Vol 1 Section 0025

Washington Letters – Deal with Elisha Bliss – New York to Panama to San Francisco More Lectures & Goodbye to Virginia City – Goodbye to San Francisco

Panama, New York & Hartford – Elmira, Rejected Proposal and the Courtship Began

Sam met Joe Twichell – “Vandals” Lectures Hither and Yon


1868 – Camfield lists a story printed posthumously in Mark Twain’s Satires and Burlesques (1967): “The Story of Mamie Grant, Child Missionary” [bibliog.].

Sam began work on “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” sometime during the year, and repeatedly returned to it in 1869, 1870, 1873, 1878, 1881, 1883, 1893, and 1906 [MTNJ 1: 241]. Note: Camfield cites 1869 as the year Sam began this work [bibliog.]. The work was finally published in Harper’s Magazine in Dec. 1907 and in book form in Oct. 1909.

January 1 Wednesday In the morning, Sam again saw his future wife, Olivia Louise Langdon at 115 West Forty-fourth Street, the home of Thomas S. and Anna E. Berry, friends of the Langdons. Olivia was with close friend Alice Hooker (1847-1928). In 1906 Sam wrote,

“I had thirty-four calls on my list, and this was the first one. I continued it during thirteen hours, and put the other thirty-three off till next year” [MTL 2: 146n3].

January 2 Thursday – In the Brooklyn Eagle, page 3:


The Quaker City Excursion Again—Captain Duncan’s Reply to “Mark Twain.”

 To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle:

 I have read Mark Twain’s last in to-day’s EAGLE, and am of opinion that when that letter was written Mark Twain was sober. Yours, truly, C.C. DUNCAN.

Brooklyn, December 31, 1867


January 5 Sunday Sam went to Plymouth Church in Brooklyn and was a guest at Henry Ward Beecher’s home. At dinner there he met Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Catherine Beecher (1800-1878). Sam’s “old Quaker City favorite, Emma Beach,” was also there. Henry Ward advised Sam to drive a hard bargain with Elisha Bliss for IA [Andrews 18]. After evening services Sam returned to the Beecher’s to finish the “blowout,” and spent the night at the home of Moses Beach [MTL 2: 144-5].

Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-three” dated Sept, 1867 at “Williamsburgh, Canaan” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 213-19].

January 67 Tuesday Sam returned by train to Washington, D.C.

January 7 Tuesday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER II, dated Dec.16 1867 was printed in the Enterprise. Sections: “John Ross Browne’s Report,” “Personal,” “’Coast’ Matters,” and “The Holidays” [MTP].


January 8 Wednesday Sam wrote from Washington to his mother, and sister Pamela. Sam told of his trip to New York, the “blowout” at Dan Slote’s house and the dinner he had at Henry Ward Beecher’s home. He also wrote that he found just found out the night before that he was to give two lectures on Jan. 9 and 10 (an inebriated “friend,” now unidentified, had made the lecture arrangements without telling Sam) [MTL 2: 144-5].

Sam also wrote a flirtatious letter to Emma Beach of his coming lecture about the Quaker City excursion; he would call it, “The Frozen Truth” [MTL 2: 147-9].

Sam’s article “Home Again” dated Nov 20, 1867 ran in the San Francisco Alta California:


Home Again.


The steamer Quaker City arrived yesterday morning and turned her menagerie of pilgrims loose on America— but, thank Heaven, they came ashore in Christian costume. There was some reason to fear that they would astound the public with Moorish haiks, Turkish fezzes, sashes from Persia, and such other outlandish diablerie as their distempered fancies were apt to suggest to them to resurrect from their curious foreign trunks. They have struggled through the Custom House and escaped to their homes. Their Pilgrim’s Progress is ended, and they know more now than it is lawful for the Gods themselves to know. They can talk it from now till January—most of them are too old to last longer [McKeithan 309].

January 9 Thursday Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Stephen J. Field (1816-1899), Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, recommending Harvey Beckwith for a government agent post to uncover illicit un-taxed whiskey. Sam had known Beckwith from his Nevada days, when Harvey was the superintendent of the Mexican silver mine at Virginia City [MTL 2: 150].

Sam gave his “Frozen Truth” lecture at Metzerott Hall in Washington, D.C.

He also wrote his mother, and sister Pamela:

That infernal lecture is over, thank Heaven! It came near being a villainous failure. It was not advertised at all. The manager was taken sick yesterday, & the man who was sent to tell me, never got to me till after noon to-day. There was dickens to pay. It was too late to do anything—too late to stop the lecture. I scared up a door-keeper, & was ready at the proper time, & by pure good luck a tolerably good house assembled & I was saved! [MTL 2: 151].

Sam also wrote to Elisha Bliss asking terms he might receive for a book published by Bliss’ company [Powers, MT A Life 232]. Note: see Jan. 18 for Bliss’ reply.

January 10 Friday – 2 AM Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Charles Webb, asking him to send three copies of the Jumping Frog. Sam’s canceled the second lecture for Jan.11, principally because the Evening Star had published a synopsis of the first lecture [MTL 2: 153n2]. He also wrote to the Morning Chronicle and the National Intelligencer, advising him of the canceled lecture [MTL 2: 153-4].

January 11 Saturday – Washington Morning Chronicle:

The subject of his remarks was the recent trip of a party of excursionists on the steamship Quaker City to Europe and points on the Mediterranean, and his descriptions were replete with sparkling wit, to which his slow, deliberate style of speaking gave a peculiar charm [Fatout, MT Speaking 648].

That evening Sam spoke at the Newspapers Correspondents Dinner, at Welcker’s Restaurant. In attendance was Speaker of the House, “Wily Smiler” Schuyler Colfax, who later became Vice President in the Grant Administration. Note: the press coined Colfax’s nickname, which Vogelback says reflected “a grudging admiration for the man’s political adroitness and a distrust of his perpetual smile” [Tribune 376].

Sam, responding to the twelfth toast, offered,

“Woman—the Pride of Any Profession and the Jewel of Ours. What, sir, would the people of this earth be, without woman? They would be scarce, sir—almighty scarce” [Fatout, MT Speaking 20-1].


Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER III of Dec. 20 ran in the Virginia City Enterprise and included a prose parody of Poe’s “The Raven,” in a section titled, “Lost Chief found.” Other sections: “A Voluminous Telegram,” “California Senator,” “President,” and:



Congress adjourned yesterday. I don’t know whether they have done anything or not. I don’t think they have. However, let us not forget that they have “retrenched.” They have passed the stationery resolution—they have eased up some on one thousand millions of debt—they have smitten the Goliath of gold with a pebble—they have saved the country. God will bless them. Let the new David bring the head of the monster to the foot of the throne, and go after more. I tremble to think they may abolish the franking privilege next.

      The Ark has rested on Ararat. The most of the animals have gone away to New York and elsewhere. But I believe the Pacific delegation propose to remain here during the vacation and get ready for business—for stirring times are at hand. MARK TWAIN [ET&S 2: 63].

January 12 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-four” dated Sept. 1867 at “Williamsburgh, Palestine” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 219-25].


January 13 Monday – Sam’s article “Woman—An Opinion” ran in the Washington Evening Star [Camfield, bibliog.]. The Twainian, Feb. 1940, asserts this is the first printing of the speech.


January 14 Tuesday Sam wrote at 2 AM from Washington, D.C. to his mother and family, enclosing a Washington Evening Star newspaper copy of his speech, “Woman,” which included editorial inserts for laughter, applause, great laughter, etc. [MTL 2: 155-7].

January 15 Wednesday Sam wrote from Washington to Charles Webb, acknowledging receipt of the books he had asked for on Jan. 10; he passed on the reaction by Cornelius Stagg (b.1827?) to Sam’s questions about a scandal Stagg was involved in. Evidently Stagg was accused of extorting bribes from whiskey dealers in New York State, using a tax as a cover [MTL 2: 158-9].

By this date Sam had a new address after his split with Senator Stewart: 356 C Street [Powers, MT A Life 233].

Sam’s “Mark Twain in Washington” subtitled “The Hawaiian Treaty” dated Dec. 10, 1867 ran in the San Francisco Alta California.

The Twainian, July-Aug., 1948, page 1 article gives this date as Sam’s meeting of Ulysses S. Grant at a Washington reception, some eleven months prior to Grant’s election as president. (See entry end, 1867.) However, another article in the same journal for May-June of that year claims that Sam saw Grant but did not actually meet him [p.3]. The reception was reported in his letter to the Alta California dated Jan. 16, 1868.


Only the envelope survives, with Sam’s to Pamela Moffett, hand-frank of Senator William M. Stewart   [MTP].


January 1719 Sunday – Sam traveled to New York and stayed at Dan Slote’s and “part of two days at Moses Beach’s in Brooklyn[MTL 2: 165] until about Jan. 21. He also went by ferry to the home of Henry Ward Beecher, who advised him further on the matter of the proposed contract with Bliss [MTL 2: 160].

January 18 SaturdayElisha Bliss wrote to Sam, anxious to secure promise that IA would be published by American Publishing, at future agreed upon term. [MTP].

…we will make liberal terms with you for it, in some shape most satisfactory to you. We think a fair copyright will pay you best. Suppose we leave it just this way for the present. You give us the refusal of your book, that is to say, you agree to give us the first opportunity for an arrangement with you & let it be understood between us that you are to get up one end & we are to publish it, terms to be agreed upon after this, when we can meet & talk together [MTP]. Note: the words “fair copyright” were underlined in ink on this typed letter, perhaps by Clemens.

January 19 Sunday Sam and Elisha Bliss exchanged telegrams, either this day or the next, regarding the possible publication of IA. Neither dispatch is extant but both are referred to in Bliss’ Jan. 20 letter.

Powers cites an unpublished letter from Sam to his mother dated Jan. 20 that Sam called on Ulysses S. Grant’s Washington home, and planned with a fellow journalist to get Grant’s father “into a private room at Willard’s & start his tongue with a whiskey punch.” If true, then the entry “Jan. 1719” should be only “Jan.19.” Sam was looking for an interview for another Alta letter, but Grant was not at home [Powers, MT A Life 226].

Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-five” dated Sept. 1867 at “Capernaum” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 225-9].

January 20 Monday Sam wrote from New York to his mother and sister Pamela. (See Jan. 19) [Powers, MT A Life 647n26; MTP drop in letters].


My Dear Mother & Sister:

I received your letters yesterday postmarked 12th, & Pamela’s to-day postmarked 16th— Your arguments are strong—too strong to be refuted—& now I have no idea of going away without visiting St Louis first.

But I cannot now form an idea of when that will be. Sometime hence, I guess. If I could go by sea, it would be pleasant, but I dread the land passage in winter, notwithstanding the trip is short. Still, I would go anyhow, at once, if I had Orion’s affair settled. I was getting along well with it until last night. I am so situated that I can find out what the President is going to do a week before the other newspaper men—& last night I learned that he had concluded yesterday not to appoint Mr. Ely to the Commissioner of Patents, notwithstanding newspaper rumors to the contrary, but will appoint a Mr. Burroughs (this is private, of course.) So I shall have to start after Mr. Burroughs, now, whoever he may be, & run him to cover.

I know very well how to proceed, though. Success is the only question—not the only one, either—for the Senate generally makes it a point to refuse to confirm the President’s appointees.

I have a letter from Routledge the London publisher, asking me to write for his magazine—articles from 6 or 8 to 10 or 12 pages long, at $5 a page, gold—but I cannot write magazine articles worth a cent—if I could I would write for our own magazines—they pay a little more, or at least as much.

Routledge says he is delighted with the Jumping Frog book, & that it has a great sale in England. It has had a better sale in America than it deserved. It takes an awful edition to pay first cost, but it has done that— not many books do. I naturally suppose that now it will quit selling.

I called at Gen. Grant’s house last night. He was out at a dinner party, but Mrs. Grant said she would keep him at home on Sunday evening. I must see him, because he is good for one letter for the Alta, & part of a lecture for San F. Grant’s father was there. Swinton & I are going to get the old man into a private room at Willard’s & start his tongue with a whisky punch. He will tell everything he knows & twice as much that he sup­poses—will be glad to do it—& then we can use it as “coming from high authority” without betraying the old gentleman. But seriously we shall not print anything but just such matters as would tickle his vanity rather than give him pain.

Dan Slote will be disappointed to-night in New York when he comes after me.

[no signature; MTPO].

Powers lists this as the “probable” date Sam took a train from Washington to New York [Powers, MT A Life 233].

Sam wrote an untitled manuscript, which was never published and later known as “Colloquy between a Slum Child and a Moral Mentor” [MTL 2: 172n1]. Note: first source gives this as “about this time [Jan. 31]”; second source cites this date. Budd says it was written between Jan. and Mar. of 1868 [“Collected” 1007].

Elisha Bliss wrote to Sam.

Your dispatch [not extant] came to hand to-day, the reply to which you have doubtless received. I wrote you on Saturday, directed to Washington [Sam was in NY]. You probably have not received that letter, therefore I send you copy of it. Suppose you let it rest as I propose in that letter, until such time as we can get together and talk it over–that is if it should be impossible for me to go to N.Y. with in 2 or 3 days, for as I telegraphed you [not extant], I am sick and confined to the house [MTP]. Note: Bliss added if Sam wanted to know sooner he could visit in Hartford, which he did on Jan. 22. Clemens likely wanted to know royalty rates and other details such as planned date of publication, etc.

January 21 Tuesday The Alta had not only registered Sam’s letters for copyright, but they were in a conflict with the Sacramento Union over its printing of one letter. They printed an “emphatic claim to ownership” of Sam’s Holy Land letters [MTL 2: 174n1].

Sam’s Special Correspondent “Letter from ‘Mark Twain’” dated Dec. 14, 1867 ran in the San Francisco Alta California. Subtitles: Concerning Government Salaries; Female Clerks; Distribution of the Places; Secretary’s Seward’s Real Estate Bargains; A Shaky Piece of Property; The Sutro Tunnel [Schmidt; Camfield, blibiog.].

January 22 Wednesday – As per Elisha Bliss’ invite of Jan. 20, Sam took a train to Hartford, Conn., since he had not been able to reach an agreement through correspondence. This was Sam’s first visit to Hartford. He may have arrived the night before [MTL 2: 162n1]. Andrews cites Jan. 21 [18]. After discussing the matter with Albert Deane Richardson (1833-1869) (who had only received a four percent royalty from Bliss), Sam declined Bliss’ offer of a straight purchase of the book for $10,000, and opted for five percent royalties [Winterich 176]. Powers remarks that by “staking everything on royalty profits from a book that would depend on door-to-door subscription sales to a largely non-‘literary’ clientele, Samuel Clemens revealed a strong intuitive grasp of his natural readership” [MT A Life 234]. Note: It’s likely that Sam simply felt his “readership” would be cut from the same cloth as his “listenership” in his many lectures. Sam did not hold what might have been called normal “literary” ambitions.

Sam stayed at Nook Farm, a 100-acre enclave founded in 1851 by John Hooker (1816-1901), and his brother-in-law, Francis Gillette (1807-1879) with Alice Hooker’s family, friends of the Langdons [Powers, MT A Life 233]. Sam was persuaded to “walk mighty straight,” and wasn’t allowed to smoke. In a letter to the Alta, he claimed to smoke:

“…surreptitiously when all are in bed, to save my reputation, and then draw suspicion upon the cat when the family detect the familiar odor. So far, I am safe, but I am sorry to say the cat has lost caste….She has achieved a reputation for smoking, and may justly be regarded as a degraded, a dishonored, a ruined cat”[Sanborn 386].

Sam’s satirical letter to the editor of the New York Tribune about George Francis Train was printed. Train, a Fenian and crackpot of sorts, was in jail at the time, and had been widely written about in the newspapers [Fatout, MT Speaks 53].

Sam’s LETTER FROM “MARK TWAIN” Correspondence of the New York Citizen.” dated Dec. 15, 1867 ran in the San Francisco Alta California [Schmidt].

January 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother, and sister Pamela Moffett.

This is a good week for me. I stopped in the Herald office as I came through New York, to see the boys on the staff, & young James Gordon Bennett [(1841-1918)] asked me to write impersonally twice a week for the Herald, & said if I would, I might have full swing, & abuse anybody & everybody I wanted to…. But the best thing that has happened was here. This great American Publishing Co. kept on trying to bargain with me for a book till I thought I would cut the matter short by coming up for a talk. I met Rev. Henry Ward Beecher in Brooklyn, & with his usual whole-souled way of dropping his own work to give other people a lift…he said, “Now here—you are one of the talented men of the age—nobody is going to deny that—but in matters of business, I don’t suppose you know more than enough to come in when it rains; I’ll tell you what do to & how to do it.” And he did. And I listened well, & then came up here & have made a splendid contract for a Quaker City book of 5 or 600 large pages, with illustrations…My per centage is to be a fifth more than they paid Richardson….I had made up my mind to one thing—I wasn’t going to touch a book unless there was money in it, & a good deal of it. I told them so.

Sam listed the newspapers he would be writing for, and cautioned the family not to talk to anyone regarding this letter [MTL 2: 160-4].

Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks asking her not to “abuse” him “on account of that dinner-speech in reply to the toast to woman” [MTL 2: 165-6].


January 25 Saturday Sam returned to New York and stayed at the Slote house, where he wrote his old Hannibal friend, Will Bowen. “I have just come down from Hartford, Conn., where I have made a tip-top contract for a 600-page book, & I feel perfectly jolly.” Sam told Will about his newspaper deal with the Herald, and sent best wishes for Will’s brother Bart, scalded in a steamboat accident [MTL 2: 167-8].


January 26 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-six” dated Sept. 1867 at “Tiberias” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 229-36].


January 27 Monday Sam wrote from New York to Elisha Bliss, American Publishing Co., agreeing to terms. That evening Sam attended a dinner of “newspaper Editors & literary scalliwags, at the Westminster Hotel[MTL 2: 169-70].

January 28 Tuesday – Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, dated Dec. 17, 1867, ran in the San Francisco California Alta. Subtitles: More Mysteries; How a Mystery was Solved; Singular; Personal; Harris [Schmidt].


January 30 Thursday Sam returned to Washington, D.C. (See Mar. 3 entry), where he wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

“I confess, humbly, that I deserve all you have said, & promise that I will rigidly eschew slang & vulgarity in future, even in foolish dinner speeches, when on my guard” [MTL 2: 170].

Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER IV dated Jan. 10 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “Public Stealing,” “The Worrell Sisters,” “The Town-Site Bill,” and:

Old Curry

Is here—old Abe Curry. And he is gotten up “regardless.” He is the observed of all observers. I think Curry is the best dressed man in Washington. He has a plug hat with a bell crown to it—it is of the latest Paris style, and has a rim that is curled up at the sides. It is the shiest hat in Washington. And he wears black broadcloth pants, with straps to them, while Marseilles vest, and a blue claw-hammer coat with a double row of brass buttons on it, like a Major General. His cravat is perfectly stunning; it looks like it might have come off the end of a rainbow. His moustache is turning out handsomely, and he swings a rattan stick and wears lemon-colored kid gloves. He also has a superb set of false teeth, but he has to carry them in his pocket most of the time, because he can’t swear good when he has them in. He goes browsing around the President’s and the departments trying to talk French—because he is playing himself for a foreign Duke, you know. N.B.—I may have exaggerated my old friend’s costume and performances a little, but then this is the man that detained my baggage in Carson once and gave me that infamous account of the Hopkins massacre, and I can never, never forgive him for it. He says he is here to get seeds from the Patent Office for Tredway and Jim Sturtevant. A likely story. He wants to get another appropriation to put another layer of stone on that Mint, I guess. I expect I had better find out what Curry is about and keep an eye on him—he will be wanting to run this Government next [MTP].

Note: Abraham Curry, one who promoted Carson City as Nevada’s capitol and whom Sam credited with saving Nevada’s new government (Roughing It, Ch. 25), was cited in the 1863 massacre article as the source.

Clemens wrote “Home Again,” which was published March 3 in the Alta California. See entry.

January 31 Friday – Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Emma Beach saying he had:

“not been out of the house since I came home, & have not left the writing table, except to sleep, & take my meals. I have written seven long newspaper letters & a short magazine article in less than two days.”

He described a “scorcher” he received from Mrs. Fairbanks and asks Emeline’s help remembering paintings they’d seen on the excursion [MTL 2: 171].

February – Sam’s humorous article, “General Washington’s Negro Body-Servant,” first ran in the Galaxy Magazine for Feb. 1868 [Emerson 63].

February, early Sam moved again, to 76 Indiana Avenue, Washington, D.C.


February 1 Saturday Sam wrote from Washington to John Russell Young, editor of the New York Tribune enclosing three Holy Land letters he “smouched” from the Alta bunch:

“…& added 3 at the end of the list to make up the deficiency, but as you will see by the inclosed telegram, they don’t seem to understand it” [MTL 2: 173].

Sam also wrote to Jacob H. Burrough, his old roommate in St. Louis days.

Dear Burroughs— / I have been absent in New York and Hartford for the past ten or twelve days & was glad to find your letter when I got back. It was with 28 others—the other 27 are not answered. I have written 182 note-paper pages of newspaper matter, at a dollar a page, & 7 of magazine stuff at four dollars a page, in the last two days—Oh, no, —I ain’t a steam engine to work, when I get behindhand, I don’t reckon—“it’s the man in the wagon,” as we say in California. If I can wrote as much more in the next two days, I will be all right again. I just want to show them that when I make contracts I am willing to fill them—& then I will throw up all my correspondence except about $75 a week & sail in on my book—because I have made a tip-top, splendid contract with a great publishing house in Hartford for a 600-page volume illustrated—about the size of a Patent Office Report. My percentage is a fifth more than they have ever paid any man but Horace Greeley—I get what amounts to just about the same he was paid. But this is publisher’s secret—keep it to yourself.

      I wish I could see you and talk over old times. Give my love to your 5, my dear old boy. I must answer some of those other letters. Good bye, lad. [sketch of treble clef and two measures of notes for “Auld Lang Syne”] Here’s health & a green memory to the days that are gone! / Always your friend / Sam L. Clemens [MTP, drop-in letters].

February 2 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-seven” dated Sept. 1867 at “Nazareth” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 236-42].


February 3 Monday – Sam’s article “Gossip at the National Capitol” dated Feb. 1 ran in the New York Herald [Camfield, bibliog.]. Note: Budd attributes this and two other Herald articles on Feb. 8 and Feb. 15, 1868 to Sam in “Did Mark Twain Write Impersonally for the New York Herald?” Duke University’s Library Notes, Nov. 1973 No. 43. In a personal conversation in July, 2007, Robert Hirst of the MTP observed that the evidence wasn’t strong for these unsigned articles being Sam’s; Budd acknowledges that they don’t sound much like him, but puts it to Sam’s attempt to be innocuous.


February 4and 6 Thursday Sam wrote from Washington to Elisha Bliss, asking for a thousand dollar advance on the new book, in order to cut down on his newspaper articles and focus on the book, which was to become Innocents Abroad. He had turned down the Postmaster of San Francisco job, and explained the loss of income to Bliss. Paine writes that Sam obtained an advance before he left for California, but the amount is unknown [MTB 362]. Sam also wrote his mother and family reasons for not taking the postmastership of San Francisco [MTL 2: 178-80].

February 5 Wednesday – Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, dated Jan. 11, 1867, ran in the San Francisco California Alta. Subtitles: Charles Dickens; Complimentary; Presidential Presents; Jump’s Pictures; Festivities, etc. [MTL 2: 623 1868s].

Jump’s Pictures.

Jump, the caricaturist, of San Francisco, is here as artist for Frank Leslie’s. He has made a water-color sketch of Pennsylvania Avenue, which is attracting a deal of attention. It hangs in the window of the principal bookstore, and has a cluster of amused folks around it all the time. It has twenty or thirty portraits in it. This is just the city for Jump, where the faces of the nation’s distinguished men are so familiar. In this picture he has portraits of Seward, Welles, Banks, Spinner, Horace Greeley, General Butler, Charles Sumner, Grant, Sherman, Stanton and others, whose features are well know everywhere. The execution is excellent, and the hits are good.

Jump recently married a handsome young lady in New York.

February 8 Saturday – Sam worked for a short time during this year as a special correspondent for the Chicago Republican. His first LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated Jan. 31 from Washington ran and included: “CONGRESSIONAL POETRY,” “MR JUSTICE FIELD,” “KALAMAZOO,” “THE CAPITOL POLICE,” “COLORADO AT THE DOOR,” and “FASHIONS” (a report on the fashions at General Grant’s reception) [Schmidt].

“The Man Who Put up at Gadsby’s” ran as a letter to the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. It was later expanded and included as a chapter in A Tramp Abroad (1880) [Wilson 217].


February 9 Sunday Sam wrote from Washington to Mary Mason Fairbanks, teasing her that he was “tapering off” of using slang. He also had been sick and recently moved to 76 Indiana Avenue in Washington.

“I am bound to wander out of the straight path & do outrageous things, occasionally, & I believe I have got a genuinely bad heart anyhow—but in the course of time I will get some of the badness out of it or break it”[MTL 2: 180-1].

Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-eight” dated Sept., 1867 at “Nazareth” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 242-8].


February 10 Monday Sam wrote from Washington to Emma Beach and began with: “PS.—Don’t skip any of this letter, now—because it is just full of wisdom.” Sam often put his postscripts at the top of his letters. Sam told Emeline he was still sick. He also was proud of the way he’d lobbied and squelched the nomination of a nominee for postmaster of San Francisco [MTL 2: 180-5]. Note: Sam’s letters to Emeline were playful, teasing, and softly condescending. His interest in her, young as she was, is evident in these letters.

Sam’s article “Washington Gossip” dated Feb. 8, ran in the New York Herald [Camfield, bibliog.]. Note: attributed to Sam by Louis Budd—See Feb. 3 entry and notes.

February 11 Tuesday – Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, dated Dec. 23, 1867, ran in the San Francisco California Alta. Subtitles: The President and Vice President; The President’s last; The Big Trees; Senatorial; Miscellaneous [Schmidt].


February 13 Thursday – Sam’s article, “The Facts Concerning the Recent Important Resignation” dated Feb. 9, ran in the New York Tribune [Camfield, bibliog.].


February 14 Friday Sam gave the toast “Woman” to the Press Club Dinner. He revised it to overcome the objections of Mary Mason Fairbanks [MTL 2: 191n1]. Fatout lists the toast as Feb. 18, as does Sam in his letter of Feb. 20 to Mrs. Fairbanks [MT Speaking 649].

Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, dated Jan. 16, ran in the Alta. Subtitles: The Wood-Cutters; Washington II; Grant’s Reception; More Sensations. [Schmidt].


February 16 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Thirty-nine” dated Sept. 1867 at “Nazareth” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 248-54].


February 18 TuesdayMARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON dated Jan. 11 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “Stewart’s Speech,” and:

The Political Stink-Pots Opened.

They are opened, and awful is the smell thereof! Millions of politicians have suddenly begun to prate, with unprecedented energy, even for their tribe, and they foul all the air with their corrupt and suffocating breath. It is all about reconstruction. The truth is, that the more Congress reconstructs, the more the South goes to pieces [Schmidt].

Sam’s article, “Washington Gossip” dated Feb. 15, ran in the New York Herald [Camfield, bibliog.]. Note: attributed to Sam by Louis Budd—See Feb. 3 entry and notes.

February 19 Wednesday Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Anson Burlingame.

“Don’t neglect or refuse to keep a gorgeous secretaryship or a high interpretership for me in your great embassy—for pilgrim as I am, I have not entirely exhausted Europe yet, & may want to get converse with some of those Kings again, by & bye.”

Notes: Burlingame resigned as minister to China in Nov. 1867, accepting a post from the emperor of China as envoy to all “treaty powers.” At this time, Burlingame was leaving Hong Kong for San Francisco and Washington. Sam sent a similar letter on this date by steamship [MTL 2: 186-7]. Sam wished to join the Burlingame delegation when it moved on to Europe, but also wanted to bird dog Bliss and watch over the publication of Innocents Abroad [A. Hoffman 139].

Sam’s MARK TWAIN IN NEW YORK dated Jan. 20 ran in the Enterprise. Not much humor here—the letter told of the squalor and tragedy of New York’s tenement house poor [Schmidt].

Sam’s second LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated Feb.14 from Washington ran in the Chicago Republican and included: DIED; Senator Chandler’s Party; St. Valentine’s Day; Curious Legislation; VINNIE REAM [Schmidt].

Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, dated Jan. 12, ran in the San Francisco California Alta. Subtitles: The Last Sensation; The Banquet; Washington Crime; More Washington Morals; Personal. [Schmidt].


February 20 Thursday Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Mary Mason Fairbanks. In part:

Your most welcome letter is by me, & I must hurry & write while your barometer is at “fair” for it isn’t within the range of possibility that I can refrain long from doing something that will fetch it down to “stormy” again.

I acknowledge—I acknowledge—that I can be most laceratingly “funny without being vulgar.” In proof whereof, I responded again to the regular toast to Woman at a grand banquet night before last [MTL 1 claims it was Feb. 14, not Feb. 18], & was frigidly proper in language & sentiment….Now haven’t I nobly vindicated myself & shed honor upon my teacher & done credit to her teachings? With head uncovered, & in attitude suppliant, but yet expressive of conscious merit, I stand before you in spirit & await my earned “Well done,” & augmented emolument of bread & butter—to the end that I may go & slide on the cellar door & be happy [MTL 2: 188-95].

In the evening Sam attended the Illinois State reception and sent a dispatch to the Chicago Republican [MTL 2: 195n3].

February 21 Friday Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to his mother, Jane Clemens and family.

“I was at 224 first—Stewart is there yet—I have moved five times since—shall move again, shortly. Shabby furniture & shabby food—that is Washn —I mean to keep moving….I couldn’t accept the Postoffice—the book contract was in the way—I could not go behind that—& besides, I did not want the office” [MTL 2: 195-6].

Sam also wrote his brother Orion, who was setting type for the St. Louis Missouri Democrat as a substitute.

“I am in for it. I must go on chasing them—until I marry—then I am done with literature & all other bosh, —that is, literature wherewith to please the general public. I shall write to please myself, then. I hope you will set type till you complete that invention…”

Notes: Orion had put together a wood-sawing machine. However, upon patent application, he discovered that such a machine had already been invented. More importantly, this letter shows that Sam continued to play the life of the bachelor in the months following his introduction to Olivia Louise Langdon [MTL 2: 197-8]. Powers cites a letter to Mollie Clemens for this date, which he says was “smothered in private files by Paine” for the reason of perpetuating the falsehood that Sam, once he’d met Livy, did not have much to do with other females [Powers, MT A Life 230].

Note: In July, 2007 at the MTP I transcribed the letter Powers refers to, from the “drop-in” letters. Here is an excerpt:

I was glad to hear from so many friends whose names are familiar to my memory—Ick, & the Ellas, Al. Patterson’s folks, India, your parents, Belle,—why, it is a party in itself! And Miss Mason—will you borrow a mustache & kiss her once for me—or several times?

I received a dainty little letter from Lou Conrad [Louisa I. Conrad], yesterday. She is in Wisconsin. But what worries me is that I have received no letter from my sweetheart in New York for three days [Emma Beach?]. This won’t do. I shall have to run up there & see what the mischief is the matter. I will break that girl’s back if she breaks my heart. I am getting too venerable now to put up with nonsense from children.

I rather expect to go with Mr. Burlingame on his Chinese Embassy—you know he is a tip-top good friend of mine—but for goodness sake don’t hint of this to the home folks. I would never hear the last of it. Cuss this cussed place—I am precious tired of it. There is no fun but receptions, & nobody there but stupid old muffs of Generals & Senators, who talk their plagued war & politics to me when I had rather hear Greek. When they have what they call “reunions” they are pleasant enough & are full of jollity.

The State of Illinois had one last night, & Oregon gives one at Senator Corbett’s Monday night. These suit me well. The invitations are special, & not more than a hundred to a hundred & fifty are invited. They are not crowded to death like the receptions. I like the banquets better than anything, but they do not occur often [MTP, drop-in letters].


February 22 Saturday Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Mollie Clemens about his book contract and that he expected to go with Anson Burlingame on the Chinese embassy trip, once he left for Europe [MTL 2: 198-9].


Sam also wrote to William C. Church, an editor of the Galaxy, complaining of an unpublished article he’d submitted which had not been returned. About this date Sam telegraphed the Alta for permission to reuse his 50 Holy Land letters [MTL 2: 200-1].

Sam gave a variation of his “Sandwich Islands” lecture to the Ladies’ Union Benevolent Society, Forrest Hall, Georgetown. The newspapers announced the lecture a “pleasing success,” with the audience in “almost continuous roars of laughter” [Lorch 73]. Fatout reports a full house, with Sam “entirely at ease” [Circuit 86].

February 23 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-three” dated Sept. 1867 “At Large in Palestine” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 254-60].

Text Box: February 24, 1868 – House of Representatives voted to impeach 
Andrew Johnson






February 24 Monday – The Washington Morning Chronicle said that the Feb. 22 audience, “including many of the most prominent persons of Georgetown and this city…was in almost continuous roars of laughter,” the amusing effect heightened by “his peculiarly slow and inimitable drawl” [Fatout, Circuit 86].


February 27 Thursday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER VII dated Jan. 30 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “More Westonism,” “Impeachment,” “Harry Worthington,” “Mormonism,” and:

Judge McCorkle.

They report that this homely old friend of mine—this ancient denizen of California and Nevada—the wrinkled, aged, knock-kneed, ringboned and spavined old war-horse of the Plains is to be married shortly to a handsome young Ohio widow worth Three Hundred Thousand Dollars. Well. What is the world coming to, anyhow? If any man had told me a week ago that any woman in her right mind and under 70 would be willing to marry that old fossil!—that old tunnel—that old dilapidated quartz mill—I would never, never have believed it. He is a splendid man, you know, but then he must be as much as 92 or 93 years old. He is one of my nearest personal friends, but what of that? I would remain a bachelor a century before I would marry such a rusty, used up old arastra as he is. I have always considered that I ought to fairly expect to marry about seventeen thousand dollars, but I think differently now. If McCorkle ranges at three hundred thousand in the market, I will raise my margin to about a million and a half [MTP].

Sam’s undated letter, “Concerning Gideon’s Band,” which ran in the Washington Morning Chronicle on this date, focused on Gideon Welles (1802-1878), Secretary of the Navy from 1861-9. His buildup of the Navy was instrumental in the defeat of the South [Camfield, bibliog.]. Note: Reprinted in the Hartford Courant Mar. 2 as “Mark Twain on the Crisis,” and in other newspapers, including The Oregonian on Apr. 24. From Sam’s letter:


Mr. Editor: — I see it stated that that staunch old salt, Mr. Gideon Welles, is going to rally to the protection of the President with his 400 marines. Do you know if that party is entirely made up? I would like very much to belong to Gideon’s Band. Here’s my heart and here’s my hand. I want to rally to the rescue a little. I am competent. I have been to sea a good deal, and have seen some service as a boarder on shore; besides, I have some entertaining stories to relate, which I have never got anybody to believe yet, and I wish to tell them to these marines.

We can gain the victory in this enterprise. In the old times there were only 300 noble Democrats in Gideon’s Band and they triumphed. Every Democrat took a horn. Every Democrat carried his own jug. Just arm us 400 modern Democrats as we have been armed for three thousand years; give us a jug apiece and sound the tocsin of war! Avast! Ahoy! Way for Gideon’s Band!



March 1 Sunday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER VIII dated Feb. 5 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “Office Hunting,” “The Man Who Stopped at Gadsby’s,” “Mrs. Lincoln,” “Felix O’Byrne,” and “Stewart’s Speech” [Schmidt].


Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-four” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 260-6].


March 3 Tuesday – Sam’s article, MARK TWAIN ON HIS TRAVELS, dated Feb. 1, ran in the Alta California . Subtitles: The White Fawn; Hartford; The Charter Oak; and:


Home Again. I got back to Washington this morning (January 30th,) after tarrying two or three days in New York. If find nothing going on here of particular import, except that J. Ross Browne’s nomination to the Chinese Mission has been sent to the Senate by the President, and there is very little doubt that it will be confirmed. I cordially hope so, partly because he is a good man and a talented one; a literary man and consequently entitled to high honors; and also because he has kindly invited me to take a lucrative position on his staff in case he goes to China, and I have accepted, with that promptness which so distinguishes me when I see a chance to serve my country without damaging my health by working too hard. Present engagements will keep me in the East for five or six months yet; but no matter, I shall follow him out there as soon as I am free, anyhow, if he is sent, and so none of you newspaper men need to go fighting for my secretaryship. I am the only man that can fill the bill. I am able to write a hand that will pass for Chinese in Peking or anywhere else in the world [Schmidt].

March 4 Wednesday
– Sam’s satiric poem, “Rock Him to Sleep” ran in the Cincinnati Evening Chronicle [Camfield, bibliog.]. The work ridiculed Alexander M.W. Ball, one of the claimants of authorship for the popular poem, “Rock Me to Sleep, Mother” [Gribben 21].


March 7 Saturday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON,  NUMBER IX dated Feb. 1868 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “Washington Rascality,” “The Delegation,” “Postmaster,” “Sandwich Islands Reciprocity,” “Miscellaneous” (McGrorty,) “Hay,” “Wood,” “Rough,” and



It is dead for good, now, I suppose. It promised so fairly, two months ago, that everybody boldly turned prophet and said it would certainly succeed. But it didn’t. Nobody’s prophecies concerning Washington matters ever come out right. Isaiah himself would be a failure here. Hon. Thad. Stevens, the bravest old ironclad in the Capitol, fought hard for impeachment, even when he saw that it could not succeed. He is not choice in his language when he speaks on this subject, concerning his fellow-committeemen and Congress generally. He simply says the whole tribe of them are “Damned Cowards.” It is the finest word painting any Congressional topic has produced this session [MTP].


March 8 Sunday On or about this date Sam received a negative reply from the editors of the Alta to his request to reuse the Holy Land letters in his new book [MTL 2: 200].

Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-five” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 266-72].

March 810 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to his mother and family. Paine paraphrases this letter, evidently not extant, about Sam’s decision to travel to San Francisco and talk to “those Alta thieves face to face” [MTB 361]. He knew Colonel John McComb and Frederick MacCrellish well. Sam, tired of Washington, thought he could lecture in San Francisco and write the book in fresh surroundings [MTL 2: 201-2].

March 9 MondayThe Washington Evening Star announced:

“Mark Twain”—Clemens—has left Washington for California to make arrangements for the publication of his work [Muller 137].


March 10 Tuesday Sam traveled to New York, where he wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks:

“I am so glad of an excuse to go to sea again, even for three weeks. My mother will be grieved—but I must go. If the Alta’s book were to come out with those wretched, slangy letters unrevised, I should be utterly ruined” [MTL 2: 202].

March 11 Wednesday Sam left New York on the steamer Henry Chauncey, bound for San Francisco [Sanborn 391].

Sam’s undated letter to the editor, “The Chinese Mission” ran in the New York Tribune [Camfield, bibliog.].

March 13 Friday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER X dated Feb. 22 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “The Grand Coup d’Etat,” and “How the Delegations” [MTP].

March 15 Sunday Sam wrote from the Henry Chauncey en route from New York to Aspinwall, Panama to his mother and family.

…the weather is fearfully hot—that the Henry Chauncey is a magnificent ship—that we have twelve hundred passengers on board—that I have two staterooms, & so am not crowded—that I have many pleasant friends here & the people are not so stupid as on the Quaker City—that we had Divine Service in the main saloon at 10.30 this morning—that we expect to meet the upward bound vessel in latitude 23… [just below the tip of Florida]. [MTL 2: 203-4].


Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-six” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 272-7].


March 18 Wednesday Sam wrote at sea to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

“Dear Mother—We shall reach the Isthmus tomorrow morning. It is getting very hot. Cuba was such a vision!—a perfect garden!” [MTL 2: 204-5].


March 19 Thursday The Henry Chauncey reached Aspinwall, Panama. Sam traveled across the Isthmus by train and boarded the Sacramento at Panama City at night [MTL 2: 205n1].

March 20April 1 Wednesday Sam made a speech on board sometime between these dates, entitled “Charade” [Fatout, MT Speaking 649].

March 22 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-seven” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 277-81].

March 29 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Forty-eight” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 281-7].


April 2 Thursday The Sacramento arrived in San Francisco and Sam stayed at the Occidental Hotel [MTL 2: 205; Sanborn 391]. Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks of his safe arrival:

“The Prodigal in a far country chawing of husks, P.S.—& with nobody to molest or keep him straight. (!) mild exultation.”

This letter could have been written any time from Apr. 2 to Apr. 14 [MTL 2: 208].

Sam had a formal photograph taken by Bradley & Rulofson of San Francisco, sometime between this date and Apr. 16, when he left for Sacramento [MTL 2: 215n7].

Powers claims that Sam began bargaining with the Alta editors the day of his arrival [MT A Life 236]. The Alta printed a note on Apr. 3 that Sam had arrived, so either day may be correct.

April 3 Friday – The Alta reported that Sam had arrived and proposed to lecture a few days [MTL 2: 205]. In the morning, Sam went to the offices of the Alta to negotiate with the owners over reusing his Holy Land letters. Frederick MacCrellish was no more flexible in person than he’d been in letters. He refused Sam’s request, but made a compromise offer of ten percent royalty on a published work by the Alta. Two books out at once would not do. Sam did not agree and left with things unresolved. Sam began to arrange for lectures [Sanborn 391].

April 4 Saturday – The Critic printed that Sam’s lecture topic would be “the results of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land” [MTL 2: 205].


April 5 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Fifty-two” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 302-6].


April 6 Monday The Alta reported that on Apr. 6 Sam was in the audience of a literary society meeting of Rev. Dr. Charles Wadsworth’s Calvary Presbyterian Church. Sam was called upon to give an informal, impromptu speech, “which was received with the liveliest applause” [MTL 2: 206].

April 7 Tuesday Sam’s MARK TWAIN’S LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON, NUMBER XI dated Mar. 2 ran in the Enterprise. Sections included: “The Mining School,” “A Good Job in Danger,” “Another One,” “ Governmental Blasting,” “Impeachment,” “In Abeyance,” and “Later” [Schmidt].


April 9 Thursday After being somewhat lost on the San Francisco side of the bay, Sam found a ferry and went to Oakland, where he spoke at the Methodist Episcopal Church [MTL 2: 206].

April 10 Friday – The Examiner and other newspapers reported that Sam would speak at Platt’s Hall on Apr. 14. It was at this Hall where Sam had enjoyed his largest audience in 1866. On Apr. 12, a notice in the California Weekly Mercury advised that Sam would soon fill a lecture circuit to the interior of the state [MTL 2: 205]. Sam’s posters announced that “The Doors will be besieged at 7 o’clock; the Insurrection will begin at 8.” Clearly, Sam enjoyed the circuit, seeing old friends, making money, and needed to outwait the Alta editors. Sam was even more of a celebrity in the region with the influence of the Quaker City letters.

Robert Bunker Swain (1822-1872) wrote to Sam:

“Dear Clemens

I have been hoping to see you all the week to ask you dine with me on Sunday. I would be most happy to have you and so would Mrs Swain. We generally dine at 4 ½ o’clock…please say amen & oblige …”[MTP]. Note: In this file at MTP, a typed explanatory note explains why Apr. 10 is the correct date.

Late Spring, Early Summer Sometime between Apr. 11 and July 3, Sam picnicked with Robert Bunker Swain and Clara Swain, and George E. Barnes, editor and co-owner of the Morning Call. Swain was superintendent of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, [MTL 3: 354n3].

April 12 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Fifty-three” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 287-91].


April 14 Tuesday Sam spoke at Platt’s Hall, San Francisco to 1,600, a full house. His lecture was titled “Pilgrim Life,” from his Holy Land material and his “The Frozen Truth” lecture.

We saw no energy in the capitals of Europe like the tremendous energy of New York, and we saw no place where intelligence and enterprise were so widely diffused as they are here in our country. We saw nowhere any architectural achievement that was so beautiful to the eye as the national capitol of America…We saw no people anywhere so self-denying, and patriotic and prompt in collecting their salaries as our won members of Congress [Fatout, MT Speaking 23-4].

The receipts for the lecture were over $1,600 in gold and silver and the reviews were good [MTL 2: 210n2 claims “mixed reviews”], but Sam thought the lecture was “miserably poor” [Sanborn 392]. Sam wrote notes to several newspaper men, including Samuel Williams (1824?-1881) of the Evening Bulletin, asking them not to print “any of my good sayings in the morning papers,” since he intended to “repeat my troubles to-morrow night” [MTL 2: 209]. Sam believed that newspaper synopses of his lectures caused folks to stay home.

April 15 Wednesday – Sam repeated the Apr. 14 lecture again at Platt’s Hall [Fatout, MT Speaking 23]. Lorch says “there was less obvious straining after effect” for this second lecture [78].


April 16 Thursday Sam took a steamer to Sacramento [MTL 2: 210].

April 17 Friday Sam gave his “Pilgrim Life” lecture, no doubt revised, at the Metropolitan Theater in Sacramento. Lorch says “he greatly amused many by apologizing for the absence of Elder Knapp, a well-known local revivalist who had distinguished himself recently in his campaigns against theaters and dancing” [78].


April 18 Saturday – Sam gave his lecture in Marysville, California. The Sacramento Daily Union ran this revealing review Sam’s performance of the night before:

MARK TWAIN’S LECTURE.—The Metropolitan Theater was crowded last night with a fashionable and intellectual audience to hear Mark Twain’s lecture. The speak began about half past eight o’clock and continued till ten. He began by correcting a misstatement of the subject of the lecture as published in the papers. He said he did not intend to speak much about the Holy Land, but mostly about the voyage of the Quaker City and the company aboard of her. This part of the discourse was characterized throughout by the speaker’s peculiar humor and wit; for Clemens is a wit as well as a humorist, and either as wit or humorist, much superior to Artemus Ward. A remarkable peculiarity of his style is the angularity of his contrasts, sharp turns from the ridiculous to the sublime, and comparisons which bring astonishment and laughter in touching distance. His use of adjectives is something marvelous, especially in piling up invective. The listener fears at first that the sentence is going to be weakened or lost in the confusion of polysyllabics, but to his amazement out plumps the exact fitting substantive at last which requires the force of every expletive used. The same thing is observable in his writing. No modern letter writer has so well succeeded in the use of long sentences or their proper relief by the right sort of proceeding and succeeding short ones. The first five minutes of the lecture sounded extremely frivolous, and reminded us of Artemus Ward’s “Babes in the Wood.” The next fifteen minutes brought the speaker and his audience to a mutually good understanding, and was something more than mere humor. The last hour was a decidedly rich treat and at times held the crowd with the deepest attention, eliciting applause. The applause and close attention were in every case compliments to the substance and not the style of Mr. Clemens’ lecture, for his address is not very good and his voice is low and sometimes aggravating to listeners. He draws upon rhetoric, history, fancy and the poetic, just often enough to show that he appreciates these qualities, but not so much as to weary those who appreciate them less than the humorous traits of his mind. His allusions to the ruined historical grandeurs along the shores of the Mediterranean was an eloquent and concise summary wrought up with skill to its climax and not continued a minute beyond the point where good taste and good sense, which is only another name for good taste, demanded its dismissal. The picture of Palestine did not disappoint the expectations of those who had read his letters from there; but it was greatly at variance with the customary sentimentalities and grandiloquent musings of the popular travelers who have within the last half century written on that subject. No two men are alike impressed with any scene. What inspires one with sublime fervor sometimes excites ridicule in another. Renan dressed out some of his finest thoughts on the sad shores of the Sea of Galilee, and Lamartine took some of his loftiest flights in Judea. Twain did not behold these scenes through the same glasses. He saw them only with the eyes of a practical American, keenly alive to progress and the present, and prepared for ridicule in spite of the gloss of romance and the eld of history. Yet they are mistaken who deem that he has no fancy or poetic feeling. Voltaire had this none the less because he ridiculed time-honored custom and things held sacred by great names. We confess to a partiality for this California humorist. At the bottom of his intellectual character there seems to us to lie a vast deal of good sense, which his humor is only used to dress up in such presentable style as will hardly fail to please any audience. He lectures to-night in Marysville, and goes thence to Nevada county, and thence of Virginia City [Railton].

April 20 Monday Sam gave his “Pilgrim Life” lecture in Nevada City, Nevada, where he announced that the “doors will be surrounded at 7 o’clock and the insurrection will begin at 8” [Lorch 79].

April 21 Tuesday – Sam gave his “Pilgrim” lecture in Grass Valley, California.

April 22 Wednesday Sam returned to Sacramento [MTL 2: 210]. Sam was learning that he could not base his Holy Land book on wholesale ridicule of what many felt were sacred sites and edifices, nor could he write essentially a put-down of the Pilgrims on the voyage, no matter how well done or deserved. The newspaper reviews of his California lectures were definitely a mixed bag.

April 23 Thursday The Grass Valley Daily Union gave Sam this review:

“MARK TWAIN’S” LECTURE— The irresistible sense of humor which characterizes this apostle, was exemplified, night before the last, from the very start. After diligent search and inquiry throughout the town, he finally succeeded in finding a couple of reckless persons, who cared nothing for public opinion, to accompany him on to the stage. The personal appearance of, and marked contrast between, these two individuals, convulsed the audience with laughter and thus put them in a suitable frame of mind to appreciate the mirth-provoking “Mark.” One of the supports (we came very near writing “sports”) was an uncompromising Democrat; the other, an ardent Republican; one was an impecunious newspaper man; the other, (immense contrast) a banker; one drinks only whisky; the other imbibes nothing but chocolate; one is bald-headed, and the other has no hair on the top of his head; one nose a great deal and the other—well, this contrast has been carried far enough. “Mark” arose between these two thorns, got behind his mustache, and started in. The first two stories he told, about the man that was twenty-four thousand, nine hundred and ninety-two miles from Marysville the way he was going, and only eight miles if he turned around, and the other yarn about the boy who wanted a little devil to play with, were good. We always liked those stories. Our grandfather used to tell them. Our little boy laughs at them when he finds them in Harper’s drawer, where they re-appear about every six months. They are good stories; they have stood the test of time. His other anecdotes, however, were not of this familiar type. They were all good, all original (having been told to “Mark” by a personal friend), and told in an inimitable manner. The Christopher Columbo story and the mummy yarn, brought down the house; but it being a very small one, nobody was hurt. The inconveniences of polygamy were forcibly illustrated by the case of the Sultan of Turkey with his eight hundred wives, who has to have his sleeping apartments lumbered up with a bedstead six feet long, and thirteen hundred feet wide. But it is not only as a humorist that “Mark” excels. His graphic description of the arid wastes of Palestine, and the mis-shapen waists of the Turkish ladies; of Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, and Damascus, the pearl of the East; (besides Damascus, he mentioned unfavorably several other cusses); his interesting account of Herculaneum and Pompeii and his vivid picture of Egypt, were as fine specimens of word-painting as good well be imagined. Taken all in all, the lecture was an excellent one; decidedly superior, in our opinion, to the one which he previously delivered on the Sandwich Islands. This may be his last lecturing tour, as we understand that he is about to commence a new work, having been engaged by the Smithsonian Institute, to write a eulogy of that Institution [Schmidt].

Sam took the 6:30 AM Central Pacific train for Nevada [MTL 2: 210]. At Coburn Station, California (now Truckee), Sam telegraphed Joe Goodman.

“I am doing well. Have crossed one divide without getting robbed anyway. Mark Twain.”

Sam’s reference to being robbed was a pointed barb at the fake robbery of Denis McCarthy and Steve Gillis in Nov. 1866 [MTL 2: 211]. Lorch details the trip:

“From Sacramento he proceeded by rail to the summit of the Sierras where the snow lay thirty feet deep on level ground and one hundred feet deep in drifts. Then came the arduous ride down the eastern slope of the mountain, first by six-horse sleigh down to Donner Lake, then mail coach to Coburn’s Station, and then railway and stagecoaches to Virginia City” [79-80].

April 24 Friday – Sam arrived in Virginia City at 5 AM [MTL 2: 211n1]. The day was clear and pleasant. Alfred R. Doten (1829-1903) met Sam at the courthouse and with other reporters at 11:30 AM they went to a hanging [Clark 994]. Sam was in one of the carriages that crowded around the gallows for one John Milleain (known also as Jean Millian), the convicted murderer of the infamous prostitute Julia Bulette. After the execution, Sam went to visit with his friends at the Enterprise office and work on his letters for the Eastern papers [Sanborn 393-4].

April 26 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Fifty-four” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 291-6]. The Virginia City Daily Trespass reported that Sam appeared “a little lean to what he used to,” but that he talked as rapidly as ever—“gets out a word every three minutes” [Fatout 80].


April 27 Monday – Sam gave his “Pilgrim” lecture in Virginia City at Piper’s Opera House. Sam competed with two large balls given in honor of the 49th anniversary of the Odd Fellows, so did not get a full house for his lecture [Sanborn 394].

April 28 Tuesday – Sam and Joe Goodman called on Alfred Doten and Philip Lynch at the Gold Hill Daily News office. The four shared a bottle of champagne [Clark 996].

In the evening, Sam repeated his “Pilgrim” lecture at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City. From Doten’s journal:

“At 8 ½ oclock a piano was heard in behind the curtain—as it went up, Mark was discovered playing rudely on it, & singing, ‘There was an old hoss & his name was Jerusalem’ ” [Clark 996-7].

The Virginia City Daily Trespass reviewed the lecture:

MARK TWAIN.—Pursuant to contract, Mark Twain delivered his announced lecture at the Opera House last night, to a very large and fashionable audience of ladies and gentlemen. The lecture is worth hearing. It is more—a rare treat to any one conversant with the history of ancient countries. From the moment the lecturer leaves some very commonplace strictures upon the unfortunate sea-sick pilgrims and Puritans, and commences to relate his experiences of the journey from Gibraltar to the Pyramids; from Spain to Russia; from Syria to the Bosphorus; it is all interesting, instructive, and at times immensely amusing. His power of language-painting is great, and his half soliloquy as to forgetfulness of renowned places where the Quaker City party pressed unappreciative (apparently) feet far exceeds any effort previously made in the poetic line by him who is better known in his writings as a humorist. In brief, we were immensely entertained by the lecture, and pleased, taking hearty applause or laughter as a standard for judgment. To-night the lecture will be repeated at the Opera House, and to-morrow night Mark will speak at Carson. We cheerfully commend him to all desirous of a real, live, entertaining literary treat [Railton].

The Enterprise reported Conrad Weigand (1830-1880) gave Sam a $40 bar of silver with the inscription: Mark Twain—Matthew, V:41—Pilgrim, which is the verse “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” The paper implied that when it came to bars, Sam would go further [Lorch 80; See 1993 UC RI, p.760-1].

April 29 Wednesday – Sam went to Carson City and gave his “Pilgrim” lecture at Carson Theater [Sanborn 394; MTPO].

April 30 Thursday – Sam gave his “Sandwich Islands” lecture in Carson City as a school benefit [MTL 2: 213].

May Sam’s hilarious article, “My Late Senatorial Secretaryship,” was printed in the Galaxy Magazine for May 1868 [Budd, “Collected” 1008].

May 1 Friday Sam returned to Virginia City, where he began a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks:

“My Dear Mother—I cannot go a-Maying today, because it is snowing so hard—& so I have been writing some newspaper letters…”

Sam left the letter unfinished until he returned to San Francisco [MTL 2: 211]. Sam spent a couple of days “to shake hands and swap yarns with his old friends” [MTL 2: 213].

May 3 Sunday – Sam left Virginia City for the trip over the Sierra Nevada, which, due to the late spring snows and railroad repairs, was one of train plus stagecoach for a 30-hour trip to San Francisco [MTL 2: 213n3-4].

May 4 Monday – Sam was in transit to San Francisco, by stage and by train. He spent the night in Sacramento [MTL 2: 215n8].


May 5 Tuesday – Sam departed Sacramento at 2 PM on the California Steam Navigation Company’s Capital, with his friend Edward A. Poole as captain. Sam arrived back in San Francisco and stayed at the Occidental Hotel again, and finished his letter of May 1 to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

The Alta has given me permission to use the printed letters. It is all right, now. I could not go with Mr. Burlingame, though I wanted to do it badly. I told him I would join him in Europe before his mission was finished. I must try & send my photograph with this. It is better looking than I am, & so I ordered two hundred. I mean to order a thousand more. I will send you five hundred to put in your album.

Sam had letters waiting for him in San Francisco from Mrs. Fairbanks, Charles Langdon, Julius Moulton, Isabella Beecher Hooker and “a dozen letters from other people” [MTL 2: 211-13]. Whether the agreement with the Alta had been finalized prior to Sam’s lecture tour or upon completion is not known.

Sam wrote from San Francisco to Elisha Bliss advising that he’d received permission to use his Holy Land letters. “I am steadily at work, & shall start east with the completed manuscript about the middle of June” [MTL 2: 215-6]. Note: Sam would not finish the Innocents Abroad manuscript and leave until July 6.

May 12 Tuesday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Mary Mason Fairbanks, including a photograph he had forgotten to include in his letter of May 5.

He also wrote to Frank Fuller about his success in lecturing, his plans to go east the first of July and the news that his book would be issued from the press early in December [MTL 2: 216].

May 17 Sunday – Sam’s “Holy Land Excursion. Letter from Mark Twain Number Fifty-one” dated Sept. 1867 at “Jerusalem” ran in the Alta California [McKeithan 296-301].

A typed note in the Apr. 10, 1868 letter file from Robert B. Swain reads that Clemens had the Reverend Dr. Jesse Burgess Thomas (1832-1915) lecture at him on 17 May, around which time he may also have socialized with [Horatio] Stebbins (1821-1902) and Charles Wadsworth, as reported in Barnes’s Call [MTP, see MTL 2: 225-9n2]. Note: see Who is Mark Twain? (2009), pp. 175-181 for Clemens’ article, “I Rise to a Question of Privilege,” a reply to a public rebuke by Baptist minister Thomas about his writings on the Holy Land.


May 18-23 Saturday – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “Happy Memories of the Dental Chair” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].


May 19 Tuesday Sam’s fourth LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated May 1 from Virginia City, Nevada ran in the Chicago Republican and included: “Bad Jokes,” “LITERARY DEBAUCH,” “HONOR TO WHOM, &C.,” “PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL,” “MAY DAY – A CONTRAST,” and:


Special Correspondence of the Chicago Republican.

I chartered one of the superb vessels of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company for a hundred and eighty thousand dollars, and invited several parties to go along with me, twelve hundred in all. I shall not take so many next time. The fewer people you take with you, the fewer there are to grumble. I did not suppose that any one could find anything to grumble at in so faultless a ship as ours, but I was mistaken. Very few of our twelve hundred had ever been so pleasantly circumstanced before, or had sailed with an abler Captain or a more obliging baggage master, but yet they grumbled. Such is human-nature. The man who drinks beer at home always criticizes the champagne, and finds fault with the Burgundy when he is invited out to dinner [Schmidt].

May 21 ThursdayBarton W. Stone Bowen died in Hannibal from a steamboat accident. Bart was a good friend of Sam’s and a fellow pilot; he befriended Sam and offered financial assistance at the time of Henry Clemens’ death. [MTL 4: 119n6].

May 28 Thursday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Elisha Bliss about Bancroft & Co. Publishing handling book sales on the West Coast and in Japan and China.

“I shall have the MSS finished in twenty days & shall start east in the steamer of the 1 of July” [MTL 2: 217-8].

May 31 Sunday Sam’s fifth LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated May 2 from Virginia City ran in the Chicago Republican and included: “CURIOUS CHANGES,” “BRIEF MENTION OF A FRIEND,” “NOVEL ENTERTAINMENT,” “UP AMONG THE CLOUDS,” and “AMEN” [Schmidt].

June Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “I Rise to a Question of Privilege” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].


June 7 Sunday Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother and family, advising them to keep the Tennessee Land if they had not yet sold it, since the new railroad would make it more valuable. He had washed his hands of trying to sell the land, and Orion made several trips there but failed to sell it [MTL 2: 219-20].

The Morning Call reported Sam had nearly completed his MS, “by dint of almost superhuman application.” Sam had been in seclusion to write. Presumably in June, Harte worked over the MS of what would become Innocents Abroad. In 1904 Sam wrote that he worked “every night from eleven or twelve until broad day in the morning” at a rate of about 3,000 words per day [MTL 2: 232n1].

June 13 Saturday – Sam’s letter, “Important to Whom it May Concern” ran in the San Francisco News Letter and the California Advertiser [Camfield, bibliog.].


June 17 Wednesday Sam wrote from the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco to Mary Mason Fairbanks. He had read a few of the scathing reviews of his “Pilgrim” speech by ministers and others.

What did I ever write about the Holy Land that was so peculiarly lacerating? The most straight-laced of the preachers here cannot well get through a sermon without turning aside to give me a blast. The last remark reported to me from the pulpit is “this son of the Devil, Mark Twain!”

Sam had worked many all-night sessions on his book.

I am writing page No. 2,343. I wish you could revise this mountain of MSS. for me. There will be a great deal more than enough for the book when it is finished, & I am glad. I can cut out a vast deal that ought to perish [MTL 2: 221-31].

June 18 Thursday Sam’s article, “ANOTHER OLD CALIFORNIAN GONE” appeared in the San Francisco Daily Dramatic Chronicle [Fatout, MT Speaks 56-7].

June 23 Tuesday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Elisha Bliss.

“The book is finished, & I think it will do. It will make more than 600 pages, but I shall reduce it at sea. I sail a week hence, & shall arrive in New York in the steamer Henry Chauncey, about July 22. I may tarry there a day or two at my former quarters (Westminster Hotel,) & then report at Hartford” [MTL 2: 232].

June, late Sam renewed his friendship with Steve Gillis, now married and living on Bush Street. He also spent time with Bret Harte, editor of the newly founded Overland Monthly, a literary magazine. Harte was on the verge of fame for his own stories, “The Luck of Roaring Camp” appearing that year, and “Outcasts of Poker Flats” the next. Harte helped Sam pare his long manuscript, and three years later Sam was to credit Harte with greatly improving him as a writer [MT Encyclopedia, Dickinson 352; Lennon 395-6]. Sam reserved a stateroom on the Pacific Mail steamship Sacramento, slated to leave on June 30 for Panama. At the urging of friends, Sam agreed to stay over and give one more lecture. Sam’s change of schedule was made no sooner than June 28 [MTL 2: 233n1].

June 28 Sunday The Daily Memphis Avalanche, p. 1, ran “Mark Twain on Female Suffrage.”

Mark Twain on Female Suffrage.

     “Mark Twain’ writes to his “Cousin Jennie” on the subject of “Female Suffrage,” as follows:

     There is one insuperable obstacle in the way of female suffrage, Jennie. I approach the subject with fear and trembling, but it must out. A woman would never vote, because she would have to tell her age at the polls. And even if she did dare to vote once or twice when she was just of age, you know what dire results would flow from “putting this and that together” in after times. For instance, in an unguarded moment, Miss A. says she voted for Mr. Smith. Her auditor, who knows that it is seven years since Smith ran for anything, easily ciphers but that she is at least seven years over age, instead of the young pullet she has been making herself out to be. No, Jennie, this new fashion of registering the name, age, residence, and occupation of every voter, is a fatal bar to female suffrage.

     Women will never be permitted to vote or hold office, Jennie, and it is a lucky thing for me and many other men that such is the decree of fate. Because, you see, there are some few measures that would bring out their entire voting strength, in spite of their antipathy to making themselves conspicuous; and there being vastly more women than men in this State, they would trot these measures through the Legislature with a velocity that would be appalling. For instance, they would enact:

     1. That all men should be home by ten p.m. without fail.

     2. That married men should bestow considerable attention on their wives.

     3. That it should be a hanging offense to sell whisky in saloons, and that fine and disenfranchisement should follow drinking in such places.

     4. That the smoking of cigars to excess should be forbidden, and the smoking of pipes utterly abolished.

     5. That the wife should have a little property of her own, when she married a man who hadn’t any.

     Jennie, such tyranny as this we could never stand; our free souls could never endure such degrading thraldom. Women, go your way! Seek not to beguile us of our imperial privileges. Content yourselves 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.

     If I get time, cousin Jennie, I will furnish you with a picture of a female legislator that will distress you—I know it will, because you cannot disguise from me the fact that you are no more in favor of female suffrage, really, that I am.          MARK TWAIN.

Note: Annie Moffett Webster offered that “Cousin Jenny” was a stranger who had written to Twain; see Mar. 12, 13 entry.

June 30 Tuesday – Sam dated advertising this day for the coming lecture—an elaborate handbill of protests for him not to speak, listing prominent citizens; his objections; and a final directive by the chief of police that he should go [Sanborn 397; MTL 2: 233n1].

July – Sam’s article “By Rail through France” ran in the July issue of the Overland Monthly [Camfield, bibliog.]. This was the first issue of the magazine with Bret Harte as editor. The publication was in tune with the pioneering spirit of excitement in California. Harte’s story, “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” appeared in the magazine’s second edition, propelling Harte to nationwide fame.


Sam’s “The Story of Mamie Grant, the Child-Missionary” written in his notebook during this month was a lampoon based on characters and structure of Elizabeth Stuart Ward’s The Gates Ajar (1868) [Gribben 741]. It was not printed during Sam’s life.


July 2 Thursday – Sam had planned on leaving June 30, but was enticed to one final lecture. He gave a lecture titled, “The Oldest of the Republics—Venice: Past and Present,” at the New Mercantile Library on Bush Street in San Francisco [Fatout, MT Speaking 25-6]. “As usual, the audience was large and fashionable, and was so enthusiastic, that afterward he felt ‘some inches taller’ ” [Sanborn 397].

July 3 Friday – Sam called at the steamship office to buy his ticket for July 6. The steamship company refused to let him pay, insisting that he be their guest, such was his notoriety and popularity in the region [Sanborn 397].

Robert Bunker Swain wrote to Sam: “I have been hoping to see you all the week to ask you dine with me on Sunday. I would be most happy to have you and so would Mrs. Swain.” The envelope was not mailed so must have been hand delivered. [MTP]. Note: MT wrote directions on the env: “Bet Cal & Sac on Powell on East side—center block—best looking house—door plate”; see L3 354-55 n.3

July 5 Sunday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Elisha Bliss, advising him of staying over one steamer (from June 30 to July 6) “in order to lecture & so persecute the public for their lasting benefit & my profit” [MTL 2: 233].

Sam also wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks about the successful “Venice” lecture. This time the reviews of the papers were unanimously favorable.

“But one thing I know—there is no slang, & no inelegancies in it—& I never swore once, never once was guilty of profanity” [MTL 2: 234-5].


Sam also wrote to John Henry Riley, letter not extant but referred to in Riley’s July 25 reply.

July 6 Monday – Sam sailed from San Francisco on the steamer Montana; his last visit to the city.

July 10 Friday – Sam joined in an on-board theatrical production called “Country School Exhibition.” Sam read an original composition, “The Cow,” and sang with the chorus, “Old John Brown had One Little Injun” [Sanborn 398-9]. Gribben suggests Sam organized the show and reported the event in the Alta California on Sept. 6 [510].

July 11 Saturday Sam wrote en route from San Francisco on the Montana to Mathew B. Cox (1818?-1880), a former passenger on the Henry Chauncey and Sam’s cabin mate on the Sacramento [MTL 2: 235-7].

July 13 Monday The Montana made a stop at Acapulco, Mexico. In Sam’s notebook he wrote: “Only 150 passengers on board” [MTNJ 1: 497].

July 14July 19 Sunday Sam drafted “The Story of Mamie Grant, the Child-Missionary,” which was a lampoon on piety, of the Quaker City pilgrims sort [MTNJ 1: 497].

July 20 Monday – The Montana docked at Panama to reconnect with the Henry Chauncey for the final leg home [MTNJ 1: 497]. Sam entered the Grand Hotel to get a drink. There he ran into Captain Ned Wakeman of the America, who told a tall tale of his dream of going to heaven, which in 1909 became, Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven [Sanborn 400]. Sam’s notebook:

“In Aspinwall, all it is necessary to do is cry Viva Revolucion! At head of street, & instantly is commotion” [MTNJ 1: 510].


July 25 SaturdayJohn Henry Riley (1830?-1872) wrote from Wash DC, sending it to Twain at the Westminster Hotel, NYC.

“Yours of 5th inst., was rec on the 21st. Glad to hear of you and your doing well. I shall be glad to meet you in New York or Philad, as I don’t suppose you will come down here.” [MTP].

Text Box: July 28, 1868 – 14th Amendment granted citizenship to former slaves

July 29 Wednesday Sam arrived back in New York and took rooms at the Westminster Hotel. He telegraphed Elisha Bliss: If I do not come until tomorrow will it answer? answer immediately.” Note: Bliss was about to release Albert D. Richardson’s book, A Personal History of Ulysses S. Grant, the next day, so put Sam off for a week [MTL 2: 237, 239n2].

Elisha Bliss wrote from Hartford to Sam: “Your favors have been received & your telegraph, today. How are you? Glad to hear of your safe arrival. / Expected to see you tonight, but not necessary to discomode yourself .” He would be in NYC and hoped to see Twain then but hoped Sam would bring the MS up to Hartford to stay a few days [MTP].


July 30 Thursday The delay with Bliss was fortuitous for Sam. The New York Tribune commissioned Sam to write an article “The Treaty with China,” which was an explanation of the treaty and a collaboration with Anson Burlingame and J. McLeavy Brown, secretary of the Chinese mission, both of whom had arrived at the Westminster, also on July 29. The article appeared on Aug. 4 [MTL 2: 238n1].

August 3 Monday Sam wrote from New York to Mary Mason Fairbanks:

“I knew that dog would die. I knew perfectly well you had invoked a fatal disaster for him when you gave him my name. He received all my sins along with the name, perhaps, & no dog could survive that” [MTL 2: 238].

August 4 Tuesday Sam took the train to Hartford, Conn. to work with Bliss on publishing Innocents Abroad for the next two weeks [Sanborn 400; Powers, MT A Life 241]. Sam would spend two weeks discussing the book and tightening the manuscript. Shortly after this, the manuscript was handed to Fay and Cox of New York, jobbers of illustrations, where TrumanTrue” Williams (1839-1897) was given the huge job of creating nearly 250 sketches [Winterich 177-8]. Williams would later work for the American Publishing Co.. Frank Bliss later quoted Sam about Williams: “He was the greatest combination of hog and angel I ever saw” [180].

 “The Treaty with China,” appeared in the New York Tribune. Sam argued in the article that the treaty would ameliorate persecution of Chinese immigrants. Writing from his experiences in San Francisco, Sam wrote:

“I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature, but I never saw a policeman interfere in the matter and I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done him” [MTL 2: 239n1].

Note: In 1866, Sam and Steve Gillis had thrown bottles at Chinese shanties from their hotel windows, but time revealed the true nature of such abuse to Sam.

August 15 Saturday In Hartford, Sam wrote to Frank Fuller. Sam had been offered a lecture in Pittsburgh for $100 in November. Fuller had become a part owner in a New York rubber goods business, which produced condoms and other items.

“Please forward one dozen Odorless Rubber Cundrums—I don’t mind them being odorless—I can supply the odor myself. I would like to have your picture on them” [MTL 2: 240].

August 17 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

“It is very late—been writing a letter to Chicago Republican. Shall leave for New York tomorrow. Shall be there 3 to 5 days. Then shall spend a few days with the other cub in Elmira—& then both of us will go to Cleveland to see the old bear” [MTL 2: 241].

Note: Sam, Charles Langdon, and Julius Moulton were Mary’s “cubs,” on the Quaker City excursion, Mary being the “old bear.”

Sam left late on Aug. 17 for New York, where he “was reported at the Everett House” in Union Square on the morning of Aug. 18 [MTL 2: 241-2; MT A Life 241].

August 18 Tuesday – Sam was in New York City, at least in the morning at the Everett House, and probably went to see Moses Beach in Brooklyn to look at his collection of photographs in order to select some for inclusion in Innocents Abroad. (See Aug. 25 to Bliss.)

August 1820 Thursday – Sam took a short trip to Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was an overnight guest at a summer outing in Sunny Brook, the country home of Moses S. Beach, then owner of the New York Sun. (See Aug. 25 to Bliss) Also at the gathering were Henry Ward Beecher and his protégé, Theodore Tilton (1835-1907), who beat a group of guests collaborating against him at chess, even with odds given of a rook. Tilton would give even greater odds to Beecher in an adultery scandal shortly thereafter. While at this summer outing, Sarah D. Maynard, a young schoolmate of Emma Beach, taught Sam how to play croquet [Milwaukee Journal, Oct. 2, 1929]. Note: Poughkeepsie is the home of Vassar, established as a female college in 1861. The girls may have been students there. Beecher served on the Vassar board of directors from 1864-68.

Note: Debby Applegate, author of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Henry Ward Beecher sent this: “The Beaches and the Beechers were obsessed, absolutely obsessed with croquet. Henry Ward Beecher’s wife Eunice especially excelled—the cut throat quality of it seemed to fit her personality.” See Susan K. Harris’ The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain, p.153 for a marvelous picture of the Beechers, Warners and others playing croquet in full fashion dress (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996). Note: Eunice White Bullard Beecher (1812-1897).

August 21 Friday Sam left New York City by train for Elmira, New York to visit the Langdon family. In route, Sam telegraphed Charles Langdon. Sam took a train named the “Cannon Ball,” thinking it would be faster, but it turned out to be the 10 AM local, which would not have reached Elmira until midnight. Langdon traveled to Waverly, about fifteen miles from Elmira to meet Sam en route. Paine describes their meeting: Charley aghast at Sam’s slovenly appearance. “They found him in the smoker, in a yellow duster and a very dirty, old straw hat.” Charley asked if he had a change of clothes. Luckily, Sam did [MTL 2: 242-3; MTB 367].

August 22 Saturday Sam arrived in Elmira the night before and now could see what a huge mansion the Langdons lived in. The Elmira Daily Advertiser announced Sam had achieved “great notoriety”  and expressed hope he would lecture in the city; he did not until Nov. 23 [MTL 2: 243n1].

August 23 Sunday –– Sam’s fifth and last LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated Aug.17 from New York City ran in the Chicago Republican and included: “ONE OR TWO CALIFORNIA ITEMS,” “A Railroad Mint – What the Legend Says,” “A GENUINE OLD SALT,” “PERSONAL,” and:


I have been about ten days in Hartford, and shall return there before very long. I think it must be the handsomest city in the Union, in summer. It is the moneyed center of the State; and one of its capitals, also, for Connecticut is so law-abiding, and so addicted to law, that there is not room enough in one city to manufacture all of the articles they need. Hartford is the place where the insurance companies all live. They use some of the houses for dwellings. The others are for insurance offices. So it is easy to see that there is quite a spirit of speculative enterprise there. Many of the inhabitants have retired from business, but the others labor along in the old customary way, as presidents of insurance companies. It is said that a citizen went west from there once, to be gone a week. He was gone three. A friend said:

“What kept you so long? You must have enjoyed yourself.”

“Yes, I did enjoy myself, and that delayed me some but that was not the worst of it. The people heard there was a Hartford man aboard the train, and so they stopped me at every station trying to get me to be president of an insurance company!”

But I suppose it was a lie [Schmidt].

August 24 and 25 Tuesday Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, Jane Clemens and family about his plans to stay with the Langdon family:

“…a week or two…This is the pleasantest family I ever knew. I only have one trouble, & that is that they give too much thought & too much time & invention to the object of making my visit pass delightfully” [MTL 2: 243-4].

New York natives Jervis and Olivia Lewis Langdon (1810-1890) were quite wealthy from lumber and coal businesses. Jervis was a strong abolitionist and friend to Frederick Douglass (1818-1895). The Langdon home had been a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. Charles was their only son, Susan Langdon Crane (1836-1924) an adopted daughter, and Olivia Louise Langdon. Sam’s wife to-be had suffered from a fall on the ice and been bedridden until shortly before this time. After this visit, Sam began a campaign through letters and oaths to reform to win Livy’s hand in marriage. Lucky for Sam, Jervis was his ally; Jervis liked to laugh, and so liked Sam.

August 25 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss:

Friend Bliss— [the usual way Sam addressed friendly business associates]

I am here, enjoying myself royally. Haven’t any desire to shorten my visit. I am getting acquainted with everybody. Shall be here nearly two weeks yet. My address will be printed on this envelope.

Staid a day & a half at Beach’s country place. Looked also at his pictures at his Brooklyn residence. He has such a multitude of them that I could not look at all. Therefore, we arranged that your artists should go there to his house (No. 66 Columbia street, Brooklyn) and select for themselves. Mr. Beach can always be heard from through his brother Alfred, in the Scientific American Office 3d story World building.

            Kind regards to all. Write me. Everything is jolly,[MTP, drop-in letters]

August 26 to September 7 – Sam had not intended to stay with the Langdons so long, but Charles had taken over the business in his father’s absence and could not go on to Cleveland with Sam until Jervis Langdon’s return. Sam did not want to visit Cleveland without his fellow “cub,” so spent days with Mrs. Langdon, Livy and their houseguest, cousin Hattie Lewis, while Charles finished his work. Hattie had a good sense of humor and would explain Sam’s jokes to Livy. Since Livy tired easily, they took leisurely carriage rides and strolls, played cribbage and sang around the piano. Sam was in for tough sledding at the Langdons—no drink stronger than cider and no smoking allowed [Sanborn 402].

September – The first appearance of “A Californian Abroad – Three Italian Cities” ran in the Overland Monthly. This piece was later collected in IA [Slotta 15].

Sometime during the month Sam inscribed a copy of The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County to I.N. Higgins: “To I. N. Higgins, Esq./ With best wishes / & friendly regards of / Mark Twain / Otherwise Sam L. Clemens./ Sept. 1868 [MTPO]

September 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss, enclosing an Excelsior Monthly Magazine reprint of his toast to “Woman” made on Jan. 11 at the Washington Correspondents’ Club dinner. “If any letters come for me between now & the 17th please send them to Cleveland, ‘care of the Daily Herald.’” (Abel Fairbanks newspaper) Sam also inquired about illustrations in the book and how Bliss had decided to use them [MTL 2: 245-6].

Sam also wrote Henry Crane (no relation to his future sister-in-law) about lecturing in Rondout, New York, in Jan. 1869. “I only want your usual price—what is it? My usual price is $100.” Celebrities at Sam’s rank were already getting $150 to $250 [MTL 2: 246-7].


September 6 Sunday Sam wrote the Alta California about Hartford: “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief. I never saw any place before where morality and huckleberries flourished as they do here” [MTNJ 1: 498].

Sam’s article, LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN, dated August at “Hartford”, ran in the San Francisco California Alta. Subtitles: The Proper Time to Sail; Captain Ned Wakeman, Mariner; Dissipation of Aspinwall; Personal Items; Hartford—The “Blue Laws”; Morality and Huckleberries; A Legend. [Schmidt]. Note: this article did not run in the Hartford Courant until Oct. 9.


September 7 and 8 Tuesday – Sam had fallen in love with Olivia Louise Langdon and evidently had expressed this openly to her, asking for marriage. The “rules” of Victorian society required her to refuse such a sudden and precipitous proposal, but Olivia allowed Sam to write her “as a brother to a sister,” which he did before leaving Elmira. In the early hours of this day Sam wrote her the first of many love letters. Olivia numbered each of Sam’s letters until their marriage in Feb. 1870 (when the total reached 184) [MTL 3: 473]. Powers claims “an estimated 189” [MT A Life 280].

Later in the morning, Sam and Charles Langdon left Elmira for Cleveland to visit Mary Mason Fairbanks and family.

September 9 Wednesday Sam and Charles Langdon arrived in Cleveland and stayed with the Fairbanks family. Mary Fairbanks gave the pair a reception during their short stay. Sam and Charles had formal photographs made by James F. Ryder sometime between this day and Sept. 20 [MTP].

September 11 to 20? Sunday – Sometime between these dates Sam traveled on to Chicago and St. Louis, while Charles remained in Cleveland. Sam wrote on Sept. 24 he was “mighty busy in that town [Chicago] too” [MTL 2: 252].

September 21 Monday Sam wrote from St. Louis to Livy. After expressing his gratitude at receiving her letter and picture (which she had refused to give him in Elmira):

I was so sorry Charlie could not come further West with me, for he is a good traveling comrade, & if he has any unworthy traits in his nature the partiality born of old companionship has blinded me to them. Mrs. Fairbanks was very proud of him that night of the reception at her house. But I am glad, now, that he did not come to St. Louis. He would have had no rest here—I have none—& it is a muddy, smoky, mean city to run about in. I am called East.—Must finish my visit here in January. I leave Thursday—24th . I shall rest in Chicago & in Cleveland, & I desire also to tarry a day & a night in Elmira (Monday 28th) if your doors are still open to me & you have not reconsidered your kind invitation [MTL 2: 251].

Sam did not leave on Sept. 24; the reason for his delay is unknown.

September 24 Thursday Sam wrote from St. Louis to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

I shall start day after to-morrow (Saturday) at 8 A.M., which will bring me to Cleveland Sunday morning. Then I will leave Cleveland Monday morning. I have some idea of spending Tuesday in Elmira—will talk with you [MTL 2: 252].

Sam used Mary as a sounding board for his relationship with Livy. Mrs. Fairbanks had early on encouraged Sam to marry, and supported him to keep trying with Livy. Mary also had corresponded with Livy’s mother about Sam’s suitability. Without Mary’s influence, Sam and Livy may never have married. Sam told Mary of receiving a letter from Jervis Langdon, who had been “very low spirited when we saw him last.”

Sam also responded to Frank Fuller’s “six-line letter” (not extant): “I have made several appointments to preach,” which was how Sam often described his lectures.

“…I hope your Company is well, also. I like Odorless Rubber Companies. I like them because they don’t stink” [MTL 2: 254-5]. See also Aug. 15 entry for more “cundrums.” Sam’s note is a reply to Fuller’s “six-line letter” not extant.

September 26 Saturday Sam left Cleveland by train for Elmira [MTL 2: 252n1].

September 27 Sunday – Sam wrote on Buffalo Express letterhead to unknown gentlemen:


I am going to lecture only a little over half the season, & my present engagements render it impossible for me to go further west than Pittsburgh. Otherwise I would be most happy to profit by your kind invitation.

Very Truly Yours / Sam. L. Clemens

Sam arrived in Elmira where he was to stay with the Langdons for a day and a night.

September 28 Monday – As Charles Langdon and Sam started for the train depot they were thrown from the wagon. Charles suffered head cuts and Sam was stunned. The accident delayed Sam’s departure. (Willis claims 3 additional days, but Sam left on Sept. 29 [MTL 2: 256 n2]. (See Sept. 29 entry, also a full account of Sam playing possum in MTA 2: 107-110.)


September 29 Tuesday – Sam left Elmira for New York. Livy wrote to Alice Hooker: “Mr Clemens spent two days here on the way to Hartford from St. Louis; he intended to remain one day” [Stowe-Day collection per Tenney].

September 30 Wednesday ca. – Sam arrived in New York, where he stayed a day, then left for Hartford, probably arriving there about Oct. 2.

October – The first appearance of “A Californian Abroad – A Medieval Romance” ran in the Overland Monthly. This piece was later collected in IA [Slotta 15].


October 2Friday ca. Sam arrived in Hartford and stayed with the Bliss family, where after “two or three days” he wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks.

October 45 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy, about fearing he “unsettled Mrs. Fairbanks’ mind, somewhat, concerning her Elmira visit” on account of the health of Jervis Langdon.

“Of course you needn’t go & tell the whole truth, as I have done, my dear contrary, obstinate, willful, but always just & generous sister—I can’t help telling the whole truth, (being similar to George Washington,) but you must. Otherwise I will muss your hair again” [MTL 2: 255-6].

Sam also wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks a humorous account of the carriage spill, and to Abel Fairbanks about pinning down a Columbus lecture date for the Associated Western Literary Association [MTL 2: 258-9].

October 530 Friday – In Hartford, sometime between these dates, Sam wrote a sort of riddle to Frank Fuller:

“If a man were to signify however which he was not & could not if he had the power, which being denied him he will endeavor anyhow, merely because it don’t, would you? I should think not” [MTL 2: 260].

October 7 Wednesday Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward L. Burlingame about seeing Edward’s father Anson and family in New York and about the Treaty article which appeared in the Tribune.

“Do you remember your Honolulu joke? –‘If a man compel thee to go with him a mile, go with him Twain.’ I have closed many & many a lecture, in many a city, with that. It always ‘fetches’ them” [MTL 2: 261]. Note: Sam was to grow weary of the joke, however.

Sam also wrote to Henry Crane about the title of his new lecture, taken from passages of Innocents Abroad. The lecture was first announced as “Americans in the Old World,” but became “American Vandals in the Old World.” “I am one of those myself,” Sam wrote [MTL 2: 262].


October 11 Sunday Mrs. Elisha Bliss introduced Sam to Rev. Joseph Hopkins Twichell (1838-1918) at the home of one of Twichell’s congregation [MTL 2: 269n4]. From Paine’s account of the meeting:


He returned to Hartford to look after the progress of his book. Some of it was being put into type, and with his mechanical knowledge of such things he was naturally interested in the process.


He made his headquarters with the Blisses, then living at 821 Asylum Avenue, and read proof in a little upper room, where the lamp was likely to be burning most of the time, where the atmosphere was nearly always blue with smoke, and the window-sill full of cigar butts. Mrs. Bliss took him into the quiet social life of the neighborhood—to small church receptions, society gatherings and the like—all of which he seemed to enjoy. Most of the dwellers in that neighborhood were members of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, then recently completed; all but the spire. It was a cultured circle, well-off in the world’s goods, its male members, for the most part, concerned in various commercial ventures.


The church stood almost across the way from the Bliss home, and Mark Twain, with his picturesque phrasing, referred to it as the “stub-tailed church,” on account of its abbreviated [unfinished] spire; also, later, with a knowledge of its prosperous membership, as the “Church of the Holy Speculators.” He was at an evening reception in the home of one of its members when he noticed a photograph of the unfinished building framed and hanging on the wall.


“Why, yes,” he commented, in his slow fashion, “this is the ‘Church of the Holy Speculators.’”


“Sh,” cautioned Mrs. Bliss. “Its pastor is just behind you. He knows your work and wants to meet you.” Turning, she said: “Mr. Twichell, this is Mr. Clemens. Most people know him as Mark Twain.”


And so, in this casual fashion, he met the man who was presently to become his closest personal friend and counselor, and would remain so for more than forty years [MTB 370-1]. Note: Strong writes Sam made his “holy speculators” remark “loudly and vehemently….His disapproval was obvious in his voice” [64].


Notes: Joseph Hopkins Twichell b. 27 May 1838 in Southington, Hartford County, and died 20 Dec. 1918. He married Julia Harmony Cushman b. 9 Aug 1843 and died 1910. Their nine children as follows:


1.     Edward Carrington Twichell b. 1867

2.     Julia Curtis Twichell b. 9 Jan. 1869

3.     Susan Lee Twichell b. 1871

4.     David Cushman Twichell b. 9 Oct. 1874

5.     Harmony Twichell b. 1876

6.     Burton Parker Twichell b. 1878

7.     Sarah Dunham Twichell b. 1882

8.     Joseph Hooker Twichell b. 1883

9.     Louise Hopkins Twichell b. 1884; all children born in Hartford



October 12 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks. Sam seemed anxious to reassure Mary that his lecture on the excursion would not be objectionable to her, and justified scattering “preposterous yarns” throughout the lecture [MTL 2: 262-5].


October 13 Tuesday Harmony Twichell invited Sam to the Twichell parsonage for Wednesday tea [MTL 2: 267]. Note: Mrs. Twichell was usually called Harmony; daughter also Harmony.

October 14 Wednesday – Sam spent the night at the Twichell residence, talking until 11 PM.

October 15 Thursday Sam wrote from Hartford to George L. Hutchings (1842?-1937), chairman of the Clayonian Society of Newark, New Jersey, stating his lecture terms and subject [MTL 5: 682].

October 16 Friday The contract between Samuel Clemens and the American Publishing Co. for the publication of Innocents Abroad was dated this day [MTL 2: 230n5].

October 17 Saturday Sam returned to Joseph Twichell’s parsonage to carry home books, which the pastor loaned him [MTL 2: 267].

October 18 Sunday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy. He engaged in name-dropping with Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, whom he met a week before. Sam had determined to live up to the standards of the Langdons in order to win Livy. He cheerfully accepted being “rebuked” by Livy, in much the same spirit he’d always done with his mother and also with Mary Fairbanks. It wasn’t entirely a game with Sam, however much he enjoyed the cycle. Sam sincerely wanted to improve himself, and to follow Anson Burlingame’s dictum to associate with more elevated persons. Knowing and extolling Twichell, a neighbor to Elisha Bliss and pastor of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, worked to Sam’s benefit. Twichell became a life-long friend and confidant, and would officiate along with Thomas K. Beecher (1824-1900) at Sam’s wedding.

This man apologized to me for talking so much about religion. He would not have done me that wrong if he had known how much I respected him for it & how beautiful his strong love for his subject made his words seem. When religion, coming from your lips & his, shall be distasteful to me, I shall be a lost man indeed….He & his wife are to drive me about the country tomorrow afternoon, & I am to sup with them & spend the evening, which is to last till midnight. He is about my age—likes my favorite author, too… [MTL 2: 266-9].

October 19 Monday Sam spent the afternoon and evening with the Twichells, driving “10 miles out in the country & back.” Sam and Rev. and Mrs. Twichell were accompanied by “two young ladies, sisters of Mrs. T” [MTL 2: 272].

October 21 Wednesday – Sam met with Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield (Mass.) Daily Republican and of the Weekly Republican, founded by his father. Bowles had just returned from the west and was interested in the Pacific coast [MTL 3: 267n1]. In an article Sam wrote dated Oct. 22, he described an International Boat Race (see Nov 15 entry.)

I went up to Springfield, Mass., yesterday afternoon, to see the “International boat race” between the Ward brothers and the “St. Johns” crew, of New Brunswick. We left here at noon, and reached Springfield in about an hour. It was raining. It seems like wasting good dictionary words to say that, because it is raining here pretty much all the time, and when it is not absolutely raining, it is letting on to do it [Schmidt]. Note: Twichell, class of 1859, had been on Yale’s crew [Sanborn 407-8].


October 22 Thursday Sam wrote the Alta California of his meeting with Sam Bowles [MTL 3: 267n1].

October 24?27 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother and family about Twichell, his book’s scheduled publication in March, and his desire to begin lecturing soon at Cleveland [MTL 2: 270-1]. Lorch says Sam had received an invitation to lecture there from Colonel John F. Herrick (1836-1909) [92]. Lorch calls Herrick, “a Quaker City companion,” but he is not listed among the passengers or crew [MTL 2: 385-7]. This latter source, p. 265n7 says Herrick was “elected corresponding secretary of the Cleveland Library Association in May 1868.”


October 30 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy about his outing of the previous Monday, more raves about Twichell, spiritual matters, and his upcoming plans to lecture. About Mary Fairbanks, Sam wrote: “I like to tease her because I like her so.” He added a P.S. “Have just received an imperative invitation from the Webb sisters to attend a party in New York to-night…I shall take the cars at noon” [MTL 2: 274]. Note: Emma and Ada Webb were somewhat well known actresses and singers who, in April of 1868, forfeited two performances at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City to allow Sam to speak.

Sam left Hartford by train for New York City, where he stayed at the Everett House.

October 31 Saturday Sam wrote from New York to Mary Mason Fairbanks: “I’ll be in Cleveland Nov.8—lecture there Nov. 17—so you can get ready to scratch. I’ll expunge every word you want scratched out, cheerfully” [MTL 2: 277].

November George Routledge & Sons, later Sam’s authorized British publisher, published Sam’s story, “Cannibalism in the Cars” in an English journal, Broadway: A London Magazine [Wilson 15]. Note: George Routledge (1812-1888); Edmund Routledge (1843-1899); Robert Warne Routledge (1837?-1899).

November 3 Tuesday Sam made social calls in NYC to a friend of Livy’s, Fidele (Mrs. Henry) Brooks (b.1837), and to longtime Hannibal friends of the family, the George Washington Wiley (b.1813?) family. He ate dinner there and walked back to the Everett House, some 28 blocks in “weather cold as the mischief” [MTL 2: 278].

November 4 Wednesday Sam wrote from New York to his mother of his visit to the Wiley home the day before, and on a visit this day to another Hannibal family acquaintance, Mrs. Garth in Brooklyn, mother of John H. Garth (1837-1899), whose pretty wife, Helen Kercheval (1838-1923), had been a schoolmate of Sam’s. Sam had hoped to see John and Helen but they had moved to Baltimore [MTL 2: 279; Sanborn 408-9].

November 7 Saturday – Sam’s article “Private Habits of Horace Greeley” was printed in Spirit of the Times [Camfield, bibliog.]. This was a weekly newspaper published in New York City, which aimed for an upper-class readership made up largely of sportsmen. The Spirit also contained humorous articles, much of it based on frontier folklore. Theatre news was also a major component. Emerson calls the Greeley article “one of the funniest pieces yet written,” and “good-natured fun” [56].


November 7 or 8 Sunday Sam again called on the Wiley family, since George Wiley had not been able to spend more than a few minutes with him the prior Tuesday. Sam confessed his love for Livy, who was “quite an invalid” and “unfortunately very rich.” Sam told George he had proposed at least a dozen times. George asked Sam if he was crazy. Sam teared up and offered that he knew he wasn’t good enough for Livy, which brought compassion from George—no, Sam was good enough—no girl in the world was too good for him. “Go for her, and get her, and God bless you, Sam!” [Sanborn 409].

November 9-12 Thursday ca. Sam left New York and arrived in Cleveland, Ohio early to work on his first lecture with Mary Fairbanks. A great deal was riding on Sam’s success as a lecturer in the East—Jervis Langdon’s approval, for one. Sam had Pittsburgh and Elmira lined up for the lecture he called, “The American Vandal Abroad,” and wanted to have the kinks out before revisiting Livy’s hometown [A. Hoffman 145].

November 15 Sunday – Sam’s LETTER FROM “MARK TWAIN” dated Hartford, Oct. 22, ran in the San Francisco Alta California. Subtitles: International Boat Race; The “Wickedest Man”; At Large; Legend; Personal [Schmidt].


November 16 Monday – Sam’s article, “A Mystery” ran in the Cleveland Herald [Camfield, bibliog.].


November 17 Tuesday Case Hall, Cleveland, Ohio: Sam gave the “Vandals” lecture to an enthusiastic and responsive audience.

November 18 Wednesday Sam wrote from Cleveland, Ohio to his mother and family.

“Made a splendid hit last night & am the ‘lion’ to-day. Awful rainy, sloppy night, but there were 1,200 people present, anyhow—house full. I captured them, if I do say it myself. I go hence to Pittsburgh—thence to Elmira, N.Y.” [MTL 2: 280].

Sam also wrote to the President of the Scroll and Key Society, Yale College, thanking them for his honorary membership in the school’s secret society for moral and literary self-improvement. His sponsor: Joseph Twichell.

He also wrote and thanked Joseph and asked his congratulations on his Cleveland success: “—for lo, the child is born!” [MTL 2: 282].

The Cleveland Herald gave the lecture a rousing review:

We know not which to commend, the quaint utterances, the funny incidents, the good-natured recital of the characteristics of the harmless “Vandal,” or the gems of beautiful descriptions which sparkled all through his lecture. We expected to be amused, but we were taken by surprise when he carried us on the wings of his redundant fancy, away to the ruins, the cathedrals, and the monuments of the Old World. There are some passages of gorgeous word painting which haunt us like a remembered picture.

We congratulate Mr. Twain upon having taken the tide of public favor “at the flood” in the lecture field, and having conclusively proved that a man may be a humorist without being a clown. He has elevated his profession by his graceful delivery and by recognizing in his audience something higher than merely a desire to laugh. We can assure the cities who await his coming that a rich feast is in store for them and Cleveland is proud to offer him the first laurel leaf, in his role as lecturer this side of the “Rocky-slope.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer chimed in as well:

The most popular American humorist since the demise of poor Artemus, made his first bow to a Cleveland public, as a lecturer, last evening, at Case Hall. Mark Twain has reason to feel a gratified pride at the pleasant and satisfactory impression he made upon his immense audience. The “American Vandal Abroad” was the title of a slightly incoherent address of between one and two hour’s duration—mingling the most irresistible humor with little flights of eloquence, and making up an entertainment of which it were impossible to tire. The “Vandal” was the type of careless, dry, Yankee tourist, who never lost his equanimity, or coolness, no matter what his situation might be. He looked at a manuscript of Christopher Columbus, with the most infernal sang froid—remarking that it didn’t amount to much as a specimen of penmanship; there were school boys in his country, who could beat it.

November 19 Thursday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at the Academy of Music in Pittsburgh, Pa.

November 20 Friday – Sam wrote from Cleveland to his mother and family:

I played against the eastern favorite, Fanny Kemble, in Pittsburgh, last night. She had 200 in her house, & I had upwards of 1,500. All the seats were sold (in a driving rain storm, 3 days ago,) as reserved seats at 25 cents extra, even those in the second & third tiers—& when the last seat was gone the box office had not been open more than 2 hours. When I reached the theatre they were turning people away & the house was crammed. 150 or 200 stood up, all the evening. I go to Elmira tonight. I am simply lecturing for societies, at $100 a pop [MTL 2: 282].

 The Pittsburgh Gazette reported:

“There is no extravagance about Mark Twain’s style, and yet he is entitled above all living men to the name of American humorist.”

Only the Pittsburgh Dispatch gave him a negative review [MTL 2: 283].

Sam left for Elmira.


November 21 Saturday Sam arrived in Elmira and went to the Langdons during the breakfast hour. Paine reports Sam announced himself: “The calf has returned; may the prodigal have some breakfast?” [MTB 375].

November 22 Sunday Sam’s LETTER FROM “MARK TWAIN” dated Hartford, Oct. 28, ran in the San Francisco Alta California. Subtitles: E. Pluribus Unim; Indigent Nomenclature Legend; A Relic: Where is McGrorty? [Schmidt].


November 23 MondayOpera House, Elmira, New York: Sam gave the “American Vandal” lecture for the third time, this time for the benefit of the local volunteer fire company, since Charles Langdon was an active member.

November 26 Thursday ThanksgivingOlivia Louise Langdon accepted Sam’s proposal, subject to her father’s approval. Sam accepted Jervis Langdon’s suggestion that official parental sanction be given after credentials of Sam’s character might be obtained. Sam offered names for Jervis to solicit [MTB 376].

November 26-27 Friday Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks:

It is MY thanksgiving day, above all others that ever shone on earth. Because, after twenty-four hours of persecution from me, Mr. & Mrs. L. have yielded a conditional consent—Livy has said, over & over again, the word which is so hard for a maiden to say & if there were a church near here with a steeple high enough to make it an object I should go & jump over it. What do you think? She felt the first faint symptom Sunday, & the lecture Monday night brought the disease to the surface. She isn’t my sister any more—but some time in the future she is going to be my wife, & I think we shall live in Cleveland….I shall touch no more spirituous liquors after this day (though I have made no promises)—I shall do no act which you or Livy might be pained to hear of—I shall seek the society of the good—I shall be a Christian [MTL 2: 283-5].

Sam must have left Elmira by Nov. 27, because he wrote from New York to Livy the following day.

November 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Everett House in New York to Livy, his first love-letter since their engagement.

When I found myself comfortably on board the cars last night . . . I said to myself: “Now whatever others may think, it is my opinion that I am blessed above all other men that live; I have known supreme happiness for two whole days, & now I ought to be ready & willing to pay a little attention to necessary duties, & do it cheerfully.” Therefore I resolved to go deliberately through that lecture, without notes, & so impress it upon my memory & my understanding as to secure myself against any such lame delivery of it in future as I thought characterized it in Elmira. But I had little calculated the cost of such a resolution. Never was a lecture so full of parentheses before. It was Livy, Livy, Livy, Livy, all the way through! It was one sentence of Vandal to ten sentences about you. The insignificant lecture was hidden, lost, overwhelmed & buried under a boundless universe of Livy! [MTL 2: 288-93].

Sam also wrote Twichell of Livy’s acceptance.

Private. / My Dear J. H. / Sound the loud timbrel!—& let yourself out to your most prodigious capacity,—for I have fought the good fight & lo! I have won! Refused three times—warned to quit, once—accepted at last!—& beloved!—Great Caesar’s ghost, if there were a church in town with a steeple high enough to make it an object, I would go out & jump over it! [MTL 2: 293].

November 29? Sunday Sam wrote from New York to his sister, Pamela Moffett:

Now—Private—Keep it to yourself, my sister—do not even hint it, to any one—I make no exception. I can trust you. I love—I worship—Olivia L. Langdon, of Elmira—& she loves me. When I am permanently settled—& when I am a Christian—& when I have demonstrated that I have a good, steady, reliable character, her parents will withdraw their objections, & she may marry me—I say she will—I intend she shall—… [MTL 2: 295].

November 30 Monday Sam’s 33rd birthday.

December 1 TuesdayMary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland, replying to Sam’s of Nov. 26-27. It survives in part in Sam’s letter to Livy of Dec. 4. He quotes: “Of course you must live in Cleveland. That is what I want to do. Don’t you? Now say you do, Livy, there’s a dear good girl” [MTP].

December 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from New York to Jervis Langdon, including between pleasantries his progress at buying an interest in a newspaper [MTL 2: 297-9]. Sam left New York on the 11:30 AM Hudson River Railroad express To Albany and Troy, where he crossed the river to Rondout, New York. Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in the evening [MTL 2: 300n5].

Joe Twichell wrote to Sam, quoted in Sam’s Dec. 4 to Livy:

Receive my benediction, Mark—my very choicest! I breathe it toward you—that particular doxalogic & hallelujah formula thereof which I use on occasions which but for the sake of propriety I should celebrate by smiting of my thigh, and grand pas seul & three cheers with a tiger!…I do congratulate you, dear friend, with all the power of congratulation that is in me…I don’t care very much about your past, but I do care very much about your future…Your heart, with this new, sacred love in it is a more precious thing to offer God than it was without it [MTP]. Note: grand pas seul = great not only.

December 3 Thursday Sam probably used this day as a travel day, and returned to New York.

December 4 Friday Sam wrote from Metropolitan Hotel in New York to Livy, again professing his undying love, the necessity for love from the brain and the heart, and listing those he confided the provisional engagement to: Dan Slote, the Twichell’s, his sister Pamela, and Mrs. Fairbanks—and tells of their responses. Originally a 27-page letter, Sam tore off sections and removed a full page [MTL 2: 302-312]. Note: Livy docketed this as letter # 9.

December 5 and 7 Monday Sam wrote from New York to Livy of misgivings about being a Christian—about understanding that he needed Christ for his own sake, not to win Livy’s heart and approval.

“Bless me, I am so tied hand & foot with these lecture appointments that I don’t know whether I am standing on my head or my heels” [MTL 2: 312-18].

December 8 Tuesday Sam made a “little journey to Hartford to bare his soul to Twichell about his struggles with prayer and his desire for success. According to Sam’s letter to Livy of Dec. 9, he and Twichell sat up from 10 PM to 1 AM talking about Livy and religion. It had been bothering Sam that he’d been praying with “selfish motives” instead of seeking Jesus “for himself alone” [MTL 2: 318].

December 9 Wednesday – Sam returned to New York on the 1:20 AM train.

Opera House, Newark, New Jersey: Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture, sponsored here by the Clayonian Society. Back in his room, Sam wrote Livy about his talk with Twichell, and the successful lecture in Newark.

“Tonight you would not have recognized this as the same dull harangue I dragged myself through so painfully in Elmira” [MTL 2: 318-24].

December 10 Thursday Sam wrote from the Everett House in New York City to his mother and family.

I didn’t move to the Metropolitan—shall when next I come to town. I ought to write you fully, now, but can’t—am just ready to leave the city for Norwich, N.Y., Fort Plain, N.Y., & Scranton, Pa—all these are before 20 Dec….I could not write you last night—was tired out. Had not slept for 36 hours. Went over in the evening & lectured in Newark (most superb success I ever achieved)—then returned here at midnight & had to stand around the ferry house twenty minutes…[MTL 2: 324-5].

Sam left New York for the Delevan House in Albany, New York where he spent the night.

December 11 Friday – The Newark Daily Advertiser:

In the humorous parts the speaker resembled Artemus Ward in his slow and quaint way of saying very amusing things. The audience was constantly convulsed with laughter, and was continued in its happy humor by quiet touches of wit and sentiment. Altogether it was a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

In Norwich, New York, Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture.

December 12 Saturday Sam wrote from Norwich, New York to tease Mary Mason Fairbanks.

It is noon, & snowing. I am here, the guest of Judge Mason—& happy. Mrs. Mason is so good, & so kind, so thoughtful, so untiring in her genuine hospitality, & lets me be just as troublesome as I want to, that I just love her, & it seems as if she were you—or your double. She lets me smoke in the house, & bring in snow on my boots, & sleep late, & eat at unseasonable hours, & leaves my valise wide open on the floor & my soiled linen scattered about it just exactly as I leave it & as it ought to be to make life truly happy [MTL 2: 326].

Sam stayed the weekend with the Masons. Sam also wrote Livy: “It is splendid! gorgeous! unspeakably magnificent! I am to see you, you, YOU on the 17th!” [MTL 2: 327-31].

Sam also wrote Joseph Twichell, describing Livy’s rational letters as the “darlingest funniest love letters that were ever written” [MTL 2: 332].

Sam’s article “Concerning Gen. Grant’s Intentions,” dated Dec. 7, 1868 ran in the New York Tribune [Camfield, bibliog.; The Twainian, Nov-Dec. 1946 p1-2]. Note: this was reprinted Dec. 19 in the Hartford Courant.

December 14 Monday – Sam left Norwich to New York City and on to Scranton, Pa. 

December 16 WednesdayScranton, Pennsylvania: Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture, then left again for Elmira.

December 17 Thursday – Sam arrived in Elmira at 7 PM and spent the night at the Langdon house [A. Hoffman 147]. See also letter of Dec. 12.

December 18 Friday Sam left the Langdon house at 7 PM [MTL 2: 348].

December 19 SaturdayFort Plain, New York: Sam arrived here in the afternoon and gave his “Vandals” lecture in the evening.

December 19 and 20 Sunday – Sam was the guest of his poet-friend, George W. Elliott (1830-1898) and wife in Fort Plain, New York. Sam wrote to Livy.

“Here at dead of night I seem to hear the murmur of the far Pacific—& mingled with the music of the surf the melody of an old familiar hymn is sounding in my ear.”

Sam related the pause and sorrow he’d felt reading of the death of 35-year-old Rev. Franklin S. Rising, whom Sam knew in Virginia City and returning from Hawaii on the Smyrniote [MTL 2: 333-9]. Rising died Dec. 4, 1868 in a collision of the steamers America and United States on the Ohio River [MTL 1: 354n3].

You know the hymn—it is “Oh refresh us.” It haunts me now because I am thinking of a steadfast friend whose death I have learned through the papers—a friend whose face must always appear before me when I think of that hymn—the Rev. Franklin S. Rising…He was rector of the Episcopal church in Virginia City, Nevada—a noble young fellow—& for 3 years, there, he & I were fast friends….Afterward I stumbled on him in the Sandwich Islands, where he was traveling for his health, & we so arranged it as to return to San Francisco in the same ship. We were at sea five Sundays….A month ago, after so long a separation, he saw by the Tribune that I was at the Everett House, & came at once & left his card—I was out & did not see him. It was the last opportunity I was ever to have on earth. For his wanderings are done, now; his restless feet are still; he is at peace. Now the glories of heaven are about him, & in his ears its mysterious music is sounding—but to me comes no vision but a lonely ship in a great solitude of sky & water; & unto my ears comes no sound but the complaining of the waves & the softened cadences of that simple old hymn—but Oh, Livy, it comes freighted with infinite pathos! [MTL 2: 333-4]. Note: And, of course, for the zillionth time, Sam told Livy that he loved her.

December 21 Monday Sam arrived in Detroit, Michigan just before midnight and wrote Livy:

“I am so inexpressibly tired & drowsy!—not tired, either, but worn, you know, & dreary. I wish I never had to travel any more. And I won’t, after we come to anchor, my dear—I won’t for any light cause. How I long to have a home & never leave it!” [MTL 2: 339-40].

December 22 TuesdayYoung Men’s Hall, Detroit, Michigan: Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture. At midnight he added to the letter to Livy from the previous night:

“I have just this moment parted with my newspaper friends—I don’t get a moment’s time to myself. The whole day long I have been driving or visiting, with first one & then another—& I found an old friend or two here, as usual—I find them everywhere—how they do wander!”

Sam called on Livy’s friend Miss Emma Nye and stayed for tea until 6 PM [MTL 2: 339-41].

December 23 Wednesday – A review of the Detroit lecture by the Detroit Free Press:

Last evening Young Men’s Hall was densely crowded with one of the largest audiences of the season, to listen to Mark Twain in his new role of comic lecturer. Of course all were intensely amused at his droll sayings, but it is perhaps safe to say that his capabilities as a writer are far in advance of his powers as a lecturer. The lecture itself was decidedly good, but its delivery was not what might have been expected, an assumed drawl, though very taking and appropriate at times, spoiling the effect of many of the finest sentences. Some of the more serious passages were of the most brilliant order, but their effect was sadly marred by the failing already alluded to [Schmidt].

Sam went on to Lansing, Michigan and gave his “American Vandals” lecture at Mead’s Hall [MTPO].

Later he wrote from to Livy:

I was not at all satisfied with my performance in Detroit, for notwithstanding I had the largest audience they had seen there for a long time, I was awkward & constrained—ill at ease—& did not satisfy them, I think. But if I had only had your letter in my pocket, then, how different it would have been! . . . Now tonight we had the largest audience that has ever attended any lecture here, but Gough’s, & I honestly believe I pleased every individual in the house. The applause of the serious passages was cordial & unstinted. [MTL 2: 342]. Note: John Bartholomew Gough (1817-1886), temperance lecturer.

Still, the Lansing Republican praised Sam’s descriptions of Venice, the Sphinx, and the Acropolis.

December 24 Thursday Sam wrote from Lansing to his sister Pamela. Sam wished the family Merry Christmas and sent his mother and the children money. He expected to spend a few days around New Year’s in Cleveland with the Fairbankses [MTL 2: 347-8]. Sam began a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, which he completed the following day.

“I shall arrive at your house Dec. 28—& shall leave again Jan. 2—except that I shall lecture in Akron Dec. 30. I skip Dayton for the present.”

He told her of wheedling an invitation for a one-night stay at the Langdon’s on Dec. 17. He confided to Mary of Livy’s sadness at the idea of leaving home to live in Cleveland, and of her father’s plans to sell out when and if she left home. Sam asked Mary to write to Livy. As he wrote, it passed midnight, and Sam noted “Christmas is here.” Then he compared Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth with his seeing the place [MTL 2: 348-51].

December 25 FridayChristmas – In the wee hours, Sam wrote Livy:

“I love you more than I can tell. And now is the time to love—for on this day the Savior was born, whose measureless love unbarred the gates of Heaven to perishing men….I must to bed. I ride 20 miles in a cutter to-day, & lecture tonight at Charlotte.”

Sam went to Charlotte, Michigan, and found letters waiting from Livy and her father. That evening he gave his “Vandals” lecture [MTL 2: 352-3].

Clemens wrote Jervis Langdon a letter that is now lost [MTL 3: 6n4].

December 26 Saturday – Sam left Charlotte for Tecumseh, Michigan, where he gave his “Vandals” lecture.

December 27 Sunday – Sam wrote from Tecumseh to Livy about the difficulties of becoming a Christian, about social drinking, about his loneliness, about his love, and his expectation to see Mrs. Fairbanks the next day [MTL 2: 353-6].

December 28 Monday – Sam arrived in Cleveland and stayed with the Fairbankses.

December 29 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Cleveland to Jervis Langdon, responding to his letter of Dec. 8 that had caught up with him in Charlotte, Michigan. The last letter Sam wrote concerning Sam’s time spent alone in the drawing room had offended Jervis. Sam wrote that he accepted the rebuke and regretted any offense. He wrote a few paragraphs about his references:

It is my desire as truly as yours, that sufficient time shall elapse to show you, beyond all possible question, what I have been, what I am, & what I am likely to be. Otherwise you could not be satisfied with me, nor I with myself. I think that much of my conduct on the Pacific Coast was not of a character to recommend me to the respectful regard of a high eastern civilization, but it was not considered blameworthy there, perhaps. We go according to our lights.

Sam wrote additional names for Jervis to contact: Hon. J. Neely Johnson, Carson City, Nevada, ex-governor and now state supreme court justice; Governor of Nevada Henry Goode Blasdel, Joe Goodman, and others. He discusses the Cleveland Herald and his desire to buy into the paper, half-owned by Abel Fairbanks [MTL 2: 356-60].

December 30 Wednesday – Sam wrote in the morning from Cleveland to Livy and told her of the letter he’d written her father the day before. Sam confessed misgivings about his letters to Jervis Langdon, but also told her of Mary Fairbanks reading a letter from Mrs. Langdon, one favorably disposed to Sam.

“Solon Severance is coming early with a buggy New Year’s, & we are going to make calls all day long. He knows everybody—& we are going as a Temperance Phalanx, to shed a beneficent influence far & wide over this town!” [MTL 2: 363-7].

Sam traveled to Akron, Ohio, gave his “Vandals” lecture at the Methodist Church, and returned to the Fairbanks home in Cleveland.

December 31 Thursday Sam wrote from Cleveland, Ohio to Livy:

Your Christmas letter arrived an hour before I went on the stage at Akron, last night, & of course I captured that audience. It was much the largest gathering a lecture had called out since Gough talked there 2 years ago. It couldn’t have been larger, for all standing room was filled. Then I went to a large private dancing party & stayed till 12:30, though I only danced, 3 times. I made it up talking & making friends. There were a large number of comely & companionable young ladies there, & the young gentlemen were cordial, intelligent & agreeable. . . . I escaped a serenade by a brass band by going to the party, & so escaped making a speech. I liked the friendly idea of the serenade, but wouldn’t have enjoyed being so pointedly lionized [MTL 2: 367-8].