. Rice reported in “Legislative Proceedings” each day. Some pieces were signed, some not. See Smith, p.153-62 for details.


February 9 Tuesday Sam’s “Letter from Carson,” with “Concerning Notaries” ran in the Enterprise [Walker 67-70].

February 12 Friday Sam’s article, dated Feb. 5, “Winter’s New House,” ran in the Enterprise. It described the Carson City home of Theodore Winters, who had struck it rich in the Ophir vein and became a principal stockholder in the Spanish Mine. Also in the Enterprise was “An Excellent School” [ET&S 1: 339].

February 13 Saturday “Letter from Mark Twain,” Carson City, was published in the Enterprise. The weekly letter, “The Carson Undertaker,” was an attack on the Carson Independent [Smith 159].

February 16 Tuesday “The Removal of the Capital,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Enterprise. [Smith 162]. Note: see also Aug. 17, 1869.


February 21 Sunday – Sam’s sketch “Those Blasted Children,” (written on Jan. 9 and completed during a long night session lasting until 7 AM on Jan. 10) was published in the New York Sunday Mercury [ET&S 1: 348]. Sam’s made-up letter to “Mark Twain” from “Zeb. Leavenworth” contained a “sovereign remedy” for stammering children—sawing off the child’s underjaw. Zeb and Beck Jolly had been Sam’s shipmates on the John J. Roe [MTL 1: 271-2n2].

February 27 Saturday Adah Isaacs Menken (1835?-1868) arrived in Virginia City. In Sept. 1863 Sam saw her in one of her sixty San Francisco performances of Mazeppa, where she rode horseback in nothing but flesh-colored body-tights. Sam wasn’t impressed with her performances. Adah invited Sam to dinner in her hotel room with Dan De Quille and the Bohemian poet Ada Clare (Jane McElhinney, 1836?-1874). Menken’s current husband, her third, poet and dramatic critic Orpheus C. Kerr (Robert H. Newell 1836-1901), was not allowed in the room. The Jewish actress had also been married to John C. Heenan, “Benicia Boy,” the prizefighter, as well as Alexander Isaacs Menken [Benson 94-5].

According to De Quille (this may have been a tall tale) the “evening terminated when Clemens, aiming a kick at one of the actress’s numerous dogs, accidentally ‘hit the Menken’s pet corn, causing her to bound from her seat, throw herself on a lounge and roll and roar in agony’” [MTL 1: 277-8n5; Powers, MT A Life 136].

February 28 Sunday Sam’s recent Enterprise article “Concerning Notaries” was reprinted in the Golden Era as “Washoe Wit Mark Twain on the Rampage” [Walker 67; Camfield bibliog.].


February 29 Monday – In Virginia City, Sam wrote to J.T. Goodman & Co., asking them to pay Orion $150. This may have been money Sam owed Orion [MTL 1: 273].

March 1 Tuesday Governor James Warren Nye (1815-1876) appointed Sam to a two-year term as notary for Storey County [MTL 1: 279n9]. In his Autobiographical Dictation of Apr. 2, 1906 Sam described Nye:

Governor Nye was an old and seasoned politician from New York—politician, not statesman. He had white hair; he was in fine physical condition; he had a winningly friendly face and deep lustrous brown eyes that could talk as a native language the tongue of every feeling, every passion, every emotion. His eyes could out-talk his tongue, and this is saying a good deal, for he was a very remarkable talker, both in private and on the stump. He was a shrewd man; he generally saw through surfaces and perceived what was going on inside without being suspected of having an eye on the matter.

Governor Nye was often absent from the Territory. He liked to run down to San Francisco every little while and enjoy a rest from Territorial civilization. Nobody complained, for he was prodigiously popular. He had been a stage-driver in his early days in New York, and he had acquired the habit of remembering names and faces, and of making himself agreeable to his passengers. As a politician this had been valuable to him, and he kept his arts in good condition by practice. By the time he had been Governor a year, he had shaken hands with every human being in the Territory of Nevada, and after that he always knew these people instantly at sight and could call them by name. The whole population, of twenty thousand persons, were his personal friends, and he could do anything he chose to do and count upon their being contented with it [AMT 2: 4-5]. Note: Nye had been a district attorney and judge in Madison Co. NY, an attorney in Syracuse, and president of the NYC Metropolitan Police Commission; Lincoln appointed him Governor of N.T. in 1861 [458].

March 2 WednesdayMenken and troupe opened at Maguire’s New Opera House. Sam had written a series of reviews including some severe criticism of other companies who performed in Maguire’s Opera House. No doubt he was on hand for Adah Menken’s Virginia City debut. Benson writes, “Every seat in the house had been sold the day previous…as no one wanted to miss seeing the glamorous star” [95]. The show was not a great success due to Adah’s choice of the play The French Spy for opening night, where she wore too many clothes [Fatout, MT in VC 162].


March 3 ThursdayHenry L. Blodgett and Sam. L. Clemens, notaries public, began running advertisements in the Virginia City Evening Bulletin [MTL 1: 279n9].

March 4 to 7 Monday – Sam visited Como, Nevada, near Carson City, purpose unknown. Daniel Martin, a past resident of Hannibal owned a saloon in Como, so it’s likely Sam saw him. He would see him again in the Sandwich Islands, and write about a “learned pig” Martin had. Martin claimed the pig could speak seven languages! [MTL 1: 340n3].


March 6 Sunday – Sam was “an associate, apparently in a sort of unofficial advisory capacity” for The Weekly Occidental, a new literary paper published by Thomas Fitch and Co. This was an ambitious journal that may have had as many as seven editions. The first five, from Mar. 6 to Apr. 3, 1864 [RI UC 1993 explanatory notes 678]. The contributors were Joe Goodman, Dan De Quille, Dr. R. Eichler, Fitch and Rollin Daggett. It was once thought the publication had only one issue. Fatout describes the publication and its contributors, and writes that Sam was to be in the second issue [MT in VC 169-175]. The “memory of the lost Occidental” is mentioned in Roughing It.

Sam’s mother, Jane Clemens wrote from St. Louis to Sam and Orion “To my dear children”. Pamela Moffett also wrote to Sam.

From Jane: “Mrs. Kerchivel [sic Kercheval, Helen] from Hannibal spent the day here last week…She wished to be remembered to you all. You have the sympathy of all of your friends as much as any person I ever saw. Jennie was an uncommon smart child she was a very handsome child but I never thought you would raise her, she was a heaven born child, she was two [sic] good for this world.” She also wrote of persons there, & that Dr Meredith died 3 hours before Mrs Rose.


From Pamela: “We rec’d your letter post-marked Feb 6st two or three days after Orion’s post-marked 9st. We thought it strange that you would write to Artemas [sic] Ward, and not to us.” She encouraged Sam to turn to Christ. Also wished he would come to the Fair, and spoke of gifts intended to send to the late Jennie Clemens [MTP].

March 7 Monday – By this date, Adah Menken was giving the miners what they wanted and what had built her reputation, Mazeppa, where she rode a steed up an incline in flesh colored tights which left little to the imagination. That is, Adah wore the tights, not the steed. Fatout writes: “Julie Bulette, the highly esteemed madam, regal in sables, occupied a stage box. Joe Goodman went all out in unrestrained praise…” [MT in VC 162].


March 8 TuesdayDan De Quille paid Daggett & Myers $75 toward rent owed with Sam [Mack 246].


March 10, ThursdayJoseph Alfred Slade (Jack) was hanged at Bannock City, Idaho [RI UC 1993 587].

March 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to sister Pamela and sent a drawing he made of himself for his niece, Annie Moffett. He wrote about Joe Goodman going to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii): “I wanted to go with Joe, but the news-editor was expecting every day to get sick (he has since accomplished it,) & we could not all leave at once.” Sam also wrote of the gold watch he’d received at the meeting of the Third House of the legislature on Jan. 25 [MTL 1: 275].

March 27 Sunday Sam’s article “Those Blasted Children” ran in the Golden Era [Walker 18].


March 31 ThursdayAdah Menken “suddenly left Virginia without saying goodbye to anybody, and returned to San Francisco.” Of course, she had $36,000 worth of comfort plus gifts of stock certificates bearing a naked lady on a galloping stallion, which she sold a year later for $50,000 [Fatout, MT in VC 167]. She died in 1868 at age 33.


April 1 Friday “Another Traitor – Hang Him!” a hoax article in the Enterprise is attributed to Sam [Fatout, MT in VC 180]. Also printed in the Evening Bulletin on Apr. 1 as “Another Goak” [Camfield bibliog.].

April 14 Thursday – Sam wrote to Orion, resigning his commission as a notary public for Storey County [MTL 1: 279n9]. No reason was given, but this work was similar to the scraps of work and fees his father, John Marshall Clemens, had sought, and so by association, Sam may have concluded the small fees were not worth the effort. Noted on the letter for Apr. 15 is Orion’s acceptance.

April 16 Saturday – Sam and Dan De Quille had been taking fencing lessons from Professor O. V. Chauvel, who ran a gymnasium at 12 North C Street [Mack 251]. The Gold Hill Daily News ran an article about their fencing expertise:

It would appear that our two friends, Mark Twain and Dan De Quille, have little faith in the old saying that the pen is mightier than the sword, as they are taking lessons daily in the latter weapon. It is said to be highly amusing to witness these two “roosters,” they sometimes get so terribly in earnest. Then do their blades describe wicked circles, and their nostrils breath forth wrath. We understand that Dan came out of one of these conflicts minus several buttons and one shirtsleeve, and that Twain was in an almost equally dilapidated state [251].


April 1724 Sunday Sam’s item in the Enterprise Local Column was “Missionaries Wanted.” This humorous drubbing of two locals in a fictional scene was typical of Sam’s barbs for those he wanted to deflate. Such reports won him the title of “wild and unpredictable humorist.”

Yesterday morning [John] Gashwiler and Charley Funck, citizens of Virginia City and of the Territory of Nevada, and officers of the great Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company, came rushing into our office in a state of excitement bordering on lunacy… [Note: John W. Gashwiler (1831-1883) “Old Gash”]

What followed was the pair demanding that an article in another newspaper be read, the article being only verses from the book of John in the Bible.

When men get so far gone that they do not know the Sermon on the Mount from a bid for a water franchise, it is time for them to begin reform and stop taking chances on the hereafter [ET&S 1: 424-5].

April 19 TuesdayRuel Colt Gridley (1829-1870), an “old schoolfellow of Mark Twain’s” and owner of the Gridley Store in Austin, made a wager on the outcome of a city election, with the loser having to carry a fifty-pound sack of flour from Austin to Clifton, a mile and a quarter’s distance [Fatout, MT in VC 186]. Note: the next day the process began which led to the great flour sack promotions for the Sanitary Fund, a forerunner of the American Red Cross (See May 17 entry.)

April 20 Wednesday “Frightful Accident to Dan De Quille,” was printed in the Territorial Enterprise. Branch called this sketch “in Mark Twain’s best vein–a typical product of the mutual raillery he carried on with De Quille, resembling his earlier ‘feuds’ with the Unreliable” [ET&S 1: 359].

April 22 Friday – In his Autobiography, Sam wrote of his attempt at a duel with James L. Laird, editor of the Virginia City Union and how it all came about:

…inasmuch as it was the 22d of April, 1864, the next morning it would be the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday—and what better theme could I want than that? I got the Cyclopaedia and examined it, and found out who Shakespeare was and what he had done, and I borrowed all that and laid it before a community that couldn’t have been better prepared for instruction about Shakespeare than if they had been prepared by art. There wasn’t enough of what Shakespeare had done to make an editorial of the necessary length, but I filled it out with what he hadn’t done—which in many respects was more important and striking and readable than the handsomest things he had really accomplished. But next I was in trouble again. There was no more Shakespeares to work up. There was nothing in past history, or in the world’s future possibilities, to make an editorial out of suitable to that community; so there was but one theme left. That theme was Mr. Laird, proprietor of the Virginia Union [MTA 1: 354-5]. Note: It’s doubtful that Sam needed to “look up” Shakespeare by this time.


April 24 Sunday ca. – Sam got his nose bloodied by George F. Dawson at Chauvel’s Fencing Club, a Virginia City gymnasium. Dawson, an Englishman, at the time an assistant editor at the Enterprise, was a skilled boxer [Mack 252; Fatout, MT in VC 184]. Sam clowned around with a pair of boxing gloves, but evidently Dawson thought Sam was threatening, so uncorked a punch to Sam’s unguarded nose. De Quille claimed a “plentiful flow of claret” and a nose “like an egg-plant” that supposedly embarrassed Sam enough for him to take an out of town assignment for the newspaper. Branch says this happened “shortly before Apr. 25” [ET&S 1: 358]. Sam volunteered for an assignment to Silver Mountain (in Alpine County, Calif.) to escape the embarrassing teasing his appearance received [ET&S 1: 358].

April 26 Tuesday ca. – Sam left for Silver Mountain to report on mining activity there and to allow his swollen nose to recede for a couple of days.

April 2830 Saturday  “Letter from Mark Twain” from Carson City, was published in the Enterprise.

“I depart for Silver Mountain in the Esmeralda stage at 7 o’clock to-morrow morning. It is the early bird that catches the worm, but I would not get up at that time in the morning for a thousand worms, if I were not obliged to. MARK TWAIN”[Smith 178].

April 30 Saturday – A fragment of Sam’s Enterprise piece about De Quille survives:


The idea of a plebeian like Dan supposing he could ever ride a horse! He! why, even the cats and the chickens laughed when they saw him go by. Of course, he would be thrown off. Of course, any well-bred horse wouldn’t let a common, underbred person like Dan stay on his back! When they gathered him up he was just a bag of scraps, but they put him together, and you’ll find him at his old place in the Enterprise office next week, still laboring under the delusion that he’s a newspaper man [ET&S 1: 364].

The Enterprise item about Gashwiler and Funck was reprinted in the Amador, California, Weekly Ledger [Fatout, MT Speaks 16-7].

May Sometime during May, Sam’s article “Burlesque Life of Shakespeare” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].

May 1 Sunday Sam’s article “Mark Twain and Dan De Quille / Hors de Combat” ran in the Golden Era [Walker 50]. This was essentially a reprint from the Enterprise of “Frightful Accident of Dan De Quille” [Camfield bibliog.].

May 115 Sunday “Washoe—‘Information Wanted’” was printed sometime in the first two weeks of May, and reprinted in the Golden Era on May 22. Branch opines that Sam was disenchanted by this point with Silver-Land, principally over the scandal with the ladies of Carson City and the contributions to the Sanitary Fund with the Virginia Union. The sketch is hyperbole about Nevada that Branch calls an “appropriate farewell” [ET&S 1: 365].

Nevada was discovered many years ago by the Mormons, and was called Carson county. It only became Nevada in 1861, by act of Congress. There is a popular tradition that God Almighty created it; but when you come to see it, William, you will think differently. Do not let that discourage you, though. The country looks something like a singed cat, owing to the scarcity of shrubbery, and also resembles that animal in the respect that it has more merits than its personal appearance would seem to indicate [ET&S 1: 368].

May 5 Thursday The Sanitary Fancy Dress Ball was held in Carson City in connection with the St. Louis Fair (a larger Sanitary charity event to help the Union wounded veterans).

May 15 Sunday – The first meeting in Virginia City for the “Sanitary Fund” was trumpeted from the Virginia City Union:

To-day, at 2 o’clock, the long deferred mammoth Sanitary meeting will be held at the Opera House. The announcement ought to fill the house, but when it is remembered that sweet singers, eloquent orators, pretty ladies, and a fine brass band will be in attendance, who can stay away? Turn out for the honor of Nevada! [Benson 106]. Note: the Enterprise no doubt ran similar fare.


May 16 Monday Joe Goodman was again away from Virginia City, and Sam was in editorial charge of the Enterprise [Benson 107]. Sam drafted a “joke” about the funds for the Carson City Ball going to a miscegenation society back East. He showed it to De Quille, who agreed with Sam that it shouldn’t be printed. Sam later guessed the foreman, needing filler, picked it up and printed it [Powers, MT A Life 137].

Sam’s article, “History of the Gold and Silver Bars—How They Do Things in Washoe,” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].

May 17 Tuesday – In Virginia City, Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister Pamela about raising money for relief of sick and wounded Union soldiers, called the “sanitary fund.” The Enterprise and the Union bid against each other to raise funds. Sam related Reuel Colt Gridley’s efforts at hauling a flour sack from town to town for the people to bid on as a means of raising funds. This letter was published (and it appears written for publication) in an unidentified St. Louis newspaper [MTL 1: 281-287].

Sam’s article “Grand Austin Sanitary Flour-Sack Progress through Storey and Lyon Counties” ran in the Enterprise on or about this date (reprinted, Evening Bulletin May. 19) [Camfield bibliog.].

Sam’s “joke” appeared in the Enterprise. In an editorial Sam wrote while “not sober” he claimed that the money raised at the Sanitary Fancy Dress Ball in Carson City was to be sent “to aid a Miscegenation Society somewhere in the East.”

May 18 Wednesday – Sam’s EDITORIAL “How Is It?” ran in the Enterprise:

How is it that The Union outbid us for the flour Monday night and now repudiate their bid?
How it is that Union employees refused to pay their subscriptions when they fell due? Did they pledge themselves for a big amount solely to make a bigger display than The Enterprise
? Had they any other idea than to splurge?

[Schmidt: reprinted in The Saga of the Comstock Lode, George D. Lyman, (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957), p. 294, quoting Virginia City Daily Union, May 19, 1864].

An unsigned article “Travels and Fortunes of the Great Austin Sack of Flour” attributed to Sam also ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].


May 19 Thursday Four ladies on the Carson City Sanitary Ball Committee drafted a letter of protest to the Enterprise over Sam’s miscegenation editorial. Joe Goodman, back at his desk, tried to ignore the uproar [Powers, MT A Life 138].

May 20 Friday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to his sister in law, Mollie Clemens, explaining and apologizing for the appearance of the “joke” of May 17. Sam’s confessed he was not sober when he wrote the miscegenation editorial, and had never intended it to be published. He theorized that after sharing it with Dan De Quille he left it in the office and the foreman found it, thinking it was to be published [MTL 1: 287-290].

Another Enterprise editorial continuing the feud with the Union is attributed to Sam [Schmidt].

“Anticipating the Gridley Flour-Sack History” attributed to Sam ran on or about this date in the Enterprise (reprinted May 26 Evening Bulletin) [Camfield bibliog.].

May 21 Saturday – The Virginia Daily Union reacted to the “libelous article” in the Enterprise signed anonymously by “CITIZEN.” Sam’s humor was too raw for these folks, and a full-blown scandal was on. In a further squabble over each newspaper’s contribution to the Sanitary fund, Sam was called “an unmitigated liar, a poltroon and a puppy” in the pages of the Virginia Daily Union. On this same day, Sam wrote to James L. Laird, a partner in the publishers of the Union, demanding a public retraction “of the insulting articles I have mentioned, or satisfaction.”

James L. Laird of the Virginia Daily Union answered Sam:

…in short, Mr. Wilmington has prior claim upon your attention. When he is through with you, I shall be at your service. If you decline to meet him after challenging him, you will prove yourself to be what he has charged you with being: “a liar, a poltroon and a puppy,” and as such, cannot of course be entitled to the consideration of a gentleman [MTL 1: 294].

Not satisfied with this reply shifting blame to J.W. Wilmington, Sam wrote Laird a second note:

In the columns of your paper you have declared your own responsibility for all articles appearing in it, and any farther attempt to make a catspaw of any other individual and thus shirk your responsibility that you had previously assumed will show that you are a cowardly sneak. I now peremptorily demand of you the satisfaction due to a gentleman—without alternative.

Sam sent a third letter, in ever-stronger terms, at 9 PM, demanding satisfaction [MTL 1: 290-2].

J.W. Wilmington wrote to Sam, stating flatly “I have nothing to retract” [MTL 1: 292; MTPO].


May 22 Sunday Sam’s article “Washoe” was published in the Golden Era [Walker 54].

May 23 Monday Sam wrote Ellen G. Cutler (Mrs. William K. Cutler), president of the Carson City Sanitary Ball committee his apologies for the unintended printing of the “joke.” Sam wrote, “I address a lady, in every sense of the term” [MTL 1: 296].

James L. Laird of the Virginia Daily Union wrote again answering Sam [MTL 1: 295].

May 24 Tuesday – Sam printed under the title “Miscegenation,” an article in the Enterprise explained the hoax with an apology to the ladies of Carson City. Sam also printed all of his letters in the scrape with the Union, plus those of Laird, Wilmington, and Gillis in the Enterprise, numbering them I through VII (See Smith 191-6 for text). He then called Laird a coward, liar and a fool. In 1872 Sam claimed that a duel was averted when Steve Gillis (Stephen Edward Gillis; 1838-1918) during pistol practice, shot the head off a sparrow and conned Laird’s seconds that Sam had done it [MTL 1: 296]. Note: This story has the ring of fiction.

Sam’s “Personal Correspondence” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.]. Note: this is probably the above mentioned.

May 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to Orion and Mollie. Orion had been appointed president of the Ormsby County sanitary committee, and Sam wrote, “I am mighty sick of that fund…” Sam expressed a desire for the whole controversy to go away [MTL 1: 298].

Charles P. Pope (1832-1899), actor & theatrical manager, wrote to Sam, sending a trout he caught in Lake Tahoe. The letter itself is not extant but Walter Leman wrote of it in Memories of an Old Actor (1866):That splendid trout was boxed up and sent to Mark Twain, for the delectation of the newspaper fellows of the Enterprise, with a letter from Charley Pope, and I fully believe that he told them he caught it; if he did I forgive him…” [MTP].


May 26 Thursday – Sam wrote Orion asking for $200:

…if you can spare it comfortably. However, never mind—you can send it to San Francisco if you prefer. Steve [Gillis]  & I are going to the States. We leave Sunday morning per Henness Pass. Say nothing about it of course. We are not afraid of the grand jury, but Washoe has long since grown irksome to us, & we want to leave it anyhow.

His letter also stated that they wished to stay in San Francisco a month [MTL 1: 299]. The two flaps over the Sanitary fund had soured Sam on Virginia City. The Henness Pass route did not go through Carson City, where some folks were not placated by Sam’s apologies. It was time for Sam to move on. That Sam asked Orion for money reveals his strong desire to leave, and also the up and down nature of his finances while in Virginia City. He’d sent hundreds home, banked thousands, but had to borrow money when he left town. The Virginia Daily Union ran the Carson City Ladies’ Letter of protest for three days [Powers, MT A Life 138].

May 28 Saturday – Sam wrote William K. Cutler in receipt of his challenge to a duel.  “Having made my arrangements—before I received your note—to leave for California, & having no time to fool away on a common bummer like you, I want an immediate reply to this” [MTL 1: 301].


Note: Cutler had come up from Carson City and Steve Gillis placated him and convinced him to leave town. In some accounts it has been erroneously given that Sam Clemens ran from a duel, the reason for his leaving Virginia City. Examination of these letters and news accounts prove otherwise. Sam was still the same man who “pounded” Pilot William Brown.

In San Francisco the first issue of the Californian appeared, with Charles Henry Webb (1834-1905) as editor and publisher, and Francis Bret Harte as chief contributor. Webb wrote under the pseudonyms of Inigo and John Paul. A note about Sam’s controversy with Laird of the Union was mentioned [Benson 118]. See also AMT 2: 484 for more on Webb.

May 29 Sunday – Sam, Joe Goodman, and Steve Gillis left Virginia City for San Francisco. Goodman wrote to Paine in 1911 that he’d intended to ride only a short way with the pair, but that the company was “too good and I kept clear on to San Francisco[MTL 1: 302].

May 30 Monday – Sam and Steve Gillis settled at the Occidental Hotel.


JuneJuly In a few weeks Sam and Steve would move from the more expensive Occidental to cheaper rooms, but they continued to take meals at the Occidental, where the food was great and the company stimulating. There Sam met and enjoyed Martha Hunter Hitchcock, wife of Dr. Charles McPhail Hitchcock (1813?-1885), medical director for the Army of the Pacific. Martha was a regular contributor to the Alta California and active in local literary circles. She introduced Sam to her literary circle, which included: Ina Coolbrith (1841-1928), Bret (Francis) Harte (1836-1902), Ambrose G. Bierce (1842-1914?), Fitz Hugh Ludlow (1836-1870), Joe Lawrence (editor of The Golden Era), Charles H. Webb (1834-1905; founder of The Californian), and Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909), young friend of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). Stoddard wrote poetry for the Era under the name Pip Pepperwood [Rasmussen 444]. In London years later, Sam would hire Stoddard because he admired his character and his piano playing [Sanborn 243-4].

Dr. & Mrs. Hitchcock had an 18-year-old daughter, Lillie (Eliza Wychie Hitchcock 1843-1929), a cross-dressing, cigar smoking, poker-playing girl who, on a dare, rode a cowcatcher on the Napa railroad. Sam was fascinated by Lillie, and spent many hours with her.

“She was a brilliant talker…It always seemed funny to me that she & I could be friends, but we were—I suppose because under all her wild & repulsive foolery, that warm heart of her would show.”

Note: Sam would later sketch a character, “Hellfire” after Lillie in an unfinished work, and also the character of Shirley Tempest in the 1877 play of Ah Sin, in collaboration with Bret Harte [Sanborn 245].

June, Mid – Sam wrote his Territorial Enterprise readers that the Occidental was “ ‘Heaven on the half shell’ – a welcome respite from the sagebrush and desolation of Washoe” [MTL 1: 302].

June 6 Monday – Sam secured employment as a local reporter for the San Francisco Morning Call at forty dollars a week [Branch, C of Call 16]. His duties included local news, public meetings, and local theater productions. His hours were long and irregular. He wrote candidly about the racial and social injustices he saw, particularly about the Chinese. These articles were censored or discarded by the paper’s conservative editor, but many were printed by the Enterprise. Sam would grow bored with the job and considered an offer as a government pilot on the Mississippi at $300 a month [MTL 1: 302; MT Encyclopedia, McFatter 652-3]. Steve Gillis got a job as a typographer at the Evening Bulletin [Sanborn 243].

June 7 Tuesday A local item in the Call, “Burglar Arrested” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].


June 11 Saturday A local item in the Call, “Another Chapter in the Marks Family History” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].


June 12 Sunday Sam gave a presentation speech at Maguire’s Opera House in San Francisco to Major Edward C. Perry, who had raised the Aquila, sunk at a city pier [Fatout, MT Speaking 1-3]. A local item in the Call, “Beasts in the Semblance of Men” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].

June 13 Monday Sam’s piece, titled “Parting Presentation,” about the presentation of a cane to Major Edward C. Perry, ran on the front page of the Alta California. This was Sam’s first signed publication following his move from Nevada [ET&S 2: 5]. Emerson observes the speech “was intended to be amusing; ‘Mark Twain’ was clearly a humorist” [24].

June 15 Wednesday A local item in the Call, “Petty Police Court Transactions” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].

June 1723 Thursday The article “‘Mark Twain’ in the Metropolis” was probably first printed sometime between these dates in the Territorial Enterprise, copies of which were lost [ET&S 2: 9]. (See June 26 entry)

The Morning Call

Sam’s stay at the Morning Call was from June 7 to Oct. 11, 1864. As the primary local reporter during these four months, it is estimated the Call published approximately 5,400 local items, ranging from one-sentence notices to lengthy articles. Listed here are 471 items, from Clemens of the Call, by Edgar Branch, [24] attributed to Sam. Local items were not signed, yet for a great part of this period Branch believes Sam was the only local reporter (though Sam limited his hours at one point, so this is not clear, nor it is clear how much local material others contributed.) Certainly after Sept. 17 (see entry) other reporters were used. Editors may have also written some items. In 1906 Sam remembered his position as the sole city reporter.

The paper had increased circulation to about 10,000 from its beginnings in December 1856, the largest of any daily. James J. Ayers (1830-1897) and George E. Barnes (d.1897) were the primary owners when Sam applied for work. The newspaper was called “The Washerwoman’s Paper,” since it was the cheapest daily (every day except Monday) at 12 & ½ cents per week. It consisted of four eight-column pages, 18 ½ by 23 ½ inches. The Alta California and the Bulletin sold at 50 cents per week. Sam took the job to get a stake together, and almost from the beginning he hated the drudgery of routine and the late working hours. There was not the freedom of the Territorial Enterprise. After four months, Sam was let go [24].

From TwainQuotes, Barbara Schmidt’s website: “It is safe to speculate that there are many, many more articles by Twain that were written for the Call that are not listed—articles that are simple and mundane daily news reports—often one sentence in length—that do not have the ‘snap’ that is often an unmistakable characteristic of Twain’s authorship. That spectacular Twain ‘snap’ was often an emotional release fired off amidst the drudgery of a job that Twain himself described as ‘killingly monotonous and wearisome . . . fearful drudgery, soulless drudgery, and almost destitute of interest.’ (Twain’s reminiscences of his work on the Call appear in Mark Twain in Eruption, p. 254-260.)”


June 21 Tuesday A local item in the Call, “Short-Hand Law Reporter” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].

June 23 Thursday A local item in the Call, “Another of Them” is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].

June 25 Saturday Two local items in the Call, “A Trip to Cliff House,” and “Charge Against a Police Officer,” are attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].


June 26 Sunday Sam’s articles, “In the Metropolis,” and “ The Evidence in the Case of Smith vs Jones,” were published in the Golden Era [Walker 77; ET&S 2: 13]. This latter article was an early experiment with reliance on dialogue, dramatic narrative, and rhythm of dialect.

June 28 Tuesday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Hackmen Arrested,” “Accessions to the Ranks of the Dashaways,” “Missionaries Wanted for San Francisco,” “Board of Supervisors,” “Charges Against a Police Officer,” (About Lewis P. Ward) “Swill Peddlers” [Branch, C of Call 289].


June 29 Wednesday Two local items in the Call, “The Kahn of Tartary,” and “Police Court” are attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].

June 30 Thursday Two local items in the Call, “Municipal Records,” and “The Sacrilegious Hack-Driver,” are attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 289].


July 1 Friday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Old Thing,” “House at Large,” “School Children’s Rehearsal,” “Police Commissioners,” and “More Steamship Suits Brewing” [Branch, C of Call 289].


July 2 Saturday – The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Policeman Suspended,” “The Swindle Case,” “Chance for the Hotels,” and “Stole a Shirt” [Branch, C of Call 289].

July 3 Sunday Sam’s article “Early Rising, As Regards Excursions to the Cliff House” was published in the Golden Era. The piece is “manifestly an attempt to elaborate the experience of his own recent trip into a humorous, essentially literary sketch” [Walker 83; ET&S 2: 22].

The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Secesh Highwaymen,” “Theatrical Record. City,” “Nabbed,” “Young Thieves,” and “Those Thieves” [Branch, C of Call 289-90].

July 4 Monday Sam’s “Original Novelette,” an imitation of John Phoenix in a form popularized by Bret Harte and Charles Webb, was published in the Call [Wilson 195; ET&S 2: 31].

The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

      “A Sheep-Stealer Caught,” “Original Novelette,” and “An ‘Altagraph’,” [Branch, C of Call 290].

Dan De Quille paid $40 to Daggett & Myers  toward rent owed with Sam [Mack 246].


July 6 Wednesday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Shirt Stealing,” “Fourth of July,” “The Racing Stock in the Procession,” and “Banner Presentation” [Branch, C of Call 290].


July 7 Thursday “Homicide—Coroner’s Inquest,” in the Call is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 290].


July 8 Friday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Swill Music,” “Arrested for Bigamy,” “Insane,” “En Route,” and “The Bigamist” [Branch, C of Call 290].

July 9 Saturday – The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Buglary—The Burglar Caught in the Act,” “Break in the Water Works,” “Opium Smugglers,” “Young Offender,” “United States Circuit Court,” and “The Bigamist” [Branch, C of Call 290].

July 10 Sunday The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Green-back Theft,” and “The Bigamist” [Branch, C of Call 290].


July 12 Tuesday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Police Court Testimony,” “United States Circuit Court,” “Astounding Cheek,” “Chinese Slaves,” and “The Bigamy Case” [Branch, C of Call 290].

July 13 Wednesday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Its Opponents,” “Insane,” “New Board Rooms,” and “Board of Education” [Branch, C of Call 290].


July 14 Thursday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Calaboose Theatricals,” “Not Insane,” “A Wife-Smasher in Limbo,” “Runaway,” and “Inspection of Fortifications” [Branch, C of Call 290].


July 15 Friday – Sam wrote to William Wright (Dan De Quille) from the Occidental Hotel, San Francisco. He asked Dan to get George Dawson to send Sam money owed. He then related hilarious impressions of himself and Steve by the landlady at the Occidental, about a visitor who’d gone there to find the pair, but they’d moved on. Sam noted that a famous actor had left for the Sandwich Islands, which may have continued to pull Sam’s imagination [MTL 1: 304]. The article “Disposed of” in the Call is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 290].

July 16 Saturday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The ‘Coming of Man’ Has arrived,” “Moses in the Bulrushes Again,” “A Gross Outrage,” “The Comanche,” and “Remarkable Clock” [Branch, C of Call 290-1].

July 17 Sunday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Independent Candidate for Stockton,” “More Cigar Smoking,” “The County Prison,” “Progress of the Camanche—the Libel,” “Juvenile Criminals,” and “Two Infernally Accommodating” [Branch, C of Call 291].

July 19 Tuesday – The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Assault,” “ Real del Monte,” “Camanche Matters,” “Police Court,” and “State Prisoners” [Branch, C of Call 291].


July 20 Wednesday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “A Stage Robber Amongst Us,” “The Poetic Rabies,” “Police Court,” and “Police Appelants” [Branch, C of Call 291].


July 21 Thursday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Police Applicants,” “Amazonian Pastimes,” “More Young Thieves,” “Attempted Mayhem,” and “Detective Rose Again” [Branch, C of Call 291].

July 22 Friday – The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“The Boss Earthquake,” “The Police Court Besieged,” “Good Effects of a High Tariff,” “Rough on Keating,” “A Scene at the Police Court—The Hostility of Color,” “First Regiment Election,” “Arrest of a Secesh Bishop,” and “Astonishing Freak of Nature” [Branch, C of Call 291].


July 23 Saturday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Demoralizing Young Girls,” “Rape,” “The Nose-Biter,” “Oh! That Mine Enemy Would Make a Speech!,” “Discharged,” and “False Pretenses” [Branch, C of Call 291].


July 24 Sunday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Startling!—The Latest General Order,” “Obscene-Picture Dealers,” “A Merited Penalty,” “The ‘Nina Tilden’,” and “Police Court Doings” [Branch, C of Call 291].

July 26 Tuesday The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Vending Obscene Pictures,” “Lewd Merchandise,” and “ Concerning Hackmen” [Branch, C of Call 292].

July 27 Wednesday The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Family Jar,” “Bail Forfeited,” and “Police Court[Branch, C of Call 292].


July 28 Thursday The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Munificent Donation,” and “Sliding Scale of Assault and Battery” [Branch, C of Call 292].


July 29 Friday The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Obscene Information,” and “On a Pleasure Trip” [Branch, C of Call 292].


July 30 Saturday The following ten local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Trot Her Along,” “More Sanitary Molasses,” “Washoe Mining Festivals,” “ Mrs. O’Farrell,” “The Sinking Ship Deserted,” “Caving In,” “ “Emancipation Celebration,” “End of the Rape Case,” “Police Court,” and “After Sundries” [Branch, C of Call 292].

July 31 Sunday The following ten local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“The Camanche,” “Disgusted and Gone,” “Burglary,” “Custom House Resignations,” “Dr. Bellows Safe,” “Go to the Sea-Side,” “Another Lazarus,” “County Jail Addition,” “One Day for Reflection,” and “Police Court[Branch, C of Call 292].

August 2 Tuesday The following seven local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Somber Festivities,” “Relieved,” Enlisted for the War,” “Fall of a Flag-staff,” “Assault to Kill,” “Refused Greenbacks,” and “Board of Supervisors” [Branch, C of Call 292].

August 3 Wednesday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Runaway,” “Democratic Meeting at Hayes’ Park,” “More Stage Robbers and Their Confederates Captured,” “Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire,” “A Movement in the Buckeye,” and “Attempted Suicide” [Branch, C of Call 292-3].


August 4 Thursday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Otium Cum Dignitate,” “Recovered,” “A Long Fast for Poor Dame Partlet,” “The Tournament,” “Police Calendar,” and “Fruit Swindling” [Branch, C of Call 293].


August 5 Friday The following nine local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Soldier Murdered by a Monomaniac,” “Misfortune Gobbleth the Lovely,” “Gentle Julia, Again,” “Gridley,” “Still Going,” “For Seal Rock and the Cliff House,” “Observing the Day,” “Almost an Item,” and “For Gambling” [Branch, C of Call 293].

August 6 Saturday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Another Obscene Picture Knave Captured, etc.,” “The Fitzgerald Inquest,” “Attention, Hackmen,” “Police Drill,” “Judicial Strategy,” and “Arrested for Theft” [Branch, C of Call 293].


August 7 Sunday The following nine local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Attempted Suicide,” “The Makee Molasses,” “The People’s Excursion,” “To Be Mended,” “Forfeited Bail,” “Locked Up,” “Row Among the Doctors,” “A Dead Dog Case,” and “Shop Lifting” [Branch, C of Call 293].

August 9 Tuesday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Distinguished Arrivals,” “Assault by a House,” “Escaped,” and “Mysterious” [Branch, C of Call 293].

August 10 Wednesday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Our U.S. Branch Mint,” “They Got Her Out,” “Intelligence Office Row,” “The Murderer Kennedy—A Question of Jurisdiction,” “It Was True,” “Collision,” “A New Star,” and “Board of Education” [Branch, C of Call 293-4].

August 11 Thursday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Police Judge’s Budget,” “Meteoric,” “Small Business,” “An Accumulation of Copperheads,” and “Young Celestial Derelicts” [Branch, C of Call 294].

August 12 Friday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother. Sam had joined the San Francisco Olympic Club and praised the blessings of exercise, saying it has added twenty years to his life. Sam commented about his article, “What a Sky-Rocket Did,” printed in the Call on this date. The article is another hoax, this time about a rocket crashing through a tenement roof, at the expense of a former member of the city’s board of supervisors, William Crawley Hinckley [MTL 1: 305-6].


Branch writes that Lewis P. Ward (“Little Ward”; d.1905) was “probably…responsible for Clemens” joining the Olympic Club. “Ward was a compositor for the Alta California and a “well known gymnast” [C of the Call 223]. In his June 12, 1906 A.D. Clemens dictated that Ward was a compositor for the San Francisco Morning Call:


…and he used to go with little Steve Gillis and me to the beer saloons in Montgomery street when work was over, at two o’clock in the morning, and where I used to sit around till dawn and have a restful, pleasant time, while little Ward and Steve—weighing ninety-five pounds each—good-naturedly picked quarrels with any strangers over their size who seemed to need entertainment, and they always thrashed those strangers with their fists. I never knew them to suffer a defeat. [AMT 2:113].

Four other local articles were also in the Call and attributed to Sam: “Sanitary Fund,” “War of the Fruit Dealers,” “School Children’s Rehearsal,” and “Growing” [Branch, C of Call 294].


August 13 and 14 Sunday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to Orion and Mollie. He copied part of his letter of Aug. 12 to his mother, and made light of it [MTL 1: 307]. Sam and Steve Gillis, with six other newspapermen, took the 8:30 AM train for San Jose, which at that time was about the same size as Hannibal. After drinks at the Continental Hotel, the group strolled the streets of San Jose. After lunch at the hotel, the group hired buggies and rode twelve miles to Warm Springs, a spot where well-to-do San Franciscans took rest. There they had dinner and spent hours in the bar [Sanborn 247]. ET&S 2: 49 gives the party’s number as “eight newspapermen and Lewis Leland, proprietor of the Occidental Hotel”. Note: Lewis Leland (1834-1897).

The following eight local articles for Aug. 13 in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Dr. Bellows’ Address Last Evening,” “A Drunken Duodecemvirate,” “More of the Fine Arts and Police Literature,” “Billy the Boatman,” “Fruiterers Fined,” “Sundries,” “The Camanche,” and “Won’t You Walk Into My Parlor” [Branch, C of Call 294].


The following three local articles for Aug. 14 in the Call are attributed to Sam: “A Hotel Thief Arrested,” “Another Clothing Thief,” and “The Washoe Convention” [Branch, C of Call 294].

August 16 Tuesday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“The Hotel Thief,” “Lively Times at the Bella Union,” “An Ill-advised Prosecution,” “A Sharp Woman,” “Rival Water Companies,” “Enlargement of the Spleen,” “Manes of an Old Ejectment Laid,” and “An Unprofitable Operation” [Branch, C of Call 294].

August 17 Wednesday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Aggravating a Pawnbroker,” “School Director Pope and the Call,” “Judge Shepheard’s School of Discipline,” “Conjugal Infelicity,” “A Peace-Maker,” and “The Bella Union Imbrogilo” [Branch, C of Call 294].


August 18 Thursday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Washoe Congressional Gossip,” “Daring Attempt to Assassinate a Pawnbroker in Broad Daylight!,” “Man Run Over,” “The Soap Factory Nuisance,” “Fire at Hayes’ Valley,” “Launch of the New Stockton Steamer,” “Insolent Hackmen,” and “Damages for Personal Injury” [Branch, C of Call 294-5].


August 19 Friday Four sketches appeared in the Morning Call while Sam was working there as a local reporter. They are unsigned but were in his scrapbooks and were publicly attributed to Sam by Albert S. Evans (d.1872), who was the object of ridicule in the last two sketches. The first of these was, “The New Chinese Temple.” For the other three sketches see Aug. 21, 23, and 24 entries [ET&S 2: 38; Branch, Clemens 295]. Two other local items in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Wounded Boy,” and “Who Goes with the Money?” [Branch, C of Call 295].

August 20 Saturday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Who Lost Them,” “The Same Subject Continued,” “A Revolutionary Patriot,” “More Abuse of Sailors,” “Suit Against a Mining Superintendent,” and “Mary Kane” [Branch, C of Call 295].

August 21 Sunday The second of Sam’s four sketches was printed in the Call, “The Chinese Temple.” Four other local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Arms Taken in Charge by the Authorities,” “False Rumor,” “Still Improving,” and “It is the Daniel Webster” [Branch, C of Call 295].


August 23 Tuesday The third of Sam’s four sketches was printed in the Call, “The New Chinese Temple.” Six other local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “No Earthquake,” “Inexplicable News from San Jose,” “Camanche Items—Sanitary Contributions,” “Rain,” “Board of Supervisors,” and “Sentenced Yesterday” [Branch, C of Call 295].


August 24 Wednesday The fourth of Sam’s four sketches was printed in the Call,  “Supernatural Impudence.” Five other local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Birney and Bunsby,” “Ingratitude,” “A Dark Transaction,” “Police Contributions,” and “Police Record” [Branch, C of Call 295].


August 25 Thursday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “War of the Races,” “Henry Meyer,” “The Ladies’ Fair,” “Judgments Against the ‘Sir George Grey’,” and “The Theatres, Etc: Metropolitan” [Branch, C of Call 295-6].


August 26 Friday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Mechanics’ Fair,” “Who Killed Him?,” “Good From Louderback,” and “A Confederacy Caged” [Branch, C of Call 296].


August 27 Saturday Sam’s article, “How to Cure Him of It,” appeared in the Call.  This “permanent cure” was for a barking dog and would make the dog “as quiet and docile as a dried herring” (a double handful of strychnine, dissolved in a quart of Prussic acid) [ET&S 2: 57].

Five other local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Fair,” “Arrest of Another of the Robbing Gang,” “More Hawaiian Donations,” “Who Lost Evangeline?,” and “The Forlorn Hope” [Branch, C of Call 296].

August 28 Sunday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Fair,” “Determined on Suicide,” “The Red, Black, and Blue,” “A Chicken Case,” and “Don’t Bury Your Money in Oyster Cans” [Branch, C of Call 296].

August 30 Tuesday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Police Calendar,” “Dismissed,” “Fined,” “Board of Supervisors,” “Enthusiastic Hard Money Demonstration,” and “Chinese Railroad Obstructions,” below: [Branch, C of Call 296].

The Chinese in this State are becoming civilized to a fearful extent. One of them was arrested the other day, in the act of preparing for a grand railroad disaster on the Sacramento Valley Railroad. If these people continue to imbibe American ideas of progress, they will be turning their attention to highway robbery, and other enlightened pursuits. They are industrious.

August 31 Wednesday The following seven local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Good and Bad Luck,” “The Pueblo Case,” “Mayhem,” “Strong as Sampson and Meek as Moses,” “Henry Meyer,” “China at the Fair,” and “Shiner No.1” [Branch, C of Call 296].

Sam paid $25 “fr sale of mining stock” to Daggett & Myers for rent owed with De Quille [Mack 246]. Note: evidently, Sam was still sharing the cost for the Virginia City rooms.

September 1 Thursday The following ten local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“The Cosmopolitan Hotel Besieged,” “Strategy, My Boy,” “A Doubtful Case,” “Mechanics’ Fair,” “Police Subjects,” “Kane Presentation,” “Cannibalistic,” “The Theatres, Etc.: Mr. Masset’s Lecture—‘Drifting About’,” “Rincon School Militia,” and “Fine Picture of Rev. Mr. King” [Branch, C of Call 296-7].

September 2 Friday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Lost Child,” “The Camanche,” “The Art Gallery,” “Rewards of Merit,” “The Mechanics’ Fair,” and “The Roll of Fame” [Branch, C of Call 297].

September 3 Saturday The following nine local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“California Branch of the U.S. Sanitary Commission,” “Suicide out of Principle,” “Afloat Again,” “The Lost Child Reclaimed,” “A Wrecking Party in Luck,” “Marine Nondescript,” “Labyrinth Garden,” “Contempt of Court,” and “Another Pawnbroker in Trouble” [Branch, C of Call 297].

September 4 Sunday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Opening of the Fair,” “Looks Like Sharp Practice,” “A Terrible Monster Caged,” “The Hurdle- Race Today,” “Domestic Silks,” “The Californian,” “Brutal,” and “Criminal Calendar” [Branch, C of Call 297].

September 6 Tuesday The following nine local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Peeping Tom of Coventry,” “A Small Piece of Spite,” “A Promising Artist,” “Turned Out of Office,” “Mechanic’s Fair,” “The Pound-Keeper Beheaded,” “A Long Fast,” “Conjugal Infelicity,” and “Set for Wednesday” [Branch, C of Call 297].

September 7 Wednesday The voters of Nevada approved a new constitution by a margin as large as they’d defeated the earlier one months before, five to one. The main reason for approval was the removal of the tax on mines, making it a tax only on proceeds [Fatout, MT in VC 149].


The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Terrible Calamity,” “Amende Honorable,” “Christian Fair,” “In Bad Company,” “Police Court Sentences,” and “Come to Grief” [Branch, C of Call 297].


September 7and 8 Thursday The Democratic State Convention met in San Francisco to nominate candidates for Congress, and also presidential electors pledged to General George B. McClellan. James Norman Gillis (1830-1907), Steve’s older brother, was a delegate from Tuolumne County, Calif., a mining district in the Sierra foothills. Sam liked James instantly. James enjoyed a good story, was highly literate and trained as a doctor. Sam covered the convention for the Call.

September 8 Thursday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Democratic State Convention,” “The Ladies’ Fair,” “Captain Kidd’s Statement,” “Earthquake,” “Mark Mayer Ahead on the Home Stretch,” and “Beautiful Work” [Branch, C of Call 298].

September 9 Friday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Mrs. Hall’s Smelting Furnace,” “Charitable Contributions,” “Democratic Ratification Meeting,” and “Cross Swearing” [Branch, C of Call 298].

September 10 Saturday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Curiosities,” “A Philanthropic Nation,” “Race for the Occidental Hotel Premium,” “Discharged,” and “Doing a General Business” [Branch, C of Call 298].

The Golden Era announced that Bret Harte was editor of the magazine. Harte would be editor until Nov. 19, 1864; and again from Dec. 9 to 30, 1865 [Benson 119].


Note: Twain’s relationship to Harte was complex and long. In his June 14, 1906 A.D. Clemens wrote of Harte’s literary beginnings, of being pulled away from typesetting while working for the Golden Era and being given a private secretaryship for Robert B. Swain, who put him on a salary but with free time to develop his literary talents. Twain continued to give an in-depth description and opinion of Harte. In part:


Bret Harte was one of the pleasantest men I have ever known. He was also one of the unpleasantest me I have ever known. He was showy, meretricious, insincere; and he constantly advertised these qualities in his dress. He was distinctly pretty, in spite of the fact that his face was badly pitted with smallpox. In the days when he could afford it—and in the days when he couldn’t—his clothes always exceeded the fashion by a shade or two. He was always conspicuously a little more intensely fashionable than the fashionablest of the rest of the community.

He hadn’t a sincere fibre in him. I think he was incapable of emotion, for I think he had nothing to feel with. I think his heart was merely a pump, and had no other function [AMT 2: 119]. Note: see also p 415-30.

September 11 Sunday The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Attempted Assassination of a Detective Officer,” and “Large” [Branch, C of Call 298].

September 13 Tuesday The following seven local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Camanche,” “An Abolition Outrage,” “Sad Accident—Death of Jerome Rice,” “Lost Children,” “Police Target Excursion,” “Sent Up,” and “Plethoric” [Branch, C of Call 298].


September 14 Wednesday The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Two Hundred Dollars Reward,” and “Board of Education” [Branch, C of Call 298].


September 15 Thursday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “An Ingenious Contrivance,” “Mining Machinery,” “Interesting Litigation,” “A Specimen Case,” “Strange Coincidence,” and “County Hospital Developments” [Branch, C of Call 298].

September 16 Friday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Suicide of Dr. Raymond,” “More Donations,” “The Alleged Swindling,” “Vegetable Boquets,” “Extraordinary Enterprise,” “Officer Rose Recovering,” “Night Blooming Cereus,” and “For the East” [Branch, C of Call 298].

September 17 Saturday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to William Wright (Dan De Quille) about Sam selling his furniture and about debts. Sam was tired of night work on the Call:

“I don’t work after 6 in the evening, now on the ‘Call.’ I got disgusted with night work.”

Sam’s new deal with George Barnes, owner of the Call, was for shorter hours and less pay [MTL 1: 309]. In his Autobiography Sam related the changes and finding a new assistant to help him with the work:

…there was way too much of it for one man. The way I was conducting it now, there was enough of it for two or three. Even Barnes noticed that, and told me to get an assistant, on half wages. There was a great hulking creature down in the counting-room—good natured, obliging, unintellectual—and he was getting little or nothing a week and boarding himself. A graceless boy of the counting-room force who had no reverence for anybody or anything, was always making fun of this beachcomber, and he had a name for him which somehow intensely apt and descriptive—I don’t know why. He called him Smiggy McGlural. I offered the berth of assistant to Smiggy, and he accepted it with alacrity and gratitude. He went at his work with ten times the energy that was left in me. He was not intellectual, but mentality was not required or needed in a Morning Call reporter, and so he conducted his office to perfection. I gradually got to leaving more and more of the work to McGlural. I grew lazier and lazier, and within thirty days he was doing almost the whole of it. It was also plain that he could accomplish the whole of it, and more, all by himself, and therefore had no real need of me [AMT 2: 116-17]. Note: Smiggy was William K. McGrew (1827-1903); his nickname came from the title of a humorous popular song in the 1860s. See more about McGrew in AMT 2: 516.


The following two local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Blunder Corrected,” and “Dr. Raymond Not Removed” [Branch, C of Call 298-9].


September 18 Sunday Sam’s article, “Due Warning,” which identified himself as “Mark Twain” appeared in the Morning Call. The piece was about a stolen hat [ET&S 2: 59; Branch, C of Call 135].

Also, six other local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Cruelty to Animals,” “Theatrical Record: Maguire’s Opera House,” “The Election of Coroner,” “Take One!,” “Suffering for Opinion’s Sake,” and “The Chinese Banquet” [Branch, C of Call 299].

September 20 Tuesday The following seven local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“The ‘Board’ and the Rincon School,” “Mayhem,” “The Chinese Banquet,” “Camanche Matters,” “Board of Supervisors,” “The Theatres, Etc,: Maguire’s Opera House,” and “The Theatres, Etc,: Wilson-Zoyara Circus” [Branch, C of Call 299].

September 21 Wednesday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:

“Street Obstructions,” “The New Poundkeeper,” “Stabbed,” “A Terrible Weapon,” “Judgments Against a Steamship Company,” “Earthquake,” “Out of Jail,” and “Board of Education” [Branch, C of Call 299].

September 22 Thursday The following eight local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Strike of the Steamer Employes,” “Very Foolish Policy,” “Weller’s Bust,” “The Consequences of Indefiniteness,” “Queer Fish,” “Trial of a Hackman,” “Female Assault,” and “Stabbing Case” [Branch, C of Call 299].

September 23 Friday The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Farewell Address of Dr. Bellows,” “Arrested for Riot,” and “Dedication of Bush Street School” [Branch, C of Call 299].

September 24 Saturday The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Ah Sow Discharged,” “Children at the Fair,” and “Ellen French Fined” [Branch, C of Call 299].


September 25 Sunday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother, and sister Pamela that he had been in San Francisco:

“…only 4 months, yet we have changed our lodgings 5 times & our hotel twice. We are very comfortably fixed where we are now, & have no fault to find with the rooms or the people…But I need a change, & must move again.”

It seems Sam’s itching wanderlust was nearly constant. He wrote of Steve Gillis impending marriage, his shorter hours, working 10 AM to 5 or 6 PM, writing for the Californian, a new literary paper, and his invitation to visit Mexico, which he could not accept due to his agreement to stand in as best man for Steve’s wedding (“funeral” is crossed out in front of “wedding”) [MTL 1: 312].

The following nine local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Monitor’s Progress,” “The Mint Troubles,” “The Fair at the Fair,” “Mortimer Again,” “A Professional Garroter Nabbed,” “Gilbert’s Museum,” “The Rioters,” “African Troubles,” and “Accomodating Witness” [Branch, C of Call 299-300].


September 27 Tuesday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Boat Salvage,” “A Whale Beached,” “Narrow Escape,” and “Nuisance” [Branch, C of Call 300].


Mrs. Hall entered complaint against a groggery at the corner of Post and Taylor streets, as a nuisance, yesterday, in the Police Court. The case was dismissed. It might not have been, if she had gone to the expense of procuring more legal assistance to prosecute it. The Prosecuting Attorney is a powerful engine, in his way, but he is not infallible. If parties would start him in and let him worm out of the witnesses all the facts that have no bearing upon the case, and no connection with it, and whether the offence was committed “In the City’n County San Francisco” or not, and then have another talented lawyer to start in and find out all the facts that do bear upon the case and are really connected with it, what multitudes of rascals that now escape would suffer the just penalties of their transgressions. With his spectacles on, and his head tilted back at a proper angle, there is no question that the Prosecuting Attorney is an ornament to the Police Court; but whether he is particularly useful or not, or whether Government could worry along without him or not, or whether it is necessary that a Prosecuting Attorney should give all his time, or bend all his energies, or throw all his soul into the one thing of being strictly ornamental, or not, are matters which do not concern us, and which we have never once thought about. Sometimes he has some of his witnesses there, and isn’t that sufficient? [Branch, C of Call 218-19].

September 28 Wednesday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Orion and Mollie. He discussed work on a book, which ultimately would become Roughing It, from scrapbooks Orion had kept of the 1861-4 period. He also claimed that Oct. 24 would be the wedding day of Steve Gillis and Miss Emeline Russ “who is worth $100,000, & what is better, is a good, sensible girl & will make an excellent wife” [MTL 1: 315]. Note: Miss Russ decided before that date to marry another.

An article attributed to Sam, “Answer to a Mining Company’s Suit,” ran in the Call [Branch, C of Call 300].

Sam’s mother, Jane Clemens wrote from St. Louis to Sam and Orion about “great excitement in the city” and of being “threatened hourly with an invasion by Price and others….My trunk is packed ready if the women and children are ordered to leave….Last Thursday we received Sam’s scolding letter dated 12th of August if we cant make him write only by making him mad we will have to try that…”  [MTP]. Note: Confederate General Sterling Price (1809-1867) led a raid into Missouri, the last major military engagement in Mo. in the Civil War.


September 29 Thursday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Advice to Witnesses,” “Demonstrative Anatomy,” “The Deaf Mutes at the Fair,” and “After Mortimer” [Branch, C of Call 300].


September 30 Friday The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “For the Santa Barbara Sufferers,” “The Jewish New Year,” “More Children,” “Robbery,” “Day of Atonement,” and “Dog Theft” [Branch, C of Call 300].

October Sometime between this month and mid-1865, Sam wrote a parody of Poe’s “The Raven,” called “The Mysterious Chinaman,” for the album of Jim Gillis daughter, Mary Elizabeth Gillis. Sam wrote at the top of the manuscript, “Written for M.E.G.’s Album.” Sam had read Poe and knew the poem well. He also wrote a prose parody of it in his Dec. 20, 1867 letter to the Enterprise [ET&S 2: 62-3].

October 1 Saturday Sam’s first contribution to the Californian was published, a piece titled, “A Notable Conundrum,” about the Fourth Industrial Fair of the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco [MTL 1: 314; ET&S 2: 66]. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 3 1864, Sam wrote ten weekly articles for the Californian, which paid twelve dollars each [MTNJ 1: 65].

Meanwhile, Sam continued to write local items for the Morning Call. The following two items are attributed to him: “Great Excitement,” and “Damages Awarded” [Branch, C of Call 300].

October 2 Sunday The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Last Hitch at the Mint,” “Benefit for the Santa Barbara Sufferers,” “Important Arrest,” “Last Night of the Fair,” and “Everybody Wants to Help” [Branch, C of Call 300].

October 6 Thursday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Burglary—Two Men Shot,” “Great Seal of Nevada,” “An Interesting Correspondence,” and “Trial of the Folsom Street Wharf Rioters” [Branch, C of Call 300].


October 8 Saturday Sam’s article,Concerning the Answer to That Conundrum,” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 72]. The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Judicial Change,” “A Rough Customer,” “Police Court,” and “Convicted” [Branch, C of Call 300].


October 9 Sunday The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Camanche,” “The Roderick Case,” “Miscegenation,” and “A Nuisance” [Branch, C of Call 300].

October 10 MondayGeorge Barnes, editor of the Call, fired Sam, less than five months after hiring him [MT Encyclopedia, McFatter 653].

“I neglected my duties and became about worthless, as a reporter for a brisk newspaper. And at last one of the proprietors took me aside, with a charity I still remember with considerable respect, and gave me an opportunity to resign my berth and so save myself the disgrace of a dismissal” [Roughing It, Ch.58].

October 11 Tuesday The local article, “Had a Fit,” in the Call is attributed to Sam [Branch, C of Call 300]. This is the last article thought to be by Sam Clemens in the Morning Call while he was employed as a city reporter there.


A lad of some twelve years was seized with convulsions, while sitting in a buggy at the corner of Sacramento and Montgomery streets, yesterday afternoon. Restoratives were speedily brought in play, and in a short time the youth went on his way, viewing with astonishment the multitude that had collected, which was variously estimated at from one thousand to four thousand eight hundred and eighty. One kind hearted person, whose condition, unfortunately, bordered on the “salubrious,” had his place close to the convulsed boy, and puffed smoke from a villainous cigar into his eyes with seeming industry, until gently remonstrated with by a Policeman, on whom he turned furiously, insisting upon tobacco smoke as an infallible remedy for fits, and that he would give the officer fits if he interfered further. However, during this sanitary dispute, the subject had come to and gone off; and the opportunity for determining fully the efficacy of burnt tobacco and whisky fumes in cases of fits, was unfortunately lost for the present [Branch, C of Call 53].

Branch on this article:

“‘had a fit’ is the latest local item published in the Call that I ascribe to Clemens. It is my theory, unencumbered by the least shred of evidence, that the day George Barnes read this piece was the day he eased Clemens out of his job. The flippancy and the don’t-give-a-damn attitude that sometimes rises to the surface in Clemens’ reporting are readily seen here. The writing borders on the burlesque, and a general meaning that emerges is: What fools we are. One imagines that the item implies disrespect for the estate of Journalism—or at least for lokulitem’s role in it—as though he did not care whether he kept his job or not” [Branch, C of Call 53].


October 15 Saturday Sam’s review of a romantic comic opera, The Crown Diamonds, “Still further Concerning That Conundrum” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 79]. Sam’s focus was on the prop-man who moved furniture between scenes [Gribben 31].


October 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to his brother Orion. Sam was out of work so asked his brother to “send the stock” (Hale & Norcross mining stock). Sam did continue receiving $12 for articles written for the Californian, but wrote only three of these [MTL 1: 320]. Sanford claims Sam wrote ten pieces in the Californian between Oct. 1 and Dec. 3 [254]. (See also, MTNJ 1: 650.) It was this period of two months or so that Sam wrote about “slinking” in and out of meals and his rooming house possessing only one dime and looking forward to being dunned by a bill collector on an old debt [RI, Ch 59].


October 21 Friday Sam had to pay an assessment of $100 on four shares of Hale & Norcross mining stock [RI 1993, explanatory notes 701].


October 22 Saturday Sam’s article, “Whereas” appeared in the Californian [ET&S 2: 86]. The story was shortened (later published in the Jumping Frog book) and re-titled, “Aurelia’s Unfortunate Young Man” [Wilson 1; Budd, “Collected” 1003]. Sam’s article, “Earthquake Almanac,” was published in the Golden Era [Walker 90].

October 29 Saturday Sam’s article, “A Touching Story of George Washington‘s Boyhood,” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 94].

Text Box: October 31 Monday – Lincoln Declared Nevada the 36th state in the Union

November 5 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Daniel in the Lion’s Den—And Out Again All Right.” Was published in the Californian.


“Now for several days I have been visiting the Board of Brokers, and associating with brokers, and drinking with them, and swapping lies with them…” [MTNJ 1: 69; ET&S 2: 100].


November 7 MondayOrion Clemens was elected to the Nevada State Legislature after much speech making [Fanning 104].


November 11 Friday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to his brother Orion of financial need, Orion’s possible nomination for Nevada senator and the Hale & Norcross mining stock.

November 12 Saturday – Sam’s article, “The Killing of Julius Caesar, ‘Localized’” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 108].

November 19 Saturday – Sam’s article, “A Full and Reliable Account of the Extraordinary Meteoric Shower of Last Saturday Night,” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 116].


November 19 or 21 Monday – Sam’s article, “The Pioneers’ Ball,” first ran in the Enterprise [Budd, “Collected” 1005].


November 26 Saturday Sam’s article, “The Pioneers’ Ball,” was re-printed in the Golden Era [Walker 41].


November 30 Wednesday Sam’s 29th birthday.


December 3 Saturday – Sam’s story “Lucretia Smith’s Soldier” was first published in the San Francisco Californian. The story was instantly popular, reprinted by newspapers in California and New York, and was later included with the Jumping Frog collection [Wilson 193; ET&S 2: 125].

December 4 Sunday – Sam left San Francisco with James Gillis for Jackass Hill in Tuolumne County, Ca., some one hundred miles east of San Francisco. They boarded a San Joaquin steamer for Stockton, and from there went on by stagecoach to “that serene and reposeful and dreamy and delicious sylvan paradise” (Jackass gulch) [Sanborn 256].

Brother Billy Gillis, then 23, waited there for them. Steve Gillis, finding no way to reconcile with Emeline Russ, returned to Virginia City.

Before leaving Sam must have sold some or all of the Norcross mining stock, as he later wrote to James Gillis, Steve’s brother, “I took $300 with me.” He would be away from San Francisco for twelve weeks. Jackass Hill was named after its day as a pack-train stop about 1848 [Sanborn 254-5; Rasmussen 250]. Paine in 1912, and others since, have claimed the story about Steve Gillis being in trouble with the law for a barroom brawl was the impetus for Sam’s departure from San Francisco, but Sanborn claims no court or newspaper records of such a brouhaha exist, and that had Sam and friend Gillis been involved in such a fracas their rival reporters would surely have made news of it. Sam still harbored dreams of striking it rich. Jim Gillis told Sam about pocket mines and that he was ready to return to the hills [Sanborn 255].

Note: Benson gives this as also the day of Sam’s arrival [123].

December 13 Tuesday – Sam and Dan De Quille (Wright) were rooming in the Daggett & Myers building at 25 North B Street, one of the large buildings that had escaped fire. They were given a rent bill and receipt for the period of Oct. 28, 1863 to Nov. 28, 1864 at the rate of $30 per month, or $390 total. The document has four line items crediting Sam or Dan for payments, leaving an amount due of $190 [Mack 246]. Note: Robert Hirst confirms that this “facsimile” room bill was a photo-facsimile of the original bill which Wright’s granddaughter, Irma Evans Morris had made for Mack in 1936 [e-mail of May 23, 2007].


December, late – Just after Christmas, Sam and Jim Gillis set out on foot over the hills to Vallecito, Calif., an old mining town [Sanborn 257].

Vol 1 Section 0022

Mining and Tall Tales, Angels Camp – Jumping Frog

Literary Celebrity – Pistol to the Head



January and February Sam’s fourth known notebook, and the first that might be called a “writer’s notebook,” was written during these months. The notebook contained a great amount of literary material that would be immediately useful in the Jumping Frog story, but also material that would later appear in Roughing It, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and others [MTNJ 1: 66-7].

January 1 Sunday In Vallecito, Sam and Jim Gillis inspected a 480-foot tunnel. That night they saw a lunar rainbow. Sam jotted it in his notebook. He also noted that he dreamed that night about James W.E. Townsend (1838-1900), a California and Nevada journalist and editor known as “Lying Jim because of his imagination and total disregard for the truth in what he wrote or spoke [Sanborn 258]. Telling tall tales by the campfire was a popular activity. One of Jim’s stories about a cat named Tom Quartz that was only interested in mining, found a place in Roughing It, five years later. Another of Jim Gillis’ tales about a blue jay was put into “Baker’s Bluejay Yarn,” part of A Tramp Abroad. One of the pastimes was a skit performed by Gillis and Jacob Richard (Dick) Stoker (1820-1898), the “grayer than a rat” miner who lived out his life in the region. The skit was adapted for the king and duke production in Huckleberry Finn. “I had to modify it considerably to make it fit for print and this was a great damage” [Sanborn 258-260]. From Sam’s notebook:

“New Years 1865, at Vallecito, Calaveras Co. Tunnel under Vallecito Flat is 400 feet long—80 feet yet to run…..magnificent lunar rainbow, first appearing at 8PM—moon at first quarter—very light drizzling rain….—dream of Jim Townsend.”

Note: James W.E. Townsend affectionately known as “Lying Jim,” was a journalist on the Enterprise and the Golden Era [MTNJ 1: 69]. Townsend is reputed to be the source for several of Sam and Bret Harte’s stories.

January 3 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:

“…returned with Jim Gillis, by way of Angel’s & Robinson’s Ferry, to Jackass Hill” [MTNJ 1: 70].

January 7 or January 14 Saturday – By eliminating other possible Saturdays, either of these may have been the day William R. Gillis (Billy) referred to in Gold Rush Days with Mark Twain, p.175-6. In the story, Sam supposedly said, “I am going to Sonora and will go to church to-morrow with brother Masons.” The pair left that night:

So as soon as we got ready we went over the Hill to Sonora. After looking at the procession we had dinner with the Masonic Fraternity at the Victoria Hotel and I went along as Sam’s guest. After dinner we went shopping in nearly all the stores in Sonora and bought necessary articles that Sam wanted. Along towards evening we concluded we would go home and were on our way to the City Hotel to get ready. While we were walking down the street the Reverend Mr. Croche joined us and took an arm of each. He said to us, “I’m glad to meet you gentlemen to-day because I want you as a witness to a wedding. [Note: Sam was a Mason, but it should be remembered that this was a 1929 recollection of Gillis; some of the dates in his book, and there are but few, are incorrect.]


January 22 Sunday – Sam had stayed with Dick Stoker, Jim and Billy Gillis in the one-room Stoker cabin, which Stoker built in 1850; little else of the camp remained from the gold rush days. On this date Sam and Jim Gillis went to nearby Angels Camp in Calaveras County. Jim had a mining claim at Angels Camp [MTL 1: 321; Rasmussen 250]. From Sam’s notebook:

“Angels’,. Ben Lewis’ , Altaville, Studhorse, Cherokee, Horsetown. Excelsior man bought privilege of ‘raising hell’ in Stockton—party burlesqued him….Squirrel hunt at Ben Lewis” [MTNJ 1: 71].

January 23 Monday – “Angels—Rainy, stormy—Beans & dishwater for breakfast at the Frenchman’s [Hotel]; dishwater & beans for dinner, and both articles warmed over for supper” [MTNJ 1: 76; Lennon 100].

January 24 Tuesday “—Rained all day—meals as before” [MTNJ 1: 76].

January 25 Wednesday“—Same as above” [MTNJ 1: 76].

From Sam’s notebook, a brush with death:

Narrow Escape.—Dark rainy night—walked to extreme edge of a cut in solid rock 30 feet deep—& while standing upon the extreme verge for half a dozen seconds, meditating whether to proceed or not, heard a stream of water falling into the cut, & then, my eyes becoming more accustomed to the darkness, saw that if the last step taken had been a hand breath longer, must have plunged in to the abyss & lost my life. One of my feet projected over the edge as I stood [MTNJ 1:74].


January 26 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

“Rain, beans & dishwater—tapidaro [leather covering on a saddle]. beefsteak for a change—no use, could not bite it” [MTNJ 1: 76].

January 27 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

“Same old diet—same old weather—went out to pocket claim—had to rush back” [MTNJ 1: 76].

January 28 Saturday


“Rain & wind all day & all night—Chili beans & dishwater three times to-day, as usual, & some kind of ‘slum’ which the Frenchman called ‘hash.’ Hash be d—d” [MTNJ 1: 76].

January 29 Sunday From Sam’s notebook:

“The old, old thing [Jim says]. We shall have to stand the weather, but as J says, we won’t stand this dishwater & beans any longer, by G—” [MTNJ 1: 76].

January 30 MondayDick Stoker joined Sam and Jim Gillis at Angels Camp, where heavy rains had shut in the pair since their arrival [MTL 1: 321]. From Sam’s notebook:

“Moved to new hotel, just opened—good fare, & coffee that a Christian may drink without jeopardizing his eternal soul…Dick Stoker came over to-day, from Tuttletown, Tuolumne Co” [MTNJ 1: 76-7].

Text Box: January 31, 1865
Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Proposed by the 38th Congress
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


The hotel was Lake’s Hotel, proprietor Ross “Ben” Coon, a well-known chess player and bartender. Coon was the man who told Sam the jumping frog tale [Sanborn 263]. Rasmussen gives Tryon’s Hotel as the place of Coon’s bartending [99]. Sam first used “Bilgewater” as a character name.

January, end – Sam’s notebook carried news of others getting rich, including one whose offer he’d refused:

“Herman Camp has sold some Washoe Stock in New York for $270,000” [MTNJ 1: 73]. Note: “Camp was an early locator and aggressive speculator in Washoe mining stocks. He had been friendly with Clemens in Virginia City and then in San Francisco while Clemens was staying there in mid-1863” [MTL 1: 327n1].


February 1 Wednesday Sam wrote of a dream about saying goodbye to Laura Wright, when Sam was on the Pennsylvania. Though the two never met again, Sam indirectly communicated with Laura in Dallas, Texas in 1880 through one of her students, sent her money in 1906 responding to her letter for assistance for herself, a widow, and a disabled son [MTNJ 1: 89-90].

February 3 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

Dined at the Frenchman’s, in order to let Dick see how he does things. Had Hellfire soup & the old regular beans & dishwater. The Frenchman has 4 kinds of soup which he furnishes to customers only on great occasions. They are popularly known among the Boarders as Hellfire, General Debility, Insanity & Sudden Death, but it is not possible to describe them….J & me [Jim Gillis]. talking like people 80 years old & toothless [MTNJ 1: 78].

February 6 Monday – The men did some mining, but rains returned and they passed time telling tall tales and jokes. Benson writes:

“Most of the days at Angel’s Camp were spent by Mark and Jim and Stoker in the barroom of the dilapidated tavern. Here they found themselves in the company of a frequenter of the tavern, Ben Coon” [126].

Paine writes of Ben Coon:

…a former Illinois River pilot…a solemn, fat-witted person, who dozed by the stove, or told slow, endless stories, without point or application. Listeners were a boon to him, for few came and not many would stay…One dreary afternoon, in his slow, monotonous fashion, he told them about a frog—a frog that had belonged to a man named Coleman, who trained it to jump, but that failed to win a wager because the owner of a rival frog had surreptitiously loaded the trained jumper with shot [MTB 271].

In other words, Sam was a boon to Ben Coon, a slam for Sam. Lorch writes that Sam had probably heard versions of the story previously, but was captivated by Coon’s “exquisite absurdity …[in] manner of telling the story without betraying a single hint that he regarded it as humorous” [12]. Sam later wrote this story and it made him famous: “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog.” (Later, the “Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and also the “Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”)

From Sam’s notebook:

“Blazing hot days & cool nights. No more rain. “Odd or Even”—cast away at Honey Lake Smith’s. Billy Clagett moved fifteen steps from camp fire by the lice crawling on his body” [MTNJ 1: 78].

February 8 Wednesday Sam served as junior deacon at a meeting of Bear Mountain Masonic Lodge No. 76 [MTNJ 1: 66].


February 20 MondayJim Gillis, Dick Stoker and Sam returned to Jackass Hill through a snowstorm, the first that Sam had seen in California [MTNJ 1: 81]. Billy Gillis remembered that Sam immediately wrote out some of the Angels Camp stories:

“When Sam came back he went to work on the Jumping Frog story, staying in the cabin while we went out to work at our claims and writing with a pencil. He used to say: ‘If I can write that story the way Ben Coon told it, that frog will jump around the world.’”

Sam discovered upon arrival at Jackass Hill that he’d left his knife, his meerschaum, and his toothbrush at Angels Camp [MTL 1: 321 citing West; Sanborn 264].

February 21 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:

On Jackass Hill again. The exciting topic of conversation in this sparse community just at present …is Mrs. Carrington’s baby, which was born a week ago, on the 14th. There was nothing remarkable about the baby, but if Mrs C had given birth to an ornamental cast-iron dog big enough for an embellishment for the State-House steps I don’t believe the event would have created more intense interest in the community….Had to remain at Jackass all day 21st, on account of heavy snow storm—inch deep, but all gone, sun out & grass green again before night [MTNJ 1: 81].

February 23 Thursday – Sam left Jackass Hill on horseback for San Francisco, by way of Copperopolis and Stockton. Copperopolis was a berg of 1,000 about twelve miles from Jackass Hill. Upon arriving, Sam learned that the stage would not be leaving until the next morning. Sam spent time hunting in Copperopolis for a new pipe, and toured the great Union Copper Mine, largest producer in California [Sanborn 265]. From Sam’s notebook:

“Could have walked to Sonora over Table Mountain in an hour, & left immediately in the stage for Stockton, but was told it was quickest to take a horse & go by Copperopolis, 12 miles distant. Came down, accordingly—arrived here in Copper at dusk” [MTNJ 1: 81].

February 24 Friday – From Sam’s notebook:

D—n Copperopolis—the big ball last night was postponed a week; instead of leaving this morning, the stage will not leave until to-morrow morning. Have lost my pipe, & can’t get another in this hellfired town. Left my knife, meerschaum & toothbrush at Angels—made Dick give me his big navy knife.

This is a pretty town & has about 1000 inhabitants. D—d poor hotel, but if this bad luck will let up on me I will be in Stockton at noon to-morrow & in San Francisco before midnight [MTNJ 1: 82].

February 25 Saturday – Sam left Copperopolis, Ca. by stagecoach for Stockton. “Arrived in Stockton at 5 P.M.” [MTNJ 1: 82]. From Stockton he took a riverboat.

February 26 Sunday – Sam arrived back in San Francisco. Sam did a few pieces for the Californian and as the San Francisco correspondent for the Territorial Enterprise. In Roughing It, Sam claimed he arrived back in town without a cent. Sam earned $100 a month with daily correspondence to Enterprise [MTL 1: 321]. From Sam’s notebook:

 —Home again—home again at the Occidental Hotel, San Francisco—find letters from ‘Artemus Ward’ asking me to write a sketch for his new book of Nevada Territory travels which is soon to come out. Too late—ought to have got the letters 3 months ago. They are dated early in November” [MTNJ 1: 82].

March 18 Saturday – Sam’s article, “An Unbiased Criticism,” ran in the Californian:

THE EDITOR of THE CALIFORNIAN ordered me to go to the rooms of the California Art Union and write an elaborate criticism upon the pictures upon exhibition there, and I beg leave to report that the result is hereunto appended, together with bill for same.

I do not know anything about Art and very little about music or anatomy, but nevertheless I enjoy looking at pictures and listening to operas, and gazing at handsome young girls, about the same as people do who are better qualified by education to judge of merit in these matters [ET&S 2: 137].


Text Box: April 15, 1865 – Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the 17th President of the United StatesText Box: April 9, 1865 – Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The Civil War ended.


May 6 Saturday Sam’s article, “Important Correspondence,” ran in the Californian [ET&S 2: 144].

May 13 Saturday Sam’s article, “Further of Mr. Mark Twain’s Important Correspondence,” was printed in the Californian [ET&S 2: 157]. More Sam hi-jinx – pretense to obtain a preacher for Grace Cathedral and fictitious letters from a swarm of candidates.

May 24 Wednesday An article appeared in the Carson Daily Appeal under “San Francisco Correspondence,” by William Brief, which noted that Sam had been seen arm-in-arm with Peter Anderson, Negro journalist for the Elevator, who was shunned by white journalists [Branch, C of Call 303n47]. Note: such things made news then.


May 27 Saturday Sam’s article, “How I Went to the Great Race Between Lodi and Norfolk,” was printed in the Californian, an account of the trouble Sam met trying to find transportation to an ocean race course for the great race. Also printed was his, “A Voice for Setchell,” a review of a stage comedian who Sam greatly admired. Sam thought of Daniel E. Setchell (1831-1866) in the same exalted appreciation as Artemus Ward, and closely studied each man’s stage technique [ET&S 2: 163,169].

“… every time Mr. Setchell plays, crowds flock to hear him, and no matter what he plays those crowds invariably laugh and applaud extravagantly. That kind of criticism can always be relied upon as sound, and not only sound but honest” [173].

June 3 Saturday – The Californian announced that all letters to its new department, “Answers to Correspondents,” should be sent to Mr. Mark Twain. “Courting Etiquette, Distressed Lovers, of either sex, and Struggling Young Authors, as yet ‘unbeknown’ to Fame, will receive especial attention” [ET&S 1: 174]. The first of six weekly columns by Sam followed offering a burlesque of advice to readers on various topics. Subtitles: Discarded Lover; Arabella; Persecuted Unfortunate; and Arthur Augustus [ET&S 2: 174].

Sam’s article, “Advice for Good Little Boys,” first appeared this date in the California Youth’s Companion [Budd, “Collected” 1004]. Note: Budd states “This version was discovered subsequent to the publication of the” ET&S, which lists it as “probably on July 1 1865” [240].


June 10 Saturday – The second of Sam’s columns for the California, “Answers to Correspondents,” ran with subtitles: Amateur Serenader; St. Clair Higgins, Los Angeles; Arithmeticus, Virginia, Nevada; Ambitious Learner, Oakland; Julia Maria; Nom de Plume; Melton Mowbray, Dutch Flat; Laura Matilda; Professional Beggar [ET&S 2: 181].

June 17 Saturday – The third of Sam’s columns for the Californian, “Answers to Correspondents,” ran with subtitles: Moral Statistician; Simon Wheeler, Sonora; Inquirer; Anna Maria; Charming Simplicity; Literary Connoisseur; Etiquetticus, and Monitor Silver Mines [ET&S 2: 187].

June 20 Tuesday – Edgar Branch gives this as the date Sam began corresponding with Joseph T. Goodman’s Enterprise [“My Voice” 591].


June 23 Friday Sam’s brief article, “Enthusiastic Eloquence,” appeared in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 233].

June 24 Saturday – The fourth of Sam’s columns for the Californian, “Answers to Correspondents,” ran with subtitles: True Son of the Union; Socrates Murphy; Arithmeticus; Virginia, Nevada; Young Mother; Blue-Stocking; San Francisco; and Agnes St. Clair Smith [ET&S 2: 197].

Sam’s article, “Advice for Good Little Girls,” first appeared this date in the California Youths’ Companion [Budd, “Collected” 1004]. It was revised and reprinted in 1872 and 1874 [ET&S 2: 243].

June 2730 Friday – Sam’s article, “Just ‘One More Unfortunate’,” was printed during this period in the Enterprise, copies of which are lost. The Downieville, California Mountain Messenger, copied it July 1.


Immorality is not decreasing in San Francisco. I saw a girl in the city prison last night who looked as much out of place there as I did myself — possibly more so. She was petite and diffident, and only sixteen years and one month old. To judge by her looks, one would say she was as sinless as a child. But such was not the case. She had been living with a strapping young nigger for six months! She told her story as artlessly as a school-girl, and it did not occur to her for a moment that she had been doing anything unbecoming; and I never listened to a narrative which seemed more simple and straight forward, or more free from ostentation and vain-glory. She told her name, and her age, to a day; she said she was born in Holborn, City of London; father living, but gone back to England; was not married to the negro, but she was left with out any one to take care of her, and he had taken charge of that department and had conducted it since she was fifteen and a half years old very satisfactorily. All listeners pitied her, and said feelingly: “Poor heifer! poor devil!” and said she was an ignorant, erring child, and had not done wrong wilfully and knowingly, and they hoped she would pass her examination for the Industrial School and be removed from the temptation and the opportunity to sin. Tears — and it was a credit to their manliness and their good feeling — tears stood in the eyes of some of those stern policemen.

O, woman, thy name is humbug! Afterwards, while I sat taking some notes, and not in sight from the women’s cell, some of the old blisters fell to gossiping, and lo! young Simplicity chipped in and clattered away as lively as the vilest of them! It came out in the conversation that she was hail fellow well met with all the old female rapscallions in the city, and had had business relations with their several establishments for a long time past. She spoke affectionately of some of them, and the reverse of others; and dwelt with a toothsome relish upon numberless reminiscences of her social and commercial intercourse with them. She knew all manner of men, too — men with quaint and suggestive names, for the most part — and liked “Oyster-eyed Bill,” and “Bloody Mike,” and “The Screamer,” but cherished a spirit of animosity toward “Foxy McDonald” for cutting her with a bowie-knife at a strumpet ball one night. She a poor innocent kitten! Oh! She was a scallawag whom it would be base flattery to call a prostitute! She a candidate for the Industrial School! Bless you, she has graduated long ago. She is competent to take charge of a University of Vice. In the ordinary branches she is equal to the best; and in the higher ones, such as ornamental swearing, and fancy embroidered filagree slang, she is a shade superior to any artist I ever listened to [ET&S 2: 238-9].

Summer, mid – Sam claimed to be out of debt by the end of five months [RI, Ch 62]. He also published articles in the Golden Era, brief items in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle and the San Francisco Youths’ Companion.

July 1 Saturday – The fifth of Sam’s columns for the Californian, “Answers to Correspondents,” ran with subtitles: Young Actor; Mary, Rincon School; Anxiety, S. F.; Mark Twain; Gold Hill News [ET&S 2: 208].

July 2 Sunday – A series of eight articles published in the Golden Era under the name “S. Browne Jones” are attributed to Sam [Fatout, MT Speaks 19]. The first article was published this day and is typical “Washoe humor,” entitled “A New Contributor.” The other seven articles were published in the Era through Aug. 27 [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].


July 719 Wednesday Sam’s article describing blacks in a 4th of July parade appeared within these dates in the Enterprise, and was reprinted in the Golden Era for July 23.


And at the fag-end of the procession was a long double file of the proudest, happiest scoundrels I saw yesterday — niggers. Or perhaps I should say “them damned niggers,” which is the other name they go by now. They did all it was in their power to do, poor devils, to modify the prominence of the contrast between black and white faces which seems so hateful to their white fellow-creatures, by putting their lightest colored darkies in the front rank, then glooming down by some unaggravating and nicely graduated shades of darkness to the fell and dismal blackness of undefiled and unalloyed niggerdom in the remote extremity of the procession. It was a fine stroke of strategy — the day was dusty and no man could tell where the white folks left off and the niggers began. The “damned naygurs” — this is another descriptive title which has been conferred upon them by a class of our fellow-citizens who persist, in the most short-sighted manner, in being on bad terms with them in the face of the fact that they have got to sing with them in heaven or scorch with them in hell some day in the most familiar and sociable way, and on a footing of most perfect equality — the “damned naygurs,” I say, smiled one broad, extravagant, powerful smile of grateful thankfulness and profound and perfect happiness from the beginning of the march to the end; and through this vast, black, drifting cloud of smiles their white teeth glimmered fitfully like heat-lightning on a summer’s night. If a white man honored them with a smile in return, they were utterly overcome, and fell to bowing like Oriental devotees, and attempting the most extravagant and impossible smiles, reckless of lock-jaw. They might as well have left their hats at home, for they never put them on. I was rather irritated at the idea of letting these fellows march in the procession myself, at first, but I would have scorned to harbor so small a thought if I had known the privilege was going to do them so much good. There seemed to be a religious-benevolent society among them with a banner — the only one in the colored ranks, I believe — and all hands seemed to take boundless pride in it. The banner had a picture on it, but I could not exactly get the hang of its significance. It presented a very black and uncommonly sick looking nigger, in bed, attended by two other niggers — one reading the Bible to him and the other one handing him a plate of oysters; but what the very mischief this blending of contraband dissolution, raw oysters and Christian consolation, could possibly be symbolical of, was more than I could make out [ET&S 1: 248-9].

July 8 Saturday – The sixth and final of Sam’s columns for the Californian, “Answers to Correspondents,” ran with subtitles: Inquirer, Sacramento; Student of Etiquette; Mary, Rincon School; S. Browne—was printed in the Californian [ET&S 2: 219].

July 9 Sunday S. Browne Jones second article in the Era was titled, “An Astounding Fraud Practiced Upon Us,” is attributed to Sam [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].


July 14 Friday Sam wrote a letter of introduction from San Francisco to Dan De Quille for Dan Setchell, comedian and actor who, along with Artemus Ward, Sam credited with perfecting the technique of telling a story “gravely.” Setchell was lost and presumed dead on a trip to New Zealand [MTL 5: 679&n1].



July 23 SundayS. Browne Jones fourth article appeared in the Era [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].

July 30 SundayS. Browne Jones fifth article appeared in the Era [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].


August 4 Friday Pamela Moffett’s husband, Sam’s brother-in-law, William Anderson Moffett, died. Widowed just short of 38 years of age, Pamela never remarried. Daughter Annie was thirteen, son Sammy, not quite five [MTL 1: 382].

August 6 SundayS. Browne Jones sixth article appeared in the Era [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].

August 13 SundayS. Browne Jones seventh article appeared in the Era [Fatout, MT Speaks 19].

August 26 Saturday – Sam’s article “The Facts” ran in the Californian. By now Sam was writing daily letters to the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and had not contributed to the weekly literary Californian for seven weeks [ET&S 2: 250].

August 27 SundayS. Browne Jones eighth article appeared in the Era [Fatout, MT Speaks 19]. Note: Fatout claims eight letters by Jones to the Era between July 2 and this date. Other sources list only the first three.

September 8 Friday – San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle ran this squib:


September 9Saturday Sam’s Californian articles won praise in the New York Round Table.

He is, we believe, quite a young man, and has not written a great deal. Perhaps, if he will husband his resources and not kill with overwork the mental goods that has given us these golden eggs, he may one day take rank among the brightest of our wits.

By the end of the year, Sam was a literary celebrity.

October “Cats!” an anecdote about “renowned fiddling humbug” is known to have existed and been printed in the Virginia City Enterprise [Schmidt].

October 8 Sunday – Around noon on a peaceful Sabbath day, a severe earthquake hit San Francisco. Sam’s later account:

I was walking along Third Street, and facing north, when the first shock came; I was walking fast, and it “broke up my gait” pretty completely—checked me—just as a strong wind will do when you turn a corner and face it suddenly….The noise accompanying the shocks was a tremendous rasping sound, like the violent shaking and grinding together of a block of brick houses. It was about the most disagreeable sound you can imagine [ET&S 2: 304]. See Jump’s cartoon insert.


October 1011 Wednesday Sam’s article, “The Cruel Earthquake,” appeared in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise about this time, and was reprinted in the Gold Hill News on Oct. 13 [ET&S 2: 289].

October 1531 Tuesday One of Sam’s letters to the Enterprise was printed in this period, “Popper Defieth Ye Earthquake,” about Popper’s Building, heavily damaged [ET&S 2: 296].

October 16 Monday – Edgar Branch gives this as the date Sam began a two-month stint for the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle as a staff writer [“My Voice” 591].


October 16-23 Monday – Edgar Branch gives this as the week in which Sam composed “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” [“My Voice” 600].

October 17 Tuesday – Sam’s “Earthquake Almanac” was published in San Francisco’s Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 297].

Orion & Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam, letter not extant but referred to in Twain’s 19 and 20 Oct. reply, referring to the sermons sent. [MTP].


October 18 Wednesday – Sam had sent his Jumping Frog story to George W. Carleton (1832-1901), for a book that Artemus Ward was editing. It was too late for inclusion in the book so Carleton sent the story on to Henry Clapp, Jr. (1814-1875) at the Saturday Press, who published it [Rasmussen 265-6]. See also AMT 2: 484-5 for more on Carleton and Clapp.

Text Box: October 19, 1865
Adolph Sutro began his tunnel;
Completed on July 8, 1878





October 19 and 20 Friday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to Orion and Mollie. This is a much quoted letter of Sam’s:

…I have had a ‘call’ to literature, of a low order—i.e., humorous. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is my strongest suit…But as I was saying, it is human nature to yearn to be what we were never intended for. It is singular, but it is so. I wanted to be a pilot or a preacher, & I was about as well calculated for either as is poor Emperor Norton for Chief Justice of the United States [MTL 1: 322-3 emphasis Sam’s].

Sam began to see the possibilities of authorship, and probably enjoyed the writing of the frog tale and the finished work. The instant success a month later of the Jumping Frog story would cement his realizations. See Branch’s 1967 article “My Voice is Still for Setchell,” listed in Works Cited.

October 2124 Tuesday – Sam’s sketch, “Bob Roach’s Plan for Circumventing a Democrat,” was printed between these dates in the Territorial Enterprise, copies of which are lost. It was reprinted Nov. 30 in the San Francisco Examiner. Sam dated the letter Oct. 19 [ET&S 2: 311].

October 2224 Tuesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter about the Rawhide Ranch Mine was printed in the Enterprise and reprinted in the Sonora (Calif.) Union Democrat [Schmidt].

October 2628 Saturday – Sam’s San Francisco Letter to the Enterprise included: “A Love of a Bonnet Described,” “Re-opening of the Plaza,” and:


I am told that the Empress Eugenie is growing bald on the top of her head, and that to hide this defect she now combs her “back hair” forward in such a way as to make her look all right. I am also told that this mode of dressing the hair is already fashionable in all the great civilized cities of the world, and that it will shortly be adopted here. Therefore let your ladies “stand-by” and prepare to drum their ringlets to the front when I give the word. I shall keep a weather eye out for this fashion, for I am an uncompromising enemy of the popular “waterfall,” and I yearn to see it in disgrace. Just think of the disgusting shape and appearance of the thing. The hair is drawn to a slender neck at the back, and then commences a great fat, oblong ball, like a kidney covered with a net; and sometimes this net is so thickly bespangled with white beads that the ball looks soft, and fuzzy, and filmy and gray at a little distance — so that it vividly reminds you of those nauseating garden spiders in the States that go about dragging a pulpy, grayish bag-full of young spiders slung to them behind; and when I look at these suggestive waterfalls and remember how sea-sick it used to make me to mash one of those spider-bags, I feel sea-sick again, as a general thing. Its shape alone is enough to turn one’s stomach. Let’s have the back-hair brought forward as soon as convenient. N. B. — I shall feel much obliged to you if you can aid me in getting up this panic. I have no wife of my own and therefore as long as I have to make the most of other people’s it is a matter of vital importance to me that they should dress with some degree of taste [ET&S 2: 317-20].

October 26 Thursday – Sam’s article “Attention, Fitz Smythe!” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 482].


October 28 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Real Estate versus Imaginary Possessions, Poetically Considered – ‘My Ranch’,” was printed in the Californian [Schmidt]. Between Oct. 26 and this date, Sam’s San Francisco Letter was printed in the Enterprise. Subtitles: A LOVE OF A BONNET DESCRIBED, RE-OPENING OF THE PLAZA, MORE FASHIONS—EXIT “WATERFALL”

October 30 Monday
Sam’s article, “Lisle Lester on Her Travels” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle:

Lisle Lester, who is probably the worst writer in the world, though a good-hearted woman and a woman who means well, notwithstanding the distressing productions of her pen, has been visiting the Insane Asylum and favors the Marysville Appeal with some of her experiences [ET&S 2: 483].

October 31November 2 Thursday Sam’s short insert, “Steamer Departures” ran in the Enterprise sometime between these dates, and is another humorous example of Sam making interest out of boring news—a departure list in this case for the Pacific Mail Steamship’s Colorado, which left for Panama on Oct. 30, 1865 carrying 600 passengers.

November 1 Wednesday – Sam’s article “More California Notables Gone” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 485].


November 3 Friday – Sam’s article “‘Chrystal’ on Theology” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 486-7].


November 4 Saturday – Sam’s article “‘Mark Twain’ On the Ballad Infliction” ran in the Californian [reprinted from the Territorial Enterprise]:

It is bound to come! There is no help for it. I smell it afar off—I see the signs in the air! Every day and every hour of every day I grow more and more nervous, for with every minute of waning time the dreadful infliction comes nearer and nearer in its inexorable march! In another week, maybe, all San Francisco will be singing “Wearing of the Green!” I know it. I have suffered before, and I know the symptoms. This holds off long, but it is partly that the calamity may gather irresistible worrying-power, and partly be cause it is harder to learn than Chinese. But that is all the worse; for when the people do learn it they will learn it bad—and terrible will be the distress it will bring upon the community. A year ago “Johnny came marching home!” That song was sung by everybody, in every key, in every locality, at all hours of the day and night, and always out of tune. It sent many unoffending persons to the Stockton asylum. There was no stopping the epidemic, and so it had to be permitted to run its course and wear itself out. Short was our respite, and then a still more malignant distemper broke out in the midst of this harried and suffering community. It was “You’ll not forget me, mother, mother, mother, mother !” with an ever-accumulating aggravation of expression upon each successive “mother.” The fire-boys sat up all night to sing it; and bands of sentimental stevedores and militia soldiers patroled the streets and howled its lugubrious strains. A passion for serenading attacked the youth of the city, and they sang it under verandahs in the back streets until the dogs and cats destroyed their voices in unavailing efforts to lay the devilish spirit that was driving happiness from their hearts. Finally there came a season of repose, and the community slowly recovered from the effects of the musical calamity. The respite was not long. In an unexpected moment they were attacked, front and rear, by a new enemy—“When we were marching through Georgia!” Tongue cannot tell what we suffered while this frightful disaster was upon us. Young misses sang it to the guitar and the piano; young men sang it to the banjo and the fiddle; the un-blood stained soldier yelled it with enthusiasm as he marched through the imaginary swamps and cotton plantations of the drill-room; the firemen sang it as they trundled their engines home from conflagrations; and the hated serenader tortured it with his damned accordeon. Some of us survived, and some have gone the old road to a haven of rest at Stockton, where the wicked cease from troubling and the popular songs are not allowed. For the space of four weeks the survivors have been happy [Taper 128-29].

November 6 Monday – Sam’s unsigned article, “Oh, You Robinson!” about a man charged with bigamy, ran in the gossip column of the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, p2.

 The “Robertsonian method of teaching French” is very good, but the Robinsonian method of getting divorces is rather too brash [ET&S 2: 488; Gribben 583].

Theodore Robertson (1803-1871), author: The Whole French Language: The Robertsonian System (1855).


November 7 Tuesday Sam was among other reporters aboard the new tugboat Rescue, loaded with champagne and calliope playing to celebrate its maiden voyage. He wrote “Pleasure Excursion” about this trip with “high-toned newspaper reporters, numerous military officers, and gentlemen of note” [ET&S 2: 326]. Also, Sam’s article “A word from Lisle Lester” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, along with squib, “Explanation” [ET&S 2: 489-90].

November 8 Wednesday Sam’s obituary of the San Franciscan dog celebre, Bummer, appeared in the Enterprise and was reprinted Nov 11 in the Californian.

The old vagrant ‘Bummer’ is really dead at last; and although he was always more respected than his obsequious vassal, the dog “Lazarus,” his exit has not made half as much stir in the newspaper world as signalised the departure of the latter. I think it is because he died a natural death: died with friends around him to smooth his pillow and wipe the death-damps from his brow, and receive his last words of love and resignation; because he died full of years, and honor, and disease, and fleas. He was permitted to die a natural death, as I have said, but poor Lazarus “died with his boots on” — which is to say, he lost his life by violence; he gave up the ghost mysteriously, at dead of night, with none to cheer his last moments or soothe his dying pains. So the murdered dog was canonized in the newspapers, his shortcomings excused and his virtues heralded to the world; but his superior, parting with his life in the fullness of time, and in the due course of nature, sinks as quietly as might the mangiest cur among us. Well, let him go. In earlier days he was courted and caressed; but latterly he has lost his comeliness — his dignity had given place to a want of self-respect, which allowed him to practice mean deceptions to regain for a moment that sympathy and notice which had become necessary to his very existence, and it was evident to all that the dog had had his day; his great popularity was gone forever. In fact, Bummer should have died sooner: there was a time when his death would have left a lasting legacy of fame to his name. Now, however, he will be forgotten in a few days. Bummer’s skin is to be stuffed and placed with that of Lazarus [ET&S 2: 323].

Also, the San Francisco Examiner excerpted several passages from Sam’s latest letter to the Enterprise [Scharnhorst, “Also, Some Gin” 22-3]. Sam’s squib “Surplusage” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 491].

November 9 Thursday ­– Sam’s article “Stand Back!” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 492].


November 912 Sunday Sam’s article “Pleasure Excursion” was printed during this period in the Enterprise, reprinted Nov. 19 in the Golden Era; and the San Francisco Examiner on Dec. 2 [ET&S 2: 326].

November 11 Saturday The Napa County Reporter published one of Sam’s letters [MTL 1: 325]. Sam’s article, “Exit Bummer,” was printed in the Californian [reprinted from the Enterprise] [Schmidt]. Sam wrote three letters for the Reporter, the other two on Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 [ET&S 2: 371]. Also, Sam’s article “Cheerful Magnificence” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [494].

November 13 Monday – Sam’s short article, “In Ecstasies” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 495].


November 1518 Saturday Sam’s editorial, “Editorial ‘Puffing’ ” was printed between these dates in the Enterprise and reprinted in the San Francisco Examiner on November 20. Sam’s target was Albert S. Evans, editor of the Alta California, whom Sam often called “Fitz Smythe” [ET&S 2: 329].

November 16 Thursday – Sam’s article, “Ye Ancient Mystery,” another jab at Fitz Smythe (Albert Evans) ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 496-7].


November 17 Friday – Sam’s articles, “Improving” and “No Verdict” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 499-501].


November 18 Saturday – The Saturday Press first published the Jumping Frog story. The story was an immediate sensation and was reprinted by newspapers and magazines around the county [Rasmussen 266; ET&S 2: 262]. It was a sensation in New York.

Sam’s article “The Old Thing” ran in the Enterprise [ET&S 2: 332].

Another article, “Bad Precedent” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 502].

In the Californian, Sam’s article ran: “Mark Twain” on the Launch of the Steamer “Capital.” Note: Budd points out that this was reprinted in several collections, sometimes under the title “The Entertaining History of the Scriptural Panoramist” or “A Traveling Show” [“Collected” 1005].



I was just starting off to see the launch of the great steamboat Capital, on Saturday week, when I came across Mulph, Mulff, Muff, Mumph, Murph, Mumf, Murf, Mumford, Mulford, Murphy Nickerson — (he is well known to the public by all these names, and I cannot say which is the right one) — bound on the same errand, He said that if there was one thing he took more delight in than another, it was a steamboat launch; he would walk miles to see one, any day; he had seen a hundred thousand steamboat launches in his time, and hoped he might live to see a hundred thousand more; he knew all about them; knew everything — everything connected with them — said he “had it all down to a scratch;” he could explain the whole process in minute detail; to the uncultivated eye a steamboat-launch presented nothing grand, nothing startling, nothing beautiful, nothing romantic, or awe- inspiring or sublime — but to an optic like his (which saw not the dull outer coating, but the radiant gem it hid from other eyes,) it presented all these — and behold, he had power to lift the veil and display the vision even unto the uninspired. He could do this by word of mouth — by explanation and illustration. Let a man stand by his side, and to him that launch should seem arrayed in the beauty and the glory of enchantment! [Schmidt].

November 19 or 21 Tuesday Sam’s article, “The Pioneer’s Ball” was printed, probably on one of these dates, in the Territorial Enterprise and reprinted by the Californian on Nov. 25 and the Golden Era on Nov. 26. This sketch was also in Sketches, New and Old, 1875 as “After Jenkins” [ET&S 2: 367].

November 20 Monday – Sam’s squib, “The Goblin Again!” another poke at Albert Evans, ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 503].


November 24 Friday – Sam poked at the ineptness of the local press in “The Whangdoodle Mourneth” which ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 504].


November 25 Saturday The Napa County Reporter published another of Sam’s letters [MTL 1: 325]. Sam’s article, “The Great Earthquake in San Francisco” was published this day in the New York Weekly Review [ET&S 2: 300].

Sam’s article, “‘Mark Twain’ on the Launch of the Steamer ‘Capital’,” ran in the Californian. Subtitle: “The Entertaining History of the Scriptural Panoramist.”

 “The Old Thing” which ran in the Enterprise on Nov. 18was reprinted in the Californian [ET&S 2: 332].

Sam’s articles, “The Guard on a Bender,” and “Benkert Cometh!” appeared in the Napa County Reporter [ET&S 2: 371].

November 2830 Thursday Sam’s article, “Uncle Lige,” was printed in the Enterprise and reprinted in the Californian on Dec. 2 [ET&S 2: 376].

November 30 Thursday Sam’s 30th birthday. His four short articles, “Too Terse,” “Shame!” “Bribery! Corruption!” and “Drunk?” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle. The target? Fitz Smythe again (Evans) [ET&S 2: 505-8].

December 1865January 1866 Sometime this month, or at least before Jan. 20, 1866, Sam recalled years later:

“I put the pistol to my head but wasn’t man enough to pull the trigger. Many times I have been sorry I did not succeed, but I was never ashamed of having tried” [MTL 1: 325].

Fanning claims this act was a “direct result, evidently, of something his elder brother [Orion] had done [p. xv]. There is nothing “evident” however, about Orion’s influence creating suicidal thoughts in Sam, rather those of the murderous variety.

Portion of San Francisco Letter:

Those Oysters.

“Mark Twain” in his Virginia correspondence, abuses McDonald’s “scoofy oysters.” “Mark” says they are “poisonous,” and that “they produce diarrhea and vomiting.” McDonald’s explanation of this is, that “Mark,” with six Washoe friends, made a descent upon his (McDonald’s) saloon, the other day, and after eating fourteen dozen of the “scoofy oysters,” disputed the bill. McDonald insisted on payment at the regular rates. “Mark” stated that he and his sage brush friends were members of the press. Mac refused to make an deduction, and “Mark” paid the bill, swearing that he would get even. Hence the fearful letter to the Enterprise about the “poisoned oysters.”

A reference to this letter appeared in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, January 29, 1866; Reprinted, Mark Twain Journal, Spring, 1988, p. 23.

December 1 Friday – Sam’s article “How is That?” another poke at Albert Evans, ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 509].

December 2 Saturday The Napa County Reporter published another of Sam’s letters, which included “Webb’s Benefit” [MTL 1: 325; ET&S 2: 380]. Sam’s article, “Mark Twain Overpowered” was printed in the Californian [reprinting of “Uncle Lige” from the Territorial Enterprise]. [Schmidt].

December 5 Tuesday – Sam’s article “Delightful Romance” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, a summary of an Albert Evans article which appeared the day before in the Alta California [ET&S 2: 510].

December 7 Thursday – The Semi-Weekly Telegraph (Salt Lake City), ran this squib quoting Mark Twain:

            WESTERN.—MARK TWAIN, noticing a case of infamous outrage on an infant in San Francisco, makes the following candid confession—“We are thoroughly prospecting not only the main lead of crime here, but all its dips, spurs and angles.”

December 810 Sunday Sam’s verse about the theatre manager Thomas MaGuire (1820-1896) appeared in the Enterprise sometime between these dates [ET&S 2: 385].


Tom Maguire,
Torn with ire,
Lighted on Macdougall,
Grabbed his throat,
Tore his coat,
And split him in the bugle.

Shame! Oh, fie!
Maguire, why
Will you thus skyugle?
Why bang and claw,
And gouge and chaw
The unprepared Macdougall?

Of bones bereft,
See how you’ve left,
Vestvali, gentle Jew gal —
And now you’ve slashed,
And almost hashed,
The form of poor Macdougall.

Note: Felicita Vestvali (1824-1880), opera singer and actress. See insert.                           

December 1031 Sunday Sam’s item, “A Graceful Compliment,” in which Sam is introduced to the income tax, was probably part of Sam’s regular San Francisco letter. The item ran during this period in the Enterprise [ET&S 2: 388].

December 12 Tuesday – Sam took on the police for a “Shameful Attack on a Chinaman” in the article “Our Active Police” which ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 511].

December 13 Wednesday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to Orion and Mollie. Another hope and plan to sell the Tennessee Land came to naught. This time Sam had entertained an offer to sell the land for $200,000 to Herman Camp, an early locator on the Comstock Lode, who wanted to turn it into a vineyard and make wine. Orion’s “temperance virtue was suddenly on him in strong force.” The deal fell through and caused great friction between the Clemens brothers [MTL 1: 326].

December 1315 Friday Sam’s article, “Christian Spectator,” taken from Sam’s San Francisco Letter, dated Dec. 11, was printed in the Enterprise. Sam commented indirectly on the “incendiary religious matter about hell-fire, and brimstone, and wicked young men knocked endways by a streak of lightening while in the act of going fishing on Sunday,” as espoused by Rev. Fitzgerald of the Minna Street Methodist Church in a publication by the same name as the article. Other segments from Sam’s S.F. letter, “More Romance,” “Telegraphic,” and “The Police Judge Trouble,” were printed in the Enterprise [ET&S 2: 393-6].

December 16 Saturday – “Jim Smiley and the Jumping Frog,” was reprinted by Bret Harte in the Californian. Uncertain about the fate of the story he’d sent George W. Carleton, Sam showed Bret Harte (editor of the Californian) a version that renamed the central character Greeley instead of Smiley and also used Angels camp, the real name, instead of Noomerang. Harte liked the story. Along with the changes, the story got a new title: “The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County[Schmidt].

Mary Parks Chapman wrote from “Helena, Last Chance, Montana Territory” to Sam: “We have a theatre and company of Denverites, and are doing well. It is so cold that the quicksilver all froze, or I would tell you how many degrees below zero….This is a lively town; adjoining camps-deserted….I play the part of Richard III to-night. Next week I appear as Mazeppa”  [MTP].

December 1617 Sunday Sam’s San Francisco Letter dated Dec. 13 ran in the Enterprise: “Managerial” (about Edwin Forrest,) and “Not a Suicide” [ET&S 2: 209].

December 1921 Thursday Sam’s sketch, “Grand Fete-Day at the Cliff House,” was printed in the Enterprise and reprinted on Dec. 23 in the San Francisco Examiner [ET&S 2: 399].

The following celebrated artistes have been engaged at a ruinous expense, and will perform the following truly marvelous feats:

PETE HOPKINS, the renowned Spectre of the Mountains, will walk a tight rope — the artist himself being tighter than the rope at the time — from the Cliff House to Seal Rock, and will ride back on the Seal known as Ben Butler, or the Seal will ride back on him, as circumstances shall determine.

JIM EOFF will exhibit the horse Patchen, and explain why he did not win the last race.

HARRIS COVEY will exhibit Lodi and Jim Barton, and BILLY WILLIAMSON will favor the audience with their pedigree and sketches of their history. N.B. — This will be very entertaining.

JEROME LELAND will exhibit the famous cow, in a circus ring prepared for the occasion, and perform several feats of perilous cowmanship on her back [ET&S 2: 400-1]. Note: Jerome Leland (b.1840?) brother of Lewis Leland.

December 19 Tuesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter with this date ran sometime later in the month in the Enterprise. Sections: “Thief Catching,” “Caustic,” “I Knew It,” “Macdougall vs. Maguire,” “Louis Aldrich,” and “Gould and Curry” [Schmidt: The last four items are known to have existed but no text is available].


One may easily find room to abuse as many as several members of Chief Burke’s civilian army for laziness and uselessness, but the detective department is supplied with men who are sharp, shrewd, always on the alert and always industrious. It is only natural that this should be so. An ordinary policeman is chosen with especial reference to large stature and powerful muscle, and he only gets $125 a month, but the detective is chosen with especial regard to brains, and the position pays better than a lucky faro-bank. A shoemaker can tell by a single glance at a boot whose shop it comes from, by some peculiarity of workmanship; but to a bar-keeper all boots are alike; a printer will take a number of newspaper scraps, that show no dissimilarity to each other, and name the papers they were cut from; to a man who is accustomed to being on the water, the river’s surface is a printed book which never fails to divulge the hiding place of the sunken rock, or betray the presence of the treacherous shoal. In ordinary men, this quality of detecting almost imperceptible differences and peculiarities is acquired by long practice, and goes not beyond the limits of their own occupation—but in the detective it is an instinct, and discovers to him the secret signs of all trades, and the faint shades of difference between things which look alike to the careless eye.

Detective Rose can pick up a chicken’s tail feather in Montgomery street and tell in a moment what roost it came from at the Mission; and if the theft is recent, he can go out there and take a smell of the premises and tell which block in Sacramento street the Chinaman lives in who committed it, by some exquisite difference in the stink left, and which he knows to be peculiar to one particular block of buildings.

Mr. McCormick, who should be on the detective force regularly, but as yet is there only by brevet, can tell an obscene photograph by the back, as a sport tells an ace from a jack.

Detective Blitz can hunt down a transgressing hack-driver by some peculiarity in the style of his blasphemy [Taper 157-8].

Also, Sam’s article “How Dare You?” ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle [ET&S 2: 512].

December 2223 Saturday Sam’s San Francisco Letter, included “Macdougall vs. Maguire” was datelined the 20 and printed in the Enterprise [ET&S 2: 402]. Also included: “The New Swimming Bath,” “Buckingham,” “The ‘Eccentrics’,” – and the following texts not available: “Mining Operations,” “Major Farren,” and “Sam Brannan” [Schmidt].

December 23 Saturday – Sam’s original sketches, “The Christmas Fireside. For Good Little Boys and Girls. By Grandfather Twain,” and “The Story of the Bad Little Boy That Bore a Charmed Life” and “Enigma” were printed in the Californian [Budd, “Collected” 1006]. These stories were the germ for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Once there was a bad little boy, whose name was Jim—though, if you will notice, you will find that bad little boys are nearly always called James in your Sunday-school books. It was very strange, but still it was true, that this one was called Jim.

He didn’t have any sick mother, either—a sick mother who was pious and had the consumption, and would be glad to lie down in the grave and be at rest, but for the strong love she bore her boy, and the anxiety she felt that the world would be harsh and cold towards him when she was gone. Most bad boys in the Sunday books are named James, and have sick mothers, who teach them to say, “Now I lay me down,” etc., and sing them to sleep with sweet plaintive voices, and then kiss them goodnight, and kneel down by the bedside and weep. But it was different with this fellow. He was named Jim, and there wasn’t any thing the matter with his mother—no consumption, or any thing of that kind. She was rather stout than otherwise, and she was not pious; moreover, she was not anxious on Jim’s account. She said if he were to break his neck, it wouldn’t be much loss. She always spanked Jim to sleep, and she never kissed him goodnight; on the contrary, she boxed his ears when she was ready to leave him [ET&S 2: 405].

This was the first of two original Mark Twain sketches published by Harte. None other than William Dean Howells (1837-1920) of the Atlantic, who felt it might offend nearly every denominational reader of his magazine, had rejected it [Wilson 251].

December 24 or 26 Tuesday – (the Enterprise did not publish on Mondays) – Sam’s San Francisco Letter, dated Dec. 20, included, EDITORIAL POEM, FACETIOUS, MAYO AND ALDRICH, FINANCIAL, PERSONAL, MOCK DUEL—ALMOST, AND “MORE WISDOM!.” The letter contained more scattered attacks on Albert Evans [ET&S 2: 336].

December 25 Monday – ChristmasThe following articles supposed to be by Twain, ran in the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle:


Alfred Rix, the newly elected Judge of the Police Court, is a very respectable lawyer, and a man sufficiently human in his feelings, kindly in his nature, and shrewd in his judgments of character to make an excellent magistrate. We are inclined to believe that Mr. Rix is “the right man in the right place,” and that the Board of Supervisors will have no reason to repent of their action in placing him upon the Bench. The reporters seemed to imagine the other day that Hale Rix was the judge elect. Hale Rix is quite another sort of man and we think it quite as well — perhaps a trifle better — that “Alfred” is chosen to hold the scales and wield the sword of the Goddess of Justice in the Police Court.



Our cultural love of justice compels us to give the d___l his due. It is a fact to which we cannot close our eyes, that the Flag is really making an honest effort to become a respectable paper. Ever since it “got the dispatches” it has been comparatively rational. Heaven grant that the phenomenon may not prove transient. But we have our misgivings.



We are delighted to see that the Country Paper has come out on the Lord’s side in the crusade commenced against the Christian religion by the Theologian of the Era. It an article entitled the “Epoch of Reason,” the bucolic institution actually talks much sound sense, and gives the Theologian a very neat thrust by reminding him that all his shallow rationalistic notions, which he propounds with the air of a man who has lit upon something original, were half a century ago promulgated by Tom Paine, with infinitely greater ability, and cogency than the Era’s amateur evinces.



Grandmother Alta shoves up her spectacles and twaddles urbanely about “Feeling for Mexico in the East.” It is to be supposed that the precious old nincompoop imagines that Mexico is an Eastern province — lying between Egypt and Arabia, possible — and that feeling for it in that direction is destined to result in its being found, and restored to its original “internal scrimmage” position. Really now, Granny, you ought to be put through a course of geographical sprouts.

December 2627 Wednesday – Taken from Sam’s San Francisco Letter, dated Dec. 23, were “Gardner Indicted,” “Extraordinary Delicacy,” “Shooting,” “Another Enterprise,” and “Spirit of the Local Press,” printed in the Territorial Enterprise [ET&S 2: 413].


December 29 Friday Sam’s San Francisco Letter given this date was published in the Enterprise sometime in Jan. 1866. Sections: “Busted,” “Inspiration of Louderback,” “A Pleasant Farce,” “Personal,” (no text available for the last two items) and:


If I were Police Judge here, I would hold my court in the city prison and sentence my convicts to imprisonment in the present Police Court room. …

You cannot imagine what a horrible hole that Police Court is. The cholera itself couldn’t stand it there. The room is about 24 x 40 feet in size, I suppose, and is blocked in on all sides by massive brick walls; it has three or four doors, but they are never opened—and if they were they only open into airless courts and closets any how; it has but one window, and now that is blocked up, as I was telling you; there is not a solitary air-hole as big as your nostril about the whole place. Very well; down two sides of the room, drunken filthy loafers, thieves, prostitutes, China chicken-stealers, witnesses, and slimy guttersnipes who come to see, and belch and issue deadly smells, are banked and packed, four ranks deep—a solid mass of rotting, steaming corruption. In the centre of the room are Dan Murphy, Zabriskie, the Citizen Sam Platt, Prosecuting Attorney Louderback, and other lawyers, either of whom would do for a censer to swing before the high altar of hell. Then, near the Judge are a crowd of reporters—a kind of cattle that did never smell good in any land. The house is full—so full that you have to actually squirm and shoulder your way from one part of it to another—and not a single crack or crevice in the walls to let in one poor breath of God’s pure air! The dead, exhausted, poisoned atmosphere looks absolutely blue and filmy, sometimes—did when they had a little daylight. Now they have only gas-light and the added heat it brings. Another Judge will die shortly if this thing goes on [Taper171-3].

December 31 Sunday – “Convicts” is part of a San Francisco Letter dated Dec. 28 and published in the Enterprise. On Dec. 10 a group of five Comstock reporters sat for a group portrait at Sutterly Brothers in Virginia City, afterwards making the rounds of saloons and ordering a banquet at the International Hotel. All five men were old friends of Sam.

Some one (I do not know who,) left me a card photograph, yesterday, which I do not know just what to do with. It has the names of Dan De Quille, W. M. Gillespie, Alf. Doten, Robert Lowery and Charles A. Parker on it, and appears to be a pictured group of notorious convicts, or something of that kind. I only judge by the countenances, for I am not acquainted with these people, and do not usually associate with such characters. This is the worst lot of human faces I have ever seen. That of the murderer Doten, (murderer, isn’t he?) is sufficient to chill the strongest heart. The cool self-possession of the burglar Parker marks the man capable of performing deeds of daring confiscation at dead of night, unmoved by surrounding perils. The face of the Thug, De Quille, with its expression of pitiless malignity, is a study. Those of the light fingered gentry, Lowery and Gillespie, show that ineffable repose and self-complacency so deftly assumed by such characters after having nipped an overcoat or a pair of brass candlesticks and are aware that officers have suspected and are watching them. I am very glad to have this picture to keep in my room, as a hermit keeps a skull, to remind me what I may some day become myself. I have permitted the Chief of Police to take a copy of it, for obvious reasons [ET&S 2: 421].

Vol 1 Section 0023

Fitz Smythe & Corrupt Cops – Sandwich Islands –Volcanoes & Captain Cook

 Sacramento Union Letters – Anson Burlingame – Hornet Disaster

Hymns on the Smyrniote – “Trouble begins at 8”– First Lecture tour

Virginia City Homecoming – Robbed on the Divide – San Francisco Lectures

Isthmus with Ned Wakeman – Cholera Aboard

Several of Sam’s writings for this year are as yet undated. Three items were originally part of the Sandwich Islands Letters. Bret Harte extracted these for publication in the Californian, but they were collected in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches: Honored as a Curiosity in Honolulu; Short and Singular Rations; The Steed “Oahu[Camfield bibliog.]. “Il Trovatore” written but published posthumously [ibid].

January – Sam’s San Francisco Letter of Dec. 29, 1865 ran in the Enterprise (See entry.) Another Enterprise item, “New Year’s Day,” was a narrative of Sam trying to find breakfast on the holiday. (Reprinted in the Golden Era on Jan. 14.) [Walker 111-3]. The following items also ran in the Enterprise sometime in January: “The Kearney Street Ghost Story,” “Captain Montgomery,” “The Chapman Family” [Schmidt].

January, mid Sam was arrested for being drunk in public and jailed overnight. He’d been the object of a police watch, after articles criticizing police corruption and racism.

January 7 Sunday – Sam’s article, “Policemen’s Presents” appeared in the San Francisco Golden Era [Budd, “Collected” 1006].


January 8 Monday Sam’s San Francisco Letter, dated this day, ran sometime in January in the Enterprise. Sections: “White Man Mighty Onsartain,” “ Mint Defalcation,” “The Opening Night,” and:


In the bath-house sign are very correct likenesses of the chief stockholders, and are as follows: The fleshy, smiling, bald-headed man hanging to the middle of the little life boat, is Mr. O. P. Sutton, in the banking interest. The bald headed man hanging on near the stern of the boat, is Mr. Aleck Badlam, the shark-fancier. The man on the left, who is just starting on the spring-board, is Col. Monstery, the fencing-master. The inverted young man on the bow of the boat who is performing some kind of extraordinary gymnastic feat and appears to have got it a little mixed, is Captain McComb. The central figure, swinging on the trapeze, is Mr. Edward Smith, of the banking interest. The half-submerged figure diving head-foremost at the right of the central fountain, is Mr. A. J. Snyder, the carpenter and builder, and is a very correct portrait as far as it goes. The handsome fat man facing you from the stateroom door on the extreme left, is Mr. Louis Cohn, and is considered a masterpiece of portrait painting. I cannot recognize the stockholder immediately under the spring board on the left, on account of his truly extraordinary position. It may be Fitz Smythe. The gentleman who is splashing himself behind the figure in the swing, and [has] upon his countenance an expression of lively enjoyment, is Professor Nash. The figure in the swing is most too many for me. It may be Menken, or it may be Jeff. Davis, or it may be some other man or some other woman. It is the very picture that so exasperates the South Parkers. It has got baggy breasts like a squaw, and the hips have the ample and rounded swell which belong to the female shape; but the head is masculine. That figure has worried the ladies of South Park a good deal, and it worries me just as much. I shall have to let this personage swing on undisturbed, and leave it to a wiser head to determine the sex and discover the name that belongs to it. It would be very uncomfortable, now, if it should turn out that I have been mistaken, and this remarkable picture should never have been intended for a collection of portraits, after all—in which case I beg pardon.

[Schmidt: “The Opening Night” and “The Portraits” reprinted in Mark Twain: San Francisco Correspondent, (Book Club of California, 1957) 60-62].

January 11 Thursday Sam’s San Francisco Letter, dated this day, ran sometime in January in the Enterprise. Sections: “Another Romance,” “Precious Stones,” “Premature,” “A Handsome Testimonial,” “The California Art Union,” “Theatrical,” (text not available for the last four items), and Gorgeous New Romance, By Fitz Smythe!” From “Another Romance”:

I don’t want all the glory fastened on the Captains and Chiefs and regulars, and the deeds of the specials— the scallawags who really do all the work—left unsung. Tune up another column of [praise of] them, and blast away, idolatrous Fitz Smythe! [Schmidt: reprinted in Mark Twain: San Francisco Correspondent, (Book Club of California, 1957) 25-28].

January 13 SaturdayThe Ajax steamed out of San Francisco “in a pelting rain” on its first voyage to Hawaii. Frear writes:

A number of prominent persons had been invited to go as guests. Mark Twain wrote that fifty-two of these went, and a splendid brass band, but apparently, to judge from the newspaper reports and passenger lists, most of these and the band failed to go. A few other prominent persons, besides Honolulu residents and some invalids, went on their own.

      Mark Twain was included among the invited guests—a tribute to his growing reputation. But his conscience prevented, because, as he wrote, there would then be no one to continue the regular correspondence with the Territorial Enterprise, which he had resumed upon his return to San Francisco from Jackass Hill and Angel’s Camp, where he had gone to avoid the police and where he got the Jumping Frog story. However, no sooner had the steamer sailed than he began to regret that he had not yielded. If only he had the chance again he would “go quick” and “throw up” his correspondence! The correspondence had indeed become insufferably boresome, and the vagabond instinct was strong upon him [4]. Note: Sam got his chance and sailed on the Ajax’s second voyage on Mar. 7. See entry.

January 14 Sunday The Golden Era printed Sam’s article, “New Year’s Day” [Walker 111].

January 1618 Thursday Sam’s satire sketch about Albert Evans includes vernacular from a boy, something Sam would use to great advantage in his greatest literary work, Huckleberry Finn. The sketch, “Fitz Smythe’s Horse,” and an item “What Have the Police Been Doing?” ran in the Enterprise between these dates. Most copies of the Enterprise are lost, but it required about three days to travel between Virginia City and San Francisco, and the sketch was reprinted under the heading “Mark Twain” by the Golden Era on Jan. 21, thereby dating the Virginia City publication.


Yesterday, as I was coming along through a back alley, I glanced over a fence, and there was Fitz Smythe’s horse. I can easily understand, now, why that horse always looks so dejected and in different to the things of this world. They feed him on old newspapers. I had often seen Smythe carrying “dead loads” of old exchanges up town, but I never suspected that they were to be put to such a use as this. A boy came up while I stood there, and said, “That hoss belongs to Mr. Fitz Smythe, and the old man — that’s my father, you know — the old man’s going to kill him.”

“Who, Fitz Smythe?”

“No, the hoss — because he et up a litter of pups that the old man wouldn’t a taken forty dol — “

“Who, Fitz Smythe?”

“No, the hoss — and he eats fences and everything — took our gate off and carried it home and et up every dam splinter of it; you wait till he gets done with them old Altas and Bulletins he’s a chawin’ on now, and you’ll see him branch out and tackle a-n-y-thing he can shet his mouth on. Why, he nipped a little boy, Sunday, which was going home from Sunday school; well, the boy got loose, you know, but that old hoss got his bible and some tracts, and them’s as good a thing as he wants, being so used to papers, you see. You put anything to eat anywheres, and that old hoss’ll shin out and get it — and he’ll eat anything he can bite, and he don’t care a dam. He’d climb a tree, he would, if you was to put anything up there for him — cats, for instance — he likes cats — he’s et up every cat there was here in four blocks — he’ll take more chances — why, he’ll bust in anywheres for one of them fellers; I see him snake a old tom cat out of that there flower-pot over yonder, where she was a sunning of herself, and take her down, and she a hanging on and a grabbling for a holt on some thing, and you could hear her yowl and kick up and tear around after she was inside of him. You see Mr. Fitz Smythe don’t give him nothing to eat but them old newspapers and sometimes a basket of shavings, and so you know, he’s got to prospect or starve, and a hoss ain’t going to starve, it ain’t likely, on account of not wanting to be rough on cats and sich things. Not that hoss, anyway, you bet you. Because he don’t care a dam. You turn him loose once on this town, and don’t you know he’d eat up m-o-r-e goods-boxes, and fences, and clothing-store things, and animals, and all them kind of valuables? Oh, you bet he would. Because that’s his style, you know, and he don’t care a dam. But you ought to see Mr. Fitz Smythe ride him around, prospecting for them items — you ought to see him with his soldier coat on, and his mustashers sticking out strong like a cat-fish’s horns, and them long laigs of his’n standing out so, like them two prongs they prop up a step-ladder with, and a jolting down street at four mile a week — oh, what a guy! — sets up stiff like a close pin, you know, and thinks he looks like old General Macdowl. But the old man’s a going to hornisswoggle that hoss on account of his goblin up them pups. Oh, you bet your life the old man’s down on him. Yes, sir, coming!” and the entertaining boy departed to see what the “old man” was calling him for. But I am glad that I met the boy, and I am glad I saw the horse taking his literary breakfast, because I know now why the animal looks so discouraged when I see Fitz Smythe rambling down Montgomery street on him — he has altogether too rough a time getting a living to be cheerful and frivolous or anyways frisky [ET&S 2: 343-6].

January 18 Thursday ca.According to a Jan. 19 dispatch by Albert Evans, San Francisco correspondent for the Gold Hill Daily News, Sam was “in the dock for being drunk over night.” Since Sam and Evans were anything but on friendly terms, it’s probable that Evans would not delay reporting Sam’s misdeeds. Sam appeared before Justice of the Peace Alfred Barstow [Fanning 107-8].

January 19 Friday ca. – Based on the events of Sam’s imprisonment, Evans’ dispatch, and Sam’s appearance before a magistrate, Fanning concludes this the likely date that Sam “put the pistol to my head but wasn’t man enough to pull the trigger” [108]. ].


January 20 Saturday Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother, and sister Pamela:

“I don’t know what to write—my life is so uneventful. I wish I was back there piloting up & down the river again. Verily, all is vanity and little worth—save piloting” [MTL 1: 327].

Sam was at a low point. It seems like the new and wondrous places he found since leaving Hannibal soon wore thin, and his wanderlust took over. His piloting days would always be fixed in his memory in a romantic haze. Without that fixture, much of his great works might not have been produced. He bemoaned that the “Jumping Frog” story, “ a villainous backwoods sketch” would be singled out by “those New York people” to “compliment.” Perhaps his use of Coon’s story didn’t feel much like his own, even though he’d worked hard at revising it. He also wrote of Bret Harte’s desire to collaborate on a collection of stories and sketches, and a burlesque of California’s best poets book he and Harte planned. Neither work came to fruition. Sam enclosed clippings from the San Francisco Examiner about a new book he was to write [MTL 1: 327-31].


January 21 Sunday The Golden Era reprinted Sam’s articles, “What have the Police been Doing, ” and “Fitz Smythe’s Horse” [Walker 97-99]. Sam’s attacks on the police have often been cited as a contributing factor in his departure from San Francisco. Regardless, Sam enjoyed poking the police with his pen. This first article is doubtless one the Call would not publish.

January 22 Monday – Sam’s jailing brought delight to his rivals, including Albert Evans of the Alta California, who wrote articles objecting to the relocation of the city’s slaughter houses. Evans wrote that such a change would allow prevailing winds to give the entire city “a stench which is only second in horrible density to that which prevails in the Police Court when the Bohemian of the Sage-Brush is in the dock for being drunk over night” [Sanborn 270].

January 23 Tuesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter dated Jan. 18 ran in the Enterprise. Sections: “A Righteous Judge,” “The Righteous Shall Not be Forgotten,” and “Chief Burke.”


Judge Rix decides that the word “bilk” is obscene, and has fined a man for using it. He ought to have hanged him; but considering that he had not power to do that, and considering that he punished him as severely as the law permitted him to do, we should all be satisfied, and enter a credit mark in our memories for Judge Rix. That word is in all our dictionaries, and is by all odds the foulest one there. Its sound is against it—just as the reader’s countenance is against him, perhaps, or just as the face or voice of many a man we meet is against the owner, and repels a stranger. The word was popular a hundred years ago, and then it meant swindling, or defrauding, and was applicable to all manner of cheating. Having such a wide significance, perhaps its disgusting sound was forgiven it in consideration of its services. But it went out of date—became obsolete, and slept for nearly a century. And then it woke up ten years ago a different word—a superannuated word shorn of every virtue that made it respectable. The hoary verb woke up in a bawdy house after its Rip Van Winkle sleep of three generations and found itself essentially vulgar and obscene, in that it had but one solitary significance, and that described the defrauding a harlot of the wages she has earned. Since then its jurisdiction has been enlarged somewhat, but nothing can refine it—nothing can elevate it; it is permanently disgraced; it will never get rid of the odor of the bawdy house. The decision of Judge Rix closes respectable lips against its utterance and banishes it to the domain of prostitution, where it belongs. Depart in peace, proscribed Bilk! [Schmidt: “A Righteous Judge” and “The Righteous Shall Not Be Forgotten” reprinted in Bancroftiana, Fall 1999 10, 12. “Chief Burke San Francisco Examiner (February 5 and 7, 1866) and Albert Bigelow Paine’s Biography].

Sam dug himself an even deeper hole with more comments on police Chief Martin J. Burke:

The air is full of lechery, and rumors of lechery.

I want to compliment Chief Burke—I do honestly. But I can’t find anything to compliment him about. He is always rushing furiously around, like a dog after his own tail—and with the same general result, it seems to me; if he catches it, it don’t amount to anything, after all the fuss; and if he don’t catch it it don’t make any difference, because he didn’t want it anyhow; he only wanted the exercise, and the happiness of “showing off” before his mistress and the other young ladies. But if the Chief would only do something praiseworthy, I would be the first and most earnest and cordial to give him the credit due. I would sling him a compliment that would knock him down. I mean that it would be such a first-class compliment that it might surprise him to that extent as coming from me [Schmidt; see also Scharnhorst, “Mark Twain’s Imbroglio with the San Francisco Police: Three Lost Texts. American Literature, V. 62 No. 4 (Dec. 1990) p 686-91.

January 24 Wednesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter dated Jan. 24 ran later in January in the Enterprise. Sections: “More Outcroppings!” “Among the Spiritualists,” “Personal,” and “How They Take It.” (No text available for the last two items) [Schmidt: reprinted in Mark Twain: San Francisco Correspondent, (Book Club of California, 1957) 66-67].

January 28 Sunday The Golden Era printed or reprinted five articles by Sam: “The Kearny Street Ghost Story,” “Captain Montgomery,” “The Chapman Family,” “Busted, and gone Abroad,” and “Miseries of Washoe Men” [Walker 104, 120].

January 3031 Wednesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter dated Jan. 28 ran in the Enterprise: Sections: “Closed Out,” “Bearding the Fenian in his Lair,” “Card from Volunteers,” “Sabbath Reflections,” and “Neodamode” [Schmidt: “Closed Out” reprinted in ET&S 2: 349; “Neadomode” reprinted in Taper 200-1].

February Items which ran in the Enterprise sometime during the month, day unknown: “Mark Twain, Committee Man,” (reprinted Feb. 11 in the Golden Era), “Mark Twain on the Police,” and three items reprinted in the Feb. 13 Golden Era: “The Signal Corps,” “Spiritual Insanity,” and a San Francisco Letter with “The Russian American Telegraph Company” [Schmidt].

February 3 Saturday Sam’s article “More Spiritual Investigations” ran in the Enterprise and was reprinted Mar. 11 in the Golden Era [Camfield bibliog.].

February 4 Sunday Sam’s articles: The Golden Era printed, “Among the Spiritualists” as “Among the Spirits” [Walker 122]; “The Spiritual Séance” first ran in the Enterprise and was later revised for inclusion in The Jumping Frog (1867) [Budd, “Collected” 1006].

February 6or7 Wednesday Sam’s highly personal attack on Albert Evans is part of his San Francisco Letter written on Feb. 3, titled, “Take the Stand, Fitz Smythe,” printed in the Enterprise on one of these dates. Evans was biased in favor of the San Francisco police, a corrupt organization at that time. Other items in the letter: “Personal,” “More Cemeterial Ghastliness,” “Rev. Charles Ellis,” and “More Outcroppings (II)” [Schmidt].

February 7 Wednesday In response to the above letter that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on Feb. 5 – Twain dated this letter Feb. 5 to the Editors of the Examiner:


EDITOR EXAMINER:—You published the following paragraph the other day and stated that it was an “extract from a letter to the Virginia Enterprise, from the San Francisco correspondent of that paper.” Please publish it again, and put in the parentheses where I have marked them, so that people who read with wretched carelessness may know to a dead moral certainty when I am referring to Chief Burke, and also know to an equally dead moral certainty when I am referring to the dog:

I want to compliment Chief Burke—I do honestly. But I can’t find anything to compliment him about. He is always rushing furiously around, like a dog after his own tail—and with the same general result, it seems to me; if he (the dog, not the Chief,) catches it, it don’t amount to anything, after all the fuss; and if he (the dog, not the Chief,) don’t catch it it don’t make any difference, because he (the dog, not the Chief,) didn’t want it anyhow; he (the dog, not the Chief,) only wanted the exercise, and the happiness of “showing off” before his (the dog’s, not the Chief’s,) mistress and the other young ladies. But if the Chief (not the dog,) would only do something praiseworthy, I would be the first and the most earnest and cordial to give him (the Chief, not the dog,) the credit due. I would sling him (the Chief, not the dog,) a compliment that would knock him down. I mean that it would be such a first-class compliment that it might surprise him (the Chief, not the dog,) to that extent as coming from me.

I think that even the pupils of the Asylum at Stockton can under stand that paragraph now. But in its original state, and minus the explanatory parentheses, there were people with sufficiently gorgeous imaginations to gather from it that it contained an intimation that Chief Burke kept a mistress!—and not only that, but they also imagined that Chief Burke was in the habit of amusing that mistress with an entertainment of the most extraordinary character! I grant you that if you can make the sentence mean that it was the Chief who amused “his mistress and the other young ladies,” it must mean that the same individual went through the truly surprising performance alluded to. I was sorry to learn that any one had placed so dire a misconstruction upon that sentence; I was genuinely sorry, but the idea was so unspeakably funny that I had to laugh a little, in spite of my tears. Certain friends of the Chief’s were really distressed about this thing, and my object in writing this paragraph now, is to assure them emphatically that I did not intend to hint that he kept a mistress, and to further assure them that I have never heard any one in the world intimate such a thing. I think that is plain enough. I have written hard things about Chief Burke, in his official capacity, and I have no doubt I shall do it again; but I have not the remotest idea of meddling with his private affairs. Even if he kept a mistress, I would hardly parade it in the public prints; nor would I object to his performing any gymnastic miracle which might suggest itself to his mind as being calculated to afford her wholesome amusement. I am a little at loggerheads with M. J. Burke, Chief of Police, and I must beg leave to stir that officer up some in the papers from time to time; but M. J. Burke, in his capacity as a private citizen, is a bosom friend of mine, and is safe from my attacks. I would even drink with him, if asked to do so. But Chief Burke don’t keep a mistress. On second thoughts, I only wish he did. I would call it malfeasance in office and publish it in a minute! MARK TWAIN.

February 810 Saturday Sam’s article “Remarkable Dream” is part of his San Francisco Letter dated Feb. 6 which ran in the Enterprise. The piece is another swipe at “Fitz Smythe.” Other items in the letter: “Ministerial Change,” “Personal,” and “Dogberry’s Lecture.” (Text not available for last two items) [ET&S 2: 353].

February 10 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Mark Twain Among the Spirits” was printed in the Californian [Reprinted from the Enterprise] [Schmidt].

February 11 Sunday The Golden Era reprinted Sam’s earlier February Enterprise article, “Mark Twain a Committee Man,” A hilarious account of Sam “handling” a stage spiritualist [Walker 125].

February 12 Monday Sam’s San Francisco Letter of this date ran later in February in the Enterprise. Sections: “Michael,” “Liberality of Michael,” “Liberality to His Heir,” The New Play,” and “Personal,” –all text unavailable. Also in the letter, in full:


I once made up my mind to keep the ladies of the State of Nevada posted upon the fashions, but I found it hard to do. The fashions got so shaky that it was hard to tell what was good orthodox fashion, and what heretical and vulgar. This shakiness still obtains in everything pertaining to a lady’s dress except her bonnet and her shoes. Some wear waterfalls, some wear nets, some wear cataracts of curls, and a few go bald, among the old maids; so no man can swear to any particular “fashion” in the matter of hair.

The same uncertainty seems to prevail regarding hoops. Little “highflyer” schoolgirls of bad associations, and a good many women of full growth, wear no hoops at all. And we suspect these, as quickly and as naturally as we suspect a woman who keeps a poodle. Some who I know to be ladies, wear the ordinary moderate sized hoops, and some who I also know to be ladies, wear the new hoop of the “ spread-eagle “ pattern—and some wear the latter who are not elegant and virtuous ladies—but that is a thing that may be said of any fashion whatever, of course. The new hoops with a spreading base look only tolerably well. They are not bell-shaped—the “spread” is much more abrupt than that. It is tent-shaped; I do not mean an army tent, but a circus tent—which comes down steep and small half way and then shoots suddenly out horizontally and spreads abroad. To critically examine these hoops—to get the best effect—one should stand on the corner of Montgomery and look up a steep street like Clay or Washington. As the ladies loop their dresses up till they lie in folds and festoons on the spreading hoop, the effect presented by a furtive glance up a steep street is very charming. It reminds me of how I used to peep under circus tents when I was a boy and see a lot of mysterious legs tripping about with no visible bodies attached to them. And what handsome vari-colored, gold-clasped garters they wear now-a-days! But for the new spreading hoops, I might have gone on thinking ladies still tied up their stockings with common strings and ribbons as they used to do when I was a boy and they presumed upon my youth to indulge in little freedoms in the way of arranging their apparel which they do not dare to venture upon in my presence now.

But as I intimated before, one new fashion seems to be marked and universally accepted. It is in the matter of shoes. The ladies all wear thick-soled shoes which lace up in front and reach half way to the knees. The shoe itself is very neat and handsome up to the top of the instep—but I bear a bitter animosity to all the surplus leather between that point and the calf of the leg. The tight lacing of this legging above the ankle-bone draws the leather close to the ankle and gives the heel an undue prominence or projection—makes it stick out behind and assume the shape called the “jay bird heel” pattern. It does not look well. Then imagine this tall shoe on a woman with a large, round, fat foot, and a huge, stuffy, swollen-looking ankle. She looks like she had on an elbow of stove pipe. Any foot and ankle that are not the perfection of proportion and graceful contour look surpassingly ugly in these high-water shoes. The pretty and sensible fashion of looping up the dress gives one ample opportunity to critically examine and curse an ugly foot. I wish they would cut down these shoes a little in the matter of leggings [Taper 217-18].

February 13 Tuesday See February listing for items reprinted this day in the Golden Era.

February 15 Thursday Sam’s San Francisco Letter of this date ran later in February in the Enterprise. Sections: “Funny,” “Montana,” “Literary,” “Personal,” and “Specie and Currency.” Only the first article text is available:


Chief Burke’s Star Chamber Board of Police Commissioners is the funniest institution extant, and the way he conducts it is the funniest theatrical exhibition in San Francisco. Now to see the Chief fly around and snatch up accuser and accused before the commission when any policeman is charged with misconduct in the public prints, you would imagine that fearful Commission was really going to raise the very devil. But it is all humbug, display, fuss and feathers. The Chief brings his policeman out as sinless as an angel, unless the testimony be heavy enough and strong enough, almost, to hang an ordinary culprit, in which case a penalty of four or five days’ suspension is awarded. …

Why, the other day, in one of the Commission trials, where a newspaper editor was summoned as a prosecutor, they detailed a substitute for the real delinquint, and tried him! There may be more joke than anything else about that statement, but I heard it told, anyhow. And then it is plausible—it is just characteristic of Star Chamber antics [Taper 218-20].

February 17 Saturday – Sam’s article, “An Open Letter to the American People” was published this date in the New York Weekly Review [MTL 1: 330 n5].

February 18 Sunday The Golden Era printed three articles by Sam: “The Signal Corps,” “Spiritual Insanity,” and “Mysterious Newspaper Man” [Walker 129].

February 22 Thursday – Sam interviewed passengers upon return of the steamer Ajax, which began its maiden voyage on the San Francisco to Honolulu run on Jan. 13. Sam regretted not going. The Ajax was the same steamship that Sam would take in March.

The earliest known “saloon version” of how Sam acquired the pen name “Mark Twain” appeared in the Nevada City, California Transcript [Cardwell 179]. (“Mark Twain” being a charge for two drinks.)

February 23 Friday – Sam wrote an account of the pioneer voyage of the Ajax for the Enterprise.

February 24 Saturday – Sam traveled to Sacramento [MTL 1: 334n1].

February 25 Sunday – Sam wrote his daily Enterprise letter from Sacramento. It ran later that month. He’d arrived there to call on the editors of the Sacramento Union. Sam knew them and wanted to discuss becoming their special correspondent for a couple of months.

LETTER FROM SACRAMENTO [dated February 25, 1866].

I arrived in the City of Saloons this morning at 3 o’clock, in company with several other disreputable characters, on board the good steamer Antelope, Captain Poole, commander. I know I am departing from usage in calling Sacramento the City of Saloons instead of the City of the Plains, but I have my justification—I have not found any plains, here, yet, but I have been in most of the saloons, and there are a good many of them. You can shut your eyes and march into the first door you come to and call for a drink, and the chances are that you will get it. And in a good many instances, after you have assuaged your thirst, you can lay down a twenty and remark that you “copper the ace,” and you will find that facilities for coppering the ace are right there in the back room. In addition to the saloons, there are quite a number of mercantile houses and private dwellings. They have already got one capitol here, and will have another when they get it done. They will have fine dedicatory ceremonies when they get it done, but you will have time to prepare for that—you needn’t rush down here right away by express. You can come as slow freight and arrive in time to get a good seat [Schmidt]. Note: Captain Edward A. Poole.

Other items in his letter: “The ‘High Grade’ Improvement,” “Boot Blacking,” “Brief Climate Paragraph,” “The Lullabye of the Rain,” “I Try to Out “Sass” the Landlord—and Fail,” and “Mr. John Paul‘s Baggage” [Schmidt]. The Golden Era printed three articles by Sam: “On California Critics,” “On Fashions,” and “A San Francisco Millionaire” [Walker 109].

February 2528 Wednesday Sam’s San Francisco Letter dated Feb. 23 ran in the Enterprise: Sections: “Voyage of the Ajax,” “Pleasing Incident,” “Off for the Snow Belt,” “After Them,” “Theatrical,” and “A New Biography of Washington[Schmidt].


February 26 Monday – This is most likely the day Sam and the editors of the Union agreed he should go to the Sandwich Islands. The exact agreement with the editors is unknown, but it’s clear Sam was to be paid for each letter from the islands. Sam had told his old school chum, Will Bowen, that he was willing to go anywhere the editors sent him, but since he’d missed out on two trips to the Sandwich Islands, it’s likely Sam suggested or offered that destination [Sanborn 273-4].

This is also the day that Orion Clemens resigned as chairman of Ways and Means in the Nevada State Legislature [Fanning 110].

February 27March 2 Friday – Sam booked passage to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) sometime after returning to San Francisco.

March 3 Saturday – Sam’s article, “A New Biography of George Washington,” was printed in the Californian [reprinted from the Territorial Enterprise] [Schmidt].

March 3? Saturday – Sam wrote from San Francisco to Billy Gillis (William R. Gillis, who paraphrased this letter from Sam later), telling him that he was leaving in a “short time for Sandwich Islands in company with a party of U.S. surveyors, a special correspondent of the Alta California” [MTL 1: 332]. (Sam had made a deal with the Sacramento Union, not the Alta.)

March 4 Sunday The Golden Era printed two articles by Sam: “A New Wildcat Religion,” and “Biographical Sketch of George Washington” [Walker 106].

March 5 Monday – Sam wrote a short letter from San Francisco to his mother, Jane Clemens and sister Pamela:

I start to the Sandwich Islands day after to-morrow…I am to remain there a month & ransack the islands, the great cataracts & the volcanoes completely, & write twenty or thirty letters to the Sacramento Union—for which they pay me as much money as I would get if I staid at home [MTL 1: 333].


Sam was an excellent speller, but always wrote “staid” for “stayed” (as did others); spelling conventions evolve. Sam briefly mentioned plans upon return from Hawaii, to start straight across the continent by way of the Columbia River, the Pen d’Oreille Lakes, through Montana and down the Missouri River—only 200 miles of land travel from San Francisco to New Orleans [MTL 1: 333-4].

March 7 Wednesday – Sam left for the Sandwich Islands aboard the steamer Ajax. The ship left port at four o’clock in the afternoon on a pleasant breezy day. Passage took ten days, 19 ½ hours [Frear 5]. Sam’s friends had given him letters of introduction to important persons on the island, including the King. They also gave him a case of wine, several boxes of cigars, and a “small assortment of medicinal liquors and brandy” [Sanborn 275-6; MTL 1: 334n1]. From Sam’s notebook:

“Got away about 4 P.M. Only about half dozen of us, out of 30 passengers, at dinner—balance all sea-sick” [MTNJ 1: 112].

March 8 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

“Strong gale all night—ship rolled heavily—heavy sea on this evening—& black sky overhead. Nearly everybody sick abed yet” [MTNJ 1: 112].

March 9 Friday – From Sam’s notebook:

“Woke up several times in the night—must have had pretty rough time of it from the way the vessel was rolling.—Heard passengers heaving & vomiting occasionally. Very rough, stormy night, I am told” [MTNJ 1: 112].

On this night he made one of his few personal entries. He’d just read letters from home that had arrived late. They announced news of further oil discoveries on the Tennessee Land. Sam wrote:

“…& that worthless worthless [canceled twice] brother of mine, with his eternal cant about law & religion, getting ready in his slow, stupid way, to go to Excelsior, in stead of the States, to sell the land….He sends me some prayers as usual” [MTNJ 1: 112].

March 917 Saturday – The weather was stormy for three days. While aboard the Ajax, Sam jotted in his notebooks what information about the islands he gained from talk with passengers who lived there. He recorded anecdotes, bits of conversation, regional dialect, and occupational vernacular, such as the euchre game he watched between three whaling captains. From his notes he wrote the first letter to the Union, in which he included himself in the euchre contest. Sam would write 25 letters for the Union on this trip. Sam again used his alter ego in these letters, “Mr. Brown,” an imaginary crude companion. This was a similar literary ploy as his use of the “Unreliable” in his Enterprise letters [Sanborn 276-7]. Note: His choice of the name “Brown” may have been inspired by the hated steamboat pilot, William Brown. 

March 10 Saturday From Sam’s notebook:

We are making about 200 miles a day. Got some sail on yesterday morning for first time, & in afternoon crowded everything on. Sea-gulls chase but no catch.

10th—cont. Three or four of the sea-sick passengers came to lunch at noon, & several of the ladies are able to dress & sit up.

      Captain reports 325 miles made in past 24 hours.

      Found an old acquaintance to-day—never been anywhere yet that I didn’t find an acquaintance.

Note: The “old acquaintance” was shorthand reporter, Andrew J. Marsh, formerly Sam’s colleague reporting Nevada legislative goings-on for the Territorial Enterprise [MTNJ 1: 113].

Sam would later write to the Alta:

Saturday – Weather same, or more so. You can rake that four-days dose of your infamous “Pacific,” Mr. Balboa, and digest it, and you may consider it well for your reputation in California that we had pretty fair weather the balance of the voyage. If we hadn’t, I would have given you a blast in this letter that would have made your old dry bones rattle in your coffin – you shameless old foreign humbug!

The Unionville, Nevada Humboldt Register ran an “interview” with Mark Twain dated Mar. 4.

…last night he would leave, in a few days, for the Sandwich Islands, in the employ of the Sacramento Union. Will be gone about two months. Then will go to Montana for same paper, and next Fall down the Missouri river in a Mackinac boat—he’s an old Mississippi pilot—to New Orleans; where he intends writing a book [ET&S 1: 35].


March 11 Sunday Sam made several brief notebook entries on situations and customs of Hawaii the crew and passengers told him about.

“…sea as smooth as a river. Nearly everybody out to breakfast this morning—not more than ½ dozen sick now” [MTNJ 1: 113].


Frear writes of Twain’s preparations during the voyage:

…on the voyage he strove to acquire all the information he could about Hawaii, preparatory to arrival. Besides questioning seamen and Honolulu passengers, of whom there were several well-informed, such as the missionary sons, Captain (afterwards General) W.H. Dimond and Rev. T.G. Thurston, he devoted much attention to books, including a Hawaiian dictionary and phrase book, which he had succeeded in borrowing.

He was much taken with the language. He later even made a list of Hawaiian phrases for his own use [9].

Note: Thomas G. Thurston (1836-1884). William Henry Dimond (1838-1896), son of Rev. Henry Dimond (1808-1895) who came to the Hawaiian Islands with the Seventh Company of American missionaries, arriving on December 5, 1834. William left the islands in 1868 due to his wife’s health and later became superintendent of the S.F. Mint and General of the California National Guard.

The Golden Era printed two articles by Sam: “More Spiritual Investigations,” (reprinted from Feb. 3 Enterprise) [Camfield bibliog.]; and “On Boot-blacks” [Walker 135, 114].

March 13 Tuesday – Having put their Carson City house up for sale and most of their worldly possessions, Orion and Mollie Clemens left Carson for points west. Orion would settle at Meadow Lake, in the Excelsior mining district of Nevada Co., California; Mollie continued on to Sacramento and San Francisco. They rejoined on June 16 and continued liquidating possessions and raising money for the trip home to Keokuk [MTL 1: 342n1]. (See Aug. 30 entry.)

March 14 Wednesday – Sam developed the mumps. He would quickly recover once in the islands [Sanborn 278; Frear 5].

March 18 Sunday – The Ajax arrived at Honolulu at 11:30 AM, to the peals of “six different church bells” [Frear 5, 18]. A crowd of four or five hundred colorfully dressed natives and tourists met the boat. Sam was duly impressed [Sanborn 277].

From Sam’s first letter to the Union On Board Steamer AJAX, HONOLULU (H. I.), MARCH 18 — ran in the Union April 16 1866:


We arrived here to-day at noon, and while I spent an hour or so talking, the other passengers exhausted all the lodging accommodations of Honolulu. So I must remain on board the ship to-night. It is Very warm in the stateroom, no air enters the ports. Therefore, have dressed in a way which seems best calculated to suit the exigencies of the case. A description of this dress is not necessary. I may observe, however, that I bought the chief article of it at ‘Ward’s.

There are a good many mosquitoes around to-night and they are rather troublesome; but it is a source of unalloyed satisfaction to me to know that the two millions I sat down on a minute ago will never sing again.

Note: Sam’s letters from Hawaii are referenced from [Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii, ed. A. Grove Day 1966]. Print dates for the Sacramento Union are taken from [Schmidt, www.twainquotes.com]. Frear notes that mosquitoes were introduced into Hawaii in 1828 “in water casks by the ship Wellington from San Blas, Mexico—in retaliation, it was said, for refusal to repeal the laws against vice” [19n3].

Frear writes:

However, that first quiet day, before writing his first letter to the Union in the evening, he eagerly made his first reconnaissance. “The further I traveled through the town the better I liked it. Every step revealed a new contrast—disclosed something I was unaccustomed to,” and he went on at length to contrast Honolulu with San Francisco, much to the disadvantage of the latter [19].

The Golden Era first ran Sam’s article, “Reflections on the Sabbath” [Walker 115].

March 19 Monday – From Sam’s second letter to the Union dated “Honolulu, March 19, 1866” Ran in the Union Apr. 17 1866: THE AJAX VOYAGE CONTINUED:

“We passengers are all at home now — taking meals at the American Hotel, and sleeping in neat white cottages, buried in noble shade trees and enchanting tropical flowers and shrubbery” [Day 17; Frear 19-20].

“Hotels gouge Californians—charges sailing passengers eight dollars a week for board, but steamer passengers ten” [MTNJ 1: 195].

Frear writes of the American Hotel:


The hotel was opened only on the first of that month and was kept by a German, M. Kirchhoff, but an added interest to Mark Twain was that a fellow “lady passenger of high recommendations’ bought a half interest in it, and showed determination to achieve success.



The hotel was on the upper side of Beretainia Street opposite the end of what is now Bishop Street. … At first Twain took only his meals there and at Laller’s restaurant on Nuuanu Street, rooming part of the time on Emma Street at the old Queen Emma…where St. Andrew’s Cathedral is now, and part of the time on the corner of Fort Street and Chaplain Lane next to “Father” Damon’s home. During the last part of his visit he also roomed at the hotel. On Emma Street he was at the J.H. Black’s, a newspaper man with whom he had been associated as a printer in earlier days. Twain is said to have had a genial table at the hotel, at which he presided as the “autocrat” [20 & n5]. Note: editorial emphasis.


March 22 Thursday – Sam wrote in pencil on the flyleaf of a copy of Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (in Hawaiian): “Sam. L. Clemens / From Rev. S. C. Damon / Honolulu, Hawaii, / March 22, 1866” [Gribben 112]. Note: Samuel Chenery Damon (1815-1885) pastor of the Oahu Bethel Church and chaplain of the Honolulu American Seamen’s Friend Society.


Frear [52] puts this notebook entry [MTNJ 1:195] of Sam’s to “Shortly after his arrival”:


Charley Richards keeps a tremendous spider & 2 lizards for pets. I would like to sleep with him if he would get a couple of snakes or so. / Honolulu hospitality. Richards said: “Come in—sit down—take off your coat & boots—take a drink. Here is a pass-key to the liquor & cigar cupboard—put it in your pocket—two doors to this house—stand wide open night & day from January till January—no locks on them—march in whenever you feel like it, take as many drinks & cigars as you want, & make yourself at home” [Note: Charles L. Richards was a partner in C.L. Richards & Co., Honolulu ship chandlers and commission merchants.]


March 24 Saturday – Sam’s article, “A Complaint About Correspondents” was printed in the Californian [Schmidt].


March 25 SundayFrear writes of Sam’s church attendance this day:

On the next Sunday after his arrival Mark Twain attended church and heard his fellow passenger, T.G. Thurston,  deliver his first sermon. “Young Thurston made his first sermon in Fort Street Church Sunday evening 25th—his old father and mother (missionary 46 years) present—feeling remarks of minister in his prayer about the old people being spared to hear the son they had dedicated to the Lord—very affecting” [25]. Note: see Mar. 11 entry.

March, lateSam undertook his “equestrian excursion” around the island. Young Henry Macfarlane was along for much of the ride [Day 44-65]. Frear, Ch. III, discusses Sam’s poor horsemanship. See also MTL 1: 371n2.


April Sam’s sketch, “A Strange Dream,” was written: a tale about a fictional search for the bones of Kamehameha I (1737?-1819), the conqueror of the Hawaiian Islands [MTL 1: 344 n1].

April 3 Tuesday Sam wrote from Honolulu to his mother, and sister Pamela.

I have been here two or three weeks, & like the beautiful tropical climate better & better. I have ridden on horseback all over this island (Oahu) in the meantime, & have visited all the ancient battle-fields & other places of interest. I have got a lot of human bones which I took from one of these battle-fields—I guess I will bring you some of them [MTL 1: 334].

April 4 Wednesday – Sam visited with the king of Hawaii, Kamehameha V (1830-1872) at Iolani Palace. Sam was escorted by the “King’s Grand Chamberlain,” David Kalakaua (1836-1891) who would become king in 1874.

April 6 Friday – “Special Dispatch from Mark Twain” ran on page 4 of the New York Times, the first such mention of Sam in that paper:

“Have had an interview with the spirits of Jno. Phoenix and Joe Miller. In their opinion it can’t be done. Joe wanted to know if it’s a regular ‘Tenner’ or something ‘queer.’ MARK TWAIN.”


April 7 Saturday – Sam’s Article, “On Linden, etc.,” was printed in the Californian:

And speaking of steamboats reminds me of an incident of my late trip to Sacramento. I want to publish it as showing how going north on the river gradually enfeebles one’s mind, and accounts for the strange imbecility of legislators who leave here sensible men, and become the reverse, to the astonishment of their constituents, by the time they reach their seats in the Capitol at Sacramento [Schmidt].

April, mid – Sam left for Maui on a small schooner, where he saw the Haleakala volcano [Frear 55; MTL 1: 335n5]. Frear on some notable personages Sam met on Maui:

As on Oahu he found Minister [C.C.] Harris and Bishop [T.N.] Staley types of pretense deserving his hottest denunciation for years, so on Maui he found a character whom he immortalized as a Munchausen. He called him Markiss. His real name was F.A. Oudinot. He claimed descent from Napoleon’s famed Marshal of that name, and on French national days would celebrate all by himself in a gorgeous French uniform and with a French flag. In 1880 he was pointed out to the writer as the man Mark Twain branded the biggest liar on earth. There was a store with large timber doors on the waterfront street facing the sea at Lahaina, and here in dull seasons it was customary for a variety of characters to gather for gossip and to watch the schooners come and go. Besides a Peter Tredway who had a fund of more moderate stories, there were two men who had “a very adventurous life, according to their tellings.” Apparently it was here that Mark Twain first met Oudinot—“in a sort of public room in the town of Lahaina,” as he wrote, and in Roughing It he devoted a chapter to four stories (the chimney, the tree, the horse and the blast) told by Oudinot, the latter’s sad end, and the uncomfortable effects on Twain himself. Twain added seemingly naively; “Almost from the beginning, I regarded that man as a liar” [57-8]. Note: editorial emphasis.

April 16 Monday – Sam’s first letter from the Sandwich Islands ran in the Sacramento Union. (See Mar. 18 entry) [Day 3].

April 17 Tuesday – Sam’s second letter from the Sandwich Islands ran in the Sacramento Union. (See Mar. 19 entry) [Day 9].

April 18 Wednesday – Sam’s third letter to the Union dated “Honolulu, March, 1866: STILL AT SEA” ran in the Union:

“I have been here a day or two now, but I do not know enough concerning the country yet to commence writing about it with confidence, so I will drift back to sea again.”

He then wrote a long letter about the Ajax and the need to establish a permanent steamship line to the islands [Day 18].

Note: the next several letters, dated only “March” were printed daily in the Union. Sam may have written these on consecutive days, but there is no way of telling, and his habit of writing in “fits and starts” was well established. According to A. Grove Day [page x], dates given for letters from Hawaii cannot always be trusted. Sam’s last eight letters were published after his return, and some were written after and dated earlier.

April 19 Thursday Sam’s fourth letter to the Union, dated “Honolulu, March, 1866: OUR ARRIVAL ELABORATED A LITTLE MORE” ran in the Union:

I had not shaved since I left San Francisco – ten days. As soon as I got ashore I hunted for a striped pole, and shortly found one. I always had a yearning to be a King. This may never be, I suppose. But at any rate it will always be a satisfaction to me to know that if I am not a King, I am the next thing to it – I have been shaved by the King’s barber [Day 29].

April 20 Friday Sam’s fifth letter to the Union, dated “Honolulu, March, 1866: BOARD AND LODGING SECURED” ran in the Union:

Washing is done chiefly by the natives, price, a dollar a dozen. If you are not watchful, though, your shirt won’t stand more than one washing, because Kanaka artists work by a most destructive method. They use only cold water-sit down by a brook, soap the garment, lay it on one rock and “pound” it with another. This gives a shirt a handsome fringe around its borders, but it is ruinous on buttons. If your washerwoman knows you will not put up with this sort of thing, however, she will do her pounding with a bottle, or else rub your clothes clean with her hands. After the garments are washed the artist spreads them on the green grass, and the flaming sun and the winds soon bleach them as white as snow. They are then ironed on a cocoa-leaf mat spread on the ground, and the job is finished. I cannot discover that anything of the nature of starch is used.

Board, lodging, clean clothes, furnished room, coal oil or whale oil lamp (dingy, greasy, villainous)— next you want water, fruit, tobacco and cigars, and possibly wines and liquors—and then you are ‘fixed,’ and ready to live in Honolulu [Day 37].

April 21 Saturday Sam’s sixth letter, dated “Honolulu, March, 1866: COMING HOME FROM PRISON” ran in the Union:

I am probably the most sensitive man in the kingdom of Hawaii to night — especially about sitting down in the presence of my betters. I have ridden fifteen or twenty miles on horseback since 5 P.M., and to tell the honest truth, I have a delicacy about sitting down at all. I am one of the poorest horsemen in the world, and I never mount a horse without experiencing a sort of dread that I may be setting out on that last mysterious journey which all of us must take sooner or later, and I never come back in safety from a horseback trip without thinking of my latter end for two or three days afterward. This same old regular devotional sentiment began just as soon as I sat down here five minutes ago [Day 44].

Sam’s article, “Mark Twain at Sea,” was printed in the Californian [Reprinted from Sacramento Daily Union of Apr. 17, 1866] [Schmidt].

April 24Tuesday Sam’s seventh letter, dated “Honolulu, March, 1866: THE EQUESTRIAN EXCURSION CONCLUDED” ran in the Union:

The popular-song nuisance follows us here. In San Francisco it used to be “Just Before the Battle Mother,’’ every night and all night long. Then it was “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” After that it was “Wearin’ of the Green.” And last and most dreadful of all, came that calamity of “When We Were Marching Through Georgia.” It was the last thing I heard when the ship sailed, and it gratified me to think I should hear it no more for months. And now, here at dead of night, at the very outpost and fag-end of the world on a little rock in the middle of a limitless ocean, a pack of dark-skinned savages are tramping down the street singing it with a vim and an energy that make my hair rise! – singing it in their own barbarous tongue! They have got the tune to perfection — otherwise I never would have suspected that

“Waikiki lantani oe Kaa hooly hooly wawhoo”

means, “When We Were Marching Through Georgia.” If it would have been all the same to General Sherman, I wish he had gone around by the way of the Gulf of Mexico, instead of marching through Georgia [Day 65].

April 26 Thursday Sam wrote from Wailuku, Maui, to the Kimball brothers who had been fellow passengers on the Ajax.

Messrs Kimball—

Gentlemen—Don’t you think for a moment of going up on Haleakala without giving me an opportunity of accompanying you! I have waited for & skirmished after some company for some time without avail, & now I hear that you will shortly be at Haiku. So I shall wait for you.

Cannot you let me know, just as soon as you arrive, & give me a day or two (or more, even, if possible,) to get there in, with my horse? Because I am told the distance hence to Haiku is 15 miles—to prosecute which will be a matter of time, to my animal, & possibly a matter of eternity. His strong suit is grace & personal comeliness, rather than velocity.

Yours Very Truly,

Sam L. Clemens.

(Or “Mark Twain,” if you have forgotten my genuine name.)

My address is “Plantation.”Wailuku

I shall send two or three notes for by different parties, for fear one might miss fire—an idea suggested by my own native sagacity [MTPO]. Note: Sam had heard they would be in Haiku, a village 15 miles from him and asked the brothers to wait for him to travel to the extinct volcano Haleakala. He described his visit in Roughing It, Ch. 76. Note: MTP subject index lists William Cargill Kimball (1841-1890) and Warren Woods Kimball (1838-1874).

Frear writes:

On Maui he made Wailuku, now the county seat, his headquarters, boarded with G. Armstrong whom he had met in Virginia City, roomed with a Mr. Tallant, the plantation bookkeeper, loafed and smoked and spun yarns of an evening at a nearby carpenter shop, when not doing so at Armstrong’s, supped often and had “jolly times” with his most prized friend there, the missionary “Father” Alexander, met many others from the “homeliest” to the “oldest,” the “King of Liars,” and probably some of the relatives of his friend Charles Warren Stoddard, attended card and dancing parties and scoured the island scenically and industrially [56-7]. Note: editorial emphasis. Frear also quotes Armstrong’s interview of 32 years later: “For he hadn’t a red cent, not even decent clothes.”

April 28 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Mark Twain on His Travels,” was printed in the Californian [Schmidt].

May 1 Tuesday ca. Sam visited Ulapalakua Plantation. Sam wrote about sugar production on the islands in his twenty-third Union letter published Sept. 26, “The High Chief of Sugardom,” and so visited several plantations.

May 3 Thursday Sam returned to Waikapu Sugar Plantation, owned by Henry Cornwell, where he spent the night. The Hornet sank in the Pacific, 108 days out and a little above the equator [Frear 103].

May 4 Friday – Sam wrote from the Wailuku Sugar Plantation, Maui to his mother, Jane Clemens and sister Pamela Moffett.

This is the infernalist darkest country, when the moon don’t shine; I stumbled & fell over my horse’s lariat a minute ago & hurt my leg, & so I must stay here tonight. I went to Ulapalakua Plantation (25 miles,) few days ago, & returned yesterday afternoon to Mr. Cornwell’s (Waikapu Plantation) & staid all night (it is a mile from here.)….As soon as I get back from Haleakala…I will sail for Honolulu again & from thence to the Island of Hawaii … to see the greatest active volcano in the world—that of Kilauea …& from thence back to San Francisco—& then, doubtless, to the States. I have been on this trip 2 months, & it will probably be 2 more before I get back to California [MTL 1: 336-8].

May 7 Monday – Sam wrote from Wailuku Sugar Plantation, Maui to Will Bowen. He wrote about being mad at Will for so long that his anger had “about spent itself & I begin to feel friendly again.” Will had owed Sam money and they’d had a disagreement in the early 60s. Will was still a steamboat captain on the Mississippi. Sam also wrote about seeing Daniel Martin, an old Hannibal resident and saloon owner Sam had met in Como, Nevada, near Carson City. Martin billed himself as “Martin the Wizard” and did sleight of hand poorly. He also had a “striped learned pig,” who Martin claimed could “speak seven languages” [MTL 1: 338-40].


May 21 Monday – Sam’s eighth letter, dated “Honolulu (S.I), April, 1866: OFF” ran in the Union:  

At night they feasted and the girls danced the lascivious hula hula—a dance that is said to exhibit the very perfection of educated motion of limb and arm, hand, head and body, and the exactest uniformity of movement and accuracy of “time.” It was performed by a circle of girls with no raiment on them to speak of, who went through with an infinite variety of motions and figures without prompting, and yet so true was their “time,” and in such perfect concert did they move that when they were placed in a straight line, hands, arms, bodies, limbs and heads waved, swayed, gesticulated, bowed, stooped, whirled, squirmed, twisted and undulated as if they were part and parcel of a single individual; and it was difficult to believe they were not moved in a body by some exquisite piece of mechanism [Day 70].

May 22 Tuesday – Sam returned to Honolulu on the schooner Kai Moi (The King) [Frear 55; MTL 1: 335n5]. Frear writes, “During the few days between returning from Maui and sailing for Hawaii, he attended the legislature and wrote two letters on that subject” [56].

Sam wrote his sister-in-law, Mollie Clemens, that he had just returned from Maui. He expressed resentment he still felt for Orion’s refusal to take Henry Camp’s offer for the Tennessee Land.

My Dear Sister:

I have just got back from a sea voyage—from the beautiful island of Maui. I have spent 5 weeks there, riding backwards & forwards among the sugar plantations—looking up the splendid scenery & visiting the lofty crater of Haleakala. It has been a perfect jubilee to me in the way of pleasure. I have not written a single line, & have not once thought of business, or care, or human toil or trouble or sorrow or weariness. Few such months come in a lifetime.

I set sail again, a week hence, for the island of Hawaii, to see the great active volcano of Kileaua. I shall not get back here for 4 or 5 weeks, & shall not reach San Francisco before the latter part of July. So it is no use to wait for me to go home. Go on yourselves. It is Orion’s duty to attend to that land, & after shutting me out of my attempt to sell it (for which I shall never entirely forgive him,) if he lets it be sold for taxes, all his religion will not wipe out the sin. It is no use to quote Scripture to me, Mollie,—I am in poverty & exile now because of Orion’s religious scruples. Religion & poverty cannot go together. I am satisfied Orion will eventually save himself, but in doing it he will damn the balance of the family. I want no such religion. He has got a duty to perform by us—will he perform it?

I have crept into the old subject again, & opened the old sore afresh that cankers within me. It has got into many letters to you & I have burned them. But it is no use disguising it—I always feel bitter & malignant when I think of Ma & Pamela grieving at our absence & the land going to the dogs when I could have sold it & been at home now, instead of drifting about the outskirts of the world, battling for bread. If I were in the east, now, I could stop the publication of a piratical book which has stolen some of my sketches.

I saw the American Minister today & he says Edwin McCook, of Colorado Ter. has been appointed to fill his place—so there is an end to that project.

It is late—good-bye, Mollie.

Yr Bro


[MTL 1: 341-2; MTPO]. Notes: Orion and Molly were leaving Nevada, and would take a steamer from San Francisco to New York, and eventually return to Keokuk. Beadle & Company of New York had plagiarized Sam’s Frog Story (Beadle’s Dime Book of Fun No. 3, Apr. 1866), which evoked Sam’s remark about “the publication of a piratical book.” Edward M. McCook (1833-1909) commissioned on Mar. 21 to replace James McBride (1802-1875) as the US minister resident to Hawaii. McCook was a Union general in the Civil War and governor of Colo. Terr (1869-75).

Also, Sam’s ninth letter dated “Honolulu, April, 1866: SAD ACCIDENT ” ran in the Union:

And etiquette varies according to one’s surroundings. In the mining camps of California, when a friend tenders you a “smile” or invites you to take a “blister,” it is etiquette to say, “Here’s hoping your dirt’ll pan out gay.” In Washoe, when you are requested to “put in a blast,” or invited to take “your regular pison,” etiquette admonishes you to touch glasses and say, “Here’s hoping you’ll strike it rich in the lower level.” And in Honolulu, when your friend the whaler asks you to take a “fid” with him, it is simple etiquette to say, “Here’s eighteen hundred barrels, old salt!” But “Drink hearty!” is universal. That is the orthodox reply, the world over.

In San Francisco sometimes, if you offend a man, he proposes to take his coat off, and inquires, “Are you on it?” If you are, you can take your coat off, too. In Virginia City, in former times, the insulted party, if he were a true man, would lay his hand gently on his six-shooter and say, “Are you heeled?” But in Honolulu, if Smith offends Jones, Jones asks (with a rising inflection on the last word, which is excessively aggravating), “How much do you weigh?” Smith replies, “Sixteen hundred and forty pound — and you?” “Two ton to a dot, at a quarter past eleven this forenoon — peel yourself; you’re my blubber!” [Day 85; Schmidt].

May 23-25 FridayIn the few days between his return from Maui and sailing for the big island of Hawaii, Sam visited the Legislature and wrote two letters about it to the Union [Frear 56].

May 23 Wednesday Sam’s tenth letter dated “Honolulu, April, 1866: WHALING TRADE” ran in the Union:

I have talked whaler talk and read whaling statistics and asked questions about the whaling interest every now and then for two or three weeks, and have discovered that it was easy to get plausible information concerning every point connected with this commerce save one, and that was: Why is it that this remote port, in a foreign country, is made the rendezvous of the whaling fleet, instead of the seemingly more eligible one of San Francisco, on our own soil? This was a ‘stunner.’ Most people would venture a chance shot at one portion of the mystery, but nobody was willing to attempt its entire solution. The truth seems to be that there is no main, central, prominent reason for it, but it is made up of a considerable bundle of reasons, neither of which is especially important when taken by itself [Day 90; Schmidt].

May 24 Thursday Sam’s eleventh letter dated “Honolulu, April, 1866: PARADISE AND THE PARI (JOKE)” ran in the Union:


Stands not far from the melancholy Bungalow, in the center of grounds extensive enough to accommodate a village. The place is surrounded by neat and substantial coral walks, but the gates pertaining to them are out of repair, and so was the soldier who admitted us—or at any rate his uniform was. He was an exception, however, for the native soldiers usually keep their uniforms in good order.

The palace is a large, roomy frame building, and was very well furnished once, though now some of the appurtenances have lost some of their elegance. But the King don’t care, I suppose, as he spends nearly all his time at his modest country residence at Waikiki. A large apartment in the center of the building serves as the royal council chamber; the walls are hung with life-size portraits of various European monarchs, sent hither as tokens of that cousinly regard which exists between all kings, at least on paper. To the right is the reception room or hall of audience, and to the left are the library and a sort of ante room or private audience chamber. In one of these are life-size portraits of old Kamehameha the Great and one or two Queens and Princes. The old war-horse had a dark brown, broad and beardless face, with native intelligence apparent in it, and something of a crafty expression about the eye; hair white with age and cropped short; in the picture he is clad in a white shirt, long red vest and with the famous feather war-cloak over all. We were permitted to examine the original cloak. It is very ample in its dimensions, and is made entirely of the small, silky, bright yellow feathers of the man-of-war or tropic bird, closely woven into a strong, coarse netting of grass by a process which promises shortly to become a lost art, inasmuch as only one native, and he an old man, is left who understands it in its highest elegance. These feathers are rare and costly, because each bird has but two of them—one under each wing—and the birds are not plenty. It required several generations to collect the materials and manufacture this cloak, and had the work been performed in the United States, under our fine army contract system, it would have cost the Government more millions of dollars than I can estimate without a large arithmetic and a blackboard. In old times, when a king put on his gorgeous feather war-cloak, it meant trouble; some other king and his subjects were going to catch it. We were shown other war-cloaks, made of yellow feathers, striped and barred with broad bands of red ones—fine specimens of barbaric splendor. The broken spear of a terrible chief who flourished seven hundred years ago, according to the tradition, was also brought out from among the sacred relics of a former age and displayed. It is said that this chieftain stood seven feet high with out his boots (he was permanently without them), and was able to snake an enemy out of the ranks with this spear at a distance of forty to sixty and even a hundred feet and the spear, of hard, heavy, native wood, was once thirty feet long. The name of this pagan hero is sounded no more from the trumpet of fame, his bones lie none knows where, and the record of his gallant deeds is lost. But he was a “brick,” we may all depend upon that. How the wood of the weapon has managed to survive seven centuries of decay, though, is a question calculated to worry the antiquaries.

But it is sunrise, now, and time for honest people to begin to “turn in” [Day 102].

May 26 Saturday Sam left Honolulu for a three-week visit to the big island Hawaii and Kilauea volcano aboard the little schooner Boomerang [MTL 1: 335n5; Sanborn 285]. Sam’s article, “Mark Twain on His Travels,” (two by this title) ran in the Californian [Schmidt].

May 28Monday – Sam arrived at Kailau Bay. He hired a horse and rode through the coffee and orange region of Kona. The Boomerang was to proceed to Kealakekua Bay, the spot where natives in 1779 murdered Captain Cook. Sam was to meet the schooner there. At sunset Sam stood on the same spot at the same hour where Cook was killed [Sanborn 286; Roughing It, Ch. 69].

Sam wrote: “Plain unvarnished history takes the romance out of Captain Cook’s assassination, and renders a deliberate verdict of justifiable homicide….Small blame should attach to the natives for the killing of Cook. They treated him well. In return, he abused them” [Frear 65]. Note: see also Ch 30 of RI and Ch 3 of FE on the death of Cook.

May 29 Tuesday –Sam saw a “bevy of nude native young ladies bathing in the sea” [RI Ch. 72]. Note: at some point, perhaps at Kailau Bay, Sam joined up with his friend, Charles Warren Stoddard, who had family in the islands (see June 2 Frear entry.) Sam would at times write of “Mr. Brown,” referring to both Stoddard and Edward (Ned) T. Howard (1844?-1918).

In the evening the schooner Emeline and Captain Crane picked Sam up and resumed the sea voyage, since the Boomerang was becalmed [Frear 69].

May 30 WednesdayFrear writes of the events of the day:

…all night and next day (Wednesday) sailing down the black lava coast “parallel with the long mountain that apparently had neither beginning nor end” and “rose with a regular swell from the sea till its forests diminished to velvety shrubbery and were lost in the clouds.” During the night, “dark and stormy…one of those simple natives risking his life [in a canoe] to bring the Captain a present of half a dozen chickens,” prompted Twain again to expatiate on the “amazingly unselfish and hospitable” Kanakas. By midnight they had got near where they were able to stop but couldn’t weather the south point of the island and so put out to sea [69].

May 31 Thursday“All the next day (Thursday) we fought the treacherous point and, after tacking far our that night, made it and came in and anchored the following day (Friday)…” [Frear 69].

June 1 FridayFrear writes of this day’s events:

…anchored…at Kaalualu, in the district of Kau. A six mile horseback ride brought them to the beautiful village of Waiohinu, one of the few inland villages, nestling in the crotch of the hills. This was to him another memorable spot. Besides riding through the canefields and enjoying an abundance of fruits, he wrote: “In this rainy spot trees and flowers flourish luxuriantly, and three of those trees—two mangoes and an orange—will live in my memory as the greenest, freshest and most beautiful I ever saw—and withal the stateliest and most graceful.” He wrote of the independence of the natives in this district and related several singular stories to illustrate, satirically, that the native judges were “rare specimens of judicial sagacity.” Waiohinu has become the most noted spot, though not event, of his Hawaii visit by reason of the physical monument in the form of a Monkeypod (or Saman or Rain tree) which he is reputed to have planted and which has now grown to immense size—trunk six feet in diameter [69-70]. Note: see source notes for the controversy surrounding the accuracy of this tale.

June 2 Saturday Frear on the start of the journey to the volcano Kilauea:

Next day (Saturday) Twain having bought his mule so advantageously and Brown his horse so disadvantageously…they started on their forty-mile ride to the volcano. …after sixteen or seventeen miles Brown’s horse came down to a walk and refused to improve on it. We had to stop and intrude on a gentleman who was not expecting us and who I thought did not want us, either, but he entertained us handsomely, nevertheless, and has my hearty thanks for his kindness. This was at Pahala and the gentleman and his wife, missionary son and daughter, were Mr. and Mrs. F.S. Lyman. They had finished dinner, cleared up and prepared for the Sabbath, as customary; also travelers usually stopped at Kapapala Ranch, four miles beyond. The following quotation from Mr. Lyman not only introduces Stoddard but yields interesting sidelights. Mrs. Lyman at the time noted in her autograph book:

This P.M. after supper two travellers came along to stop over night. I had to fix the room and make corn bread for their supper.


At a later time Mr. Lyman wrote:

One Saturday afternoon after work was done and we had our supper two travellers rode up to our front door and asked if we could lodge them over night, on their way to the Volcano. We recommended them to go four miles further on to where travelers usually stopped, to the Kapapala Ranch, but they begged to stay, they were so tired and it was so late. We finally consented, Bella and her native boy cooked supper for them. She made one of her elegant short cakes and other things. They introduced themselves as Mr. Clemens and Mr. Stoddard. They enjoyed the supper very much and seemed very grateful for our hospitality. After supper they laid themselves out to entertain us, especially Mr. C. with his slow drawling way. He kept us in roars of laughter.…The next morning, Sun., after breakfast and family prayers Mr. C. made comments on the scriptures read which amused the children very much. [Frear 71-2]. Note: editorial emphasis.

Sam’s sketch, “A Strange Dream,” had been penned in April. The tale was about a fictional search for the bones of Kamehameha I, the conqueror of the Hawaiian Islands. The sketch was published this day in the New York Saturday Press [MTL 1: 344, n1]. Sam’s article, “Mark Twain on a Singular Character,” ran in the Californian [Schmidt].

June 3 Sunday From Mrs. Lyman’s diary: “The strangers left after breakfast for the volcano” [Frear 71]. From Frear’s account:

That (Sunday) morning at Kapapala Ranch, where they stopped to hire a guide, the proprietor and another said they intended to go to the volcano the next day but they would go that day if the travelers would stay to lunch, which of course they did. [at the volcano house that evening]… After dinner, when it was ‘thoroughly dark’ they spent several hours in the lookout house, a half-mile away, watching the stupendous fire works, of which he gave a vivid description [73].

The Volcano House (see insert), was a new hotel near the Kilauea volcano. The eruption began May 22 and continued throughout Sam’s stay in the islands [MTL 1: 344n1]. (See Nov. 16, 1866 entry for Sam’s description.)

June 4 to 6 Wednesday Sam and a “stranger Marlette walked on hot lava fields at night. A few days later Sam witnessed a great eruption [RI Ch. 75]. Note: no further account of Marlette was found—another imaginary like Mr. Brown? Or was Stoddard now called Marlette?

June 7 Thursday – Sam left the Volcano House Hotel [MTL 1: 344 n1]. Frear writes, “They didn’t charge him anything at the Volcano House—perhaps another evidence of his ingratiating himself wherever he went. Scenically and spectacularly the Volcano was of course the highlight of his Hawaiian visit” [74]. Frear also writes of a new traveling companion, Ned Howard:

“At the Volcano Stoddard dropped out of the picture and one [Ned] Howard was persuaded to accompany him the rest of the trip around the island. On Howard, the ride to Hilo, the visit there and at the next stop, Onomea, we again quote from Franklin H. Austin, eldest son of the proprietor of the sugar plantation at the latter place.…Sam insisted on calling [Ned] Howard, ‘Brown’ because ‘…it’s easier to remember’” [74-5].

Howard described by Austin as: “…a tall, immaculately dressed Englishman.” Sam as: “…evidently an American, of medium height, rather slouchily dressed in a brown linen suit and a native lauhala straw hat pulled over his eyes. He had a flowing silky brown moustache, rather dark tanned complexion and bushy dark brown hair with bright hazel eyes. [Sam was wearing] sheepskin leggings…and jingling Mexican spurs, which were all in vogue at the time” [75].

At Onomea Sam again entertained for his supper, keeping a long table of overseers and mechanics in stitches until 2 a.m. (See Frear 53-54). Austin observed that Sam seemed somewhat frustrated that he could not make Howard laugh.

Frear on the continued journey:

After lunch the host showed the strangers over the mill and then urged them to remain another night owing to the lateness of the hour and the hardness of the journey. Howard wanted to stay over. “We will surely get lost in those dreadful gulches,” he objected; but the traveling companion insisted that they go on. This was indeed the hardest part of this hard trip, —which laid Twain up for some time and which he long “remembered painfully” …This being the rainy side of the island, there was an almost uninterrupted succession of canyons or gulches, down and up whose jungly sides the trail zigzagged, with the torrent to be forded at the bottom. A guide accompanied them as far as Honomu that day [79].

June 8 Friday – Sam and Ned Howard continued their journey on horseback. Frear estimates they made “at least” Hakalau, “as originally intended, and probably” Laupahoehoe, “where a few days later the survivors of the Hornet disaster landed” [79].

June 9 to 16 Saturday – Sam and party “rode horseback all around the island of Hawaii” some 200 miles by his estimate. “…our Kanaka horses would not go by a house or a nut without stopping.” Frear writes:

“Then, pushing on through the Hamakua District, up along the great Waipio Valley and across the island over the saddle between Mauna Kea and the Kohala mountains, they caught the little steamer Kilauea at Kawaihae and reached Honolulu June 16” [79]. Note: editorial emphasis. Frear adds a footnote here: “Twain wrote that it was the 18th [In RI] but the newspapers gave the 16th as the date of the steamer’s arrival with Twain and Howard in the passenger lists. No wonder they had to “push” to catch the steamer.” [79]

They ended their tour at Kawaihae [RI Ch. 76].

Sam returned to Honolulu [MTL 1: 344n1]. It was during this stay in the city that Sam became bedridden with boils. He passed the time by reading, including Oliver Wendell HolmesSongs in Many Keys (1862) [Gribben 319]. Note: Holmes (1809-1894).

June 20 Wednesday Sam’s twelfth letter dated “HONOLULU, MAY 23, 1866: HAWAIIAN LEGISLATURE” ran in the Union:


The Legislature meets in the Supreme Court-room, an apartment which is larger, lighter and better fitted and furnished than any Court room in San Francisco. A railing across the center separates the legislators from the visitors.

When I got to the main entrance of the building, and was about to march boldly in, I found myself confronted by a large placard, upon which was printed:


It shocked my republican notions somewhat, but I pocketed the insinuation that I was not high-toned enough to go in at the front door, and went around and entered meekly at the back one. If ever I come to these islands again I will come as the Duke of San Jose, and put on as many frills as the best of them [Day 107].

June 21 Thursday Sam’s thirteenth letter dated “HONOLULU, MAY 23, 1866: LEGISLATURE CONTINUED THE SALONS AT WORK” ran in the Union:

The first business that was transacted to-day was the introduction of a bill to prohibit the intermarrying of old persons with young ones, because of the non-fruitfulness of such unions. The measure was discussed, laughed over, and finally tabled. I will remark here that I noticed that there seemed to be no regular order of business observed. Motions, resolutions, notices, introduction and third reading of bills, etc., were jumbled together. This may be convenient enough for the members, but it must necessarily be troublesome to the clerks and reporters.

Then a special Committee reported back favorably a bill to prohibit Chinamen from removing their male children from the islands, and the report was adopted — which I thought was rather hard on the Chinamen [Day 114].

Also, Sam wrote from Honolulu to his mother, Jane Clemens and sister Pamela about his trip to the island of Hawaii:

“—only 6 or 7 days at sea—all the balance horseback, & the hardest mountain roads in the world. I staid at the Volcano about a week & witnessed the greatest eruption that has occurred for years. I lived well there” [MTL 1: 343].

In chapters 74-75 of RI, Sam described his visit to the volcano. Sam wrote that he would go to Kauai in a week but the trip was canceled. Sam would remain on Oahu until he left the islands on July 19.

June 27 Wednesday Sam wrote from Honolulu to his mother, Jane Clemens and sister Pamela of his story on the Hornet crew.

I got the whole story from the third mate & ten of the sailors. If my account gets to the Sacramento Union first, it will be published first all over the United States, France, England, Russia and Germany—all over the world, I may say. You will see it. Mr. Burlingame went with me all the time & helped me question the men—throwing away invitations to dinner with princes & foreign dignitaries, & neglecting all sorts of things to accommodate me—& you know I appreciate that kind of thing… [MTL 1: 347].

Anson Burlingame (1820-1870), lawyer, legislator, and diplomat, put Sam on a stretcher and helped him interview the crew. Sam was suffering from saddle boils. It was Burlingame who gave Sam the advice which is thought to have influenced his future choices:

“You have great ability; I believe you have genius. What you need now is the refinement of association. Seek companionship among men of superior intellect and character. Refine yourself and your work. Never affiliate with inferiors; always climb” [MTB 287].

Frear writes of Sam reconnecting with friends and new ones he made during the Hawaii stay:

He found two Coast friends, Rev. Franklin S. Rising and James J. Ayers, who arrived a little before he did [on Mar. 18], and others from the Coast with whom he was not so well acquainted. The closest new friends he made seem to have been Anson Burlingame, his son Edward, and General Van Valkenburgh, visitors, and “Father” Samuel C. Damon, Henry M. Whitney and Henry Macfarlane, local residents. There were others not so close but of whom he thought highly, such as G.P. Judd, at first medical missionary and then long one of the foremost benefactors of Hawaii in government service, his son, A.F. Judd, later Chief Justice, Rev. Lorrin Andrews, missionary, author of the Hawaiian dictionary and phrase book…and Prof. William DeWitt. Alexander, missionary son, salutatorian at Yale, President of Oahu College, historian and philologist, “one of the finest Greek scholars ever produced,” so Twain wrote [24].

Notes: see also source notes. Editorial emphasis. Rising, in the islands for his health, had been rector of the Episcopal church in Virginia City, “a noble young fellow—& for 3 years, there, he & I were fast friends” [MTNJ 1:110n2]. Ayers was one of the founders of the S.F. Call, and would found the Daily Hawaiian Herald in Sept. Whitney (1824-1904) Hawaii’s first postmaster and owner of the Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser. See Nov. 30, 1895 to Whitney. Macfarlane, a Honolulu liquor dealer. One of Clemens’s companions on his “equestrian excursion” on the island of Oahu in March 1866. Van Valkenburg (1821-1888), sometimes without the ending “h,”former Republican congressman from New York (1861–65) and commander of the 107th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, at the battle of Antietam (1862), was on his way to Japan to take up his duties as American minister resident there” [MTPO; 21 June 1866 to Jane & Pamela, n.5]. Edward “Ned” Burlingame, who originated the joke from Matthew 5:41, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Andrews (1795-1865) also opened the first post-secondary school for Hawaiians called Lahainaluna Seminary, which evolved into the University of Hawaii. Albert Francis Judd (1838-1900) chief justice (1881-1900), whose father was physician and statesman, Gerrit Parmele Judd (1803-1873); see also MTNJ 1: 97-98. William DeWitt Alexander (1833-1913), besides Greek scholarship, he was an educator, author and linguist, son of missionary William Patterson Alexander (1805-1884).

June 29 Friday From Sam’s notebook: “—visited the hideous Mai Pake Hospital & examined the disgusting victims of Chinese Leprosy” [MTNJ 1: 118].

July 218 Wednesday Sam spent the last eighteen days on Oahu. He rode horseback to sightsee and attended social activities, with Edward Burlingame, Anson’s son [Sanborn 292-3].

July 3 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:

“Saw star to-night on which counted 12 distinct & flaming points—very large star—shone with such a pure, rich, diamond luster—lustrous—on a field on dead solid black—no star very close—where I sat saw no other—Moonlight here is fine, but nowhere so fine as Washoe” [MTNJ 1: 119].

July 4 Wednesday – Sam danced half the night at a Fourth of July ball. He went to a “great luau” at Waikiki thrown by David Kalakaua, who was to be the next and last Hawaiian king. The luau was to honor Anson Burlingame and General Van Valkenburg, who would sail in a few days for their respective diplomatic posts [Sanborn 292].

July 7 Saturday – Sam’s article, “A Strange Dream,” was printed in the Californian [Schmidt].

July 16 Monday – Sam’s fourteenth letter to the Union, Honolulu, June 22, 1866: HOME AGAIN”

 The Swallow arrived here on Monday morning, with Anson Burlingame, United States Minister to China, and General Van Valkenburgh, United States Minister to Japan. Their stay is limited to fourteen days, but a strong effort will be made to persuade them to break that limit and pass the Fourth of July here. They are paying and receiving visits constantly, of course, and are cordially welcomed. Burlingame is a man who would be esteemed, respected and popular anywhere, no matter whether he were among Christians or cannibals [Day 134; Schmidt].

July 18 Wednesday From Sam’s notebook:

Honolulu, July 18/66 - Have got my passport from the Royal d—d Hawaiian Collector of Customs & paid a dollar for it, & tomorrow we sail for America in the good ship Smyrniote, Lovett, master—& I have got a devlish saddle-boil to sit on for the first two weeks at sea [MTNJ 1: 132].

July 19Thursday Sam’s fifteenth letter to the Union,  dated “Honolulu, June 25, 1866: BURNING OF THE CLIPPER SHIP HORNET AT SEA”:

In the postscript to a letter which I wrote two or three days ago, and sent by the ship Live Yankee, I gave you the substance of a letter received here from Hilo by Walker, Allen & Co. informing them that a boat containing fifteen men, in a helpless and starving condition, had drifted ashore at Laupahoehoe, Island of Hawaii, and that they had belonged to the clipper ship Hornet, [Josiah] Mitchell master, and had been afloat on the ocean since the burning of that vessel, about one hundred miles north of the equator, on the 3d of May — forty-three days.

The third mate and ten of the seamen have arrived here and are now in the hospital. Captain Mitchell, one seaman named Antonio Passene, and two passengers (Samuel and Henry Ferguson, of New York city, young gentlemen, aged respectively 18 and 28) are still at Hilo, but are expected here within the week.

In the Captain’s modest epitome of this terrible romance, which you have probably published, you detect the fine old hero through it. It reads like Grant [Day 137].

Sam left the Sandwich Islands aboard the sailing ship Smyrniote at 4:30 in the afternoon. He chose that vessel over the afternoon ship Comet, because Josiah Mitchell, the Hornet’s captain, and two of the Hornet’s passengers, had all kept logs of the ordeal of the vessel and the aftermath. Sam had permission to copy their logs and to talk with the men and to write up the events for Harper’s Monthly [Sanborn 292-3]. Before Sam departed Honolulu he wrote to Samuel C. Damon, pastor of the Oahu Bethel Church. Sam claimed he returned a book he had borrowed, History of the Hawaiian Islands [MTL 1: 349].

In Sam’s letter of this date to Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon (1815-1885), pastor of the Oahu Bethel Church, he confessed taking History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands (2nd ed. 1844) by James Jackson Jarves (1818-1888). He did not return Jarves’ book, as originally reported; the title of the returned book has yet to be identified. (See Gribben p. 352.)


REV. MR. Damon:—Dear Sir— / return herewith the last book I borrowed, with many thanks for its use and for all your kindness. I take your Jarves’ History with me, because I may not be able to get it at home. I “cabbage” it by the strong arm, for fear you might refuse to part with it if I asked you. This is a case of military necessity, and is therefore [admissible]. The honesty of the transaction may be doubtful, but the policy of it is sound—sound as the foundation upon which the imperial greatness of America rests.

So just hold on a bit. I will send the book back within a month, or soon after I arrive.


Note: Frear on Sam’s leaving the islands:

Mark Twain expected to be over his illness from the hard trip in a few days and then spend three weeks on the fourth largest island, Kauai, the “Garden Island,” –and especially in order to fill in the time while waiting for the arrival of the new American minister, General Edward M. McCook (1833-1909), whose views on Hawaiian politics he wished to obtain. Then he planned to visit China at the invitation of Anson Burlingame and after that the Paris World’s Fair, but first he would go to the “States” to see his folks. But, as so often, his plans did not pan out…The time of General McCook’s arrival was so uncertain that Twain finally sailed three days before that event—after remaining in Honolulu a month and three days [80].

July 20 Friday From Sam’s notebook: “Made 110 miles up to noon of Friday 20th, but were then only 10 miles from Oahu, having gone clear around the island” [MTNJ 1: 133].

July 21 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook: “On 21 made 179 miles” [MTNJ 1: 133].

July 22 Sunday From Sam’s notebook: “Sunday, 4 day out—lat. 28.12. long. 157.42—distance 200 miles in the last 24 hours” [MTNJ 1: 133].

July 23 Monday From Sam’s notebook: “5 day—lat. 31.34—longitude 157.30—distance 202 miles.”

July 24 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:

“6 Day out—lat. 34.32 N. long. 157.40 W. Distance 180 miles. Had calms several times. Are we never going to make any longitude? The trades are weakening—it is time we struck the China winds about midnight—say in lat. 36” [MTNJ 1: 134].

July 25 Wednesday From Sam’s notebook:

“lat. 37.18 long. 158.06—distance 170 miles. 3 P.M. –we are abreast of San Francisco, but seventeen hundred miles at sea!—when will the wind change?….I was genuinely glad, this evening, to welcome the first twilight I have seen in 6 years, No twilight in the S. Islands, California or Washoe” [MTNJ 1: 134-5].


July 26 Thursday From Sam’s notebook: “Got 50 miles above opposite San Francisco & at noon started back & are now running south-east—almost calm—1700 miles at sea” [MTNJ 1: 136].


July 27 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

We are just barely moving to-day in a general direction southeast toward San F—though last night we stood stock still for hours, pieces of banana skins thrown to the great sea-birds swimming in our wake floating perfectly still in the sluggish water. In the last 24 hours we have made but 38 miles—made most of that drifting sideways. Position at noon, 38.55 N. 157.37 W….Tuesday & Friday bean day; Saturday fish day; Monday & Thursday duck [MTNJ 1: 136-7].


Frear writes: “On the ninth night he saw a resplendent lunar rainbow—to him a good omen” [12].

Throughout the voyage, Sam recorded snippets of events and ideas from his childhood (“The stabbed dead man in my father’s law office”) and from experiences in his travels.

July 28 Saturday From Sam’s notebook: “—38.46—156.36—48 miles—glassy calm—had sternway awhile” [MTNJ 1: 139].

From notebook entries for the period aboard the Smyrniote, it may be inferred that Sam read Ocean Scenes by Leavitt & Allen (1848), during these long calm periods [Gribben 513 from Michael Frank, ed. MTP].

July 29 Sunday From Sam’s notebook: “Overcast, breezy and very pleasant on deck. All hands on deck immediately after breakfast. Rev. Franklin S. Rising preached, & the passengers formed choir” [MTNJ 1: 144]. Note: Rising (1833?-1868).

Frear writes: “One of his fellow passengers was the young Episcopal clergyman Franklin S. Rising, with whom he had formed a warm friendship in a helpful, fatherly way in Nevada and California—the first of his noted ministerial friendships. Rising preached each Sunday on board” [13].


July 30 Monday Sam’s sixteenth letter to the Union, dated “Honolulu, June 30, 1866. A MONTH OF MOURNING:


For a little more than a month, the late Princess—her Royal Highness Victoria Kamamalu Kaahumanu, heir presumptive to the crown and sister to the Kinglay in state at Iolani Pal ace, the royal residence. For a little over a month, troops of natives of both sexes, drawn here from the several islands by the great event, have thronged past my door every evening on their way to the palace. Every night, and all night long, for more than thirty days, multitudes of these strange mourners have burned their candle-nut torches in the royal inclosure, and sung their funeral dirges, and danced their hulahulas, and wailed their harrowing wail for the dead. All this time we strangers have been consumed with curiosity to look within those walls and see the pagan deviltry that was going on there. But the thing was tabu (forbidden—we get our word “taboo” from the Hawaiian language) to foreigners—haoles. The grounds were thrown open to everybody the first night, but several rowdy white people acted so unbecomingly—so shamefully, in fact—that the King placed a strict tabu upon their future admittance. I was absent—on the island of Hawaii [Maui].—at that time, and so I lost that one single opportunity to gratify my curiosity in this matter [Day 161; Schmidt].

Also, while at sea Sam began a letter to his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister Pamela. The letter would be completed in San Francisco on Aug. 20 and would include segments written July 6, 7, 8, 10 and August 20.

The sea is very dark & blue here. I play whist & euchre at night until the passengers all tire out & go to bed, & then walk the quarter-deck & smoke with the mates & swap lies with them till 2 oclock….Get up at 8 in the morning—always the last man, & never quick enough for the first table—& breakfast with servants, children & subordinate officers. This is better than I do in San Francisco, though—always get up at noon, there [MTL 1: 351].

From Sam’s notebook:

“This is the fifth day of dead, almost motionless calm—a man can walk a crack in the deck, the ship lies so still. I enjoy it, and I believe all hands do except the d—d baby. I write 2 hours a day and loaf the balance…1400 miles at sea—Lat. 38.40; long 154.03—Distance 51” [MTNJ 1: 149].


End of July Relating to the diaries of Methuselah and Shem, which were part of a larger project Sam conceived in the late 1860s is this passage in his notebook:

“Conversation between the carpenters of Noah’s Ark, laughing at him for an old visionary—his money as good as anybody’s though going to bust himself on this crazy enterprise” [MTNJ 1: 147}. 

Notes: The passage stands alone; it is evidence to the beginnings of Sam’s attempts to rewrite the Bible on his own terms, attempts that culminated in such works as “Captain Stormfield,” “Letters from the Earth,” and “What is Man?” The age Sam lived in, due to great scientific and technological advances, was one of conflict between science and Christian Biblical belief. Sam was a product of that age and was troubled by what he saw as fallacies in Scripture, though ironically he was influenced more by the Bible than any other book.

August 1 Wednesday Sam’s seventeenth letter to the Union dated “Honolulu, July 1, 1866: FUNERAL OF THE PRINCESS:

Four or five poodle dogs, which had been the property of the deceased, were carried in the arms of individuals among these servants of peculiar and distinguished trustworthiness. It is likely that all the Christianity the Hawaiians could absorb would never be sufficient to wean them from their almost idolatrous affection for dogs. And these dogs, as a general thing, are the smallest, meanest, and most spiritless, homely and contemptible of their species [Day 182].

From Sam’s notebook:

Lat. 38.50 N. Long 150.56 W.—Distance 100 miles. Of Sounding in fair weather. Close hauled—Brail up the mizzen & mizzen-staysail, let go the main-sheet, so as the sail will shiver, put the helm a-lee & brace the mizzen topsail square, so it’ll back, you know. You keep the head-sails & the jib & staysails just as they were before, you understand, & haul taut & belay the lee-braces. When she’s nearly lost her headway but is still coming to the wind, you heave the lead & you heave it quick, too—cussed quick, as you may say [MTNJ 1: 153].

August 3 Friday From Sam’s notebook: “The calm continues. Magnificent weather. Men all turned boys. Play boyish games on the poop & quarter-deck” [MTNJ 1: 158].


August 5 Sunday – From Sam’s notebook: “Everybody cheerful—at daylight saw the Comet in the distance on our lee—it is pleasant in this tremendous solitude to have company.” In persistent solitude, Sam recalled childhood incidents, and jotted down superstitions of his boyhood days. Among these:


      Wash face in rain water standing on fresh cow dung to remove freckles.

      Wash hands in rain water standing in old rotten hollow stump to remove warts.

      Stick pin in wart, get blood, then stick in another boy will transfer your warts to him.

      Split a bean, bind it on wart, wait till midnight & bury at X roads in dark of the moon.

      Niggers tie wool up with thread, to keep witches from riding them.

Sam continued the letter he began July 30.

Afternoon—We had preaching on the quarter-deck by Rev. Mr. Rising, of Virginia City, old friend of mine. Spread a flag on the booby-hatch, which made a very good pulpit…I am leader of the choir on this ship & a sorry lead it is. I hope they will have a better opinion of the music in Heaven than I have down here. If they don’t a thunderbolt will come down & knock the vessel endways [MTL 1: 352].


August 6 Monday From Sam’s notebook: “Lat. 39.54—long. 142.13—Distance 80 miles” [MTNJ 1: 161].

He continued the multi-dated letter to his mother and sister:

“This is rather slow. We still drift, drift, drift along—at intervals a spanking breeze, & then—drift again….There is a ship in sight—the first object we have seen since we left Honolulu” [MTL 1: 352].

August 7 Tuesday – Sam continued the multi-dated letter to his mother and sister he began July 30. He wrote about seeing and identifying the Comet, another ship which had left Honolulu the same day, and which they had spotted for a couple of days.

“In the morning she was only a little black peg standing out of the glass sea in the distant horizon—an almost invisible mark in the bright sky. Dead calm. So the ships have stood, all day long—have not moved 100 yards” [MTL 1: 352].

August 8 Wednesday – Sam continued the letter he began July 30.

Afternoon—The calm is no more. There are 3 vessels in sight. It is so sociable to have them hovering about us on this broad waste of waters. It is sunny & pleasant, but blowing hard. Every rag about the ship is spread to the breeze & she is speeding over the sea like a bird. There is a large brig right astern of us with all her canvas set & chasing us at her best [MTL 1: 353].

From Sam’s notebook:

800 miles west of San Francisco—the calm is over & we have got a strong breeze. This sort of Life on the Ocean Wave will do—the ship is flying like a bird—she tears the sea into seething foam—& yet the ocean is quiet & sunny….Only one dish meaner than stewed chicken, & that is grasshopper pie [MTNJ 1: 163].

August 10 Friday – Sam continued the multi-dated letter to his mother and sister he began July 30.

We have breezes & calms alternately. The brig is 2 miles to 3 astern, & just stays there. We sail directly east—this brings the brig, with all her canvas set, almost in the eye of the sun, when it sets—beautiful. She looks sharply cut & black as coal against a background of fire & in the midst of a sea of blood [MTL 1: 353].

August 13 Monday – At 3 PM, the Smyrniote and the Comet arrived at San Francisco together. The trip had taken 25 days, due to long periods of calm weather [Sanborn 294]. From Walter Frear:

One of the most interesting features of the return voyage was the race between the clipper barks Smyrniote (1426 tons, Capt. Lovett), on which Mark Twain sailed, and the Comet (1836 tons), in command of the noted Commodore John Paty, who had sailed the course upwards of one hundred and fifty times. Both left Honolulu the same afternoon, July 19, about two hours apart, the Comet first. Both took twenty-five days. The Smyrniote was sighted first from the Farallones, about 30 miles off San Francisco, but the Comet maneuvered so that both entered the Golden Gate almost side by side, the Comet slightly in the lead, so near together that the passengers could call across. The Comet dropped anchor fifteen minutes ahead, but was one and three-fourths hours longer in actual sailing time. ….All this was thrilling, and especially to Twain, as he knew many of those on the other vessel, including Mr. [Edward, “Ned”] Howard, with whom he had ridden around the island of Hawaii, and the wife and daughters of Captain Thomas Spencer, with whom he had stayed when at Hilo [Frear 15]. Note: editorial emphasis.

From Sam’s notebook:

“Aug 13—San Francisco—Home again. No—not home again—in prison again—and all the wild sense of freedom gone. The city seems so cramped, & so dreary with toil & care & business anxiety. God help me, I wish I were at sea again!” [MTL 1: 355 n5; MTNJ 1: 163].

Sam telegraphed the publishers of the Sacramento Union, noting his arrival and that he would “go up to Sacramento tomorrow” [MTL 1: 356; Sanborn 295].

August 14 Tuesday Based on his letter of the previous day, Sam left for Sacramento to present his bill to the Union Publishers. They paid him and gave him another assignment to report on the State Fair, which ran from Sept. 10 to 15.

August 1419 Sunday – In his letter completed Aug. 20 to his mother, Sam wrote that he’d been to Sacramento to square accounts [MTL 1: 353]. The exact date of his return took place within this five-day period. He was paid a bonus for his scoop of the Hornet disaster [MTL 1: 355n6]. Sam came down from Sacramento on the steamboat Capital, where he found a pamphlet issued by an insurance company about various insurable risks. This gave Sam an idea for an article for the Enterprise, “How, for Instance?” in which he asked a humorous series of questions to the insurance company about earthquakes and dog bites.

August 18 Saturday Sam’s eighteenth letter to the Union dated “HONOLULU, JULY, 1866: AT SEA AGAIN”:

Bound for Hawaii, to visit the great volcano and behold the other notable things which distinguish this island above the remainder of the group, we sailed from Honolulu on a certain Saturday afternoon, in the good schooner Boomerang.

The Boomerang was about as long as two street cars, and about as wide as one. She was so small (though she was larger than the majority of the inter-island coasters) that when I stood on her deck I felt but little smaller than the Colossus of Rhodes must have felt when he had a man-of war under him. I could reach the water when she lay over under a strong breeze. When the Captain and Brown and myself and four other gentlemen and the wheelsman were all assembled on the little after portion of the deck which is sacred to the cabin passengers, it was full — there was not room for any more quality folks. Another section of the deck, twice as large as ours, was full of natives of both sexes, with their customary dogs, mats, blankets, pipes, calabashes of poi, fleas, and other luxuries and baggage of minor importance. As soon as we set sail the natives all laid down on the deck as thick as negroes in a slave-pen, and smoked and conversed and captured vermin and eat them, spit on each other, and were truly sociable [Day 195; Schmidt].

August 20 Monday – Sam, in San Francisco, completed the multi-dated letter to his mother, and sister Pamela he began on July 30.

“I have been up to Sacramento & squared accounts with the Union. They paid me a great deal more than they promised me. I suppose that means that I gave satisfaction, but they did not say so….Orion & Mollie are here. They leave for Santa Cruz tomorrow” [MTL 1: 353].

August 24 Friday Sam’s nineteenth letter to the Union dated “KONA, JULY, 1866: STILL IN KONA - CONCERNING MATTERS AND THINGS”:

At one farmhouse we got some large peaches of excellent flavor while on our horseback ride through Kona. This fruit, as a general thing, does not do well in the Sandwich Islands. It takes a sort of almond shape, and is small and bitter. It needs frost, they say, and perhaps it does; if this be so, it will have a good opportunity to go on needing it, as it will not be likely to get it. The trees from which the fine fruit I have spoken of came had been planted and replanted over and over again, and to this treatment the proprietor of the orchard attributed his success [Day 209].

August 25 Saturday Sam was probably staying at the Occidental Hotel [MTL 1: 359n2; Sanborn 295]. Sam received and answered a letter from his old Hannibal and pilot friend, Will Bowen.

You write me of the boats, thinking I may yet feel an interest in the old business. You bet your life I do. It is about the only thing I do feel any interest in & yet I can hear least about it. If I were two years younger, I would come back & learn the river over again. But it is too late now. I am too lazy for 14-day trips—too fond of running all night & sleeping all day—too fond of sloshing around, talking with people….Marry be d—d. I am too old to marry. I am nearly 31. I have got gray hairs in my head. Women appear to like me, but d—n them, they don’t love me [MTL 1: 358-9].

Sam’s article, “The Moral Phenomenon,” (a whimsical title Sam gave himself) ran in the Californian [Schmidt]. In the same publication appeared a squib about the promise of Sam’s Union letters collected into a possible book. The article was “probably [by] his friend James F. Bowman (1826-1882)—poet, journalist, and editor pro tem of the Californian—who wrote:”

THERE SEEMS TO BE a very general impression that Mark Twain’s Sandwich Island letters to the Sacramento Union possess sufficient intrinsic interest and value to justify their publication in book form. If the writer could be persuaded to collect and revise them, he would have no difficulty in finding a publisher; and we are satisfied that the book would prove both a literary and a pecuniary success [MTL 2: 3].

August 30 Thursday – Sam’s twentieth letter to the Union from Kealakekua Bay:



When I digressed from my personal narrative to write about Cook’s death I left myself, solitary, hungry and dreary, smoking in the little warehouse at Kealakekua Bay. Brown was out somewhere gathering up a fresh lot of specimens, having already discarded those he dug out of the old lava flow during the afternoon. I soon went to look for him. He had returned to the great slab of lava upon which Cook stood when he was murdered, and was absorbed in maturing a plan for blasting it out and removing it to his home as a specimen. Deeply pained at the bare thought of such a sacrilege, I reprimanded him severely and at once removed him from the scene of temptation. We took a walk then, the rain having moderated considerably. We clambered over the surrounding lava field, through masses of weeds, and stood for a moment upon the door step of an ancient ruin — the house once occupied by the aged King of Hawaii — and I reminded Brown that that very stone step was the one across which Captain Cook drew the reluctant old king when he turned his foot steps for the last time toward his ship [Day 222].

Orion and Mollie Clemens left for Panama, and connections to New York on the steamer Golden City [MTL 1: 342n1].


September 5 Wednesday Sam’s opinion of photographs ran in the Daily Hawaiian Herald:

No photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody – hunger and thirst and utter wretchedness overtake the outlaw who invented it! It transforms into desperadoes the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool an expression of more than earthly wisdom. If a man tries to look serious when he sits for his picture the photograph makes him look as solemn as an owl; if he smiles, the photograph smirks repulsively; if he tries to look pleasant, the photograph looks silly; if he makes the fatal mistake of attempting to seem pensive, the camera will surely write him down as an ass. The sun never looks through the photographic instrument that it does not print a lie. The piece of glass it prints it on is well named a “negative” – a contradiction – a misrepresentation – a falsehood. I speak feeling of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented me to be a lunatic, a Soloman, a missionary, a burglar and an abject idiot, and I am neither [The Twainian, Jan. 1940 p6].

September 6 Thursday Sam’s 21st letter to the Union dated KEALAKEKUA BAY, JULY, 1866 A FUNNY SCRAP OF HISTORY” ran:

 (Sam arrived back in Honolulu on June 18, so this was one of several post-dated letters)

In my last I spoke of the old cocoanut stump, all covered with copper plates bearing inscriptions commemorating the visits of various British naval commanders to Captain Cook’s death-place at Kealakekua Bay. The most magniloquent of these is that left by “the Right Hon. Lord George Paulet, to whom, as the representative of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, the Sandwich Islands were ceded, February 25, 1843.”

Lord George, if he is alive yet, would like to tear off that plate and destroy it, no doubt. He was fearfully snubbed by his Government, shortly afterward, for his acts as Her Majesty’s representative upon the occasion to which he refers with such manifest satisfaction.

A pestilent fellow by the name of [Richard] Charlton had been Great Britain’s Consul at Honolulu for many years. He seems to have employed his time in sweating, fuming and growling about everything and everybody; in acquiring property by devious and inscrutable ways; in blackguarding the Hawaiian Government and the missionaries; in scheming for the transfer of the islands to the British crown; in getting the King drunk and laboring diligently to keep him so; in working to secure a foothold for the Catholic religion when its priests had been repeatedly forbidden by the King to settle in the country; in promptly raising thunder every time an opportunity offered, and in making himself prominently disagreeable and a shining nuisance at all times [Day 231].

September 10 to 15 Saturday Sam covered the thirteenth annual fair of the California State Agricultural Society, held in Sacramento, for the Sacramento Union [MTL 1: 361].

September 14 Friday Sam was quoted on Captain Cook by the Daily Hawaiian Herald [Schmidt].

September 22 Saturday Sam’s 22nd letter to the Union dated “KEALAKEKUA BAY, JULY, 1866 THE ROMANTIC GOD LONO” ran: (Sam arrived back in Honolulu on June 18):

I have been writing a good deal, of late, about the great god Lono and Captain Cook’s personation of him. Now, while I am here in Lono’s home, upon ground which his terrible feet have trodden in remote ages—unless these natives lie, and they would hardly do that, I suppose—I might as well tell who he was.

The idol the natives worshipped for him was a slender, unornamented staff twelve feet long. Unpoetical history says he was a favorite god on the island of Hawaii—a great king who had been deified for meritorious services—just our own fashion of rewarding heroes, with the difference that we would have made him a Postmaster instead of a god, no doubt. In an angry moment he slew his wife, a goddess named Kaikilani Alii. Remorse of conscience drove him mad, and tradition presents us the singular spectacle of a god traveling “on the shoulder;” for in his gnawing grief he wandered about from place to place boxing and wrestling with all whom he met. Of course this pastime soon lost its novelty, inasmuch as it must necessarily have been the case that when so powerful a deity sent a frail human opponent “to grass” he never came back any more. Therefore, he instituted games called makahiki, and ordered that they should be held in his honor, and then sailed for foreign lands on a three-cornered raft, stating that he would return some day, and that was the last of Lono. He was never seen any more; his raft got swamped, perhaps. But the people always expected his return, and they were easily led to accept Captain Cook as the restored god [Day 243].

Sam’s article, “Mark Twain at the Islands,” ran in the Californian [Schmidt].

September 26Wednesday Sam’s 23rd letter to the Union “HONOLULU, SEPTEMBER 10 1866 THE HIGH CHIEF OF SUGARDOM”: This letter was dated Sept. 10, even though Sam left the islands on July 19. It describes the “principal labor used on plantations…that of Kanaka men and women—six dollars to eight dollars a month and find them, or eight to ten dollars and let them find themselves” [Day 270].

September 29 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Origin of Illustrious Men,” ran in the Californian:

You have done fair enough about Franklin and Shakespeare, and several parties not so well known—parties some of us never heard of, in fact—but you have shirked the fellows named below. Why this mean partiality?

JOHN SMITH was the son of his father. He formerly resided in New York and other places, but he has moved to San Francisco, now.

WM. SMITH was the son of his mother. This party’s grandmother is deceased. She was a brick.

JOHN BROWN was the son of old Brown. The body of the latter lies mouldering in the grave.

EDWARD BROWN was the son of old Brown by a particular friend.

HENRY JONES was a son of a sea-cook.

WM. JONES was a son of a gun.

JOHN JONES was a Son of Temperance.

In early life GABRIEL JONES was actually a shoemaker. He is a shoemaker yet.

Previous to the age of 85, CALEB JONES had never given any evidence of extraordinary ability. He has never given any since.

PATRICK MURPHY is said to have been of Irish extraction.

JAMES PETERSON was the son of a common weaver, who was so miraculously poor that his friends were encouraged to believe that in case the Scriptures were strictly carried out he would “inherit the earth.” He never got his property.

JOHN DAVIS’ father was a soap-boiler, and not a very good soap-boiler at that. John never arrived at maturity—died in childbirth, he and his mother.

JOHN JOHNSON was a blacksmith. He died. It was published in the papers, with a head over it, “DEATHS.” It was therefore thought he died to gain notoriety. He has got an aunt living somewheres.

Up to the age of 34, HOSEA WILKERSON never had any home but Home, Sweet Home, and even when he had that he had to sing it himself. At one time it was believed that he would have been famous if he had become celebrated. He died. He was greatly esteemed for his many virtues. There was not a dry eye in the crowd when they planted him [Schmidt].

Also, Sam’s article, “How, for Instance?” was published in the New York Weekly Review [MTL 1: 330n5]. “Mark Twain at the Islands” ran in the Californian [Camfield, bibliog.].

September, mid to late – Although they’d traveled in the same regions, from the Mediterranean to the Mississippi to Washoe mining camps, there is no record before this month that Sam and J. Ross Browne ever met. Browne was a humorist in the Western vein of John Phoenix, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain. He was also an excellent travel writer, currently collecting mining statistics in the West for the U.S. Treasury Department. He was living with his family in Oakland. Note: some scholars have asserted that Browne served literary influence on Sam; Gribben lists one thesis and two of Browne’s articles, one series “A Peep at Washoe” that Sam had recommended to his family and in a letter he wrote jointly with Orion to the Keokuk Gate City, May 10, 1862 [Gribben 90]. According to Francis J. Rock, the meeting happened shortly after Sam’s return from the Sandwich Islands and when Sam was preparing for his first platform appearance at the Academy of Music on Oct. 2. From Rock’s 1929 dissertation on Browne, which includes notes from Browne and this oral testimony from Browne’s son:

“Whilst in this state of apprehension he came upon Ross Browne in San Francisco and delightedly greeted him. ‘Browne, you are just the man I want to see.’ He explained his quandary and expressed his anxiety at not knowing how to approach an audience. Browne was by this time a well-known lecturer and could give him the desired direction. Accordingly, Browne invited Mark Twain home to Oakland with him for the few days previous to the lecture, and urged him to try out his material on his house-full of children. Needless to say, the result was gratifying. The enthusiastic response of the Brownes entirely fortified Mark Twain’s courage” [44-5].

Rock further asserts Browne’s Yusef (1853) “as the direct forerunner of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad” [72].

October 2 Tuesday – Sam’s first stage appearance took place at the Academy of Music on Pine Street in San Francisco, a new hall owned by Tom Maguire, who suggested Sam try to make his fortune by entering the lecture field and offering his experiences in the Sandwich Islands. He’d offered the hall to Sam at half price, 50 dollars, in exchange for half the profits. Sam agreed and spent 150 dollars on advertising. He had posters made up announcing the Honolulu Correspondent for the Sacramento Union, “Mark Twain,” would be speaking. “Doors open at 7 o’clock. The Trouble will begin at 8.” The city’s elite arrived in force, including the Governor of California. Sam charged a dollar a seat and grossed $1,200 (his net profit after splitting with Maguire and expenses—$400.) Sam’s career as a lecturer was off to a comet-like start [Sanborn 294-7]. Sam later described the event in Ch. 78 of Roughing It.

In the lecture Sam told the audience that:

…his object in delivering this lecture was to obtain funds which would enable him to publish an account of the Sandwich Islands in the form of a volume, with illustrations by [Edward] Jump [MTL 2: 3]. Note: Jump was a French-born caricaturist, San Francisco’s favorite, who later made a living as a portrait artist. Several of Edward Jump’s (1832-1883) lithographs may be found in Bernard Taper’s Mark Twain’s San Francisco. See Works Cited. Taper claims that Sam “admired Jump’s work very much and liked him personally. They roomed together for a while at one point” [p.xxv]. Unfortunately, Taper does not say at what point and no evidence was found. Robert Hirst expressed skepticism of this.

October 3 Wednesday – Newspaper reviews to Sam’s talk were very positive, as witnessed by this excerpt from the San Francisco Evening-Bulletin of Oct. 3:

The Academy of Music was stuffed . . . to repletion. . . . It is perhaps fortunate that the King of Hawaii did not arrive in time to attend, for unless he had gone early he would have been turned away, as many others were who could not gain admittance.

The appearance of the lecturer was the signal for applause and from the time he commenced until he closed, the greatest good feeling existed. He commenced by apologizing for the absence of an orchestra, he wasn’t used to getting up operas of this sort. He had engaged a musician to come and play the trombone, but, after the bargain was closed, the trombone player insisted upon having some other musicians to help him. He had hired the man to work, and wouldn’t stand any such nonsense, and so discharged him on the spot. The lecturer then proceeded with his subject, and delivered one of the most interesting and amusing lectures ever delivered in this city. It was replete with information of that character which is seldom got from books, describing all those minor traits of character, custom and habits which are only noted by a close observer, and yet the kind of information which gives the most correct idea of the people described. Their virtues were set forth generously, while their vices were touched off in a humourous style, which kept the audience in a constant state of merriment. From the lecturer’s reputation as a humorist, the audience were unprepared for the eloquent description of the volcano of Kilauea, a really magnificent piece of word-painting, their appreciation of which was shown by long and continued applause. Important facts concerning the resources of the Islands were given, interspersed with pointed anecdotes and side-splitting jokes. Their history, traditions, religions, politics, aristocracy, royalty, manners and customs were all described in brief and in the humorous vein peculiar to the speaker. . . . The lecturer held his audience constantly interested and amused for an hour and a half, and the lecture was unanimously pronounced a brilliant success [Schmidt].

October 6 Saturday Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN ON ETIQUETTE, was reprinted in the Daily Hawaiian Herald. (See May 22 entry for excerpt).

October 11 to November 27 Tuesday – Sam and Denis McCarthy, former part-owner of the Territorial Enterprise, (who Sam now labeled “The Orphan,” quickly organized a lecture tour in California and Nevada. (Lorch gives strong reasoning that the subsequent lecture tour was most likely organized well before this Oct. 2 debut [35-6]). The lecture, titled “Sandwich Islands” made sixteen engagements between these dates at locations where Sam was well known [Sanborn 298-9]. Dates in Silver City, Dayton, and Washoe were canceled. Lorch writes that the cancellation was due to the “fake robbery” which occurred the night of Nov. 10 [36, 41].

The pair first traveled to Sacramento by riverboat. Lorch writes that Sam chose boat over stagecoach for two reasons: first, it was nostalgic, and second the boat had a bar [36]. Sam gave the lecture “Sandwich Islands,” in the Metropolitan Theatre. The Daily Union reported the next day:

The lecturer entertained the audience for about an hour, discoursing in an easy, colloquial style…seasoning a large dish of genuine information with spicy anecdotes, depicting the lights and shades of Kanaka society….Mark goes hence to cultivate an acquaintance with the people of up-country towns [Sanborn 298-9].

October 15 Monday – Sam and Denis McCarthy traveled by riverboat to Marysville, California (named for Mary Murphy, a survivor of the Donner Party). There, Sam gave the lecture “Sandwich Islands” at Maguire’s New Theatre [Sanborn 299].

October 17 Wednesday Sam’s article dated “Sept. 24, San Francisco, An Epistle from Mark Twain THE QUEEN’S ARRIVAL / ALPHABET WARREN / MISC.” ran in the Daily Hawaiian Herald [Schmidt; Camfield bibliog.].

October 20 Saturday – Sam and McCarthy traveled by stage through gold boomtowns, Timbuctoo, Smartsville, and Rough and Ready (in modern days nearly empty). Sam gave the lecture “Sandwich Islands” in Hamilton Hall, Grass Valley, California. The Grass Valley Daily Union reported:

Crowds are flocking into Hamilton Hall, as we write, to hear Mark Twain’s lecture….But a moment ago we saw the lecturer preparing himself for a clear voice with a copious dose of gin and gam, after which he started for the Hall with the irregular movement of a stern-wheel boat in a heavy wind… [Sanborn 299].

The Daily Hawaiian Herald ran the following on Nov. 16 about the Grass Valley lecture:

CHARACTERISTIC. – The following is the conclusion of Mark Twain’s advertisement for his lecture delivered lately in Grass Valley:

“After the lecture is over the lecturer will perform the following wonderful feats on


if desired to do so:

“At a given signal, he will go out with any gentleman and take a drink. If desired, he will repeat this unique and interesting feat—repeat it until the audience are satisfied that there is no deception about it.

“At a moment’s warning he will depart out of town and leave his hotel bill unsettled. He has performed this ludicrous trick many hundreds of times in San Francisco and elsewhere, and it has always elicited the most enthusiastic comments.

“At any hour of the night, after ten, the lecturer will go through any house in the city, no matter how dark it may be, and take an inventory of its contents, and not miss as many of the articles as the owner will in the morning.

“The lecturer declines to specify any more of his miraculous feats at present, for fear of getting the police too much interested in his circus” [Schmidt].

Sam and McCarthy are said to have stayed in the now historic Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley (still in operation as of 2013).

October 23 Tuesday – Sam gave the lecture “Sandwich Islands,” in the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, California, a short distance from Grass Valley. Sam stayed at the National Exchange Hotel. The local newspaper Transcript wrote:

“Mark Twain” as a lecturer is far superior to “Artemus Ward” or any of that class….We bespeak for him large audiences wherever he goes [Sanborn 300].

October 24 Wednesday – Sam and McCarthy rode horseback to the old mining camp of Red Dog, California and gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at the Odd Fellows Hall.

October 25Thursday Sam’s 24th letter to the Union dated “Kilauea, June 1866: A NOTABLE DISCOVERY ran in the Union:


Tired and over-heated, we plodded back to the ruined temple. We were blistered on face and hands, our clothes were saturated with perspiration and we were burning with thirst. Brown ran, the last hundred yards, and with out waiting to take off anything but his coat and boots jumped into the sea, bringing up in the midst of a party of native girls who were bathing. They scampered out, with a modesty which was not altogether genuine, I suspect, and ran, seizing their clothes as they went. He said they were very handsomely formed girls. I did not notice, particularly.

These creatures are bathing about half their time, I think. If a man were to see a nude woman bathing at noon day in the States, he would be apt to think she was very little better than she ought to be, and proceed to favor her with an impudent stare. But the case is somewhat different here. The thing is so common that the white residents pass carelessly by, and pay no more attention to it than if the rollicking wenches were so many cattle. Within the confines of even so populous a place as Honolulu, and in the very center of the sultry city of Lahaina, the women bathe in the brooks at all hours of the day. They are only particular about getting undressed safely, and in this science they all follow the same fashion. They stoop down snatch the single garment over the head, and spring in. They will do this with great confidence within thirty steps of a man. Finical highflyers wear bathing dresses, but of course that is an affectation of modesty born of the high civilization to which the natives have attained, and is confined to a limited number.

Many of the native women are prettily formed, but they have a noticeable peculiarity as to shape—they are almost as narrow through the hips as men are [Day 278; Schmidt].

Note: Sam’s letters may not have been printed in the same sequence they were written. Furthermore, he wrote his mother that he had not bothered with writing while on Maui, so some of the letters from this period were penned after he arrived back in Honolulu, Sam affixing the dates of his activity rather than the date written.

By the time the last Hawaii letters were printed, Sam was back in the States lecturing. On this day Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture in You Bet, Calif. On their way back to the Exchange Hotel on horseback, Sam and McCarthy became lost in a dense thicket and wandered about until dawn [Sanborn 300-301].

October 26 Friday Sam and McCarthy stopped to see Meadow Lake City, also known as Summit City, Ca., the highest of the gold mining districts at 7,100 feet and the place where Orion Clemens had briefly tried a legal office. They arrived at 9 PM [Schmidt: article from S.F. Bulletin, ran Dec. 6].

“A bright, new, pretty town, all melancholy and deserted, and yet not showing one sign of decay or delapidation! I never saw the like before” [Note: By 1872 the town was abandoned; Sanborn 301].

Sam also telegraphed Joe Goodman: “Our circus is coming. Sound the hewgag (a toy instrument similar to a kazoo) [MTL 5: 681]. From Meadow Lake City, Sam and McCarthy boarded the Pioneer stagecoach for the trip back to Virginia City.

October 27 Saturday – Sam and McCarthy arrived back at Virginia City about ten p.m.

October 29 Monday Sam wrote from Virginia City to Robert M. Howland, an old friend from his Nevada mining days, asking if Carson City would turn out to hear Sam lecture. Sam was unsure of the reception he would get there, due to the Sanitary Ball miscegenation prank [MTL 1: 362].

Sam also wrote to Henry R. Mighels to arrange a hall for his lecture:

Friend Mighels—I am trying to get the theatre for a lecture Wednesday night (day after tomorrow) & if I succeed, I shall preach in Gold Hill Thursday, Silver City Friday perhaps, & Carson Saturday if you think I can get a reasonably good audience. What do you think of it. I ought to get a good house there after all the advertising you have been doing for me—& for which you must accept my warm & grateful thanks [MTP, drop-in letters]. Note: evidently Sam’s plans were changed, as he did not “preach” in Gold Hill Thursday, etc.


October 30 Tuesday The Territorial Enterprise announced that Sam would perform in Virginia City the following night. “We expect to see the very mountains shake with a tempest of applause” [MTL 5: 682n].


October 31 Wednesday – Sam gave one performance in Virginia City—the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Maguire’s Opera House. It was a glorious homecoming. The Enterprise wrote, “an immense success” [Sanborn 302]. Sam met with old friends, Dan De Quille, Joe Goodman and Steve Gillis. Gillis urged Sam to speak again at the Opera House, but Sam did not want to repeat himself in any one town. Steven hatched a plot to pull a fake robbery of Sam in Gold Hill as a way of getting Sam to lecture again on a new topic [303].

The Longmont, Colo. Ledger of Oct. 10, 1879 ran a story in “Mark Twain’s Testimonial,” in which Sam was greeted before his lecture by a committee of three, that asked him to meet at the “old place,” a saloon, after the lecture. Supposedly he did go and was presented with a silver brick, which stunned him with gratitude until he discovered it was covered with tinfoil [MTJ, Spring 1989 p 33]. Note: This story was not confirmed with other sources, and due to the newspaper article coming twelve years after, may be apocryphal.

November 1 Thursday Sam sent a telegraph to Abraham V.Z. Curry (1815-1873), John Neely Johnson (1825-1872), Robert M. Howland and others to confirm he would be in Carson City the next day to speak there on Saturday evening. Howland had sent Sam a letter dated Oct. 30 with over 100 signatures of prominent Carson City citizens who wanted to hear Sam’s “Sandwich Islands” lecture. The list included Henry Goode Blasdel (1825-1900), Governor of Nevada. Sam wrote to him, agreeing to speak on the stage of the Carson Theatre and:

“…disgorge a few lines and as much truth as I can pump out without damaging my constitution… [signed]. Ex-Gov. Third House and late Independent Missionary to the Sandwich Islands” [MTL 1: 363-5; Sanborn 303].


November 2 Friday – Sam arrived in Carson City. He wrote his mother Jane Clemens  and family a letter about lecturing in Carson City the next night, his next stops and ultimate plans to return to New York, leaving by steamer Dec. 1 [MTL 1: 365].

November 2 Friday ca. – On or about this day Sam wrote from Virginia City to Catherine C. (Kate) Lampton and Annie E. and Samuel E. Moffett. Kate was Sam’s first cousin; Annie and Sammy were Pamela Moffett’s children, Sam’s niece and nephew. Teasing Annie again about the “bullrushers” story, Sam asked,

How is old Moses that was rescued from the bulrushes & keeps a second-hand clothing-store in Market Street? Dear Sammy—Keep up your lick & you will become a great minister of the gospel some day, & then I shall be satisfied. I wanted to be a minister myself—it was the only genuine ambition I ever had. I always missed fire on the ministry. Then I hoped some member of the family would take hold of it & succeed [MTL 1: 367].

November 3 Saturday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Carson Theatre in Carson City.


November 7 Wednesday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Washoe City, Nevada sometime between these dates [MTL 1: 366n3; MTPO “Mark Twain on the Platform”].

“Card from Mark Twain” dated Nov. 1 ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].

November 8 Thursday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Dayton, Nevada, probably at the Odeon Hall Saloon, where Sam sometimes drank and played billiards. He arrived in Virginia City “about 12 in the evening…from Dayton[Clark 903].

November 9 Friday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Silver City, Nevada.

November 10 Saturday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at the Gold Hill Theatre, Gold Hill, Nevada. After the lecture Sam and Denis McCarthy were the victims of a prank robbery on the one-mile highway between Gold Hill and Virginia City called “the divide.” An all-night farewell party was promised in Virginia City. Sam and McCarthy were on foot. The “robbers” took about $125 in coin, and a $300 gold watch that Sam highly prized, a present to him by A.S. “Sandy” Baldwin and Theodore Winters [Clark 903].

The Enterprise revealed the next day that Sam might have suspected a practical joke. This elaborate plan of Steve Gillis to keep Sam in Virginia City for more lectures did not pan out. Sam was told about the hoax. Sam was ill again, and after a day’s rest in Virginia City, left for San Francisco. Gillis, in 1907, claimed everyone was in on the prank except De Quille and Goodman—the former was needed to write up a realistic account, and the latter frowned on practical jokes. Among the band of robbers, Gillis named the chief of police George Birdsall (who wanted to “insure the proper performance of the hold-up,” Leslie Blackburn, “Jimmy” Edington, Pat Holland and one or two unnamed others. [Sanborn 305-6; MTL 1: 366n4 for details of the “robbery,” or read Steve Gillis’ 1907 deathbed “confession” account in The Twainian, Jan-Feb 1956 p3].

Note: in William R. Gillis’ 1930 account in Gold Rush Days with Mark Twain, he identifies others involved:

Steve then hunted up Joe Harlowe, Little Hicks, Salty Boardman and John Russell, and they, too, became members of the Gang. Joe Harlowe and Hicks were to do the robbing, while Boardman and Russell were to remain in the shade so that Sam could distinguish them through the darkness. Steve was to wait in the composing room to receive Sam after the holdup [109].

Bret Harte’s review (signed F.B.H.) of Sam’s “Sandwich Islands” lecture of Oct. 2 ran in the Springfield (Mass.) Daily Republican [Tenney 2].


November 11 Sunday Sam’s CARD TO THE HIGHWAYMEN ran in the Enterprise:


      Last night I lectured in Gold Hill, on the Sandwich Islands.  At ten o’clock I started on foot to Virginia, to meet a lot of personal friends who were going to set up all night with me and start me off in good shape for San Francisco in the morning. This social programme proved my downfall. But for it, I would have remained in Gold Hill. As we “raised the hill” and straightened up on the “Divide,” a man just ahead of us (Mac, my agent, and myself), blew an ordinary policemen’s whistle, and Mac said, “Thunder! this is an improvement—they didn’t use to keep policemen on the Divide.” I coincided. The infernal whistle was only a signal to you road agents. About half a minute afterwards, a small man emerged from some ambuscade or other and crowded close up to me. I was smoking and supposed he wanted a light. But this humorist instead of asking for a light, thrust a horrible six-shooter in my face and simply said, “Stand and deliver!” I said, “My son, your arguments are powerful—take what I have, but uncock that infamous pistol.” The young man uncocked the pistol (but he requested three other gentlemen to present theirs at my head) and then he took all the money I had ($20 or $25), and my watch. Then he said to one of his party, “Beauregard, go through that man!”—meaning Mac—and the distinguished rebel did go through Mac. Then the little Captain said, “Stonewall Jackson, seat these men by the roadside, and hide yourself; if they move within five minutes, blow their brains out!” Stonewall said, “All right, sire.” Then the party (six in number) started toward Virginia and disappeared.

      Now, I want to say to you road agents as follows: My watch was given to me by Judge Sandy Baldwin and Theodore Winters, and I value it above anything else I own. If you will send that to me (to the Enterprise office, or to any prominent man in San Francisco) you may keep the money and welcome. You know you got all the money Mac had—and Mac is an orphan —and besides, the money he had belonged to me.

      Adieu, my romantic young friends [Benson 200-01].


November 12 Monday – At noon, Sam and Denis McCarthy left Virginia City by the Pioneer Stage via Donner Lake route for San Francisco. Just as the stage was leaving from in front of the Wells Fargo office, the chief of police George Birdsall handed Sam a package containing his watch, money, two jackknives, corkscrew, toothpick, three lead pencils, and the masks worn by the “robbers.”

According to this account, Sam refused to shake hands with Birdsall and ordered the stage driver to go on. McCarthy was a likely accomplice to the joke [Clark 903-4]. Steve Gillis claimed that Sam accused the bunch of other robberies in the area due to the smooth way his prank was pulled off, and swore they’d all wind up in the penitentiary [The Twainian, Jan-Feb 1956 p3]. Sam planned a new lecture for San Francisco [Sanborn 306].

Lorch claims that Sam was “especially incensed when he discovered that Denis McCarthy was a member of the conspirators,” and “In his fury he sought McCarthy out, paid him off, and told him he wanted no more of his services” [42]. Still, other sources point out that McCarthy and Sam left together. The few letters to McCarthy subsequent do not illuminate this claim. One San Francisco Golden Era reporter, who wrote under the name “Sans Souci” put forth the theory that Sam had created the robbery to gain free publicity [Lorch, 43].


November 13 Tuesday – Sam arrived back in San Francisco at night [MTL 1: 366n4].

November 16 Friday – In front of 1,500 people in Platt’s Hall, San Francisco, California, Sam gave a new lecture based on the ride west with Orion. Sam repeated the same tired joke about Horace Greeley (1811-1872) and Hank Monk (1832?-1883) on a stagecoach until the house’s silence crumbled into waves of laughter. Still, this second San Francisco lecture was not as well received as the first on Oct. 2 [Lorch 44]. Lorch writes:

He had yet to fully understand that audiences not only expected to be informed but desired to be informed, and that while they were greatly delighted with his humor, they had at least to feel that they had been instructed in order to believe they had received their money’s worth. No other problem was to give Mark Twain more concern in the tours that followed than precisely this one: how to satisfy his own desire to make his audiences laugh while at the same time satisfying them that they had been instructed [44].

The Alta California had commissioned Sam to act as roving correspondent on a proposed world tour. Sam was aiming at bigger fish than being the “humorist of the Pacific slope” [Sanborn 308; Lennon 154].

Sam’s 25th and last letter to the Union, dated “Volcano House, June 3d Midnight THE GREAT VOLCANO OF KILAUEA” ran:

I suppose no man ever saw Niagara for the first time without feeling disappointed. I suppose no man ever saw it the fifth time without wondering how he could ever have been so blind and stupid as to find any excuse for disappointment in the first place. I suppose that any one of nature’s most celebrated wonders will always look rather insignificant to a visitor at first, but on a better acquaintance will swell and stretch out and spread abroad, until it finally grows clear beyond his grasp—becomes too stupendous for his comprehension. I know that a large house will seem to grow larger the longer one lives in it, and I also know that a woman who looks criminally homely at a first glance will often so improve upon acquaintance as to become really beautiful before the month is out.

I was disappointed when I saw the great volcano of Kilauea (Ke-low way-ah) to-day for the first time. It is a comfort to me to know that I fully expected to be disappointed, how ever, and so, in one sense at least, I was not disappointed [Day 291].

November 17 Saturday Sam’s sketch “The Story of a Scriptural Panoramist” ran in the Californian. It was later included in Sketches, New and Old (1875) [Camfield bibliog.]. Scharnhorst writs that the receipts from Sam’s lecture of Nov. 16 were garnished to “satisfy part of the judgment” from posting bond for “a friend who then fled to Nevada” two years before (Steve Gillis) [“Mark Twain’s Imbroglio with the San Francisco Police” American Literature (Dec 1990) p.691]. Sanborn claims there “are no facts to support” the story of Sam posting a bond for Gillis [255]. Lorch surmises that since the “San Francisco papers remained silent” on the attachment, one might conclude that the action was for unpaid bills in Nevada [46].

November 21 Wednesday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Armory Hall, San Jose, California. This is the first lecture where Sam offered to demonstrate cannibalism as practiced in the Sandwich Islands, asking for a mother to bring her child to the platform. This device was successful and yielded much laughter if also a few criticisms now and then from the press for being in bad taste [Lorch 47].

The Washoe Evening Slope ran a brief item that declared the proceeds of Sam’s second lecture in San Francisco had been attached for the benefit of one of his creditors [Lorch 46].

November 26 Monday – The San Jose Mercury:

We have been an admirer of the inimitable humor of the lecturer, as shown in his numerous letters and sketches, that have been so widely published, but confess that the lecture disappointed us. We expected to hear the Kanakas “Joked blind,” but had no idea of being treated to such an intellectual feast as he served up to his audience. We never heard or read anything half so beautiful as his description when he laid aside the role of the humorist and gave rein to his fancy. To use the expression of a rapt listener to the lecture, “He’s lightenin’.”

Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Petaluma, Calif. That town’s newspaper, the Argus, did not give Sam a flattering review: “…as a lecturer he is not a success.” [MTL 1: 366-7n4]. Lorch attributes the negative reviews of the Argus and the Petaluma Journal to spite for “non-receipt of advertisements and complimentary tickets” [338 (from Frear, Mark Twain and Hawaii 447)].

November 27 Tuesday – Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Oakland, Calif. in College Hall. Sam stayed with J. Ross Browne and family in Oakland. [MTL 1: 370n6]. (See September, mid to late entry.) The turnout was small for this lecture, only about 200 people, which Lorch attributes to “a misunderstanding about the time at which the talk was to take place, though the entire city council canceled a meeting and came to the hall as a group.” Sam had to wait for the school band to finish a long concert before speaking [47].

November 30 Friday Sam’s 31st birthday. He wrote at least three letters to the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, reporting on some of the stops on his interior lecture tour. The first known of these, MARK TWAIN’S INTERIOR NOTES ran with descriptions of Marysville, Grass Valley, The Eureka Mine, Nevada, and:


I have recently returned from a missionary trip to the interior. I have nothing new to report concerning Sacramento; it was rather warm there. They haven’t got the grade finished yet. The grade has proven of high sanitary importance to Sacramento; nothing else could have so happily affected the health of the city as the new grade. Constant exercise on a dead level is too monotonous—the human system eventually ceases to receive any benefit from it. What the people there needed was a chance for up-hill and down-hill exercise, and now they have got it. You see, they have raised some of the houses up about eight or ten feet, to correspond with the new grade, and raised the sidewalks up accordingly; the other houses remain as they were before, and so do the sidewalks in front of them; the high walks are reached from the low ones by inclined staging similar to the horse stairways in livery stables. This arrangement gives infinite variety to a promenade there, now. The more the grade progresses the more the people are exercised and the healthier they become. The patience, money and energy required to prosecute the work to a successful completion are fearful to contemplate, but I think the citizens are equal to the emergency. Sacramento, with its broad, straight avenues, shaded by stately trees and bordered with flower-gardens, is already handsome, and some day it will be beautiful.

The new Capitol is a slow coach. I would like to be Superintendent of it for life, with the privilege of transmitting the office to my heirs and assigns forever [Benson 201-2].

December – Sam’s write up of the Hornet disaster, “Forty-three Days in an Open Boat” was printed in the prestigious Harper’s Monthly, but the piece was indexed to “Mark Swain” [MTL 1: 355n8].

Sam’s notebook labeled such songs as, “Marching through Georgia,” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” and “Old Dog Tray,” and “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” as the “d—dest, oldest, vilest songs” performed by the ship’s choir” [MTNJ 1: 262].

December 1 Saturday – The Santa Rosa Sonora Democrat ridiculed the editors of the Petaluma Argus and the Petaluma Journal for their unexplained criticisms of Sam’s Petaluma lecture [Lorch 338n33].

December 3 Monday Sam called on Rev. Dr. Charles Wadsworth (1814-1882) of Calvary Presbyterian Church, but he was not at home [MTL 1: 368].

December 4 Tuesday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Isabella A. Cotton, one of his companions on the Smyrniote sailing ship from Hawaii, about his plans to leave on the “Opposition” steamer on Dec. 15. He forgot to enclose a picture of himself, and so sent a second note [MTL 1: 371-2].

Sam also wrote his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens, and family. Sam wrote he was:

…thick & thieves with the Rev. Stebbings, & I am laying for the Rev. Scudder & the Rev. Dr. Stone. I am running on preachers, now altogether. I find them gay. Stebbings is a regular brick. I am taking letters of introduction to Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Tyng, & other eminent parsons in the east. Whenever anybody offers me a letter to a preacher now, I snaffle it on the spot. I shall make Rev. Dr Bellows trot out the fast nags of the cloth for me when I get to New York [MTL 1: 368]. Note: Rev. Henry Whitney Bellows (1814-1882); Rev. Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844). That expression “fast nags of the cloth” would become well known.


December 5 Wednesday Governor Frederick Low, and Henry Blasdel, Governor of Nevada and others invited Sam by to repeat his first lecture before he departed California [MTL 1: 373n1]. Note: Lorch concludes it “may never be known” if Sam arranged this invitation, “but it must be confessed that the phrasing …has the earmarks of being genuine” [48].

December 6 Thursday – Sam replied to Governor Frederick Low and others accepting their Dec. 5 invitation to repeat his lecture on the Sandwich Islands at Congress Hall on Monday, Dec. 10 [MTL 1: 372].

Sam’s letter, MARK TWAIN’S INTERIOR NOTES [II]. ran in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. Subheadings: “To Red Dog and Back,” “A Memento of Speculation,” “An Aristocratic Turn-Out,” and “Silver Land” [Schmidt; Camfield bibliog.].

December 7 Friday Sam’s letter, MARK TWAIN’S INTERIOR NOTES [III]. ran in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. Sections: “San Jose,” “Silk,” and “Mark Twain Mystified” [Schmidt]. Camfield and Benson both list “Mark Twain Mystified” as running first in the Evening Bulletin [bibliog.; 165].


December 9 Sunday Sam’s article “Mark Twain Mystified” was re-printed in the San Francisco Golden Era.

“I cannot understand the telegraphic dispatches nowadays, with their odd punctuation—I mean with so many question marks thrust in where no question is asked.”

Sam complained that this tore up his mind on the “eve of a lecture” [Fatout, MT Speaks 34].

Another article, “’Mark Twain’ on the Dog Question,” was published in the Morning Call [Schmidt].

December 10 Monday Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Congress Hall in San Francisco as “Mark Twain’s Farewell” [Benson 165]. Lorch say the “lecture was well attended and well received” [48].

December 11 Tuesday The Alta California reported that the Dec. 10 audience paid:

…rapt attention to his gorgeous imagery, in describing scenes at the Sandwich Islands, or convulsed with laughter at the humorous sallies interspersed through lecture, he seemed to come reluctantly to the promised “good-bye,” and then his whole manner changed—the words were evidently the language of the heart, and the convictions of his judgment [Fatout, MT Speaking 16; Lorch 48].


December 12 Wednesday Sam received a telegraph from a fan: “Go to Nudd, Lord & Co., Front street, collect amount of money equal to what highwaymen took from you. (signed) A.D.N.” [MTL 1: 374n1]. The signator was Asa D. Nudd, principal of the firm.


December 14 Friday Alta California printed Sam’s impromptu farewell address of Dec. 10, “So Long” [Camfield bibliog.]. Lorch and Sanborn report the verbatim article as Dec. 15 [49; 309].

S. Purmoil wrote from Honolulu to “Affluent Mark…/ I write you in sorrow and tribulation. Since you left here, everything has gone wrong.” He proceeded to write of many shortcomings and anecdotes. Printed in the Daily Hawaiian Herald [MTP].

December 15 Saturday – The San Francisco Morning Call reported that Sam collected $100 from Nudd, Lord & Co [MTL 1: 374n1]. Sam’s article, “Depart, Ye Accursed!” was published in the New York Weekly Review [MTL 1: 330n5]. It was reprinted in the Californian, Jan.19, 1867 as “Mark Twain on Chambermaids” [Camfield bibliog.].

Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother, Jane Clemens and family of his sailing for New York the next day, “leaving more friends behind me that any newspaper man that ever sailed out of the Golden Gate.” He wrote of going to the church fair at Platt’s Hall that evening [MTL 1: 373-5].

Sam’s notebook 7 covers dates from this day to Jan. 12, 1867.

Alta California printed Sam’s Dec. 10 lecture, “Mark Twain’s Farewell.”


That his letters will be read with interest needs no assurance from us—his reputation has been made here in California, and his great ability is well known; but he has been known principally as a humorist, while he really has no superior as a descriptive writer—a keen observer of men and their surroundings—and we feel confident his letters to the ALTA, from his new field of observation, will give him a world-wide reputation [Schmidt].

Sam sailed from San Francisco for New York, by way of the Isthmus of Nicaragua. The trip took 27 & ½ days and was not an easy one. The first night out the ship nearly sank in a bad storm. Nearly all the passengers were seasick for days. Sam was not seasick but came down again with a mysterious illness that often forced him to bed. Edgar “Ned” Wakeman (1818-1875) was the captain of the ship America. Wakeman was burly and tattooed and impressed Sam with his strength, his cheery voice, and ability to spin yarns. Sam found Wakeman “inexhaustibly interesting.” Wakeman was the model for Ned Blakely in chapter 50 of Roughing It as well as Captain Eli Stormfield in “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” a story seeded by a dream Wakeman had about going to heaven. Wakeman inspired several other characters in Sam’s work. Sam and Wakeman shared knowledge of and interest in the Bible. Wakeman was 50 when Sam met him [Sanborn 312; Rasmussen 502].

From Sam’s notebook:


“Pleasant, sunny day, hills brightly clad with green grass and shrubbery. First night great tempest—the greatest seen on this coast for many years….Passenger said he had served 14 yrs at sea—but considered his time was come now—still, said ‘if anybody can save her its old Wakeman’” [MTNJ 1: 245-6].

December 16 Sunday From Sam’s letter to the Alta of Dec. 18:


NOON, 16th

All the afternoon, yesterday, two or three hundred passengers paced the promenade deck, and so quiet was the sea that not half a dozen of them succumbed to sickness. But at 8 or 9 at night the wind began to rise, and from that time it steadily in creased in violence until, at midnight, it was blowing a hurricane. There was a tremendous sea running, and the night was so pitch dark that a man standing on the deck would find by voices at his elbow that other persons were almost touching him, when he imagined himself alone. On deck, above the lashing of the waves, and the roaring of the winds, the shouting of the captain and his officers, and the hurried tramping of the men were scarcely to be heard [Schmidt].

From Sam’s notebook:


“This is a long, long night. I occupy the lower berth & read & smoke by a ship’s lantern borrowed from the steward (I won the middle berth, but gave it to Smith because he is seasick & we have piled our apples, limes, wines, books & small traps in the upper one)” [MTNJ 1: 246].

December 18 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:


“The young runaway couple, after co-habiting a night or two, were married last night by the Capt’s peremptory order, in presence of 5 witnesses” [MTNJ 1: 249].

December 19 Wednesday – From Sam’s letter to the Alta printed January 18, 1867:


I have to give the sequel to the runaway match now. Yesterday it was whispered about that our young couple, who passed in the ship as “Mr. and wife,” and occupied a state room together, were really not married! Luscious sensation for a monotonous sea voyage! Capt. Wakeman exploded two or three awful salt-water oaths and ordered the Purser to produce the culprits before him at once. It was done, at 8 P.M. An explanation was demanded. They said they were married in San Jose Valley, but had lost the certificate. The Captain swore a blood-curdling oath that he’d furnish them another, and mighty quick, too; and ordered up the Rev. Mr. Fackler, an Episcopalian minister of San Francisco, to perform the ceremony, and four respectable persons to witness it. The bridegroom did not seem particularly gratified with these proceedings, and even the bride said afterwards that they had kept company together four days on shore before they shipped, and she was satisfied—thought people might mind their own business, and let theirs alone. She said they were going to be married in Brooklyn, and that was the programme from the start; didn’t care anything about having any such foolishness on the ship! A child fifteen years old, and weighted down with the wisdom and experience of an infant! Another lady said she couldn’t see why people wanted to meddle with other people’s business. Why couldn’t they let the girl alone! God help me! I am an orphan and many and many a league at sea—with such a crowd as this! [Schmidt].


December 20 Thursday From Sam’s notebook:


“At noon, 5 days out from Sanfrancisco, abreast high stretch of land at foot of Magdalena Bay, Capt came & said, ‘Come out here…I want to show you something’ –took the marine glass— (2 whaling ships with a catch)” [MTNJ 1: 250].

The Brooklyn Eagle ran a short note on page 4 about Sam’s “Lecture among Highwaymen,” and ended with “Mark failed to see the point” of the practical joke. [The Eagle is available online].

December 21 Friday From Sam’s notebook:


“Crossed tropic of Capricorn—Cape St Lucas—now abreast Gulf of California….Geniuses are people who dash off weird, wild, incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the gutter…people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing” [MTNJ 1: 250].

December 22 Saturday From Sam’s notebook:

“Passengers have been singing several days—now the men have come down to leap-frog, boyish gymnastics & tricks of equilibrium—& sitting on a bottle with legs extended & Xd , & threading a good sized needle” [MTNJ 1: 251-2].


December 23 Sunday From Sam’s notebook:

Morning service on Prom deck by Fackler—organ & choir. I had rather travel with that old portly, hearty, jolly, boisterous, good-natured old sailor, Capt. Ned Wakeman than with any other man I ever came across. He never drinks, & never plays cards; he never swears, except in the privacy of his own quarters, with a friend or so, & then his feats of fancy blasphemy are calculated to fill the hearer with awe & the liveliest admiration [MTNJ 1: 253].

Sam vowed that if the ship choir “attempted that outrage [singing “Roll on, silver moon”]” he “would have scuttled the ship” [Gribben 587].


December 24 Monday From Sam’s notebook:

Christmas Eve—9 P.M. Me & the Capt & Kingman out forward. Capt. Said—Don’t like the looks of that point with the mist outside of it—hold her a point free.

Quartermaster (touching his hat)—“The child is dead sir (been sick 2 days.—) What are yr orders” [MTNJ 1: 257].

The death of a child onboard made for a solemn Christmas Eve.

December 25 TuesdayChristmas – From Sam’s Mar. 15 Alta letter [Schmidt]:

CHRISTMAS NIGHT.—The child died last evening, and some of the lady passengers sat up with the corpse all night. At ten this morning, we all assembled on the lower guard aft, and listened with uncovered heads, to a brief sermon by the clergyman (Rev. Mr. Fackler) and the reading of the Episcopal burial service—the capstan with a national flag over it served for a pulpit, and meanwhile the first officer and boatswain held the canvassed corpse with its head resting on their shoulders and its feet upon the taffrail—at the conclusion there was a breathless pause; then the minister said “Earth unto earth—ashes unto ashes—dust unto dust!”—a sharp plunge of the weighted body into the sea, a shudder from the startled passengers, a wild shriek from the young mother (a mere girl), and all was over.

Within three hours, with that solemn presence gone out of the ship, cheerfulness and vivacity reigned again.

December 27 Thursday – Sam wrote of a raffle for a dead wife’s jewelry (Mar. 15 Alta):


DECEMBER 28th. —Isaac’s upward flight culminated yesterday in a raffle, and now he is fallen! Hobnobbing with the chief officers, and hail fellow well met with everybody yesterday—to-day, degraded to the ranks, and none so poor as to take notice of him. You see he has often excited sympathy by displaying his late wife’s jewelry (he said she died six weeks ago,) and mourning over it. But yesterday he got up that raffle said it grieved him to the heart to have those mementoes of his lost one about him—said her dear jewelry constantly reminded him of happy days he should never again see—and so he gathered it together and raffled it off for three hundred and fifty dollars ! He feels easier after that, no doubt. His lacerated heart will be able to stand it for awhile, now, perhaps [Schmidt].

December 29 Saturday From Sam’s letter to the Alta printed Mar. 15, 1867:


DECEMBER 29. — One sea voyage is ended anyhow. We have arrived at San Juan del Sur, and must leave the ship and cross the Isthmus—not to-day, though. They have posted a notice on the ship that the cholera is raging among a battalion of troops just arrived from New York, and so we are not permitted to go ashore to-day. And to the sea-weary eyes of some of our people, no doubt, bright green hills never looked so welcome, so enchanting, so altogether lovely, as these do that lie here within pistol-shot of us. But the law is spoken, and so half the ship’s family are looking longingly ashore, or discussing the cholera news fearfully, and the other half are in the after cabin, singing boisterously and carrying on like a troop of wild school children [Schmidt].

December 30 Sunday – The America completed the first leg of the trip, reaching San Juan del Sur. Cholera had claimed 35 passengers there awaiting transportation to San Francisco, so the passengers of America were not allowed ashore until later in the morning [Sanborn 312]. It was a three-hour trip by horses, mules, and mud wagons to Virgin Bay on Lake Nicaragua. Sam was impressed by the roadside stands of fruits and food, and especially by the pretty young women there. He was told they were “virtuous according to their lights, but I guess their lights are a little dim.” At Virgin Bay the passengers boarded a small steamer to cross the lake [Sanborn 313].

December 31 Monday – Sam and passengers arrived at San Carlos, Nicaragua. From Sam’s notebook:

“Native thatched houses—coffee, eggs, bread, cigars & fruit for sale—delicious—10 cents buy pretty much anything & in great quantity. Californians can’t understand how 10 or 25 cents can buy a sumptuous lunch of coffee, eggs & bread….Saw at San Carlos the first osage trees of the trip—my favorite tree above all others” [MTNJ 1: 261-2].


They changed vessels to a stern-wheeler and began a trip down the San Juan River to the sea [Sanborn 313]. Camfield lists Sam’s poem “Miss Simmens” published posthumously [bibliog.].


Vol 1 Section 0024

Key West – New York – Charles Webb Published The Jumping Frog

52 hours to St. Louis – Artemus Ward Dead – Lectures in Hannibal, Keokuk & Quincy

Back in New York – A Night in Jail – Three Lectures in the Big Apple

 Quaker City Five-month Excursion– Miniature Portrait in the Bay of Smyrna

A Post in Washington – Elisha Bliss – Sam Met Livy


1867 – Camfield [bibliog.] lists the following pieces undated for this year:


An unfinished script for a play, “The Quaker City Holy Land Excursion”

“Goodbye” printed posthumously by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Apr. 27, 1910

      “Who Was He? A Novel” posthumously, Satires and Burlesques, p. 25


January – Sam wrote a spoof of Victor Hugo’s novel, The Toilers of the Sea (1866) while aboard the steamer San Francisco [MTNJ 1: 280-4].


January 1 Tuesday – From Sam’s notebook:


“Slept on the Cora on floor & hammocks at woodyard first night out from Castillo. Started at 2AM & got to Greytown at daylight” [MTNJ 1: 267].

From Sam’s Mar. 15 Alta letter:

GREYTOWN, January 1st.—While we lay all night at San Juan, the baggage was sent ashore in lighters, and next morning we departed ourselves. We found San Juan to consist of a few tumble-down frame shanties—they call them hotels—nestling among green verdure and overshadowed by picturesque little hills. The spot where we landed was crowded with horses, mules, ambulances and half-clad yellow natives, with bowie-knives two feet long, and as broad as your hand, strapped to their waists. I thought these barefooted scoundrels were soldiers, but no, they were merely citizens in civil life. Here and there on the beach moved a soiled and ragged white woman, to whom the sight of our ship must have been as a vision of Paradise; for here a vast ship-load of passengers had been kept in exile for fifteen days through the wretched incompetency of one man—the Company’s agent on the Isthmus. He had sent a steamer empty to San Francisco, when he knew well that this multitude of people were due at Greytown. They will finish their journey, now, in our ship [Schmidt].

Sam noted the choir sang “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” –one of the “wretchedest old songs in the world,” not understanding why it was sang in such breathtaking surroundings [Gribben 588].

Sam arrived at San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua on the Caribbean. There, the steamer San Francisco waited for them bound for New York. It sailed at noon [Sanborn 313; MTNJ 1: 297].

January 2 Wednesday – Sam reported in his notebook that there were two cases of cholera on board. By the next morning two men were dead from cholera [MTNJ 1: 269; Sanborn 314].

January 3 Thursday From Sam’s notebook:

“9:30 PM. We are to be off the coast of Cuba to-morrow they say—I cannot believe it” [MTNJ 1: 273].

January 4 Friday – Three days into the voyage the ship had engine problems. An engine piece broke and took two hours to repair [Sanborn 314]. From Sam’s notebook:

Capt.—who came aboard at Greytown where in 3 years he had worn out his constitution & destroyed his health lingered until 10 this morning & then died & was shoved overboard half an hour afterward sowed up in a blanket with 60 pounds of iron. He leaves a wife at Rochester, N.Y. This makes the fourth death on shipboard since we left San Francisco [MTNJ 1: 273].

January 5 Saturday – The engine broke again and four hours were lost [Sanborn314]. From Sam’s notebook:

“We are to put in at Key West, Florida, to-day for coal for ballast—so they say—but rather for medicines, perhaps—the physic locker is about pumped dry” [MTNJ 1: 275].

Sam began to make a list of the dead on board and got to number eight [MTNJ 1: 279-80].


January 6 Sunday – Again, the engine broke down and they were dead in the water for another four hours. Even worse news, eight new cases of cholera. The doctor confessed to Sam that there was no medicine. Key West was a day or so away, and the doctor hoped to get medicine there. “I realize that I myself may be dead to-morrow” [Sanborn 314]. From Sam’s notebook:

“At 2:30 we anchored at Key West (Florida,) & he will be buried on shore. Was bound for the States to get his family” [MTNJ 1: 279]. Note: buried: Rev. J. G. Fackler, Episcopal clergyman of San Francisco

From Sam’s Mar. 17 Alta letter:

JANUARY 6th.—At two o’clock this morning, the Rev. Mr. Fackler died, and half an hour afterwards we landed at Key West. It is Sunday. Two of us attended Episcopal service here, and retired when they prepared to take the sacrament, and left a request at the pastor’s house that he would preach the funeral sermon. We visited the cemetery in the edge of town, and then, supposing there was plenty of time, strolled through the principal streets and took some notes. When we got to the ship, a little after one o’clock, they said the funeral was already over [Schmidt].

January 7 Monday In Key West the San Francisco stocked up on drugs and spare engine parts. Sam stocked up on Havana cigars before the ship continued on.

“We bought 700 superb cigars at $4 a hundred—greenbacks—better cigars than could get in Cal for $25 a hundred in gold. Town is full of good cigars….21 passengers left the ship here, scared—among them the Jew, the Undertaker, & Goff…I am glad they are gone, d—n them” [MTNJ 1: 286-7; Sanborn 314].

January 8 Tuesday From Sam’s notebook:

That dirty Dutchwoman & her 2 children—none of them washed or taken off clothes since left Sanf—belong in 2d cabin—ought to be in hell—purser started them out of the smoking room to make room for card party—Dutchman brought them back soon & said she was sick & should stay there. Well, the woman is sick, & if they don’t take sanitary measures, she’ll stay so—she needs scraping & washing [MTNJ 1: 191].

January 9 Wednesday – From Sam’s notebook: “Belmayne died Jan. 8, & was buried at sea, abreast of Florida.”

January 10 Thursday From Sam’s notebook:

26 days out from Sanfrancisco to-day—at noon we shall be off Cape Hatteras & less than 400 miles south of New York—(day & a half’s run).

We shall leave this warming pan of a Gulf Stream to-day & then it will cease to be genial summer weather & become wintry cold. We already see the signs—they have put feather mattresses & blankets on our berths this morning [MTNJ 1: 293].

January 11 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

7 PM—Been in bed all day to keep warm—fearfully cold. We are off Barnegat—passed a pilot boat a while ago. We shall get to New York before morning. The d—d crowd in the smoking room are as wildly singing now as they were capering childishly about deck day before yesterday when we first struck cold weather [MTNJ 1: 295].

January 12 Saturday – About 8 AM, the San Francisco steamed into the icy harbor of New York. Sam took a room at the Metropolitan Hotel, a favorite stop for Californians and Washoe miners at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street [Sanborn 311; MTL 2: 2]. The voyage from hell was over and cholera had not claimed Mark Twain. Sam sent a telegram to the Alta California giving details of the cholera outbreak aboard the steamer San Francisco [MTNJ 1: 296]. Sam planned to publish a book on the Sandwich Islands based on his letters to the Sacramento Union.  He also wanted to schedule a lecture tour in New York and perhaps other eastern cities. Lastly, he had a vague plan to embark on a world tour for the Alta. Sam was not without contacts in New York journalism and literary circles. His work had appeared in several New York papers as well as Harper’s.

Sam telegraphed the Alta California concerning the cholera in Nicaragua [Camfield bibliog.].

January 13 Sunday Sam’s telegram dated Jan. 12 to the Alta ran on the front page of that newspaper titled “Cholera in Nicaragua[MTNJ 1: 296n65; Camfield bibliog.].

January 15 Tuesday Sam wrote from New York to Edward P. Hingston (1823-1876), Artemus Ward’s theatrical manager. Sam had enjoyed carousing with Hingston and Ward in 1863 in Virginia City. He boldly asked Hingston to come from England and be his manager, “Ward is so well established in London, now, that he can easily spare you till you have given me a start.” Sam informed Hingston of his successful tour and full houses and his invitations to lecture in Cincinnati, Boston, and St. Louis [MTL 2: 8-9].

In 1890 Sam gave this as the date he first saw Edward H. House (1836-1901). If Sam’s memory 23 years later was accurate, this corrects the February 1867 only entry [Feb. 5, 1890 to Sage] In his Feb. 16, 1896 to Charles H. Webb, Sam confirmed January, 1867 in N.Y. [MTP].

January 17 Thursday – A giant snowstorm hit New York. Temperatures were in the twenties.

January 18 Friday – Sam’s “Letter from Mark Twain” dated Dec. 20, 1866, subtitled “Away” ran in the Alta California, p.1 col. 3 [Schmidt; Camfield bibliog.].

January 19 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Mark Twain On Chambermaids,” was printed in the Californian [Schmidt]. Note: this was collected in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and other stories.

January 30 Wednesday – At the end of January, New York papers announced the “members of Beecher’s congregation are organizing an excursion to the Holy Land, Crimea and Greece. They propose to charter a steamer, and leave in June. Rev. Mr. Beecher and family go with them” [MTL 2: 14]. On this date the Alta California posted the announcement. Sanborn claims Sam learned of the planned excursion “sometime after mid-February,” but it is likely that Sam would have noticed the wide exposure within a few days [Sanborn 319].


February – Sam went to popular shows and lectures, measuring his own attraction against what sold well in the big city. He crammed into a space “about large enough to accommodate a small spittoon” and, on the 3rd, studied the “performance” of the popular preacher, Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1889).  

Sam made contact with Charles Webb, founder and former editor of The Californian, who was now back home in New York and living in an apartment only a few blocks from Sam’s Metropolitan Hotel. Webb and then co-editor Bret Harte had published a version of “The Jumping Frog” in December 1865. Webb encouraged Sam to collect sketches for a book, using the frog story as the lead story and the title. George W. Carleton once again refused to publish the story, even in a collection, so Webb agreed to publish it for a ten percent royalty.

Webb introduced Sam to Edward (Ned) H. House (1836-1901), a noted Civil War correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. Sam, upon learning of Beecher’s planned excursion to the Holy Land, wrote to Frederick MacCrellish (1828-1882) of the Alta, asking if the paper would pay his passage. While waiting, he decided to enter his name for the trip. The fare was $1,250 and the passenger list limited to 110. Beecher wanted to write a life of Jesus and needed to travel the Holy land. General William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) was going. Here was a trip that sparked Sam’s interest.

He took House with him to Captain Charles Crooker Duncan’s (1821-1898) Wall Street office, where Ned claimed Sam was a Baptist minister, in order to qualify as a character of high repute. However, they were unshaven and had stopped at a saloon for drinks. The next day Sam returned to Duncan, confessed his real identity, put down a deposit, and left character references [Sanborn 319-20].


February 1 Friday – Sam’s Feb. 2 letter to the Alta California referred to the prior night’s visit to the Century Club. (The letter ran in the Mar. 28 Alta.)

By permission, I visited the Century Club last night. The most unspeakably respectable Club in the United States, perhaps. It was storming like everything, and I thought there would necessarily be a small attendance, but this was not the case; the reading and supper rooms were crowded, and with the distinguished artists, authors and amateurs of New York. I averaged the heads, and they went three sizes larger than the style of heads I have been accustomed to. In one of the smaller rooms they averaged best—thirteen heads out of the twenty-seven present were what I choose to call prodigious. I never felt so subjugated in my life. And I was never so ashamed of wearing an 8 1/4 before [Schmidt].

February 2? Saturday – Sam wrote from New York to Mollie Clemens (now in Keokuk), complaining about Orion’s request of him to seek Judge Dixson about an advance on some mining stock. Sam wrote he was going to Washington (he did not go.) He also mentioned some “good offers” he’d had from New York newspapers.

Sam soon agreed to supply seven sketches at $25 each to the Sunday Mercury; a sketch for the Evening Express; and reprints of his Sandwich Islands Letters for the New York Weekly [MTL 2: 10-12].

By this date Sam had finished his travel letters for the Alta California [Sanborn 315]. Sam wrote to John McComb (1829-1896), editor and part owner of the Alta, sometime between this day and Feb. 7 about his compilation of sketches for publication [MTL 2: 13].

February 3 Sunday Sam, promised a seat in the pew of New York Sun owner Moses Sperry Beach (1822-1892) if he’d come early, went to Plymouth Church, Brooklyn to hear the sermon by Henry Ward Beecher [Hirst and Rowles, “William E. James” 17]. Sam related the experience in his Alta letter of Mar. 30, 1867:


I have been in a pious frenzy myself for a while. I went over two weeks ago, (the thermometer was at 180 degrees below zero, I should judge, and I walked as stiff-legged as a Chinaman, because the nerves all through me were frozen as taut as fiddle strings. I had been promised a seat in the pew of a New York editor, who told me to come “early.” I was at the church at ten o’clock Sunday morning. I thought that was early – and I knew precious well it was earlier than any Christian ought to be out of his bed on such a morning. The pavements were crowded with people trying to get in, and when I told the usher I was accredited to pew No. 46, he answered with an offended air:

“Forty-six! – pretty time of day to come for forty-six!—full an hour ago!” [MTL 2: 15].

February 17 Sunday – From Sam’s Feb.18 Alta letter, published Mar. 30:


I attended Bishop Southgate’s matinee yesterday after noon, in pursuance of my desire to test all the amusements of the metropolis. The ungodly are not slow to get up nick-names for sacred things here. All the pretty girls, and also all the young men who dote on them, go to the Sunday afternoon services at Bishop Southgate’s Church, in Thirty-eighth street, and they call it the Bishop’s “matinee;” and there is Dr. Bellows’ Church, in Fourth avenue, somewhere above Twentieth street—it is the wildest piece of architecture you ever saw—gridironed all over with alternate short bars of showy red and white, like a Confederate flag—so the ungodly call it the “Church of the Holy Zebra” [Schmidt]. Note: Dr. Henry Whitney Bellows (1814-1882); see insert.

February 18 Monday – From Sam’s letter this date to the Alta, published Mar. 30, reveals perhaps his first interest in automated typesetting:



I have been examining a machine to-day, partly owned by a Californian, which will greatly simplify, cheapen and expedite stereotyping. With a single alphabet of type, arranged around a wheel, the most elaborate book may be impressed, letter after letter, in plaster plates, ready for the reception of the melted metal, and do it faster than a printer could compose the matter. It works with a treadle and a bank of keys, like a melodeon. It does away with cases of types, setting up and distributing, and all the endless paraphernalia of a printing office. The little machine could prepare Webster’s Unabridged for the press in a space no larger than a common bath-room. By this invention, a man could set up, as a stereotyper, on a large scale, on a capital of $200. It will either print or stereotype music with the utmost accuracy. An elaborate “border” may be printed in three minutes, by repeated impressions of a single type. The funniest part of it is that the inventor does not know anything about the art of printing. But then he has invented all sorts of curious machines (among them a flying-ship,) without any mechanical education, and paints well in oils, and performs on the guitar and piano without having ever received musical instruction. The stereotyping machine has been patented in the United States, England and Prussia, and is to be exhibited at the Paris Exposition. The patent rights have been sold for fabulous sums. I send a rough specimen of the machine’s work [Schmidt].

February 19 Tuesday – At Cooper Hall in New York City, Sam was impressed by the platform speaking of 24-year-old Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932), a Quaker girl who had been speaking for five years. Sam was in the audience at Dickinson’s lecture, “Something To Do, or Work for Women.” Dickinson was a force in the suffrage movement, and instrumental in adoption of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Sam’s future in-laws, the Langdons, had long been active in social activism in Elmira—the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves, key members of the Congregational Church, the Temperance movement, and Women’s rights [Skandera 146; NY Times, p7]. Note: The Times announcement of the lecture stated that Horace Greeley would be in the chair.


February 21 Thursday – This announcement appeared in the editorial column of Street and Smith’s New York Weekly, p. 4:

We are happy to announce that we have made an engagement with the celebrated “Mark Twain,” the California wit and humorist, who will furnish us with a series of his inimitable papers. “Mark Twain” stands a head and shoulders above most of the humorous writers of the day, and his contributions to our columns cannot fail to give the most complete satisfaction. Mark informs us that he is about to deliver in this city his great lecture on the Sandwich Islands, which for a series of nights crowded the largest lecture room in San Francisco to suffocation. He cannot help succeeding here, and we bespeak for him, in advance, full houses and “a pile of rocks.”

Note: The Weekly ran five of Sam’s early letters to the Sacramento Union, probably to stir up interest in the Frog book and for advertising the forthcoming New York lectures. The Weekly was “a shrewdly conducted periodical quite hospitable to humorous writers [and] seems to have been the first eastern publication to capitalize on Mark Twain’s growing popularity in the late sixties by publishing a connected series of his writings” [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p1-2].


February 22 Friday Alta California p. 1, col. 4, ran Sam’s “Letters from Mark Twain” Number 2, dated Dec. 20, “On board steamer COLUMBIA,” [Schmidt; Camfield bibliog.].

February 23 Saturday Sam’s Alta letter with this date complained of suffering from “the blues” and that his “thoughts persistently ran on funerals and suicide” [MTNJ 1: 301].

Edward P. Hingston, agent for Artemis Ward. wrote to Sam, letter not extant but referred to in Sam’s Feb. 23 to the Alta. “He is rusticating at the seaside. The hope is that he will be well in a week or two and able to reappear.” [MTP]. Note: the article ran in the Alta on 5 Apr 1867.

February 24 Sunday Alta California prints Sam’s “Letter from Mark Twain” number 3, dated Dec. 23, 1866, with article “Steamer COLUMBIA at sea” [Schmidt; Camfield bibliog.].

March 1 Friday Sam was invited and attended the opening of the spring season for the grand Bal d’Opera at the new Academy of Music. Sam dressed up in “flowing robes, and purported to be a king of some country or other” [Sanborn 320]. He would become famous for such sartorial exuberance.

March 2 Saturday Sam telegraphed the proprietors of the San Francisco Alta California (Fred MacCrellish, William Augustus Woodward (1829?-1885), Orlando M. Clayes (1837-1892), and John McComb). “Send me $1,200 at once. I want to go abroad.” Although the owners were skeptical, it was McComb who argued and won the day for Sam to travel abroad in exchange for letters to the Alta [MTL 2: 17].

March 3 Sunday On a snowy night Sam left New York for St. Louis on the 8 o’clock New Jersey Central. It was a 52-hour rail connection. On the same day the New York Sunday Mercury published “The Winner of the Medal,” by “that prince of humorous sightseers, Mark Twain, whose contributions to California light-literature has gained him a front-rank position among the sparkling wits of the Land of Gold” [MTL 2: 11n3, 18n1].

March 5 Tuesday The New York Saturday Evening Express published “Barnum’s First Speech in Congress,” by Mark Twain, on page one [MTL 2: 11-12n3]. Sam arrived in St. Louis at midnight after sitting up for two nights in coach due to full sleeping cars. Sam was returning home after six years and four months. He went directly to his sister Pamela’s house at 12 Chestnut Street, where he “sat up till breakfast time, talking and telling lies.” Sam’s niece, Annie Moffett, was almost fifteen and his namesake nephew, Sammy, was six [Sanborn 320-21; MTL 2: 18n1].

March 6 Wednesday Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) died of tuberculosis after his last performance on Jan. 23 in London. Ward was 33. He was interred near London but his body was later shipped back to America to be buried at Waterford, Maine. It arrived in New York in May, when Sam noted the event in one of his Alta letters.

March 7 Thursday The New York Weekly announced it would print (re-print) a series of Mark Twain’s “inimitable papers.” The weekly reprinted five of Sandwich Islands Letters to the Union, but without mention of the prior publication [MTL 2: 12n3].

March 12, 13 and 15 Friday Three articles: “Female Suffrage: Views of Mark Twain” first appeared in the St. Louis Missouri Democrat on these days [Budd, “Collected” 1007; MTTMB 287n1]. These were reprinted in the Alta California April 10, 28, and May 11. From two of Sam’s letters on suffrage:

I think I could write a pretty strong argument in favor of female suffrage, but I do not want to do it. I never want to see the women voting, and gabbling about politics, and electioneering. There is something revolting in the thought. It would shock me inexpressibly for an angel to come down from above and ask me to take a drink with him (though I should doubtless consent); but it would shock me still more to see one of our blessed earthly angels peddling election tickets among a mob of shabby scoundrels she never saw before.

Women, go your ways! Seek not to beguile us of our imperial privileges. Content yourself with your little feminine trifles—your babies, your benevolent societies and your knitting—and let your natural bosses do the voting. Stand back—you will be wanting to go to war next. We will let you teach school as much as you want to, and we will pay you half wages for it, too, but beware! we don’t want you to crowd us too much.– Letter to St. Louis Missouri Democrat, March, 1867 [Schmidt].

 From Annie Moffett Webster’s reminiscences about Sam:

Again, he had written a short article making fun of woman’s rights. It was published in one of the papers [Missouri Democrat]. A woman, a stranger, answered, signing herself “Cousin Jenny.” He replied, and they had a humorous literary duel. He said privately that his task would have been easier if she hadn’t had all the arguments on her side [MTBus 48].

March 13 Wednesday Sam’s “Volley from the Down-Trodden” ran in the Missouri Democrat [Camfield bibliog.].

March 14 Thursday – The first of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Mar. 18, 1866, beginning: “We arrived here to-day at noon…” this first article omitted “the short anecdote of Brown’s mistaking a cake of soap for a ‘curious foreign dish’” [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p2-3]. These letters are notable for their promotional value to Sam’s upcoming New York lecture.


March 15 Friday Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE FIRST DEATH” which Sam had dated from December 24 to January 1 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number IV [bibliog.]. Sam’s article “Iniquitous Crusade Against’ Man’s Regal Birthright Must Be Crushed” ran in the Missouri Democrat [Camfield bibliog.].


March 16 Saturday Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE TWIN MOUNTAINS” which Sam dated New Year’s Day [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number V [bibliog.].

March 17 Sunday Sam was asked to make a few remarks to a Sunday school, at his sister Pamela’s church. Sam told the “Jumping Frog” story, but could not supply a moral from the story, so “let it slide” [MTL 2: 19 n2; Sanborn 322].

Alta California printed Sam’s article “UNDER WAY AGAIN” which Sam dated Jan. 1 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number VI [bibliog.]. Sam’s article “A Curtain Lecture Concerning Skating” ran in the New York Sunday Mercury [Camfield bibliog.].

The St. Louis Missouri Republican published “Cruelty to Strangers,” a letter to the editor, signed with his pen name, making light of a local law against “lying on the grass” [MTPO Notes Aug 1, 1876 to Cist].

March 19 Tuesday Sam wrote from St. Louis to Charles Webb asking Webb to telegraph the expected publishing date of the Jumping Frog book, saying that if it is more than ten days off, “I had better lecture here.” Sam felt he would have to return to New York if the book was to be out soon. Webb answered that he could not have the book out before April 25 [MTL 2: 18; Sanborn 323]. Note: The book was not published until about May 1 and never sold well. Webb simply didn’t have “the stuff” to market Sam properly.

March 23 Saturday Alta California printed Sam’s article “KEY WEST” dated Jan. 6 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number VII [bibliog.].


March 24 Sunday Sam was asked to speak at a Sunday school in Carondelet, a town bordering St. Louis. Sam told the John Godfrey sky-rocket story that later appeared in Roughing It [Sanborn 323].

Sam wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican [Tenney 2]. A humorous advertisement for the Mar. 25 lecture also ran in the same paper, repeating Sam’s promise, first made in the Petaluma performance, to show how cannibals would eat a child, given a volunteer from the audience [Lorch 54].

Sam’s article “Barbarous” ran in the New York Sunday Mercury [Camfield bibliog.].

March 25 Monday In St. Louis, Sam gave his “Sandwich Islands” lecture to a standing room only crowd at Mercantile Library Hall for the benefit of the South St. Louis Mission Sunday School.

March 26 Tuesday At Mercantile Library Hall in St. Louis, Sam repeated the lecture, but due to bad weather only about 80 showed up. In the audience was Henry M. Stanley (1841-1904) of Livingstone fame, reporting for a Missouri paper. Stanley took down much of Sam’s lecture in shorthand [Lorch 56]. See Mar. 28 entry. On the first performance, from the St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican:

The audience was large and appreciative, and financially and every other way the entertainment proved a complete success. In fact, Mark Twain achieved a very decided success. He succeeded in doing what we have seen Emerson and other literary magnates fail in attempting. He interested and amused a large and promiscuous audience.

Mark has the gift of a bright and happy fancy, and expresses his thoughts with no ordinary force and gracefulness of language. His descriptive powers are good, and his descriptive powers very fair for a young lecturer.

Sam received three invitations to lecture at Hannibal, Keokuk, and Quincy. He accepted all three [MTL 2: 19n2]. Lorch says these were “invitations, rather than any direct efforts of scheduling on his part” [57].

March 27 Wednesday ca. – On or about this day Sam traveled to Hannibal, where he stayed about a week [Lorch 57].

March 28 Thursday Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE OVERGROWN METROPLOIS” dated Feb.2 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number VIII [bibliog.]. Henry M. Stanley reviewed Sam’s lecture of Mar. 26 for the St. Louis Daily Missouri Democrat. “Everyone retired highly delighted with the irrepressible Californian,” wrote Stanley, who became a rather controversial figure by 1872, when Sam first visited England. Stanley claimed to be American but was born in Wales [MTL 5: 201n3&4]. Note: Lorch claims Stanley reported for the Missouri Republican [56].

The second of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Mar. 19, 1866 and beginning “On the Sunday following our departure…” this second article omitted “two short paragraphs on why the steamship line to Hawaii should be established” [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p2-3]. These letters are notable for their promotional value to Sam’s upcoming New York lecture.


March 30 Saturday Alta California printed Sam’s article “MY ANCIENT FRIENDS, THE POLICE” dated Feb. 18 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number IX [bibliog.].

April 2 Tuesday Sam lectured in Brittingham Hall in his old hometown of Hannibal [MTL 2: 19n2]. Hannibal gave Sam the largest turnout in its history, though turning out wasn’t what put Hannibal on the map.

April 4 Thursday Sam arrived in Keokuk at the Deming House four days before his lecture. He probably spent the time visiting Orion and Mollie, as well as other friends and cousins [MTL 2: 20 n2]. Posters were placed on street corners claiming that “Sam Clemens, the greatest Humorist in America,” was arriving to lecture [Lorch 57].

April 5 Friday Sam moved to the Tepfer House because he did not like the service at the Deming House [MTL 2: 20n2]. Alta California printed Sam’s article, “THE DREADFUL RUSSIAN BATH,” dated Feb. 23. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number X [bibliog.].

But the popular bar-keeper is the serenest villain of the lot. You have seen a vile, infernal waiter stand staring at vacancy with his complacent, exasperating smirk, pretending he didn’t know you had been trying to attract his attention for ten minutes—well, the popular bar-keeper mimics that to a charm. He even improves on it. When a party of gentlemen finally get him to notice them after much rattling of glasses, he don’t bow and smile and say “What will you have, gentlemen?” But he turns languidly upon them with an expression of countenance obtrusively intended to inform them that he knew they were calling all the time, and then stares impertinently at them without a word. That means, “Well, if you are going to name your drinks, you had better do it, that’s all!” It has a most excellent tendency—it soon stops people from drinking.

If a man asks the popular cigar-vendor “Which are the best?” he intimates that he isn’t paid to choose cigars for people, or relieves his mind of some similar incivility. Prosperity is the surest breeder of insolence I know of [Schmidt].

April 6 Saturday – The Keokuk Gate City gave Sam a friendly welcome.

His are not the worn-out jests, and hackneyed phrases…he is fresh and vigorous, full of life and spirit….Years ago, before the war, Mark Twain…was one of the cleverest and most popular “printer boys” in Keokuk. He returns to us now, a famous man, and proverbs or scripture to the contrary, we trust that our citizens will honor him with a rousing house….[Lorch 57].

April 7 Sunday Sam’s article “Female Suffrage” ran in the New York Mercury [Budd, “Collected” 1007].

April 8 Monday – Sam lectured at the Chatham Square Methodist Episcopal Church in Keokuk, Iowa to about 140 persons – “Sandwich Islands” [MTL 2: 20].

April 9 Tuesday – From the Keokuk Constitution:

It has been many a day since our ribs were tickled so much as at listening to Sam Clemens’ lecture last evening upon the Sandwich Islands….Those of our citizens who did not hear the lecture missed one of the richest treats of their lives [Lorch 57-8].

Sam lectured – “Sandwich Islands” – at the National Hall, Quincy, Illinois, where Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) had spoken in February. Lorch points out, “relatives of the family were living there in 1867 who may have arranged an invitation” [57].

Alta California printed Sam’s article “GRAND EUROPEAN PLEASURE TRIP,” dated Mar. 2 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number XI [bibliog.].

In his letter to the Alta, which ran May 26, Sam mentioned staying in Quincy with General James W. Singleton (1811-1892) .

But Quincy is a wonderful place. It has always thrived—sometimes slowly and steadily, sometimes with a rush—but always making an unquestionable progress. It claims a population of 25,000 now, and it looks as if the claim were well founded. It is the second city of Illinois, in population, business, activity and enterprise, and high promise for the future. I have small faith in their project of bridging the Mississippi, but they ought to know their own business.

I spent a night at General Singleton’s—one of the farmer princes of Illinois—he lives two miles from Quincy, in a very large and elegantly furnished house, and does an immense farming business and is very wealthy. He lights his house with gas made on the premises—made from the refuse of petroleum, by pressure. The apparatus could be stowed in a bath-room very conveniently. All you have to do is to pour a gallon or two of the petroleum into a brass cylinder and give a crank a couple of turns and the business is done for the next two days. He uses seventy burners in his house, and his gas bills are only a dollar and a quarter a week. I don’t take any interest in prize bulls, astonishing jackasses and prodigious crops, but I took a strong fancy to that gas apparatus [Schmidt].

On this same day, a letter from Sam concerning his lecture ran in the to the Quincy Herald. The letter was preceded by another from one “John Smith” (imaginary), asking him to lecture in Quincy. Sam’s reply:

John Smith, Esq.—Dear Sir: It gratifies me, more than tongue can express, to receive this kind attention at your hand, and I hasten to reply to your flattering note. I am filled with astonishment to find you here, John Smith. I am astonished, because I thought you were in San Francisco. I am almost certain I left you there. I am almost certain it was you, and I know if it was not you, it was a man whose name is familiar.

I am surprised to find you here, John Smith. And yet I ought not to be, either, because I found you in New York, most unexpectedly; and I stumbled on you in Boston; and was amazed to discover you in New Orleans; and thunder-struck to run across you in St. Louis. You must certainly be of a sort of roving disposition, John Smith. You certainly are, John, and you know that a rolling stone gathers no moss. And a rolling Smith never gathers any moss. There is no real use in anybody’s gathering moss, John, because it isn’t worth any more in the market than sawdust is, and hardly even as much—but then, if we want to get along pleasantly with the world, we must respect the world’s little whims and caprices; and you know that the world has a foolish prejudice in favor of a man’s gathering moss. So you had better locate, John, and go to gathering some. It is no credit to you, anyhow, John Smith, that you are always sure to turn up wherever a man goes. It may be—no, it cannot be possible—that there are two John Smiths. The idea is absurd.

Come to National Hall Tuesday night, 9th inst., John, and bring some of your relations. I would say bring all of them, John, and say it with all my heart, too, but the hall covers only one acre of ground, and your Smith family is a large one, John [The Twainian, May 1939 p2-3; Lorch 58-9].


April 11 Thursday Sam wrote from St. Louis to Howard Tucker, treasurer of the Keokuk Library Association, which sponsored Sam’s lecture, confirming receipt of $35 as his fee [MTL 2: 20].

Sam also wrote to a fellow passenger on the Ajax from his Hawaii trip, Alice J. Hyde (1844?-1878). Alice was a single woman; Sam had promised her a silver sword leaf (a plant growing only in altitude in Hawaii) upon climbing Haleakala.

Packing my trunk to-night (for I leave to-morrow for New York, &, I suppose, for Europe a month later,) I came across the old swords, & hasten to send them, begging at the same time that you will excuse my characteristic negligence. I had to send them—I wouldn’t consider the Island trip complete with so chivalrous a promise, so knightly a deed as the disarming of a crater many times larger than myself & the laying of his weapons at the feet of a lady, unaccomplished. How’s that? I think I’ll put that in my lecture [MTL 2: 21].

The third of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Honolulu, March, 1866 and beginning “We came in sight of two of this group of islands, Oahu and Molokai…” this article had no omissions [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p2-3]. Note: These letters are notable for their promotional value to Sam’s upcoming lecture.


April 12 Friday Before leaving the city, Sam petitioned the Polar Star Masonic Lodge Number Seventy-nine of St. Louis for readmission. He was duly reinstated on April 21, 1867, by which time he was in New York [Jones 365].

Sam left St. Louis for New York “in an express train…a distance of nearly twelve hundred miles by the route I came” [MTL 2: 23n1].

April 13 Saturday – The New York Eagle announced that Henry Ward Beecher would not go on the Quaker City excursion. Forty of his parishioners then decided not to go. General Sherman also would bail out, citing Indian wars [MTL 2: 25n3; MTNJ 1: 303].

April 14 Sunday Sam arrived back in New York.


April 15 Monday Sam wrote from New York to Jane Clemens, his mother and family in St. Louis. Sam discovered he didn’t have to rush back to New York because an agent for the Alta had been there and took care of the passage for Sam by this deadline date. He wrote his mother to send letters to the Metropolitan Hotel. He also had seen the steamer Quaker City: “She is a right stately-looking vessel” [MTL 2: 23].

John J. Murphy,  New York business agent for the California Alta wrote


New York em spaceDear Sir

I have the honor to inform you that Fredk MacCrellish & Co. Proprietors of “Alta California” San Francisco Cal. desires to engage your services as special correspondent on the pleasure excursion now about to proceed from this City to the Holy Land. In obedience to their instructions I have secured a passage for you on the vessel about to convey the excursion party referred to and made such arrangements as I hope will secure your comfort and convenience. Your only instructions are that you will continue to write at such times and from such places as you deem proper and in the same style that heretofore secured you the favor of the readers of the Alta California. I have the honor to remain with high respect and esteem / your obdt Servant [MTP].

April 19 Friday Sam wrote from New York to Jane Clemens, his mother and family in St. Louis.

Direct my letters to this hotel [Westminster] in future. I am just fixed, now. It is the gem of all hotels. I have never come across one so perfectly elegant in all its appointments & so sumptuously & tastefully furnished. Full of “bloated aristocrats” too, & I’m just one of them kind myself—& so is Beck Jolly. The book will issue the 25. James Russell Lowell [1819-1891] says the Jumping Frog is the finest piece of humorous writing ever produced in America [MTL 2: 27-28].


April 1922 Monday – Sam walked into Frank Fuller’s office at 57 Broadway and sought his help to hire the largest hall possible for a lecture. Fuller offered to help, and devised means of advertising; called up a meeting of all Pacific Coast persons in town at the Metropolitan Hotel, and became Sam’s instant promoter. Since Sam wrote nothing of the effort in his Apr. 19 letter home, and the newspapers began announcing the upcoming lecture at Cooper Institute on Apr. 23, the meeting with Fuller and the gathering at the Metropolitan Hotel must have occurred during this period [Lorch 61-2]. (See Sam’s 1906 recollection of Fuller and the Cooper Institute lecture, MTA 2: 351-7; also AMT 2: 38-41).

April 21 Sunday The Polar Star Masonic Lodge Number Seventy-nine of St. Louis duly reinstated Sam to their order [Jones 365]. Sam’s article “Official Physic” ran in the New York Mercury [Camfield bibliog.].

April 22 Monday Sam wrote a humorous response to Malcom Townsend (b.1847), an autograph seeker, starting “of long habit” to write an I.O.U. [MTL 2: 28]. See source note 1 for more on Townsend.

James Warren Nye  wrote from Wash. DC to Sam, pleased to hear that Twain would repeat his lecture on the Sandwich Islands in NYC. Nye had been at the SF performance. “A larger or more intelligent audience than was present on that occasion I have rarely seen” He hoped it would be so rec’d in NYC [MTP].


April 23 Tuesday Sam wrote from New York to Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909), a California poet he’d met in San Francisco in 1864 or 5 while both were writing for the Californian. Stoddard had written Sam announcing a book of poetry to be published [MTL 2: 29-30&n1]. New York papers started announcing Sam’s upcoming debut lecture in the City—Great Hall of the Peter Cooper Institute at Astor Place. The hall seated 2,000 [Powers, MT A Life 189].

April 27 Saturday Sam wrote from New York to Charles Warren Stoddard, returning his autograph book and discussing poetry [MTL 2: 35-8].

April 29 Monday – Sam’s Jumping Frog book sold out of its first printing by this date. Charles Webb never disclosed the sell-outs and sales figures to Sam and never paid royalties even though the book was in print through 1870 [Slotta 20]. (See Dec. 22, 1870 entry. Also A.D. notes AMT 2: 487 showing 4,076 books printed.)


April 30 or May 1 Wednesday After several delays, Webb published The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches [Hirst, “A Note on the Text,” Oxford edition 1996].


May Sam spent weeks in New York, catching up on his letters to the Alta California. He gathered information from a variety of sources on subjects of interest to Alta readers. He compiled information on the popularity of California wines in the East, on New York weather, on the better hotels. He visited the Blind Asylum, the Midnight Mission, which tried to help prostitutes, the Five Points slums, and the Bible House. At the Bible House Sam introduced himself to Herman Dyer, doctor of divinity, and told him about the good work and influence that Rev. Franklin S. Rising had gained in Nevada for the miners and settlers there [Dyer 315]. Rising had been with Sam on the Smyrniote, returning from Hawaii in 1866, and is mentioned in Sam’s diary (see July 29, 1866). Rising died in Dec. 1868 in a collision of the steamers America and United States on the Ohio River [MTL 1: 354n3].

See May 20 for Sam’s letter to the Alta California about his visit to the Bible House.

Sam saw the famous horse “Dexter” race. He spent an evening at Harry Hill’s Club House with bawdy skits and music and a good bar. He toured museums and art galleries. One painting by an “old master” Sam said he could not admire, even though he knew he was supposed to. “I am glad the old masters are all dead, and I only wish they had died sooner.” Sam noted that the body of Artemus Ward had arrived from London, on the way to burial in Waterford, Maine. Sam went to see the San Francisco Minstrels several times.

May 1 Wednesday Fuller and Sam had taken Cooper Institute’s hall at a $500 expense before they discovered the many competing attractions: Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885) speaking at Irving Hall; Adelaide Ristori (1822-1906), famous singer, at the French Theatre; Thomas Maguire’s “Imperial Troupe of Japanese Jugglers” at the New York Academy of Music; and “The Black Crook,” an act Lorch calls “the most daring girlie show of the time,” at Niblo’s Garden [Lorch 63].

Sam wrote from New York to his mother, Jane Clemens, and family in St. Louis, expressing worry. He told of his hiring the Cooper at a $500 expense, his worry for the outcome, the conflict with other attractions:

“…everything looks shady, at least, if not dark….I have taken the largest house in New York, and cannot back water. Let her slide! If nobody else cares I don’t” [MTL 2: 38].

Sam inscribed a copy of the Jumping Frog: “To My Mother—the dearest Friend I even had, & the truest. Mark Twain. New York, May 1, 1867 [MTL 2: 38-9n1-2].

Sam also wrote Bret Harte:

The book [Jumping Frog] is out, & is handsome. It is full of damnable errors of grammar & deadly inconsistencies of spelling…I was away & did not read the proofs—but be a friend and say nothing of these things. When my hurry is over I will send you an autograph copy to pisen the children with….I am to lecture in Cooper Institute next Monday night. Pray for me. We sail for the Holy Land June 8. Try & write me (to this hotel,) & it will be forwarded to Paris, where we remain 10 to 15 days [MTL 2: 39].

Due to pre-publication editions of the Jumping Frog, reviews appeared on May 1:


In full: Mr. C.H. Webb has celebrated his debut as publisher by bestowing upon a community long rested from loud laughs, a book calculated to promote healthy good humor in the system. Mark Twain’s book of California stories, The Jumping Frog and Other Sketches—is a work that will make all its readers merry. Mark Twain never resorts to tricks of spelling nor rhetorical buffoonery for the purpose of provoking a laugh; the vein of his humor runs too high and deep to make surface-gilding necessary.—But there are few who can resist the quaint smiles, keen satire, and hard good sense which form the staple of his writings (“Literacy” in the New York Evening Express, p2) [Budd, Reviews 25].

There is a great deal of quaint humor and much pithy wisdom in his writings, and their own merit, as well as the attractive style in which they are produced, must secure them a popularity which will bring its own profit… (“New Publications” in the New York Times, p2) [Budd, Reviews 25].

May 2 Thursday – The second printing of Jumping Frog sold out [Slotta 20]. Over the next few days a third and fourth printings also sold out, but this information was never given to Sam. (See Dec.22, 1870 entry. Also A.D. notes AMT 2: 487 showing 4,076 books printed.)


May 4 Saturday – Positive reviews of The Jumping Frog continued. From the Boston Evening Transcript, p.1:

As a humorist the author of these sketches has acquired a wide newspaper reputation, not only for his drollery, but for his sagacity of observation, his keep perception of character, and the individuality of his style and tone of thinking (“New Publications” in the Boston Evening Transcript, p1) [Budd, Reviews 25].

The New York Citizen agreed, adding:

Mark Twain is a genuine humorist….He imitates no one, but is humor is thoroughly and entirely his own (“The Citizen’s Book Table” in the New York Citizen, p4) [Budd, Reviews 26].

May 5 Sunday – From the New York Dispatch:

Of the great army of humorists, we have always placed Mark Twain at the head, and it is, we believe, universally concluded that his quiet wit, forcible hits and unwavering pleasantry, combined with a certain gravity of expression peculiar to himself, are points not to be found in other funny writers of his day, and are as admirable as they are scarce (“New Publications” in the New York Dispatch, p7) [Budd, Reviews 26].

May 6 Monday Upon his return to New York, Sam had been presented with an invitation (a “call”) by 200 Californians living in New York to give his Sandwich Islands lecture. Frank Fuller, a Comstock mining pal of Sam’s and later governor of Utah for a day, headed the California committee. Sam and Fuller set this as the date of the lecture and hired Cooper Institute’s Hall, one of the largest in the city. Nevada Senator and former Territorial Governor James Warren Nye was to introduce Sam. Sam and Fuller waited at the Westminster Hotel, but Nye did not show, later claiming the reason was that Sam was “secesh,” even though Fuller had gone to Washington and secured Nye’s agreement. Lorch points out that Nye’s betrayal afforded Sam a “true blessing. It taught him that self-introductions had special advantages, especially for a humorous lecture” [65].

Nevertheless, the standing-room only New York lecture was a great success. Many were turned away for want of space. Sam’s worries had been for naught. “Make your mark in New York, and you are a made man” [Sanborn 228-30; MTL 2: 40]. Sam was a made man. (See May 11 Tribune review.) Note: Paine claims Fuller had given out enough complimentary tickets to schoolteachers to fill the house [MTB 315-17].

May 7 Tuesday –The New York newspapers were complimentary, if brief, about Sam’s May 6 lecture at the Cooper Institute. Lorch says “The most extensive and perceptive” review was by Edward H. House of the New York Tribune [66]. Fatout says there were “ten lines in the Sun, twenty in the Herald, thirty-eight in the Times, a quarter of a column in the World[Circuit 80]. Sam met “Ned” House shortly after arriving in New York; It was House who had accompanied Sam to sign up for the Quaker City excursion.


May 8 WednesdayCharles Webb published a special railway edition of Jumping Frog with paper wrappers. It was only available at railway stations in New York City and was quickly discontinued [Slotta 20]. (See Dec.22, 1870 entry; Also A.D. notes AMT 2: 487 showing 4,076 books printed.)


May 10 Friday Sam repeated his successful “Sandwich Islands” lecture at the Athenæum in Brooklyn [MTL 2: 40]. From the Brooklyn Eagle of May 11:


It would be manifestly unfair to report this most acceptable lecture, and no type could do justice to the cool, self-possession of the lecturer. His style is quaint and taking, and commends itself to an audience before they are aware of it, and is entirely original….In California Mr. Twain is well known, and draws like a poultice, but among us he is a stranger. Notwithstanding this he will soon win his way to public favor, as show by the very flattering reception given him in New York at the Cooper Institute and last evening at the Athenaeum. [Note: this review likely written by John Stanton (Corry O’Lanus).]


May 11 Saturday – John Stanton (Corry O’Lanus) (1826-1871) was a reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle, and likely the reviewer of Sam’s May 10 lecture at the Brooklyn Athenaeum. Shortly thereafter, Sam inscribed (no date written) a copy of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches: To Cory [sic] O’Lanus, the compt’s of Mark Twain[Sotheby’s Apr. 4, 2004 auction, Lot 18]. 


May 11 Saturday ca. Sam spent a night in jail, having got in between two men fighting on the street. The police hauled everyone in [Sanborn 331-3].

I was on my way home with a friend a week ago—it was about midnight—when we came upon two men who were fighting. We interfered like a couple of idiots, and tried to separate them, and a brace of policemen came up and took us all off to the Station House. We offered the officers two or three prices to let us go, (policemen generally charge $5 in assault and battery cases, and $25 for murder in the first degree, I believe,) but there were too many witnesses present, and they actually refused.

They put us in separate cells, and I enjoyed the thing considerably for an hour or so, looking through the bars at the dilapidated old hags, and battered and ragged bummers, sorrowing and swearing in the stone-paved halls, but it got rather tiresome after a while. I fell asleep on my stone bench at 3 o’clock, and was called at dawn and marched to the Police Court with a vile policeman at each elbow, just as if I had been robbing a church, or saying a complimentary word about the police, or doing some other supernaturally mean thing [Schmidt; from a letter to the Alta datelined May 18 and printed June 23].

May 11 Saturday From the New York Tribune’s review of Sam’s May 6 New York lecture by: Edward H. House: 

Mark Twain as a Lecturer

About a year and a half ago, a communication entitled “Joe Smiley and his Jumping Frog,” with the hitherto unknown signature of “Mark Twain,” appeared in The Saturday Press of this city. The name, though new, was not remarkable, but the style of the letter was so singularly fresh, original, and full of character as to attract prompt and universal attention among the readers of light humorous literature. Mark Twain was immediately entered as a candidate for high position among writers of his class, and passages from his first contribution to the metropolitan press became proverbs in the mouths of his admirers. No reputation was ever more rapidly won. The only doubt appeared to be whether he could satisfactorily sustain it. Subsequent productions, however—most of them reproduced from California periodicals—confirmed the good opinion so suddenly vouchsafed him, and abundantly vindicated the applause with which his first essay had been received. In his case, as in that of many other American humorous writers, it was only the first step that cost. Since that time he has walked easily—let us hope not too easily—over his special course.

His writings being comparatively new to the public, and his position having been so recently established, it might perhaps, have been doubted whether his name would at present be sufficient to attract an audience of any magnitude to witness his debut as a lecturer. But the proof of the general good-will in which he is already held was manifested last Monday evening by his brilliant reception at the Cooper Institute. The hall was crowded beyond all expectation. Not a seat was vacant, and all the aisles were filled with attentive listeners. The chance offering of “The Jumping Frog,” carelessly cast, eighteen months ago, upon the Atlantic waters, returned to him in the most agreeable form which a young aspirant for popular fame could desire. The wind that was sowed with probably very little calculation as to its effect upon its future prospects, now enables him to reap quite a respectable tempest of encouragement and cordiality. His greeting was such as to inspire the utmost ease and confidence, and it is pleasant to add that his performance in every way justified the favor bestowed upon him. No other lecturer, of course excepting Artemus Ward, has so thoroughly succeeded in exciting the mirthful curiosity, and compelling the laughter of his hearers [Railton].

The Sandwich Islands lecture review and a “Letter from Twain’s Publisher” by Charles Webb which ran in the Brooklyn Eagle, reflect that Sam was not yet well known in the east. The newspaper had posted a publication notice a few days before for the Jumping Frog book and mistakenly identified Webb as the author. Here is Webb’s correction, which ran on page 3 under the review of Sam’s lecture:

While thanking you for this kind notice which appeared in a recent EAGLE, in connection with that lively book, “the Jumping Frog,” permit me to correct an error into which you were betrayed. I am not TWAIN. We twain, so to speak, are not one flesh! The real name of that gentleman is Samuel L. Clemens. But I am the “Mr. Paul” to whom reference was made as the editor of the book, “John Paul” being the nom de plume over which I contributed to the Sacramento Union. With the trifling exception that I am not the man you supposed me to be, the notice referred to is quite correct. Very truly, C.H. Webb.


May 13 Monday Alta California printed Sam’s article “HAPPY,” dated Mar. 15 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number XII [bibliog.].

May 14 Tuesday Sam wrote to John Stanton (Corry O’Lanus) city editor of the Eagle, asking if “a brother member of the press” might introduce him at his fourth lecture, which was later canceled [MTL 2: 44].


May 15 Wednesday Sam repeated his successful “Sandwich Islands” lecture at Irving Hall in New York. He planned a fourth New York lecture in Brooklyn at the Academy of Music but canceled [MTL 2: 40]. Note: Several authorities have misdated this lecture as May 16. The New York Times, May 14 & 15 ads, p.7, confirms 15th. Lorch points out the “enormous” importance of these three New York area lectures—they provided him with added celebrity for the Holy Land excursion, but most of all “his fear of the greater sophistication of eastern audiences greatly diminished” [67].

By this time Thomas Nast (1840-1902) had become a Mark Twain fan.

May 16 Thursday Sam spotted the ex-leader of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.

IT WAS just a lucky circumstance that I happened to be out late night before last, else I might never have been permitted to see the chief of the late Confederacy in life. I was standing in front of the New York Hotel at midnight, or thereabouts, talking with a clerk of the establishment, when the Davis party arrived, and I got a tolerably good look at the man who has been raising such a dust in this country for years. He is tall and spare—that was all I could make of him—and then he disappeared.

There was no crowd around, no torchlight processions, no music, no welcoming cannon—and better than all, no infuriated mob, thirsting for blood and vengeance. The man whose arrival in New York a year or two ago would have set the city wild with excitement from its centre to its circumference, had ceased to rank as a sensation, and went to his hotel as unheralded and unobserved as any country merchant from the far West. He was a fallen Chief, he was an extinguished sun—we all know that—and yet it seemed strange that even an unsuccessful man, with such a limitless celebrity, could drop in our midst in that way, and go out as meekly as a farthing candle [Schmidt – Letter to the Alta datelined May 17, published June 16; date of incident given as “the night after his Irving Hall talk” by Powers, MT A Life 193].

Rasmussen gives May 15 of Sam seeing Jefferson Davis [106].

May 19 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “AT HOME AGAIN,” dated Mar. 25 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number XIII [bibliog.].

May 20 Monday Sam wrote John Stanton (Corry O’Lanus) again, this time advising him of the canceled New York lecture:

“I am one magazine article & eighteen letters behindhand (18 days to do them in, before sailing,) & so I am obliged to give up the idea of lecturing any more. Confound me if I won’t have a hard time catching up anyhow. I shall stick in the house day & night for 2 weeks & try, though, anyhow” [MTL 2: 45].

Sam also responded in writing to Henry M. Crane (1838-1927) of Rondout (now Kingston, N.Y.), that due to his need to finish the Alta letters, he could not accept Crane’s invitation to lecture there [MTL 2: 47-8].

A third letter this date was to Sam’s mother and family. In that short note, Sam bemoaned his eighteen Alta letters due, refusal of all lecture invitations and the poor sales of his Jumping Frog book, though another 552 copies of the book were bound this day [MTL 2: 48-9; Powers, MT a Life 190].

Sam wrote about his visit to the Bible House in NYC. Printed in the Alta California.

MIXED UP SLIGHTLY.—Here is a little article from the pen of Mark Twain, giving an account of a visit while in New York, to the great Bible House :


“Still on the fifth floor is a huge room with nineteen large Adams’ steam presses, all manned by women (four of them confounded pretty, too,) snatching of Bibles in Dutch, Hebrew, Yam-yam, Cherokee, etc., at a rate that was truly fructifying to contemplate. (I don’t know the meaning of that word, but I see it used somewhere yesterday, and it struck me as being an unusually good word. Any time that I put in a word that doesn’t balance the sentence good, I would be glad if you would take it out and put in that one.) Adjoining was another huge room for drying the sheets (very pretty girls in there, and young,) and pressing them (the sheets, not the girls.) They used hydraulic presses, (three of the prettiest wore curls, and never a sign of a waterfall—the girls I mean), and each of them is able to down with the almost incredible weight of eight hundred tons of solid simonpure pressure (the hydraulics I am referring to, now, of course,) and one has got blue eyes and both the others brown; ah me! I have got this hydraulic business tangled a little, but I can swear that it is no fault of mine. You needn’t go to blame me about it. You have got to pay just the same as if it were as straight as a shingle. I can’t afford to go in dangerous places, and then my wages docked in the bargain” [Alta California; Note: reprinted in the May 22, 1868 edition of The Oregonian].


May 23 Thursday – The fourth of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Honolulu, March, 1866 and beginning “I did not expect to find as comfortable hotel as the American…” this article omitted “the particulars that a lady passenger from San Francisco had purchased a half interest in the American Hotel and that Mr. Laller, an American, runs a restaurant in Honolulu” [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p2-3].


May 26 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “NOTABLE THINGS IN ST.LOUIS,” dated Apr. 16 [Schmidt], mentioned his April visit to Quincy, Illinois and his stay with General James W. Singleton. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 14 [bibliog.]. “Singleton, who had lived on his stock farm near Quincy since 1854 and was noted for his hospitality. As Brigadier-General in the Illinois State Militia, he had played an active part in the Mormon riots during the early forties; tradition relates that he arrested Brigham Young and kept him sawing wood all night. When Mark Twain visited him, Singleton was practicing law; ten years later he was elected to Congress from Illinois” [MTTMB 289].

May 28 Tuesday – Sam reported to the Alta and criticized the dry goods multimillionaire’s home (Alexander T. Stewart) saying that it looked “like a mausoleum”: “Verily it is one thing to have cash and another to know how to spend it” [MTL 1: 6-9n11]. Fresh in New York back in 1853 (“I was a pure and sinless sprout”), Sam had been impressed by Stewart’s “Marble Palace,” an ostentatious dry-good store, but now Sam was older and wiser and saw that all that glittered was not in good taste. He extolled the virtues of Daniel Slote (1828?-1882) as his cabin-mate to be: [Slote] “has got many shirts, and a History of the Holy Land, a cribbage-board and three thousand cigars. I will not have to carry any baggage at all” [MTL 3: 177n3].

Note: Sometime in late May Sam met Daniel Slote, a bachelor older than Sam and soon to be a fellow passenger on the Quaker City. Sam visited Dan’s home during the end of May, where Dan’s mother, a widow, lived with Dan and his two single adult sisters.

JuneWilliam Morris Stewart (1827-1909) wrote to Sam sometime during the month offering Clemens a secretaryship at Washington. See Aug. 9 for Sam’s reply [MTP].

June 1 Saturday Sam wrote from New York to his mother and family in St. Louis, irritated about the wait, and uncertain if the Quaker City would even sail. He was no doubt down about the withdrawal of General Sherman and Henry Ward Beecher, and pressed to finish his writing duties

All I do know or feel, is, that I am wild with impatience to move—move—Move! …Curse the endless delays! They always kill me—make me neglect every duty & then I have a conscience that tears me like a wild beast. I wish I never had to stop anywhere a month.” Sam had scouted some of the passengers and looked forward to the company of one, Daniel Slote: “I have got a splendid, immoral, tobacco-smoking, wine-drinking, godless room-mate who is as good & true & right-minded as man as ever lived—a man whose blameless conduct & example will always be an eloquent sermon to all who shall come within their influence. But send on the professional preachers—there are none I like better to converse with—if they ain’t narrow minded & bigoted they make good companions.

Sam closed by saying he had not made arrangements for letters with any other New York papers but he would see about doing so “Monday or Tuesday” [MTL 2: 50].

Sam started a letter (finished June 8) before the steamer left port to Frank Fuller, asking him to “take charge of my affairs while I am gone to Europe,” which included collecting monies from Webb for sales of his Jumping Frog book and forwarding the amounts to his mother [MTL 2: 53, 62].


June 2 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE MORMONS,” which Sam had dated April 19 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 15 [bibliog.].

June 3 or 4 Tuesday Sam agreed to write letters during the trip for the New York Tribune and the New York Herald, at the rates of $40 to $50 dollars per column of type. He eventually published six letters in the Tribune and four in the Herald [MTL 2: 55n3]. Note: Sam may have hated the duty of writing his correspondent letters, but he didn’t shirk from loading his plate with more duty. This was due to an overabundance of affection for money, preferably not in greenbacks.


June 5 Wednesday Sam wrote to the Alta his impressions of New York, so different they were from those of his first visit in 1853: “I have at last, after several months’ experience, made up my mind that it is a splendid desert—a domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is lonely in the midst of a million of his race” [MTNJ 1: 301]. Note: the letter was printed in the Alta on August 11.

June 6 Thursday – The get-together at the Moses Beach house in Brooklyn (Beach was neighbor to Henry Ward Beecher there) came off as planned (See Sam’s June 1 letter to his mother). The New York Sun reported that 70 guests, passengers awaiting departure on the Quaker City, enjoyed an “excellent repast,” and that “Mark Twain …enlivened the company with ebul[l]itions of wit” [MTL 2: 51n2].

In Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, p. xi, Wecter writes:

On the evening of June 7, 1867, some sixty persons, largely unknown to each other, gathered at 66 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, home of Moses S. Beach, proprietor of the New York Sun. Including the host and his young daughter Emma, they composed the passenger list of the steamship “Quaker City,” scheduled to sail next day for a tour of the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. In the midst of their decorous festivities, a thin man with hawklike nose and curly carrotty hair shuffled forward with an air of melancholy diffidence and drawled, “Captain Duncan desires me to say that passengers for the ‘Quaker City’ must be on board tomorrow before the tide goes out. What the tide has to do with us or we with the tide is more than I know, but that is what the captain says” [Note: editorial emphasis].


June 7 Friday Sam wrote from New York to “my oldest friend,” Will Bowen in Hannibal.

“We leave tomorrow at 3:00 P.M. Everything is ready but my trunks. I will pack them first thing in the morning. We have got a crowd of tiptop people, & shall have a jolly, sociable, homelike trip of it for the next five or six months” [MTL 2: 54].


On this same day Sam wrote to his mother and family in St. Louis. This letter contains evidence that Sam visited Dan Slote’s house before leaving New York. Sam teased his mother:


I haven’t got anything to write, else I would write it. I have just written myself clear out in letters to the Alta, & I think they are the stupidest letters that were ever written from New York.

An importing house sent me two cases of exquisite champaign aboard the ship for me to-day—Veuve Cliquot & Lac d’Or. I & my room-mate have set apart every Saturday as a solemn fast-day, wherein we will entertain no light matters or frivolous conversation, but only get drunk….(that is a joke) [MTL 2: 57].


Sam expressed wishes that Orion could go with him on the trip,

“For I believe with so many months of freedom from business cares he could not help but be cheerful & jolly”[MTL 2: 57].

Sam also wrote to Frank Fuller. This note should be compared with June 1 and 8 of 1867 to Fuller. In full:


“Frank Fuller Esq / You are hereby authorized to collect all moneys to me from the publication of my book, ‘The Jumping Frog,’ & receipt for the same. Particulars will be found in my former note. / My mothers address is 1312 Chestnut street, St Louis / Yrs Truly, / Mark Twain” [MTP].

Powers: “After finishing these letters, Sam Clemens left his hotel room for a night of Washoe-style dining and drinking with friends and newspaper editors—a nine-hour bender” [MT A Life 196].


June 8 SaturdayQuaker City left New York at 2 PM for excursion to the Holy Land, the first organized pleasure party ever assembled for a transatlantic voyage. The ship carried only 65 passengers, way short of the 110 limit. Few were from Plymouth Church. Due to rough seas the ship got only as far as Gravesend Bay, off Brooklyn. The captain elected to drop anchor and wait out the storm for two days. Sam finished a letter (started June 1) before the steamer left port to Frank Fuller, asking him to “take charge of my affairs while I am gone to Europe,” which included collecting monies from Webb for sales of his Jumping Frog book and forwarding the amounts to his mother [MTL 2: 53, p62].

In a letter written at 2 AM on June 9 to John McComb, part owner of the Alta, Sam related this last day in New York: He went to dinner at 3 PM with Charles Graham Halpine (Miles O’Riley) (1829-1868) and John Russell Young (1840-1899) managing editor of the Tribune. He drank wine, then dined from 6 to 9 P.M. at John Murphy’s,

…drank several breeds of wine there, naturally enough; dine again from 9 till 12 at Mr. Slote’s, (my shipmate’s), whom the same God made that made Jno Murphy—& mind you I say that such men as they are, are almighty scarce—you can shut your eyes & go forth at random in a strange land & pick out a son of a bitch a great deal easier; —drank much wine there, too….Now I feel good—I feel d—d good & I could write a good correspondence—can, anyway, as soon as I get out of this most dismal town. You’ll see. Got an offer today for 3-months course of lectures next winter—$100 a night & no bother & no expense. How’s that? [MTL 2: 60-61].

Note: It seems like every place Sam tired of and left was “dismal,” in great contrast to the praise he made upon first discovery. Sam was searching for something, for his true self, for something lasting. He would return a different man, closer to finding himself.

June 9 SundayFrom Sam’s notebook:

      Sunday Morning—June 9—Still lying at anchor in N.Y. harbor—rained all night & all morning like the devil—some sea on—lady had to leave church in the cabin—sea-sick.

      Rev. Mr. Bullard preached from II Cor. 7 & 8th verses about something.

      Everybody ranged up & down sides of upper after cabin—Capt Duncan’s little son played the organ—

      Tableau–in the midst of sermon Capt. Duncan rushed madly out with one of those d—d dogs but didn’t throw him overboard [MTNJ 1: 331-32].

June 10 Monday The Quaker City finally put out to sea at 12:30 PM. A lot of the passengers were seasick. “We all like to see people seasick when we are not, ourselves” [IA, Ch 3].

For the most part, Sam thought the passengers were staid stuffed shirts. “I was on excellent terms with eight or nine of the excursionists,” Sam wrote later in Innocents Abroad, “(they are my staunch friends yet) and was even on speaking terms with the rest of the sixty-five.”

Among these favorites were, Charles Jervis Langdon (1849-1916), John A. (Jack) Van Nostrand (1847?-1879), Julius Moulton (1843?-1916), Dr. Abraham Reeves Jackson (1827-1892), Solon Long Severance (1834-1915), Emily Charity Severance (1840-1921), Mary Mason Fairbanks (1828-1898) [MTL 2: 63-5]. Of these, Sam made two good and lasting friends—“godless” Dan Slote, and Mary Mason Fairbanks, soon to be called “Mother Fairbanks” by Sam (even though she was only seven years older) and her other “cubs” aboard ship. Mary was anything but godless, and was the wife of the Cleveland Herald’s editor, Abel W. Fairbanks (1817-1894). Mary saw the talent in Sam and took it upon herself to help shape him and his career. Sam remained devoted to her throughout her lifetime. Dan Slote would later be put in charge of Sam’s only profitable invention, “The Mark Twain Scrap Book.” The most important contact for his future was Charles Langdon, who Sam did not think much of at first. Langdon’s sister Olivia Louise Langdon “Livy” (1845-1904) would become Mrs. Samuel Clemens. Note: See MTL 2:385-7 for a full list of passengers and crew. The Itinerary of the Quaker City is cited from [MTL 2: 392-7 unless otherwise noted].

 Alta California printed Sam’s article “CRUELTY TO ANIMALS,” which Sam had dated April 30 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 16 [bibliog.].

June 11 Tuesday – Captain Charles Duncan recorded the noon hailing of the Emerald Isle, which, according to the NY Times, left Liverpool on May 12 [MTNJ 1: 333n76]. Note: after several days at sea without seeing a soul, this would have been cause for interest among the passengers.

June 13 Thursday From Sam’s notebook:

—On board Steamer Quaker City at sea, 12 M—lat.40, long 62—560 miles from New York, ¼ of the way to the Azores—just 3 days out—in last 24 hours made 205 miles. Will make more in next 24, because the wind is fair & we are under sail & steam both, & are burning 30 tons of coal a day & fast lightening up the ship [MTNJ 1: 335].

June 14 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

“Shipped a sea through the open dead-light that damaged cigars, books, &c—comes of being careless when room is on weather side of the ship….Mrs. C.C. Duncan’s 46 birth-day festival in the after-cabin” [Ibid.]

Emily Severance recorded most of what Sam said at the festivities:

This is Mrs. Duncan’s birthday. I make this statement to gain time. You have spoken of her youthful appearance, but I think she is old. Our life is not counted by years, but by what has been seen and accomplished. Methuselah was but a child when he died, though nine hundred and sixty-nine years old. The world did not improve any while he lived,—he tended his flocks just as his fathers did, and they none of them knew enough to make an iron fence. Mrs. Duncan has lived to see great improvements… [MTNJ 1: 335-6n79]. Note: Hannah Tibbets Duncan (1821-1869).

June 15 Saturday Sam entertained some of the passengers by holding a mock trial of the purser for “stealing an overcoat belonging to Sam Clemens” [MTNJ 1: 336].

June 16 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “JEFF DAVIS,” which Sam dated May 17 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 17 [bibliog.].

June 17 Monday From Sam’s notebook:

Blackfish, whales, an occasional shark & lots of Portuguese men-of-war in sight. Brown distressed for fear the latter would attack the ship….Caught a flying fish—it flew 50 yards & came aboard—can’t fly after wind & sun dry their wings….Lat. 40, long. 43W—1/2 way between America & Portugal & away south of Cape Farewell, Greenland. Large school of spouting blackfish—make the water white with their spouting spray [MTNJ 1: 337].

One of three dances was held on board the Quaker City [MTL 70n5].

June 19 Wednesday From Sam’s notebook:


June 19—Within 136 miles of the Azores at noon. / Dr & S get sea-sick at table—go out & throw up & return for more….

      Started a Social Club last night to discuss routes of travel, & chose Judge Haldeman for President,—Rev Mr Carew for Secretary, & Moses S. Beach, Dr. Jackson & myself as Executive Committee.

      Dr. [Edward] Andrews & Capt Duncan enlightened the Club concerning the Azores & Gibraltar.

      After which Mr James gave Stereopticon views—promised us pictures of places we are going to visit, & his first was a view of Greenwood Cemetary! [MTNJ 1: 337-8]. Note: Edward Andrews (d.1888?); Jacob Samils Haldeman (1827-1889).

June 20 Thursday A violent storm drove the QC to Fayal (see June 21 entry.) Sam’s notebook:

“Questions for debate.

      Which is the most powerful motive—Duty or Ambition?

      Is or is not Capt. Duncan responsible for the head winds?” [MTNJ 1: 340].


June 21 Friday – The Quaker City (subsequently noted here as QC) arrived at Horta, island of Fayal, in the Azores at daylight.

At three o’clock on the morning of the 21 of June we were awakened and notified that the Azores islands were in sight. I said I did not take any interest in islands at three o’clock in the morning. But another persecutor came, and then another and another, and finally believing that the general enthusiasm would permit no one to slumber in peace, I got up and went sleepily on deck [Innocents Abroad, Ch 5].

In Fayal, Sam wrote to his mother Jane Clemens and family:

“We are having a lively time here, after a stormy trip. We meant to go to Sau Miguel, but were driven in here by stress of weather. Beautiful climate” [MTL 2: 67].

From Sam’s notebook: “Everybody taking notes—cabin looks like a reporters congress” [MTNJ 1: 344]. See June 27.

June 22 SaturdayFrom Sam’s notebook:

The party started at 10 A.M. Dan was on his ass the last time I saw him. At this time Mr. Foster was following, & Mr. Haldeman came next after Foster—Mr. Foster being close to Dan’s ass, & his own ass being very near to Mr. Haldeman’s ass. After this Capt. Bursley joined the party with his ass, & all went well till on turning a corner of the road a most frightful & unexpected noise issued from Capt Bursley’s ass, which for a moment threw the party into confusion, & at the same time a portughee boy stuck a nail into Mr. Foster’s ass & he ran—ran against Dan, who fell—fell on his ass, & then, like so many bricks they all came down—each & every one of them—& each & every one of them fell on his ass [MTNJ 1: 346]. Note: Colonel James Heron Foster (1822-1868).

June 23 SundayQC departed Horta at 11 AM

“The group on the pier was a rusty one—men and women, boys and girls, all ragged and barefoot, uncombed and unclean, and by instinct, education, an profession, beggars. …and never more, while we tarried in Fayal, did we get rid of them” [Innocents Abroad, Ch. 5].

Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE NUISANCE OF ADVICE,” which Sam had dated May 18 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 18 [bibliog.].

June 24 to June 27 Thursday – The New York Weekly published the last of five of Sam’s Sandwich Islands Letters. From Sam’s notebook:

“Had Ball No. 2 on promenade deck, under lanterns (no awning but heaven) but ship pitched so & dew kept deck so slippery, was little more fun than comfort about it” [MTNJ 1: 348].

June 26 Wednesday From Sam’s notebook: “Met a great clipper ship under a perfect cloud of canvas” [MTNJ 1: 348].

June 27 Thursday – The last of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Honolulu, March, 1866 and beginning “I am probably the most sensitive man in the kingdom of Hawaii…” this article “stops about half-way through the corresponding article in the Union, perhaps for consideration of space” [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p2-3].

From Emily Severance’s notebook:

There are at least a dozen correspondents for different papers: Mrs. Fairbanks, “Cleveland Herald”; Mr. Crocker, “Leader”; Mr. Foster, “The Pittsburgh Dispatch”; Mr. Clemens, “The California Alta” and “The New York Tribune”; Mr. Beach, “The New York Sun”; Mr. Sanford (I think) for a Granville paper; Dr. Jackson for one in Philadelphia; Mr. Bullard for one in Boston; Dr. Hutchinson for one in St. Louis. Captain Duncan urged me very strongly to write for him a letter which he had promised to send to the “Independent,” and I have done so, but I confess to feeling poorly satisfied with my effort [MTNJ 1:344n106]. Note: also Stephen M. Griswold and William E. James both wrote a few letters for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle; John G. Isham for the Cincinnati Commercial; Julius Moulton for the St. Louis Missouri Republican, and Julia Newell for the Janesville (Wis.) Gazette. Sam wrote the most of all these correspondents.


June 28 Friday From Sam’s notebook:

      “Sat up all night playing dominoes in the smoking room with the purser & saw the sun rise—woke up Dan & the Dr. & called everybody else to see it.—Don’t feel very bright.

      “Must be 150 miles from Gibraltar yet, this morning & shall hardly have coal enough to make the port” [MTNJ 1: 348].

June 29 SaturdayQC arrived at Gibraltar at 10 AM.

“In a few moments a lonely and enormous mass of rock, standing seemingly in the center of the wide strait and apparently washed on all sides by the sea, swung magnificently into view, and we needed no tedious traveled parrot to tell us it was Gibraltar. There could not be two rocks like that in one kingdom” [Innocents Abroad, Ch 7].

Sam wrote from Gibraltar to his mother and family.

“Arrived here this morning, & am clear worn out riding & climbing in & over & around & about this monstrous rock & its fortifications. Summer climate & very pleasant” [MTL 2: 67-8].

From Sam’s notebook:

“Blucher in Gibraltar blowing about being American to British officers—to hotel keepers—to commandants—to band-masters, whores, chambermaids, bootblacks—making an ass of himself generally” [MTNJ 1: 351]. Note: in his Jan. 7, 1870 to Mrs. Fairbanks, Sam wrote “Greer is Blucher,” meaning Frederick H. Greer, of Boston. In his June 29, 1871 to Fairbanks he described Blucher as “an eccentric, big-hearted newspaper man.” Greer/Blucher was the prototype of the “Interrogation Point,” described in IA.

Sam was taken back by the behavior of many of the passengers throughout the excursion. He would ridicule them in his newspaper articles and in Innocents Abroad.

June 30 Sunday – Sam and seven others, including Dan Slote, boarded a steamer to Tangier.

THIS is royal! Let those who went up through Spain make the best of it—these dominions of the Emperor of Morocco suit our little party well enough. We have had enough of Spain at Gibraltar for the present. Tangier is the spot we have been longing for all the time. Elsewhere we have found foreign-looking things and foreign-looking people, but always with things and people intermixed that we were familiar with before, and so the novelty of the situation lost a deal of its force. We wanted something thoroughly and uncompromisingly foreign—foreign from top to bottom—foreign from center to circumference—foreign inside and outside and all around—nothing anywhere about it to dilute its foreignness—nothing to remind us of any other people or any other land under the sun. And lo! In Tangier we have found it. Here is not the slightest thing that ever we have seen save in pictures—and we always mistrusted the pictures before. We cannot anymore. The pictures used to seem exaggerations—they seemed too weird and fanciful for reality. But behold, they were not wild enough—they were not fanciful enough—they have not told half the story. Tangier is a foreign land if ever there was one, and the true spirit of it can never be found in any book save The Arabian Nights [Innocents Abroad, Ch.8].

Alta California printed Sam’s article “CALIFORNIA WINES,” which Sam dated May 19 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 19 [bibliog.].

July 1 Monday – Sam and others returned from Tangier to re-board the QC for a 6 PM departure. Sam wrote from Tangier to his mother and family.

“This is the infernalest hive of infernally costumed barbarians I have ever come across yet” [MTL 2: 68].


From Sam’s notebook:


“Left Gibraltar just as the sun was setting…The sunset was soft & rich & beautiful beyond description… After all this racing, & bustling & rollicking excitement in Africa, it seems good to get back to the old ship once more. It is so like home. After all our weary time, we shall sleep peacefully to-night” [MTNJ 1: 367-8].

July 2 Tuesday Sam wrote “from sea” to his mother, Jane Clemens and family. “…we are just passing the island of Minorca” [MTL 2: 68]. He wrote part of the letter the next day [70-1n5].

The passengers held a masquerade ball under the awnings of the quarterdeck, dressing in Moorish garb they’d purchased in the bazaars of Tangier. Sam wore a fez for the party and would wear it for a disguise when he stole ashore in Athens and hiked up the Acropolis on Aug.14 and 15 [Hirst & Rowles 29; MTL 1: 68, 70n5].

July 3 Wednesday – Sam finished his July 2 letter to Jane Clemens and family [MTL 1:70-1n5].

July 4 Thursday – At sunrise on the Quaker City, 13 guns saluted the day with blowing of steam whistles. Lucius Moody recorded the event in his diary published in the Canton, Ohio Plain Dealer for July 25, 1867. Clemens could not have helped to hear or have been on deck for the goings on.

QC arrived at Marseilles, France at 7 PM.

WE passed the Fourth of July on board the Quaker City, in mid-ocean. It was in all respects a characteristic Mediterranean day—faultlessly beautiful. A cloudless sky; a refreshing summer wind; a radiant sunshine that glinted cheerily from dancing wavelets instead of crested mountains of water; a sea beneath us that was so wonderfully blue, so richly, brilliantly blue, that it overcame the dullest sensibilities with the spell of its fascination.” And “That first night on French soil was a stirring one. I cannot think of half the places we went to or what we particularly saw; we had no disposition to examine carefully into anything at all—we only wanted to glance and go—to move, keep moving! The spirit of the country was upon us. We sat down, finally, at a late hour, in the great Casino, and called for unstinted champagne. It is so easy to be bloated aristocrats where it costs nothing of consequence! There were about five hundred people in that dazzling place, I suppose, though the walls being papered entirely with mirrors, so to speak, one could not really tell but that there were a hundred thousand. Young, daintily dressed exquisites and young, stylishly dressed women, and also old gentlemen and old ladies, sat in couples and groups about innumerable marble-topped tables and ate fancy suppers, drank wine, and kept up a chattering din of conversation that was dazing to the senses. There was a stage at the far end and a large orchestra; and every now and then actors and actresses in preposterous comic dresses came out and sang the most extravagantly funny songs, to judge by their absurd actions; but that audience merely suspended its chatter, stared cynically, and never once smiled, never once applauded! I had always thought that Frenchmen were ready to laugh at any thing [Innocents Abroad, Ch. 10].

Sam, Jackson, and Slote left the ship and took rooms at the Grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix on Rue Noailles [MTL 2: 71n6].

July 5 Friday – Sam, Jackson, and Slote left Marseilles for Paris on an evening train.

WE have come five hundred miles by rail through the heart of France. What a bewitching land it is! What a garden! Surely the leagues of bright green lawns are swept and brushed and watered every day and their grasses trimmed by the barber. Surely the hedges are shaped and measured and their symmetry preserved by the most architectural of gardeners. Surely the long straight rows of stately poplars that divide the beautiful landscape like the squares of a checker-board are set with line and plummet, and their uniform height determined with a spirit level. Surely the straight, smooth, pure white turnpikes are jack-planed and sandpapered every day. How else are these marvels of symmetry, cleanliness, and order attained? It is wonderful [Innocents Abroad Ch. 12].

Sam wrote from Marseilles to his mother and family. “We are here. Start for Paris to-morrow. All well. Had a gorgeous 4 of July jollification yesterday at sea” [MTL 2: 68].

July 6 Saturday – Sam and friends arrived in Paris in the evening.

The next morning we were up and dressed at ten o’clock. We went to the commissionaire of the hotel—I don’t know what a commissionaire is, but that is the man we went to—and told him we wanted a guide. He said the national Exposition had drawn such multitudes of Englishmen and Americans to Paris that it would be next to impossible to find a good guide unemployed. He said he usually kept a dozen or two on hand, but he only had three now. He called them. One looked so like a very pirate that we let him go at once. The next one spoke with a simpering precision of pronunciation that was irritating and said:

“If ze zhentlemans will to me make ze grande honneur to me rattain in hees serveece, I shall show to him every sing zat is magnifique to look upon in ze beautiful Parree. I speaky ze Angleesh pairfaitemaw.”

He would have done well to have stopped there, because he had that much by heart and said it right off without making a mistake. But his self-complacency seduced him into attempting a flight into regions of unexplored English, and the reckless experiment was his ruin. Within ten seconds he was so tangled up in a maze of mutilated verbs and torn and bleeding forms of speech that no human ingenuity could ever have gotten him out of it with credit. It was plain enough that he could not “speaky” the English quite as “pairfaitemaw” as he had pretended he could.

The third man captured us. He was plainly dressed, but he had a noticeable air of neatness about him. He wore a high silk hat which was a little old, but had been carefully brushed. He wore second-hand kid gloves, in good repair, and carried a small rattan cane with a curved handle—a female leg—of ivory. He stepped as gently and as daintily as a cat crossing a muddy street; and oh, he was urbanity; he was quiet, unobtrusive self-possession; he was deference itself! He spoke softly and guardedly; and when he was about to make a statement on his sole responsibility or offer a suggestion, he weighed it by drachms and scruples first, with the crook of his little stick placed meditatively to his teeth. His opening speech was perfect. It was perfect in construction, in phraseology, in grammar, in emphasis, in pronunciation—everything. He spoke little and guardedly after that. We were charmed. We were more than charmed—we were overjoyed. We hired him at once. We never even asked him his price [Innocents Abroad, Ch. 13].

We went to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We had heard of it before. It surprises me sometimes to think how much we do know and how intelligent we are. We recognized the brown old Gothic pile in a moment; it was like the pictures [IA, Ch 14].

Sam and party also visited Versailles [IA, Ch. 16]. While in Paris Sam and party stayed at the Grand Hotel du Louvre on the Rue de Rivoli [MTL 2: 72n1].

July 7 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “FOR CHRISTIANS TO READ,” which Sam had dated May 20 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 20 [bibliog.].

Sam’s article “First Interview with Artemus Ward” (alt. Title: “A Reminiscence of Artemus Ward”) ran in the Sunday Mercury [Camfield bibliog.].

July 11 Thursday – Sam and friends left Paris for Marseilles on a morning train.

July 12 Friday – Sam and friends arrived in Marseilles in the morning. Sam wrote from Marseilles to his mother and family.

“Oh, confound it, I can’t write–I am full of excitement—have to make a trip in the harbor—haven’t slept for 24 hours” [MTL 2: 72].

Jackson, Slote, and Sam again stayed at the Grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix [72n1].


July 13 SaturdayQC departed Marseilles at noon.

July 14 SundayQC arrived at Genoa at 6 AM.

I would like to remain here. I had rather not go any further. There may be prettier women in Europe, but I doubt it. The population of Genoa is 120,000; two-thirds of these are women, I think, and at least two-thirds of the women are beautiful. They are as dressy and as tasteful and as graceful as they could possibly be without being angels. However, angels are not very dressy, I believe. At least the angels in pictures are not—they wear nothing but wings. But these Genoese women do look so charming. Most of the young demoiselles are robed in a cloud of white from head to foot, though many trick themselves out more elaborately. Nine-tenths of them wear nothing on their heads but a filmy sort of veil, which falls down their backs like a white mist. They are very fair, and many of them have blue eyes, but black and dreamy dark brown ones are met with oftenest.

The NY Sunday Mercury published the last of seven sketches of Sam’s, entitled, “Jim Wolf & the Cats” [MTL 2: 11n3; Camfield, bibliog.]. Note: Budd list this as “Jim Wolf and the Tom-Cats,” the same as Sam’s Feb. 23, 1872 speech [“Collected” 1007].


Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE BLIND ASYLUM,” which Sam had dated May 2 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 21 and dates it as May 23 [bibliog.].

July 15 Monday Sam wrote from Genoa to his mother and family.

“We sat in a great gas-lit public-grove or garden till 10 last night, where they were crowded together drinking wine & eating ices, & it seems to me that it would be good to die & go there” [MTL 2: 74].

July 16 Tuesday – Sam, Jackson, and Slote left Genoa by train, arriving in Milan that evening.

Toward dusk we drew near Milan and caught glimpses of the city and the blue mountain peaks beyond. But we were not caring for these things—they did not interest us in the least. We were in a fever of impatience; we were dying to see the renowned cathedral! We watched—in this direction and that—all around—everywhere. We needed no one to point it out—we did not wish any one to point it out—we would recognize it even in the desert of the great Sahara [IA, Ch. 18].

July 18 Thursday – Sam took a train from Milan to Como, then took a steamer to Bellagio, Italy on Lake Como.

      We lunched at the curious old town of Como, at the foot of the lake, and then took the small steamer and had an afternoon’s pleasure excursion to this place,—Bellaggio.

      When we walked ashore, a party of policemen (people whose cocked hats and showy uniforms would shame the finest uniform in the military service of the United States,) put us into a little stone cell and locked us in. We had the whole passenger list for company, but their room would have been preferable, for there was no light, there were no windows, no ventilation. It was close and hot. We were much crowded. It was the Black Hole of Calcutta on a small scale. Presently a smoke rose about our feet—a smoke that smelled of all the dead things of earth, of all the putrefaction and corruption imaginable.

      We were there five minutes, and when we got out it was hard to tell which of us carried the vilest fragrance.

      These miserable outcasts called that “fumigating” us, and the term was a tame one indeed. They fumigated us to guard themselves against the cholera, though we hailed from no infected port. We had left the cholera far behind us all the time. However, they must keep epidemics away somehow or other, and fumigation is cheaper than soap. They must either wash themselves or fumigate other people. Some of the lower classes had rather die than wash, but the fumigation of strangers causes them no pangs. They need no fumigation themselves. Their habits make it unnecessary. They carry their preventive with them; they sweat and fumigate all the day long. I trust I am a humble and a consistent Christian. I try to do what is right. I know it is my duty to “pray for them that despitefully use me;” and therefore, hard as it is, I shall still try to pray for these fumigating, maccaroni-stuffing organ-grinders [IA, Ch. 20].

July 19? Friday Sam made a day-trip to Chiasso in nearby Switzerland. He did not mention the trip in Innocents [Rasmussen 86]. Note: A day-trip seems probable for this date.

July 20 Saturday – Sam and friends went by steamer from Bellagio to Lecco; left Lecco by carriage at 1 PM for Bergamo; took a train that passed through Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, and Padua, arriving in Venice at 8 PM.

We reached Venice at eight in the evening, and entered a hearse belonging to the Grand Hotel d’Europe. At any rate, it was more like a hearse than any thing else, though to speak by the card, it was a gondola. And this was the storied gondola of Venice!—the fairy boat in which the princely cavaliers of the olden time were wont to cleave the waters of the moonlit canals and look the eloquence of love into the soft eyes of patrician beauties, while the gay gondolier in silken doublet touched his guitar and sang as only gondoliers can sing! This the famed gondola and this the gorgeous gondolier!—the one an inky, rusty old canoe with a sable hearse-body clapped on to the middle of it, and the other a mangy, barefooted guttersnipe with a portion of his raiment on exhibition which should have been sacred from public scrutiny. Presently, as he turned a corner and shot his hearse into a dismal ditch between two long rows of towering, untenanted buildings, the gay gondolier began to sing, true to the traditions of his race. I stood it a little while. Then I said:

“Now, here, Roderigo Gonzales Michael Angelo, I’m a pilgrim, and I’m a stranger, but I am not going to have my feelings lacerated by any such caterwauling as that. If that goes on, one of us has got to take water. It is enough that my cherished dreams of Venice have been blighted forever as to the romantic gondola and the gorgeous gondolier; this system of destruction shall go no farther; I will accept the hearse, under protest, and you may fly your flag of truce in peace, but here I register a dark and bloody oath that you shan’t sing. Another yelp, and overboard you go” [IA Ch. 22].

July 21 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE SEX IN NEW YORK,” which Sam had dated May 26. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 22 [bibliog.].



The old Washoe instincts that have lain asleep in my bosom so long are waking up again here in the midst of this late and unaccountable freshet of blood-letting that has broken loose in the East. The papers, all of a sudden, are being filled with assassinations, and second-degree murders, and prize-fights, and suicides. It is a wonderful state of things. From a careless in difference to such matters, I have been roused up to an old-time delight in them, and now I have to have my regular suicide be fore breakfast, like a cocktail, and my side-dish of murder in the first degree for a relish, and my savory assassination to top off with while I pick my teeth and smoke. A breakfast would be insipid, now, without these condiments. If I were to order a beef steak rare and a murder in the first degree, and only got the former, I believe I would have to retire and wait for the evening papers [Schmidt].

July 22 Monday – Sam and friends left Venice by train; passed through Bologna and Pistoia overnight.

We were a little fatigued with sight seeing, and so we rattled through a good deal of country by rail without caring to stop. I took few notes. I find no mention of Bologna in my memorandum book, except that we arrived there in good season, but saw none of the sausages for which the place is so justly celebrated. Pistoia awoke but a passing interest [IA Ch. 24].

July 23 Tuesday – Sam and friends arrived in Florence; QC departed Genoa at 7 PM.

Florence pleased us for a while. I think we appreciated the great figure of David in the grand square, and the sculptured group they call the Rape of the Sabines. We wandered through the endless collections of paintings and statues of the Pitti and Ufizzi galleries, of course. I make that statement in self-defense; there let it stop. I could not rest under the imputation that I visited Florence and did not traverse its weary miles of picture galleries. We tried indolently to recollect something about the Guelphs and Ghibelines and the other historical cut-throats whose quarrels and assassinations make up so large a share of Florentine history, but the subject was not attractive. We had been robbed of all the fine mountain scenery on our little journey by a system of railroading that had three miles of tunnel to a hundred yards of daylight, and we were not inclined to be sociable with Florence. We had seen the spot, outside the city somewhere, where these people had allowed the bones of Galileo to rest in unconsecrated ground for an age because his great discovery that the world turned around was regarded as a damning heresy by the church; and we know that long after the world had accepted his theory and raised his name high in the list of its great men, they had still let him rot there [IA Ch. 24].

July 24 Wednesday – In Leghorn on July 25?, Sam referred to “A visit paid in a friendly way to General Garibaldi yesterday (by cordial invitation) by some of our passengers” [Ch. 24, IA]. Sam was not among these visitors, and he wrote nothing further of Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), Italian patriot and soldier. The itinerary for the QC excursion had stated, if practical, a visit to the General would be made. (See “The Journal of the Quaker City Captain,” by Charles E. Shain, The New England Quarterly, Vol. 28 No. 3 (Sept. 1955): 388-394 for a description of the side trip to meet Garibaldi by Captain Duncan and seven others).

July 25? Thursday – Sam and friends left Florence on the noon train for Pisa, where they spent two hours. They arrived at Leghorn in the evening and boarded the QC.


At Pisa we climbed up to the top of the strangest structure the world has any knowledge of—the Leaning Tower.…this one leans more than thirteen feet out of the perpendicular. It is seven hundred years old, but neither history or tradition say whether it was built as it is, purposely, or whether one of its sides has settled. There is no record that it ever stood straight up….

Standing on the summit, one does not feel altogether comfortable when he looks down from the high side; but to crawl on your breast to the verge on the lower side and try to stretch your neck out far enough to see the base of the tower, makes your flesh creep, and convinces you for a single moment in spite of all your philosophy, that the building is falling. You handle yourself very carefully, all the time, under the silly impression that if it is not falling, your trifling weight will start it unless you are particular not to “bear down” on it [IA Ch. 24].


July 26? Friday – Sam and friends avoided being quarantined on the QC at Naples by taking a French steamer to Civitavecchia, Italy, then a train to Rome.

This Civita Vecchia is the finest nest of dirt, vermin and ignorance we have found yet, except that African perdition they call Tangier, which is just like it. The people here live in alleys two yards wide, which have a smell about them which is peculiar but not entertaining. It is well the alleys are not wider, because they hold as much smell now as a person can stand, and of course, if they were wider they would hold more, and then the people would die. These alleys are paved with stone, and carpeted with deceased cats, and decayed rags, and decomposed vegetable-tops, and remnants of old boots, all soaked with dish-water, and the people sit around on stools and enjoy it. They are indolent, as a general thing, and yet have few pastimes. They work two or three hours at a time, but not hard, and then they knock off and catch flies. This does not require any talent, because they only have to grab—if they do not get the one they are after, they get another. It is all the same to them. They have no partialities. Whichever one they get is the one they want [IA Ch. 25].

July 27 Saturday – Sam and friends arrived in Rome.

What is there in Rome for me to see that others have not seen before me? What is there for me to touch that others have not touched? What is there for me to feel, to learn, to hear, to know, that shall thrill me before it pass to others? What can I discover?—Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. One charm of travel dies here. But if I were only a Roman!—If, added to my own I could be gifted with modern Roman sloth, modern Roman superstition, and modern Roman boundlessness of ignorance, what bewildering worlds of unsuspected wonders I would discover! Ah, if I were only a habitant of the Campagna five and twenty miles from Rome! Then I would travel.

I would go to America, and see, and learn, and return to the Campagna and stand before my countrymen an illustrious discoverer [IA Ch. 26].

In this connection I wish to say one word about Michael Angelo Buonarotti. I used to worship the mighty genius of Michael Angelo—that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture—great in every thing he undertook. But I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast—for luncheon—for dinner—for tea—for supper—for between meals. I like a change, occasionally. In Genoa, he designed every thing; in Milan he or his pupils designed every thing; he designed the Lake of Como; in Padua, Verona, Venice, Bologna, who did we ever hear of, from guides, but Michael Angelo? In Florence, he painted every thing, designed every thing, nearly, and what he did not design he used to sit on a favorite stone and look at, and they showed us the stone. In Pisa he designed every thing but the old shot-tower, and they would have attributed that to him if it had not been so awfully out of the perpendicular. He designed the piers of Leghorn and the custom house regulations of Civita Vecchia. But, here—here it is frightful. He designed St. Peter’s; he designed the Pope; he designed the Pantheon, the uniform of the Pope’s soldiers, the Tiber, the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Capitol, the Tarpeian Rock, the Barberini Palace, St. John Lateran, the Campagna, the Appian Way, the Seven Hills, the Baths of Caracalla, the Claudian Aqueduct, the Cloaca Maxima—the eternal bore designed the Eternal City, and unless all men and books do lie, he painted every thing in it! Dan said the other day to the guide, “Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say that the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!”

I never felt so fervently thankful, so soothed, so tranquil, so filled with a blessed peace, as I did yesterday when I learned that Michael Angelo was dead [IA Ch. 27].

While in Rome, Clemens met Richard Garvey, 21 year old American, who roomed at the Via Babuino #68 (Pincion Hill), and allowed Garvey to show him and his friends “some points of the Eternal City” [see: July 7, 1884 Garvey to MT].

July 28 Sunday Alta California printed Sam’s article “ACADEMY OF DESIGN,” which Sam had dated May 28. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 23 [bibliog.].

I am thankful that the good God creates us all ignorant. I am glad that when we change His plans in this regard, we have to do it at our own risk. It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art, and ignorant also of surgery. Because people who understand art find nothing in pictures but blemishes, and surgeons and anatomists see no beautiful women in all their lives, but only a ghastly stack of bones with Latin names to them, and a network of nerves and muscles and tissues inflamed by disease. The very point in a picture that fascinates me with its beauty, is to the cultured artist a monstrous crime against the laws of coloring; and the very flush that charms me in a lovely face, is, to the critical surgeon, nothing but a sign hung out to advertise a decaying lung. Accursed be all such knowledge. I want none of it [Schmidt].

July 30 Tuesday – Sam’s article, dated June 23, “The Mediterranean Excursion” ran in the New York Tribune [McKeithan 10-18].


July 31 WednesdayQC