Vol 1 Section 0026

Midwest Lecture Tour – Visits to Elmira & Hartford – Sam & Livy Engaged

 Sam Met William Dean Howells – Innocents Abroad a Great Success

Buffalo Newspaper Purchased with Jervis Langdon’s help – Grueling Lecture Schedule


1869Sometime during the year Clemens took out a $10,000 life insurance policy with Continental Life Ins. Co of Hartford [MTP]. Note: see June 16, 1877.

January 1 Friday Sam spent the day with Solon & Emily Severance, old Quaker City shipmates, making social calls in Cleveland, Ohio. While he waited for the carriage, Sam wrote Joseph Twichell:

“And I have delightful Christmas letters, this morning, from her [Livy’s] mother & father—full of love and trust. I seem to be shaking off the drowsiness of centuries & looking about me half bewildered at the light just bursting above the horizon of an unfamiliar world” [MTL 3: 1-2].

January 2 Saturday Sam made an error in his schedule, not appearing on Dec. 29 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This was a make up date and he gave the “American Vandal Abroad” lecture at Hamilton’s Hall in Ft. Wayne. Afterward he wrote from Ft. Wayne to Livy:

How they have abused me in this town, for the last two or three days! But they couldn’t get the newspapers to do it. They said there was some mistake, & steadfastly refused—for which I am grateful. The night I should have lectured here, the house was crowded, & yet there was not room for all who came. To-night it was rainy, slushy & sloppy, & only two-thirds of a house came. They were very cool, & did not welcome me to the stage. They were still offended, & showed it. But as soon as I saw that, all my distress of mind, all my wavering confidence, all my down-heartedness vanished, & I never felt happier or better satisfied on a stage before. And so, within ten minutes we were splendid friends—they unbent, banished their frowns, & the affair went off gallantly. A really hearty opposition is inspiring, sometimes [MTL 3: 2-8].

January 3 Sunday In a letter of Jan. 14 to Livy, Sam answered her question of what he did on this day.

Where was I on Sunday, Jan 3? In Fort Wayne. Had my breakfast brought up, & lay in bed till 1 P.M. I did want to go to church, & the bells sounded very inviting, but it seemed a plain duty to rest all I could….Yes I lay abed till 1 P.M. & read your Akron & Cleveland letters several times—& read the Testament—& re-read Beecher’s sermon on the love of riches being the root of all evil—and read Prof. Goldwin Smith’s lecture on Cromwell…—& smoked thousands of cigars…Then I got up and ate dinner with some friends—& went to bed again at 4 in the afternoon & read & smoked again—& got up long, long before daylight & took the cars for the endless trip to Indianapolis & Chicago. That is the history of Jan. 3, Livy dear, & I remember it ever so pleasantly [MTL 3: 38-9]. Note: Goldwin Smith (1823-1910). See letter of Jan. 14 for more.

January 4 Monday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at The Metropolitan, Indianapolis, Indiana.

John Morris wrote:

In compliance with my pledge at Jackson I herewith enclose you an article from the Lansing Republican one from the Charlotte Argus by Prof. Ingham & another from the Charlotte Republican by some very good judge who styles himself “Brownie.”

How have you fared since we dined on partridge? I do not forget that meal nor the woebegone expression of our colored “brother” as you catechised him concerning the bill of fare in demand.

You may rest assured that your name will find an acceptable place upon our list another winter if we shall survive or escape the strokes of that professional Reaper thus long.

Have you heard anything from Marshall a nice old town on the Mich Central about 30 miles west of Jackson. They are in need of a lecture to fill one of Anna Dickinson’s appointments that she has taken up for some cause. I have reccommended you to one of their committee & he promised to write you at Cleveland direct. They were anxious to hear how your efforts were received here & at Lansing. If you are to come there I might possibly manage to hear your gentle voice.

Yours Truly

John Morris [MTP].

Note: Twain wrote on the letter: “This is from a splendid fellow —a friend I made in Charlotte.”

January 5 Tuesday The Indianapolis Journal reviewed Sam’s lecture:

MARK TWAIN AS A LECTURER.—To say that the audience that listened to Mark Twain’s lecture, at the Metropolitan last night, was well pleased would be saying what every man and woman present will attest; but every one would also say that those two words are so far from properly representing the pleasure afforded, that in their very tameness they seem to underrate its real value. It is so common now-a-days to apply high sounding adjectives to all manner of entertainments, whether of merit or not, that we avoid their use in noticing the lecture of Mark Twain, in order that it may not be ranked by our readers along with the very “flat, stale and unprofitable” productions, that pass under ponderous adjectives for lectures worth hearing. The impression made on the hearer by the first few sentences of the lecturer is anything but favorable. There is in the careless and effortless manner of dropping words as though they rolled from the speaker’s mouth half moulded as it were, and the lazy roll of the head, a strong indication that he is to be bored by a commonplace recital of incidents of travel abroad, interspersed with a few jokes that would be much more enjoyable in print, than as mumbled by the speaker. The awakening from this error comes so suddenly, so thoroughly, and so pleasantly too, that from this point to the close of the lecture, the doubter at first, is a willing and delighted captive; drinking in every word, gliding with the lecturer among the thousand gondolas floating on the water ways of moonlit Venice, laughing at his proofs that the girls of Venice are like the girls of Indianapolis, answering with applause that he would not if he could withhold the thrilling and surpassingly beautiful descriptions of Athens by moonlight, of the cathedrals of Milan, and Rome, and St. Petersburg; and then again laughing himself into tears over the peculiarly happy of the bold, unceremonious, care-for-nothing, rollicking conduct of the American vandal, who never fails to make known his nationality, whether in stocking feet inspecting the interior of a Turkish mosque, among thousands of worshipping Moslems, attending the fetes of Emperors or autocrats, rambling among the grand and inspiring ruins of Athens, or whistling a national air as he views the towering Pyramids of Egypt.

Mark Twain’s wit is always of the highest order, and the more enjoyable in that it so truthfully hits off some peculiarity of human nature. His descriptions of scenery, in a literary point of view, glitter with the polish of culture, and captivate by the beauty and smoothness of the verbiage. His reading of the descriptive passages is peculiarly adapted to the display of their beauties. He reads as one who is not laboring to convey the impression that he is saying something beautiful, but as one who is laboring rather to convey to the hearer a correct idea of the beauties that impressed him. The reader of his prose would discover in it the music of poetry; but as he reads it, it has all that charm, and the additional interest that a story has, coming from the lips of one who saw whereof he speaks [Schmidt].

Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland to ask Sam if he would repeat his “very acceptable lecture on ‘The American Vandal Abroad,’ or such other lecture as you shall decide, for the benefit of an institution, the charitable aim of which will, we are sure, commend it to your generosity” [MTPO]. Note: for the Cleveland Protestant Orphan Asylum.

January 6 Wednesday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at Brown’s Hall in Rockford, Illinois to about a thousand people [Schmidt].

January 7 Thursday – After the Rockford lecture and past midnight, Sam wrote from Rockford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, and to Livy. (Over half of Sam’s nearly daily love letters to Livy have been lost.) That evening Sam again gave his “Vandals” lecture at Library Hall, Chicago, Illinois [MTL 3: 8-9].

Afterwards, Sam wrote from Chicago to Francis E. Bliss (son of Elisha), and to Mary Mason Fairbanks and Others on the Board of Managers of the Cleveland Protestant Orphan Asylum. To the former, Sam suggested the American Publishing Co. “issue prospectus & startling advertisements…stirring the bowels of these communities.” To Mrs. Fairbanks, et al, he accepted their invitation to give his “Vandals” lecture in Cleveland for their behalf [MTL 3: 14-19].

Sam also wrote a love letter to Livy.

My Dearest Livy— / I was just delighted with your letter received to-day. We forgot the extract, but I have just written to Mrs. Fairbanks, & she will send it to me to be prepared for publication. Your letter was so natural, Livy, & so like yourself. I do wish I could see you! I scold you as bitterly as I can for daring to sit up & write after midnight. Now you have it, at last. And I forgive you & bless you in the same moment! {Oh, you are so present to me at this moment, Livy, that it seems absurd to be writing to you when I almost seem to touch your forehead with my lips.}: I thank you with all my heart for your warm New Year wishes—& you know that you have mine. I naturally thought of you all the day long, that day—as I do every day—& a dozen times I recalled our New Year at Mr. Berry’s. I remembered it perfectly well, & spoke of it to Mrs. Fairbanks—& the Moorish architecture, too. And I remembered perfectly well that I didn’t rightly know where the charm was, that night, until you were gone. And I did have such a struggle, the first day I saw you at the St Nicholas, to keep from loving you with all my heart! But you seemed to my bewildered vision, a visiting Spirit from the upper air—a something to worship, reverently & at a distance—& not a creature of common human clay, to be profaned by the love of such as I. Maybe it was a little extravagant, Livy, but I am honestly setting down my thought, just as it flitted through my brain. Now you can understand why I offend so much with praises—for to me you are still so far above all created things that I cannot speak of you in tame commonplace language—I must reserve that for tame, commonplace people. Don’t scold me, Livy—let me pay my due homage to your worth; let me honor you above all women; let me love you with a love that knows no doubt, no question—for you are my world, my life, my pride, my all of earth that is worth the having. Develop your faults, if you have them—they have no terrors for me—nothing shall tear you out of my heart. Livy, if you only knew how much I love you! But I couldn’t make you comprehend it, though I wrote a year [MTL 3: 10]. Note: Thomas S. & Anna E. Berry, friends of the Langdons.

January 8 Friday Sam traveled to Monmouth, Illinois, 170 miles southwest of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune’s review worked to place the reader in the hall on that night of January 7, 1868:

Mark Twain, the well-known humorist, lectured last evening at Library Hall, under the auspices of the Young Men’s Library Association, on the “American Vandal Abroad.” He first pitched into the guides who beset and betray American travelers in Europe, then went on to give a ludicrous history of Columbus and an Egyptian mummy, to which he was introduced at Genoa and Rome, respectively. He smoked the narghali in Turkey, inspected the wall where St. Paul was let down in the basket which was sold for firewood, went to the pyramids, where he took dinner or something else, with the resident mummy, and whistled “Auld Lang Syne” on the Rock of Gibraltar. He did not think much of the mummies, but preferred a “fresh corpse.” During the evening, as if to prove that there was something besides humor in him, he branched out into quite eloquent passages, which were applauded. The lecture was good and the attendance large.

That evening, Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Hardin’s Hall at Monmouth, Illinois [MTL 3: 20 n4].

January 9 Saturday The Rockford Register printed a review of Sam’s lecture there:

We never saw an audience so determined to laugh “out loud” …we confess to having laughed ourselves until our sides fairly ached…We congratulate those who were present, and we feel deep sympathy for those who remained away and missed a grand opportunity of hearing a speaker who, as a humorist and wit, stands unrivaled on the American stage [MTL 3: 8-9n1].

The reviews reflect that Sam had become a polished professional entertainer, able to gauge and control an audience for best effect.

That evening, Sam again gave his “Vandals” lecture at Galesburg, Illinois.

January 10 Sunday Sam wrote from Galesburg to Harriet Lewis, Livy’s cousin who was Sam and Livy’s ally, early on in 1868 pretending to be the object of Sam’s affections to hide their affair from the Langdons. Sam’s tongue in cheek letter about breaking Harriet’s heart was sublime and hilarious:

“I am sorry for you, my wilted geranium. And next you’ll fade, I suppose—they all do, that get in your fix…& there’ll be some ghastly old sea-sickening sentimental songs ground out about you & about the place where you prefer to be planted, & all that sort of bosh. Do be sensible & don’t”[MTL 3: 22-3].

January 11 Monday – Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture to about 1,200 in Rouse’s Opera House, Peoria, Illinois. Jervis Langdon celebrated his 60th birthday.

January 12 Tuesday The Peoria National Democrat gave Sam a good review. Sam wrote from El Paso, Illinois to Livy.

“I talked in Peoria, last night, to a large audience, & one whose intellectual faces surprised me as well as pleased me, for I certainly had expected no such experience in Peoria.”

Sam wrote that he had to stay in Peoria half a day and was on his way to Decatur.

“The time will drag, drag, drag, until I see you again—but I am thankful that your letters come so often. I wish they came every day. They so fill me with pleasure that I have not the heart to harbor an unkind sentiment toward any creature after I have read one of them” [MTL 3: 24-7].

Sam also included a note to Charles Langdon, and wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

Later that evening Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Power’s Hall, Decatur, Illinois, and, despite bad weather, reached Ottawa, Illinois late in the evening.

January 13 Wednesday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Ottawa, Illinois. The reviews were mixed but Sam began a letter to Livy that called it a “botch.”

My Dearest Livy—

Another botch of a lecture!—even worse than Elmira, I think. And it was such a pity—for we had a beautiful church entirely full of handsome, well-dressed, intellectual ladies & gentlemen. They say I didn’t botch it, but I should think I ought to know. I closed with a fervent apology for my failure, just as I did in Elmira—& the apology was the only thing in the lecture that had any life or any feeling in it. It cuts me to the very quick to make a failure. I did feel so ashamed of myself. I even distressed the Committee—I touched their hearts with my genuine suffering, & real good fellows as they are, they came up to my room to comfort me. The failure was chiefly owing to an idiot president, who insisted on introducing me while the people were still pouring in,—& they kept on coming in till one-fourth of the lecture had been delivered to an audience who were exclusive[ly] engaged in watching the new-comers to their seats—it seemed that I never would get their attention. I grew so exasperated, at last, that I shouted to the door keeper to close the doors & not open them again on any account. But my confidence was gone, the church was harder to speak in than any empty barrel would have been, I was angry, wearied to death with travel, & I just hobbled miserably through, apologized, bade the house good-night, & then gave the President a piece of my mind, without any butter or sugar on it. And now I have to pray for forgiveness for these things—& unprepared, Livy, for the bitterness is not all out of my bad, foolish heart yet.

Took tea with Mr. Lewis—like him ever so much. If you remember, he is like Twichell—you are acquainted with him as soon as you take him by the hand. It would take some time to get acquainted with his wife, though.

Lost my baggage somewhere, day-before yesterday—heard of it today, but can’t get it before I arrive in Toledo—am lecturing in my bob-tail coat & that makes me feel awkward & uncomfortable before an audience.

Livy, dear, I am instructed to appear & lecture in New York City Feb. 15. It is the most aggravating thing. I have to miss the re-union after all, I suppose, for no doubt I shall have to go on lecturing just the same, after that. But you must write me all that the happy re-unionists do & say, & I shall be with you all in spirit, at least, if not in the flesh. And I shall keep a sharp look-out & see if I can’t get a day or two to myself between Jan. 22 & Feb. 13, because I do so long to see you, Livy dear. So far there are only five applications in my agent’s hands for lectures during that interval, I think. You were right not to send the picture if it slandered you like the other, but it does seem to me sometimes that any new picture of you would be a comfort to me—one that had seen your own face lately. The old photograph is a dear old picture to me, & I love it; but still it isn’t as beautiful as you are, Livy, & I want a picture that is. I am not so absurd as to love you simply for your beauty—I trust you know that well enough—but I do love your beauty, & am naturally proud of it & I dont want the picture to mar it.

Poor Lily Hitchcock!—see how they talk about her in print—just as generous & warm-hearted a girl as you ever saw, Livy, & her mother is such a rare gem of a woman. The family are old, old friends of mine & I think ever so much of them. That girl, many & many & many a time, has waited till nearly noon to breakfast with me, when we all lived at the Occidental Hotel & I was on a morning paper & could not go to bed till 2 or 3 in the morning. She is a brilliant talker. They live half of every year in Paris—& the hearts that rascal has broken, on both sides of the water! It always seemed funny to me, that she & I could be friends, but we were—I suppose it was because under all her wild & repulsive foolery, that warm heart of hers would show. When I saw the family in Paris, Lily had just delivered the mitten to a wealthy Italian Count, at her mother’s request (Mrs. H. said Lily loved him,)—but ah me! it was only going from bad to worse to jilt anybody to marry Howard Coit. I know him, a dissipated spendthrift, son of a deceased, wealthy eminent physician, a most worthy man. Howard “went through” the property in an incredibly short time. And this poor little numbscull Lily’s last act was to mortgage her property for $20,000, gold, & give the money to that calf. He will squander it in six months if he has not mended greatly. {The above was told me in Chicago by a Confidante of Lily’s who was simply under promise to keep the matter from her parents.} Until that moment I said the whole affair must be untrue, because, as detestable as some of Lily’s freaks were she could not be capable of deceiving her mother & father & marrying secretly. And to tell the plain truth I don’t really believe it yet. She is an awful girl (the newspaper article is written by somebody who knows whom he is talking about), but she isn’t that awful. She moves in the best society in San F. Does that horrify you, Livy? But remember, there never was so much as a whisper against her good name. I am so sorry for that girl, & so very, very sorry for her good kind mother. I hold both of them in happy remembrance always—for they were your brave, outspoken sort of friends, & just as loyal to you behind your back as before your face.

Well—I simply meant to enclose the slip, with a line of explanation—I think I rather overdid it.

Tell Miss Lewis that I think the answer is “Considerable.” What is her notion? I have told her brother all I knew about her, & a mighty sight that I didn’t know. I always like to give good measure.

The passage from the “exquisite” struck me at the time as a vivid echo of my own sentiments—I knew it would be of yours, without your mentioning it, dear Livy. No, you wouldn’t ask me to go to prayer meeting if you fancied I was tired, & I am sure I would always try to be as thoughtful of you, & as watchful for your happiness. I think our very chiefest pleasure would (WILL, Livy,) consist in planning & scheming each for the other’s happiness. Livy, I cannot conceive of such a thing as my failing in deference to you, either now or when you are my wife, (for I will not think of your being any one else’s wife, Livy,) or ever conducting myself toward you, in a manner unbecoming to your dignity. Why did you talk of not sending “this half sheet?” It delighted me more than I can tell. I like all you say about marriage, for it shows that you appreciate the tremendous step it is, & are looking at it in all its parts, & not to simply seek flaws in it.

After some little delay, I am back & ready to go on answering your letter—but alas! it is i AM, I am tired to death & so sleepy—

And so I press this loving kiss upon your lips, my darling Livy & waft you a fond Good-night.

Sam. L. C. [MTL 3: 30-1].

Note: Sam enclosed “An Eccentric California Belle,” an article which further described Eliza (Lillie) Wychie Hitchcock (1843-1929). See source. Mr. Lewis was Livy’s maternal uncle.

Sam would later expound against lecturing in a church, where he said it was next to impossible to make people laugh.

January 14 Thursday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at the Burtis Opera House, in Davenport, Iowa. Afterwards he wrote again to Livy:

Livy, darling, I greet you. We did have a splendid house tonight, & everything went off handsomely. Now I begin to fear that I shan’t get a chance to see your loved face between Jan. 22 & Feb. 13 as I was hoping & longing I should. Because I have just received some new appointments by telegraph—the ones I expected. Please add them to your list—carefully, & don’t make any mistake: Thus:

em-spaceem-spaceMarshall, Mich.,


Jan. 25.

em-spaceem-spaceBatavia, Ill.,


Jan. 26

em-spaceem-spaceFreeport, Ill.,


Jan. 27

em-spaceem-spaceWaterloo, Iowa,


Jan. 28

em-spaceem-spaceGalena, Ill


Jan. 29

em-spaceem-spaceJacksonville, Ill.,


Feb. 1.


Others are to come, the dispatch says. (Did I tell you I am to lecture in Norwalk, Ohio, Jan. 21, & in Cleveland, Jan. 22? Put those down too, Livy.[)] If they don’t send me the names of the Secretaries of these added societies, you will have to tell Charlie to direct your letters to my nom de plume, & then the Secretaries will get them anyhow. Will you try to remember that, dear? And now, since misfortune has overtaken me & I am not to see you for such a long, long time, won’t you please write me every day? I wish you would try, Livy. I don’t think you can, & I don’t expect it, either, for it is a great labor—but still I do wish you could, if it wouldn’t interfere with your duties or pleasures, or tire you too much. I find it next to impossible to get the opportunity to write to you every day, though I would most certainly like to do it—& being forced, as I am, to devote to it simply such time as I can snatch from sleep, my letters can’t naturally be anything more than mere hasty, chatty paragraphs, with nothing in them, as a general thing. [in margin: I wrote Charlie from Ottawa—did he get it?]

[see Jan. 3 for this portion].

I have seen your young gentlemen women-haters often—I know them intimately. They are infallibly & invariably unimportant whelps with vast self-conceit & a skull full of oysters, which they take a harmless satisfaction in regarding as brains. They are day-dreamers, & intensely romantic, though they would have the world think otherwise. Their pet vanity is to be considered “men of the world”—& they generally know about as much of the world as a horse knows about metaphysics. They are powerfully sustained in their woman-hating & kept well up to the mark by the secret chagrin of observing that no woman above mediocrity ever manifests the slightest interest in them—they come without creating a sensation, & go again without anybody seeming to know it. They are coarse, & vulgar, & mean—these people—& they know it. Neither men or women I admire them much or love them—& they know that, also. [in margin: I wish I could see you, Livy.] They thirst for applause—any poor cheap applause of their “eccentricity” is manna in the desert to them—& they suffer in noticing that the world is stupidly unconscious of them & exasperatingly indifferent to them. When sense dawns upon these creatures, how suddenly they discover that they have been pitiable fools—but they are full forty years old, then, & they sigh to feel that those years & their pleasures they might have borne, are wasted, & lost to them for all time. I do pity a woman-hater with all my heart. The spleen he suffers is beyond comprehension.

Why yes, Livy, you ought to have sent me Mother Fairbanks’ letter, by all means. Send it now, won’t you, please? She’s a noble woman. It will be splendid for her to have you & me both to bother about & scold at, some day. She will make a fine row with me when she sees me coming back on the 22d with a new lot of baggage after all her trouble convincing me that I needed nothing more than a valise to travel with. I shall find my lost baggage again at Toledo, I think.

The lady you wrote of was singularly unfortunate—judging at a first glance—but considering that it brought such Christianity, & such happy content in doing good, it seems only rare good fortune after all. Ten millions of years from now she will shudder to think what a frightful calamity it would have been, not to have lost her wealth. Did it never occur to you what a particularly trifling & insignificant breath of time this now long & vastly important earthly existence of ours will seem to us whenever we shall happen accidentally to have it called to our minds ten awful millions of years from now? Will not we smile, then, to remember that we used at times to shrink from doing certain duties to God & man because the world might jeer at us?—& were so apt to forget that the world & its trifling opinions would scarce rise to the dignity of a passing memory at that distant day? Brainless husbandmen that we are, we sow for time, seldom comprehending that we are to reap in Eternity. We are all idiots, much as we vaunt our wisdom. Good-bye. I kiss you good-night, darling. I do love you, Livy!

Always Yours,

Sam. L. C. [MTL 3: 38].

Sam also wrote his sister Pamela and listed many of the places he’d lectured:

“…am getting awfully tired of it. I spend about half as much money as I make, I think, though I have managed to save about a thousand dollars, so far—don’t think I shall save more than a thousand more” [MTL 3: 43].

Again Sam recommended Norwich, New York for a possible town for his family to move to. Sam was taking on a grueling schedule:

“I am to lecture every night till Feb 2. Shall be in Cleveland, Ohio, one day only—Jan 22” [MTL 3: 44].

January 15 Friday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Metropolitan Hall, Iowa City, Iowa. Livy wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks, inviting her to Elmira for a reunion of the Quaker City passengers [MTL 3: 42].

January 16 Saturday Sam slipped and fell on the ice in Iowa City earning a sore hip. That evening, Sam traveled by train to Chicago, and along the way wrote a letter of apology to the landlord in Iowa City. Sam had yelled at the man for waking him up too early, 9 AM [MTL 3: 45-7].

January 17 Sunday Sam wrote from Chicago to Livy, telling her about the spill on the ice and his sore hip, and his written apology to the landlord. “Have you got a good picture yet, Livy? —because I want it so badly” [MTL 3: 45-7].

January 18 Monday Sam was unable to get to Sparta, Wisconsin for a scheduled lecture. He arrived in Cleveland at daylight [MTL 3: 49].

January 19 Tuesday Sam wrote from Cleveland to Livy.

“I haven’t shaved for three days—& when Mrs. Fairbanks kissed me this morning, she said I looked like the moss-covered bucket…. They are hurrying me—Fairbanks called up stairs to know what part of the chicken I wanted—told him to give me the port side, for’ard of the wheel” [MTL 3: 50].

January 20 Wednesday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in White’s Hall (Young Men’s Hall), Toledo, Ohio, then stayed the night in Toledo at the home of John B. Carson and family.

January 20 and 21 Thursday – After the lecture Sam began a letter to Livy at 2:30 AM:

It was splendid, to-night—the great hall was crowded full of the pleasantest & handsomest people, & I did the very best I possibly could—& did better than I ever did before—I felt the importance of the occasion, for I knew that, this being Nasby’s residence, every person in the audience would be comparing & contrasting me with him [MTL 3: 51].

Sam expressed regret that the “California letters” (references to his character) made Livy’s parents unhappy. He sent his upcoming schedule through Feb. 1. Sam took breakfast with the Carson family and caught the train at 8 AM on Jan. 22.

The Toledo Daily Blade reviewed Sam’s lecture of Jan. 20:

MARK TWAIN’S LECTURE.—White’s Hall was filled from cellar to garret, last night, by one of the best tickled audiences that ever assembled there to hear a lecture or see the speaker. Mark Twain tickled them. And he did it so easily and almost consistently, that they didn’t know what they were laughing at more than half the time. Twain is witty, and his wit comes from his own fertile brain. His style is original; and his manner of speaking is not after the manner of men generally. His serious face and long drawn words are, of themselves, sufficient to make one laugh, even if there were not in every sentence expressed a sparkling gem of humor, and original idea. His anecdotes, with which the lecture is repleat, are rich, and, as he tells them, irresistibly funny. In some of his descriptions of European places and characters the lecturer delivers, at times, most eloquent passages, brilliant in thought and word.

That MARK TWAIN is a success as a lecturer, as well as writer, we think no one who heard “The American Vandal Abroad,” last night, will dispute.

Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Norwalk, Ohio. Sam returned to Toledo where he stayed the second night with the Carson family. Sam wrote from Norwalk to Livy, ending the letter just after midnight.

January 22 Friday – Sam returned to Cleveland, staying with the Fairbankses. He gave his “Vandals” lecture for the Protestant Orphan Asylum Benefit, Case Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.

The Cleveland Leader reported Sam’s remarks that prefaced his lecture:

Ladies and Gentlemen: I am well aware of the fact that it would be a most gigantic fraud for you to pay a dollar each to hear my lecture. But you pay your dollar to the orphan asylum and have the lecture thrown in! So if it is not worth anything it does not cost you anything! [Laughter.]…I understand that there are to be other entertainments given week after next for the same object, the asylum being several thousand dollars in debt, and I earnestly recommend you all to attend them and not let your benevolence stop with this lecture. There will be eating to be done. Go there and eat, and eat, and keep on eating and pay as you go [Great laughter]. The proprietors of the skating rink have generously offered to donate to the asylum the proceeds of one evening, to the amount of a thousand dollars, and when that evening comes, go and skate. I do not know whether you can all skate or not, but go and try! If you break your necks it will be no matter; it will be to help the orphans.

Don’t be afraid of giving too much to the orphans, for however much you give you have the easiest end of the bargain. Some persons have to take care of those sixty orphans and they have to wash them [Prolonged laughter]. Orphans have to be washed! And it’s no small job either for they have only one wash tub and it’s slow business. They can’t wash but one orphan at a time! They have to be washed in the most elaborate detail, and by the time they get through with the sixty, the original orphan has to be washed again. Orphans won’t stay washed! I’ve been an orphan myself for twenty-five years and I know this to be true [Great laughter].

Sam was now writing daily letters to Livy. Her letter arrived in Cleveland with a porcelain type photo of herself. He wrote his effusive thanks: “Oh, Livy darling, I could just worship that picture…” [MTL 3: 61-5]. Note: Sam did indeed idealize and “worship” Olivia Louise Langdon. The long absences, the lonely hotel rooms, the exchange of letters made Sam’s heart and reverence for Livy grow fonder. Sam was often anxious about her parents’ approval, fearful Livy might change her mind, and desperate for intimacy.

January 23 Saturday Sam wrote from Cleveland to Joseph and Harmony Twichell congratulating them on the birth of their second child, Julia Curtis Twichell on Jan. 9. Sam was upbeat about Livy, describing her picture that had arrived, and her letters that came:

“Every other day, without fail, & sometimes every day…those darling 8-page commercial miracles; & I bless the girl, & bow my grateful head before the throne of God & let the unspoken thanks flow out that never human speech could fetter into words” [MTL 3: 67].

Sam also wrote Livy another long letter. He had wanted to talk business with George A. Benedict (1812-1876) half-owner of the Cleveland Herald, but the man was ill.

January 24 Sunday Sam wrote from Cleveland to Livy. He was relieved that Livy still had “faith in me.” Livy’s parents had expressed doubts about Sam, that he was a wanderer by nature. Sam answered the accusation:

“Does a man, five years a galley-slave, get in a habit of it & yearn to be a galley-slave always?…And being pushed from pillar to post & compelled so long to roam, against my will, is it reasonable to think that I am really fond if it & wedded to it? I think not” [MTL 3: 75].

Note: This was Sam trying to convince Livy and himself with a disingenuous claim that his travels had been against his will. True, Sam yearned for home and hearth, and was wholly committed to a life with Livy, but he never lost his love of travel, new places, new people, and the pursuit of fame, riches and respectability on his terms.

January 25 Monday Sam lecture his “Vandals” in Academy of Music, Marshall, Michigan [MTPO].

January 26 Tuesday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Batavia, Illinois. Sam spent the night in Batavia and wrote another long love letter to Livy [MTL 3: 76].

January 27 Wednesday Sam left early in the morning for Freeport, Illinois, where Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Fry’s Hall.

January 28 Thursday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at Russell Hall, Waterloo, Iowa [MTPO].

January 29 Friday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at the Bench Street Methodist Church in Galena, Illinois. Afterwards, Sam wrote from Galena to Livy:

Livy darling, I have received your letter, & am perfectly delighted with it. I have finished my lecture tonight, the people are satisfied, your kiss has comforted me, & I am as happy & contented as anybody in the world to-night. And I am not sick yet, & even believe I shall not be—though for many days I have believed that only the will to finish my allotted task was really keeping me up,—& have felt sometimes that if I were delivering the last lecture of the list, and knew all responsibility was at last removed, that with the passing away of the tense strain I would surely drop to the floor without strength enough to rise again for weeks [MTL 3: 81-2].

February 1 Monday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at Strawn’s Hall in Jacksonville, Illinois [MTPO]. 

Afterwards he wrote Francis Bliss a short note, saying he would be in Elmira from Feb. 3 till Feb. 11 and asking for proofs of Innocents Abroad to be sent there if ready. Proofs were not sent until early March, when Sam was in Hartford [MTP].

February 2 Tuesday Sam left Cleveland for Elmira and Livy. He’d received some interest from George A. Benedict, who was ill, in the sale of part interest in the Cleveland Herald for $25,000.

February 4Thursday Sam arrived in Elmira. Jervis Langdon gave his approval for Sam and Livy’s engagement.

February 5 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother and family, informing them that he was:

“…duly & solemnly & irrevocably engaged to be married to Miss Olivia L. Langdon, aged 23 ½, only daughter of Jervis and Olivia Langdon of Elmira, New York. Amen.”

 Sam told the family of his possible purchase of a part interest in the Cleveland Herald, that the marriage with Livy might take a “good while” as he was not yet “rich enough,” and of Livy setting:

“…herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit & end by tumbling into it—& lo! the prophesy is fulfilled.”

 Sam also sent word of his engagement to Mary Mason Fairbanks 

My Dear Mother— / Your blessing! It is accomplished. We are engaged to be married., & the date of it is Feb. 4, 1869. Livy wants the date engraved in the ring. I perceive, now, that she has no finger large enough for the ring we selected. So she will lend me one of her rings to be guided by, & I will hand it to you on the 12th inst. The one we got will answer for a bracelet, though—or a necklace. She is small. There isn’t much of her, but what there is, assays as high as any bullion that ever I saw. All we need, now, is your blessing, Mother … [MTL 3: 86].

February 10 Wednesday Elisha Bliss wrote from Hartford to Sam about the proofs for Innocents Abroad. He had none to send but was “pushing things now very rapidly however” [MTL 3: 98-9]. Sam most likely received the letter on Feb. 11 or 12.

February 12 Friday – Sam left Elmira “at the last minute” that evening and slept overnight on the train back to Cleveland.

February 13 Saturday Sam wrote from Cleveland to Livy.

“(10AM) I have been here two hours in a splendid state of exasperation. I went to bed in the cars at half past nine, last night & slept like a log until 7 this morning, & woke up thoroughly refreshed” [MTL 3: 88].

He discovered that he’d missed a lecture date in Alliance, Ohio made by Abel Fairbanks, a date unknown to Sam. That evening Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Ravenna, Ohio.

Sam wrote letters from Ravenna that evening including this to Livy:

I am able to inform the blessedest girl in all the world that the lecture to-night was a complete success—& they said, as usual, that it was the largest audience of the season, a thing that necessarily gratifies me, for you know one naturally likes to be popular. And it is Saturday night, too—think of it!—& I need not hide to-morrow, but can go to church morning & evening. Somehow I don’t often make a Saturday success [MTL 3: 94-95].

Sam wrote Olivia Lewis Langdon to reassure her though he had been somewhat wild as a young man, he was “never as a dishonorable one,” and had become another sort of man.

“I do not wish to marry Miss Langdon for her wealth, & she knows that perfectly well.”

Sam asserted that he had “paddled his own canoe” since age thirteen. The Langdons, as with any wealthy family, were concerned about gold-diggers. Livy’s share of the inheritance was about a quarter of a million dollars.

Sam also wrote Mary Mason Fairbanks about the successful lecture in Ravenna and his intent to lecture in Alliance the next night, which would “take the blame off Mr. Fairbanks’ shoulders” for the missed date. Since Alliance is farther south from Ravenna, Sam’s letter shows that he found lodging in Ravenna and traveled on to Alliance the next day.

February 14 Sunday Sam responded from Ravenna, Ohio to Elisha Bliss letter of Feb. 10, which he’d received while in Elmira. Sam wanted to handle all details of revision on the proofs, having learned the lesson of neglecting this step with his Jumping Frog book. He wrote Bliss that he expected to be in Hartford two or three weeks starting the last week of February.

Sam also wrote Twichell and answered General Joseph R. Hawley’s (1826-1905) letter of Feb. 10 about Sam’s desire to buy into the Hartford Courant. Hawley and Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) ran the Courant. To Twichell, Sam wrote that he would spend Feb. 20 & 21 in Elmira [MTL 3: 100-1].

February 15 Monday Sam wrote in the morning from Ravenna, Ohio to Livy about having her engagement ring made. He left Ravenna “about noon” and that evening gave his “Vandals” lecture in Alliance, Ohio.

February 16 Tuesday Sam wrote from Titusville, Pennsylvania to Livy the next day that he had:

…sat up until 2 in the morning (because no porter at hotel to call me,) & returned on a coal train to Ravenna—went to bed for one hour & a half & then got up half asleep & started in the early train for this Titusville section of country—had to wait from 1 P.M. till 5, at Corry, Pa., & so found an excellent hotel & went to bed… [MTL 3: 103-4].

Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at Corinthian Hall in Titusville, Pennsylvania [MTPO].

February 17 Wednesday In Titusville, late after the lecture, Sam wrote letters to Livy, Joe Goodman, and Mary Mason Fairbanks. To Mary, Sam wrote teasingly:

“I haven’t got nothing more to write, I believe, because there ain’t no topics of interest here to write about, except that Beech was here & the angel of the coal mine went down in an oil well. No damage to either. Oils well that ends well” [MTL 3: 107-8].

In 1859 Titusville had been the scene of the first spouting oil well in the country. Later in the day he wrote from Franklin, Pennsylvania to Mary Mason Fairbanks. The Titusville Morning Herald gave Sam’s lecture a good review. Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Franklin, Pennsylvania.

February 18 Thursday Sam telegraphed from Franklin, Pa. to the Young Men’s Association of Genesco Academy to say he would not be able to make the lecture planned there. Sam headed for Elmira again, to see Livy. For a good account of the cancellation and subsequent Mar. 1 lecture, see The Twainian, Nov.-Dec. 1961 p1-4.

The Genesco Academy of Young Men wrote to acknowledge Sam’s telegram [MTP].

February 19 FridayThe Genesco Academy of Young Men wrote again to Sam trying to pin down when Twain could come and lecture [MTP].

February 1922 Monday – Sam spent four days visiting the Langdons in Elmira. Sam sent three telegrams from Elmira to the Genesco Academy, promising to lecture there Mar. 1 [MTL 3: 110-111]. Sam left Elmira on Feb.22 with Jervis Langdon, who was headed to New York City on business. Sam stayed with him a day or two [Sanborn 422].

February 23 Tuesday Sam reached Trenton early in the day. That evening he gave his “Vandals” lecture in Trenton, New Jersey and then returned to New York, where he waited “all day” for a room at the St. Nicholas Hotel. That evening Sam and Jervis tried without success to visit Fidele (Mrs. Henry) Brooks. The Brooks were family friends of the Langdons. Sam probably wrote Livy a letter, which has been lost [MTL 3: 113n2].

February 25 Thursday Early in the morning, Sam took a train 125 miles north to Stuyvesant, New York, where he gave his “Vandals” lecture.

February 26 Friday Sam wrote after midnight from Stuyvesant to Livy, and enclosed a photograph of himself taken at Gurney & Son on Fifth Avenue in New York. He had left New York City early in the day. In Stuyvesant, Sam was the guest of Rev. Elbert Nevius [MTL 3: 111-14]. Sam left Stuyvesant in the morning and traveled all day.

February 27 Saturday Sam traveled all night and arrived in Lockport, some 250 miles. He wrote from Lockport, New York to Livy. Sam wrote much more flippantly about Jervis than he had in the past. The two men were becoming closer friends, and Sam loved to tease Livy, or anyone whom he liked. Sam also wrote to Jane Clemens and family, and started a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks [MTL 3: 114]. Note: also Sam’s first meeting of John De La Fletcher Slee (1837-1901). See 119n4 in source.

February 28 Sunday Sam wrote from Rochester, New York finishing the Feb. 27 letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks. He also wrote to Livy:

For the first time, I had to dismiss an audience last night [Lockport] without lecturing. It was a fearful storm, & the people could not get out. Not more than a hundred were present. Perhaps I ought to have gone on & lectured, but then the gentlemen of the Grand Army of the Republic had treated me so well (& besides there was a much-prized old California friend or so among them,) that I hated to see them lose money, & so I said I would foot the expense-bills & dismiss the house—but they wouldn’t permit me to pay anything, or depart without my regular salary—& I rebelled against that. So we compromised—that is, I talked to the audience a minute or two about the weather & got them to laughing, & so dismissed them in a good humor & invited them to come back Wednesday night & hear “the rest of the discourse”—an invitation which nearly all of them accepted, for they took their tickets back, as they went out, instead of their money [MTL 3: 126].

March Sam’s OPEN LETTER TO COM. VANDERBILT appeared in the March edition of Packard’s Monthly: The Young Men’s Magazine. The letter was a sarcastic blast at Cornelius Vanderbilt, which parodied the effusive and uncritical press Vanderbilt usually received [Camfield, bibliog.].

March 1 Monday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture at Concert Hall in Geneseo, New York [MTPO].

 Sam wrote from Rochester, NY to Livy:

Half a dozen young gentlemen 20 to 25 years of age, received me at the depot with a handsome open sleigh, & drove me to the hotel in style—& then took possession of my room, & invited a dozen more in, & ordered cigars, & made themselves entirely happy & contented. But they were hard to entertain, for they took me for a lion, & I had to carry the bulk of the conversation myself . . . Then I rose & said, “Boys, I shall have to bid you a good-afternoon, for I am stupid & sleepy—& you must pardon my bluntness but I must go to bed.” Poor fellows, they were stricken speechless . . . I undressed & went to bed, & tried to go to sleep—but again & again my conscience smote me—again & again I thought of how mean & how shameful a return I had made for their well-meant & whole-hearted friendliness to me a stranger within their gates . . . And then I said to myself, I’ll make amends for this—& so got up & dressed & gave the boys all of my time till midnight—& also from this noon till I left at four this afternoon. And so, if any man is thoroughly popular with the young people of Geneseo to-day, it is I. We had a full house last night, & a fine success [MTLL 73-4; MTL 3: 130; The Twainian, Nov-Dec. 1961].

Sam also noted he’d been reading Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and offered to censor it for Livy:

“If you would like to read it…I will mark it & tear it until it is fit for your eyes—for portions of it are very coarse & indelicate” [MTLL 76].

March 3 Wednesday Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture, which had been postponed from Feb. 27, in Arcade Hall, Lockport, New York [MTPO].

Reverend Joseph L. Bennett (b. 1823 or 1824) called on Clemens in the evening. Referred to in Sam’s Mar. 4 to Livy:

…whose church I used to attend every Sunday twenty years ago. My mother & sister belonged to his church. I did not know his face, not having seen him for more than nineteen years, but I recognized his voice & knew the name that belonged to it. Our family will be glad to hear of him. His visit has filled my brain with trooping phantoms of the past—of dead faces & forgotten forms—of scenes that are faded—of old familiar voices that are silent forever, & old songs that are only a memory now [MTL 3: 134-5].

March 4 Thursday Sam wrote from Lockport to Livy:

“My last lecture (for some time, at least,) is delivered, & I am so glad that I must fly to you (on paper,) & make you help me hurrah. The long siege is over, & I may rest at last. I feel like a captive set free” [MTL 3: 134].

Sam was not through lecturing, but he would have a twelve-day rest. He left Lockport for Hartford, traveling all night and part of the next day.

Text Box: March 4, 1869 – Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in as the 18th President of the United States



March 5 Friday Sam arrived in Hartford, where he wrote Livy. Sam called on the Courant office during the day, but Gov. Hawley had traveled to Washington, D.C. to see Grant’s inauguration. Hawley was to arrive back in Hartford this evening and call on Sam at his hotel. Sam then visited the Twichells and left at half past eleven, refusing their kind offer to stay with them while in Hartford. Sam stayed instead at the Allyn House Hotel [MTL 3: 136-8, 143].

March 6 Saturday Sam wrote twice from Hartford to Livy. He’d seen “a dozen or two” of the illustrations for Innocents Abroad, and wrote that they were “very artistically engraved.” He praised the talents of the engraver, Truman “True” Williams. Sam had promised Livy he would visit John and Isabella Hooker (1822-1907), part of the Beecher clan, who lived in a 100-acre parcel east of Hartford called “Nook Farm.” He ventured out in a snowstorm to visit the “Burton branch” of the Hookers (John’s and Isabella’s daughter and husband, Henry Burton.) Sam expressed misgivings about the Hookers, admitting to feelings of discomfort at their home, but that for Livy, he’d visit them “fifty times,” and his desire to “learn to like them with all my might” for Livy’s sake. Sam’s second letter to Livy late that night related walking from his hotel to Nook Farm in the snow, only to find them not at home [MTL 3: 138-48]. Note: Isabella Hooker made up her own theology, and her husband was a melancholy hypochondriac—not exactly Sam’s sort of folk.

March 7 Sunday Sam wrote a “long newspaper article…till 11 o’clock [PM],” probably “The White House Funeral,” a scathing mock report of President Andrew Johnson’s final cabinet meeting before Grant’s inauguration of Mar. 4. The article was in proofs and not published, most likely due to reports of Johnson’s severe illness [MTL 3: 148, 151n2]. Note: In those days, the press still had some class.

March 8 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy about writing the article the night before and being unable to sleep until daylight. He rose at 9:30 AM and wrote letters.

“I’ll call on the Hookers or die. Saw Mr. Hooker a moment after I left Mrs. B. He was the very man I wanted to see. Because I like him, in spite of prejudice and everything else” [MTL 3: 149].

Sam also wrote to John Russell Young, editor of the New York Tribune, sending the “Funeral” article [MTL 3: 150].

March 9 Tuesday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy about his love for her, the up-coming trip to California, and the wisdom of “sowing oats” early in life, etc. Sam had thought it over and spoken with Rev. Twichell “the other night,” and he recognized “a deeper question” than sowing wild oats to make a man’s future steady—“whether it be advisable or justifiable to trample the laws of God under foot at any time in our lives?” This period marks the high water mark of Sam’s efforts to become a “respectable Christian.” (See Peter Messent’s excellent 2003 article, details in Works Cited.)

Sam finished the letter at noon, and included an article/sermon called “Friday Miscellany,” by Thomas K. Beecher. Sam argued it was, in effect, bearing false witness against Horace Greeley, a man Sam greatly admired.

Sam went to hear Petroleum V. Nasby’s (David Ross Locke 1833-1888) lecture, “Cussed be Canaan.” Nasby called on Sam at 10 PM and they sat up and talked until 6 AM.

“ was perfectly fascinated with Nasby’s lecture, & find no flaw in it—yet I went there purposely to criticize…Nasby wants to get me on his paper. Nix”[The Toledo Daily Blade]. [MTL 3: 151-7,158-60]. From his Mar. 10 to Livy.

For a humorous description of Nasby and his oratorical manner, see Ch. 33 of Neider. Sam began a letter to Susan L. Crane, Livy’s adopted sister, thanking her. He finished the letter on Mar. 31 [MTL 3: 179].

March 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy and her brother [MTL 3: 158]. Before leaving Hartford, Sam discovered that the directors of the American Publishing Co. wanted out of the contract to publish Innocents Abroad. When Elisha Bliss threatened to publish it on his own after Sam had threatened suit, the board of directors relented and Bliss went forward with the book, which would not appear until July.

I suppose my darling Livy is well, to-night. I am sure I fervently hope so, at any rate. I am venturing on a dangerous experiment, now—sitting down here to try to write half a page to you & then stop. It isn’t so easy to stop as it is to determine to do it. And I ought to be in bed—for Nasby called at my room at 10 last night & we sat up & talked until 5 minutes past 6 this morning. (In fancy I am getting a scolding, now, & I know perfectly well that I deserve it. And I can’t take any revenge, either—for at this distance I can’t very well kiss the scolder & so close her lips.) But Livy, I took a strong liking to this fellow, who has some very noble qualities I do assure you, & I did want to talk. I won’t behave so any more, Livy dear. So you forgive me for just this once, don’t you, Livy?—the blessedest darling that ever did live. And Livy, it may seem strange to you, but honestly I was perfectly fascinated with Nasby’s lecture, & find no flaw in it—yet I went there purposely to criticise, & was not made acquainted with the lecturer until after the speech was finished.

It is another stormy night—raining & blowing great guns. I went out to Mrs Hooker’s at 7 PM, & got pretty well soaked through. (The fact is, I met her accidentally yesterday & she gave me a good honest invitation to come to-night—Twichell & I are to sup there on Friday.) It is 10 PM, & I have just returned. Had a pleasant time. Little Miss Baker was there—very pretty girl—& we played whist, Mrs H. & I against Baker & Miss Alice. Mr. Day could didn’t come out, on account of the storm,—or, they thought maybe he had gone to a lecture. So I didn’t see him. They pressed me very pleasantly to stay all night, & smoke as much as I pleased in my bedroom—& urged that you would desire me to remain & not go out in the stormagain, if you were here. But bless you, you warn’t there, loveliest of your sex, else I wouldn’t be here at this Allyn House at this moment, I promise you.

Had a negative taken yesterday, & expect to send you the picture tomorrow. Too cloudy to print a specimen to-day. The negative seems excellent.—so I look for no delay.

Mrs. Hooker compares you to a dainty little wax-flower—how is that? I like it, Miss, if you don’t. I like any figure that people use when they mean to speak lovingly & praisefully of my Livy. You miracle!

Nasby’s visit interrupted my letter to the “little woman,” Mrs. Crane, so it isn’t finished yet. Must do it to-morrow. Nasby wants to get me on his paper. Nix.

To Charlie—darling scrub—Bother the account! Let the tailor look out for it himself. I’ll pay him when I come. I am glad to hear of Ida (concerning her age,)—& glad to hear you are overtaking her so fast.

To Livy again—darling girl—Yes, Charlie & you are right. I did send you a letter in your own name yesterday, & stamped one the day before, intending to do the same, but had to open it to add something to Charlie on the envelop, & so had to use two envelops as usual.

I am working so hard & so unremittingly that there is no life in me now—so don’t look for any in my letters, dear. I am afraid I shan’t have time to finish revising the MS.

Do you know, I found there was hardly a button on the shirts I brought away with me? Wish I had got you to use your sensible eyes in examining them, instead of trusting to my awkward ones.

Must not try to answer your pleasant letter to-night, my darling little Livy (I like Livy ever so much the best—simply used Louise because I couldn’t help loving it because it was your name.) Good night—go to bed, my pet. With a warm kiss, eloquent of love & honor,

Yrs always-—

Sam [MTPO]. Note: Little Miss Baker unidentified; John C. Day was Alice Hooker’s fiancé. See source for more details in notes.

March 12 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy.

I am not all afraid of the Hookers, now—dine there tonight. Woe! WOE! WOE! you blessed little rascal!….P.S.—I go to Boston to-morrow, at Nasby’s request, to spend two days with him & the literary lions of the “Hub.” Monday night I leave there for New York—lecture Tuesday in Newtown, & the—very—next—evening, I spurn the U.S. Mail & bring my kisses to my darling myself! [MTL 3: 161-5].

Sam’s portrait on porcelain (called an opalotype) was taken on this date. In the case well is an inscription in pencil, “Hartford. March / 12, 1869. / I xxxx you Livy! / And I xxxxx you, Livy! DON’T TELL!” Note: the inscription denotes this portrait measuring 4.9 x 3.9 cm. set in a lavender, oval-hinged case, was a gift to Sam’s wife to be [Online Guide to the Cased photographs from the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley]. The portrait may have been enclosed in the above letter.

March 13 Saturday In Hartford, Sam wrote at midnight on Mar. 12-13, again to Livy. “Had a really pleasant time at Mrs. Hooker’s last night, Twichell & I” [MTL 3: 173].

He also wrote a short note to Horatio C. King and John R. Howard of Beecher’s Plymouth Church, declining their offer to lecture in New York, informing them that it was too late since “he must make ready for a short visit to California.”

Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, asking for a better title for his book than “The New Pilgrim’s Progress” [168-9]. Sam had read 90 pages of proof for Innocents Abroad before leaving for Boston in the evening with Nasby [179n1].

March 14 Sunday – Sam met Oliver Wendell Holmes and other literary lights of Boston. He was accompanied by David Ross Locke (Petroleum V. Nasby) who had been lecturing in Boston [MTL 3: 174; MTPO notes Sept. 30 O.W. Holmes].

March 15 Monday – After Boston socializing, Sam left for New York City in the evening [MTL 3: 174].

March 16 Tuesday Sam stopped at New York Tribune to discuss more articles for the newspaper. Sam gave his “Vandals” lecture in Newtown, New York, on Long Island [MTL 3: 174]. He left New York for Elmira.

March 17 Wednesday John Russell Young, editor of the Tribune, gave or sent Sam an extract from a San Francisco Evening Bulletin article about the importation of Chinese women for prostitution. Young asked Sam to pen a response, and it is likely he did so within a day or two [MTL 3: 174].

Sam arrived in Elmira in the evening.

March 18 Thursday Sam was a guest of the Langdons, who were entertaining a well-known guest, Wendell Phillips, former abolitionist and social reformer. Phillips gave a lecture in the evening at the Elmira Opera House on Daniel O’Connell, Irish political leader. During his visit, Sam had said something derogatory about Phillips for which he expressed embarrassment to Livy in the margin of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. This book he was marking for Livy would afterward be known as their “courting book” [MTL 3: 174-5].

March 19 or 20 Saturday Sam left Elmira and traveled to Sharon, Pennsylvania, where he gave his “Vandals” lecture, which he called a “grand success” [MTL 3: 175].

March 21 Sunday Sam returned to Elmira, where he continued proofing Innocents Abroad with Livy.

March 24 Wednesday The Sharon Times reported that Sam was “about to issue a work of some six hundred pages, ‘The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrim’s Progress’.” The notice confirms that by this time Sam had decided on the new title for the book [MTL 3: 175].

Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks about the final name for the book, the Fairbanks’ visit to the Langdons, working on the proofs (“Livy & I will read them backwards, & every other way—but principally backwards I guess”), the small fire that had happened in Mary’s house, and his intention to go to California by sea [MTL 3: 176-7].

March 25 Thursday Sam wrote in Livy’s copy of Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,

Midnight March 25, 1869—I wish “Even Me” to be sung at my funeral.

The song was a hymn composed by William B. Bradbury in 1862. Sam claimed it his favorite in a Mar. 31 letter to Susan Crane [MTL 3: 184n9]. Note: NY Times report of Sam’s funeral, Apr. 24, 1910 gives Chopin’s Funeral March, Grieg’s “Death of Asa,” as the music played. See entry Vol IV.

March 26? Friday Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother and family, more on desire to help Orion, and Sam’s indecision as to his plans—possibly a trip to California in May. Should he lecture on the circuit next season? Join Nasby on the Toledo Blade? [MTL 3: 177-8]. Sam hadn’t decided what to do.

March 30 Tuesday Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss, advising that he’d sent the proofs of Innocents Abroad. Sam suggested several titles for the book [MTL 3: 178-9]. He finished the letter of Mar. 9 to Susan L. Crane, filling the letter with personal goings-on in the Langdon clan [MTL 3: 180-4].


March 31 Wednesday Sam paid $23 to his tailor, Cyrus Fay. Perhaps Sam figured he would lecture after all, and would need new clothes. Sam and Livy, in Elmira, began a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks that he finished on Apr. 1. The March 31 portion:


Dear Mother—

Bless you I don’t want to go to California at all—& really I have not by any means determined to go, as yet. I know very well that I ought to go, but I haven’t the slightest inclination to do it. Indeed, indeed, indeed I do want to go & see you first, but if I do that I shall have to go to St. Louis also, & I just hate the idea of that. I don’t think April a good month to take Livy to Cleveland in, do you? The grass & flowers & foliage will not be out, then; & wherever Livy goes, Nature ought to have self-respect enough to do look her level best, you know.

We have read & re-shipped some fifty pages of proof, & it looks like it is going to take a month to finish it all. I rather hope it will take six.

I am in exile here at the office, for an hour, while the girls take their chemistry lesson. However, I suppose it is about over, now, & so I will return. (Livy will begin to feel anxious.)

I saw Dr. & Mrs. What you may call him—the Comm[i]ssioner of the US of America to Europe Asia & Africa, at Sharon, Pa., the other day. They came 20 miles to hear me lecture. Lord, They ought to read the book—there is where the interest will be, for them. Mrs. G. is grown stout & fat, & absolutely immense. She looks as tall & as huge as Pompey’s Pillar, & inconceivably vulgar. She cannot weigh less than three hundred pounds. This is honest [MTL 3: 184-6]. Note: Dr. William Gibson and wife Susan Gibson. The Gibsons were on the Quaker City and a target of Sam’s in IA though never mentioned by name.

Sam completed his Mar. 9 letter to Susan Crane:

I have told you all the news that the others would not be likely to tell you (except that we play euchre every night, & sing “Geer,” which is Livy’s favorite, & “Even Me,” which is mine, & a dozen other hymns—favorites of the other members)—& although this news sounds trifling, it still mentions names you love to hear, & things that are familiar to your memory—& those features of a letter were what I always liked best when in exile in the lands beyond the Rocky Mountains—so I offer no apologies [181].


April 1 Thursday At Quarry Farm Sam finished the Mar. 31 letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks. 

Livy says—well, I can’t get the straight of it—but the idea of it, is, that some western friends are to be visited in May, & so maybe she & I & Mrs. Langdon can go out a little in advance, otherwise if it was, & so she could—but if not, then perhaps it would be just as well for both of us & certainly as convenient for you, especially while Severance is. (Well, that is what she says, you know, but blamed if I don’t know what it means.) (She made that correction—I like “blamed.”) Well, the general idea is, that maybe we can go out to Cleveland & see you, in advance of the gathering of the clans. Savez? So, therefore, whereas, if we do go, Fairbanks & I can talk business—but we are not at all certain that we can go, for Livy has to be bridesmaid for Alice Hooker & both of us have to read proof for a month (because I am publishing a book, you know,) Livy is here (Mrs. Crane’s parlor,) & we are writing letters & been two hours writing four two pages, & she has only written a page & a half—dinner time, now & we must tell you good-bye how do you like the enclosed portrait of Mr. Cutter which I snaked cut it out of the proofs we have been reading Andrews always distorted the phrase “Poet Laureate” into Poet Lariat if you remember I do love to all good bye

Yr Dutiful Scrub

Mark [MTL 3: 184-6].

April 29 Friday Sam and Livy worked on the proofs during the day, and socialized with friends and family in the evenings. They played euchre, sang hymns, and undoubtedly swapped great heaps of sweet nothings.

April 10 Saturday Sam wrote a note from Elmira to Elisha Bliss, dating it “April Something, 1869”—details of the book proofs. The same day (nearly identical dateline as the letter to Bliss) Sam wrote to his sister Pamela, enclosing one of Livy’s letters in order to better acquaint her with the family [MTL 3: 189-90].

Sam’s article, “Mr. Beecher and the Clergy” ran in the Elmira Advertiser [Camfield, bibliog.].

April 12 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks and sent her comic characterizations (from Ch. 23 of Innocents Abroad) of several saints “by the old masters” [MTL 3: 190-2]. The Langdon’s dinner guests that night probably included Anna E. Dickinson (1842-1932), celebrated reformer [MTL 3: 192n2].

Sam also wrote Elisha Bliss saying the “Old Masters” pictures he’d sent copies of to Mrs. Fairbanks were “the very funniest pictures” [MTL 3: 192].


April 14 WednesdayElisha Bliss wrote to Sam.

Friend “Mark. T”

Yours recd. Glad the “picters” suit—Have got a pile more doing. The Spires are a full page cut & not yet done—will appear in due season. Shall have 16. full page cuts –– I like “Innocents abroad” & also “Crusade of the Innocents” both are good. Keep up a d—l of a thinking & may-be (it is about time for them) you will get something better if not either will do.—

You get my idea exactly of the fountain, when I saw it,– (but dont tell any one about that Paris of mine being in (Ky) some may think I have been Abr-rroad

The fact is, that fountain is splendid, & so is a big freshet! It looked I said like a whale spout with Jonas thrown up, in any quantity, all sea sick & spouting themselves—nevertheless, it is good, & will do, particularly the lamps

No proofs today. Will be some tomorrow.

Printers slower than the d—l –– I wish I was a type setter Id push it. Never mind the book will appear & the country will have some pep—I am sticking in the cuts, in the last chapters now.


E Bliss Sy [MTPO; MTLTP 19n4].

April 15 Thursday In Elmira Sam wrote again to Elisha Bliss.

“It is a readable book, I know—because I wrote it myself” [MTL 3: 194].

He also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks about his failed attempts to buy an interest in the Cleveland Herald, and his subsequent negotiations with the Hartford Courant [MTL 3: 195-6].

April 20 Tuesday Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss. “…I don’t like to trust your man,” Sam wrote, about proofreading errors at Bliss’ company. Sam wrote and crossed out: “He is an idiot—& like all idiots, is self-conceited.” Sam returned another section of proofs with this letter [MTL 3: 197-8]. Note: Sam often crossed out sentiments but left them visible to the reader.

Sam also wrote to James Redpath (1833-1891), who had recently founded the Boston Lyceum Bureau as a central booking agency for lecturers. Sam and Nasby had tried unsuccessfully to contact Redpath while in Boston on Mar. 14-15. Sam told Redpath it would be “some time” before he knew “positively” whether he could lecture at all. This began a long personal and professional association with Redpath [MTL 3: 199].


April 24 Saturday James Redpath wrote from Boston to Sam:

Dear Sir—I was very sorry that I failed to see you when in Boston; but next time I hope to have better luck.

Now, about lecturing. Let me use your name, say for—“from the 1st of November,” conditional on your return from California;—tell me your terms; send me the titles of your lectures; and I will work you up during the summerem space. Send me regularly all your short humorous pieces so that I may get them republished, and so keep up & increase your reputation in N. E. I think you wd do well in this section; altho’ you are not so widely known here as in the Middle & Western States. However by sending me a lot of your newspaper scraps that can be remedied.

What I propose to do for lecturers is to advertise my whole list in leading papers, send circulars to every “Post,” (GAR)em spaceY.M.C.A. & Lyceum, & newspaper editor in N.Y; and when the lecturer furnishes me with special circulars scatter them at my own expense

Now, this I wd like to do for you

I enclose the two last that have come to hand for me. Can’t you get up something similar & let me have 500 copies.

Some lecturers prefer also to spend some money (in my name) in special advertisements. Du Chaillu did it & it paid. Whatever am’t (if any) you choose to send for this purpose, I will expend judiciously.

Circulars, however, you ought to have.

Finally, don’t think that I’m half such a dandy as this Notepaper wd seem to imply—I have nothing else & it is my daughters!

Yours truly

Jas Redpath

P.S. My final list for the season won’t be issued till the middle of August. But a Spring list is necessary, as a sort of opening medicine to the body Lyceumic [MTPO; MTL 3: 216n1]. Note: Paul Belloni Du Chaillu (1831-1903), French-American anthropologist famous for being the first modern outsider to confirm the existence of gorillas, and later the Pygmy people of Africa.

April 29 Thursday Still concerned the book would be too long, Sam suggested in a letter written in Elmira to Elisha Bliss that certain sections could be “snatched out” [MTL 3: 199-203].


May 5 Wednesday Sam left Elmira in the evening with Charles Langdon, who went to New York for medical attention. Mary Mason Fairbanks, Mrs. Langdon and Sam’s mother all had questioned the propriety of Sam staying so long at the home of his betrothed. Sam saw the need to work on his book directly with his publisher, and to soothe the females as well [MTL 3: 205n1].

May 6 Thursday – Sam and Charles Langdon took rooms at the St. Nicholas Hotel in New York City.


May 7 Friday Sam and Charles Langdon went to Dan Slote’s blank book and stationery store, then the Tribune office until 2 PM. In the evening Sam and Charley attended a production of Othello (whom Sam called “the great miscegenationist”) at Booth’s Theater at 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues [MTL 3: 204].


May 8 Saturday Sam wrote just after midnight from New York City to Livy, whom he missed already. He filled her in on activities since reaching the city. Sam wrote he was leaving for Hartford and would telegraph Bliss to leave any letters for him at his hotel, The Allyn House, and that he hoped to arrive there by 9 PM [MTL 3: 204-6]. Sam reached the hotel by 7:30 and wrote Livy at 9.

“That squib I wrote about the Wilson murder was in the New York Tribune this morning. Did my little business manager cut it out & preserve it?”

The piece was a humorous fictional account of a murder in Elmira. The victim in the story called the other antagonist every name in the book, but was received mildly, until he was called a member of the New York Legislature. Wilson then “shot him dead with an axe handle” [MTL 3: 208].

Sam’s letter to the editor, dated Apr. 29, “Remarkable Murder Trial” ran in the New York Tribune [Camfield, bibliog.].

May 9 Sunday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy about continuing to struggle with the proofs of his book [MTL 3: 209-11].


Text Box: May 10, 1869 - The joining of the continent with the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads took place at Promontory, Utah




May 10 Monday Sam wrote from Bliss’ office in Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

“Have 500 pages of proof—only about 200 more to read—& so the thing is nearly done….Livy is no stronger than she was six months ago—& it seems hard, & grieves me to have to say it. I cannot talk about it with her, though, for she is as sensitive about it as I am about my drawling speech & stammerers of their infirmity.”

 Sam also wrote to Abel Fairbanks, concluding no further interest in obtaining a share of the Cleveland Herald [MTL 3: 211-3]. Sam wrote James Redpath, agreeing to the use of his name in lecture advertisements, and suggesting a pay rate of $100 per lecture. Sam discussed his planned trip to California and mentioned the completion of the “Pacific RR” at Promontory, Utah [MTL 3: 214-18].

May 10June 1 Tuesday Sometime during this period Sam wrote from Elmira or Hartford to Elisha Bliss, estimating 200,000 words left in Innocents, and directing the “infernally unreliable” printer’s proofreader to look up the word “tabu” if he didn’t know the meaning [MTL 5: 683].

May 11 Tuesday Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother about leaving Elmira, proofs of his book, money he sent and what she might need. He also wrote of his desire for a small wedding [MTL 3: 218-9]. Note: It was 2 a.m. and the letter seems abrupt.

May 12 Wednesday Sam wrote in the evening from the Bliss home in Hartford to Livy. Sam had taken a long walk on dark streets and was reflective [MTL 3: 219-23].

May 13 Thursday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy, more of the same sort of romantic “bosh.”


“Now I have nothing henceforth to do but write newspaper letters, read proof, & scribble letters to Livy” [MTL 3: 225-6].


In the evening Sam wrote “Private Habits of the Siamese Twins,” which later appeared in Packard’s Monthly as “Personal Habits of the Siamese Twins” [MTL 3: 228 & n3].

May 14 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy:

“Twichell & I, & another preacher or two, & the editor of the ‘Post’ are to take tea—with Mr. Henry Clay Trumbull, this evening, but you can’t go, on account of that sarcasm.”

The Hartford Evening Post editor was Isaac Hill Bromley (1833-1898). The Rev. Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) brother of James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897), local historian. Sam wrote that two different printing houses were to print 10,000 copies each of Innocents Abroad. Sam hoped “something would turn up to make that fearful trip” to California “entirely useless & unnecessary” [MTL 3: 227-30].

May 14 and 17 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to James Redpath concerning the printing of a circular for the upcoming lecture season [MTL 3: 227].

May 15 Saturday Sam wrote just after midnight from Hartford to Livy about the “tea” at the Trumbull’s with Twichell and Gov. Hawley. “I have laughed till I feel all tired out” [MTL 3: 231-2]. Sam wrote another letter to Livy later that day. He started a third letter which he finished May 16.


May 16 Sunday – In Hartford Sam finished his last letter of the previous day to Livy. He walked to the post office, open until 9 PM, bought four editions of Appleton’s Journal which serialized a story by Victor Hugo; then called on Billy Gross, a bookseller; forgot and left his magazines; went to the photographers and ordered pictures of himself from a negative; rushed back to Gross’ and got his magazines; and somehow had switched umbrellas with a man who he then bumped into. (Sam’s telling of this process is a lot funnier than a paraphrase) [MTL 3: 236-8].

May 17 Monday Sam was in a Livy habit. He started another letter to her from Hartford, finishing the following day [MTL 3: 239-44].


May 18 Tuesday Silas S. Packard paid Sam $25 for “Personal Habits of the Siamese Twins,“ which was published in Packard’s Monthly in August [MTL 3: 230n3]. Sam finished the letter of May 17 to Livy, expressing concern for her health [MTL 3: 243].


May 19 and 20 Thursday In Hartford Sam wrote to Livy. It rained steadily and Sam was in a depressed state, feeling prisoner of a bad cold and being away from his ladylove [MTL 3: 245-9].

May 23 Sunday Sam was in New York City, where he received fifty dollars from a cash account that Charles Langdon was keeping for him [MTL 3: 253n7]. The next day Sam was back in Connecticut.

May 24 Monday Sam wrote from South Windsor, Conn. to Livy. He was visiting the Roe family at East Winsdor Hill, about eight miles from Hartford. Sam had known Azel Stevens Roe Jr., from his days out West. Roe Sr. (1798-1886) was a novelist. Roe Jr. had been a voice and music teacher in Virginia City in 1867, and a tutor in San Francisco in 1863. Sam included a note to Livy’s parents, asking them to bring Livy to New York City so he might see her before his planned trip to Elmira on June 10 [MTL 3: 249-53]. Note: Based on Livy’s numbering of Sam’s letters, there were five previous lost letters [MTL 3: 253n1].

May 29 Saturday – In Elmira late, Sam wrote a short note to Livy. This letter was hand delivered. It’s possible the late hour prevented a visit.


Livy darling, precious little Comforter, you have cast out the devil that possessed me for the present, & all is well. I have kept the promises & obeyed the instructions. All is well—all will be well. I am grateful beyond all power of speech to express, for such a patient, wise, gentle, loving darling to lift me above myself & give me peace. You are the only person that is always master & conqueror of all my moods—& you are this through a persistence that never flags, a patience that never tires & never is disheartened, & a love that is invincible. Sleep in peace, darling—& blessings rest upon you. / Sam [MTL 3: 254].

May 30 Sunday – Sam’s piece titled “Soundings,” possibly an extract from some earlier article, ran in the Chicago Republican [The Twainian, Sept-Oct 1949 p.5].

At dinner yesterday I helped myself to a piece of pumpkin pie. The gentleman who had been so obliging as to amuse me at an expense of seventy-five dollars, observing me eat the pie, rose from the table with a heavy frown on his face. When I had finished my dinner and walked forward to the Social hall, he approached with a drawn Bowie knife, and sternly demanded of me where I was from. I told him, after a slight hesitation, that I was born in Albermarle county, Va., and that I was a nephew of Colonel ——. He then said, “If that is the case, sir, you may continue to live; but, sir, I thought you must be a d——d Yankee from the way you eat that pumpkin pie, and in that case I should have regarded it as a duty to my country to cut your throat.”

I thanked him very politely for the high regard…Col. Jay Hawker I think he called himself….He had lost very heavily by the war. I think he said he had lost an uncle, a nigger, a watch, and thirty dollars in Confederate money.

June 1 Tuesday Sam answered a letter from John J. Murphy, the New York agent for the San Francisco Alta California. Sam was still reading proofs, with “several chapters to read yet.” He was of two minds about going to California [MTL 3: 254-5].

Sam also sent Silas S. Packard a speech that he wanted read in lieu of his attending the New York Press Club dinner. “I shall be at the St. Nicholas Hotel from the 11th to 15th[MTL 3: 255].

June 4 Friday Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother and family:

“In twelve months (or rather I believe it is fourteen,) I have earned just eighty dollars by my pen – two little magazine squibs & one newspaper letter – altogether the idlest, laziest 14 months I have ever spent in my life.”

Sam preferred to get “located” in a newspaper rather than suffer more tiresome travel on the lecture circuit. Sam also perceived that the famous speakers on the circuit had no plans to get out of it. He did not want to be “wedded” to lecturing.

“Day after day Livy & I are together all day long & until 10 at night, & then I feel dreadfully sleepy” [MTL 3: 259].

Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks that the:

“…last chapters of the proof came, & to-morrow we shall finish reading & be done with the tiresome book forever” [MTL 3: 262].

June 5 SaturdayPress Club Dinner, New York City – A proxy read Sam’s speech “Reliable Contraband” at this event. Sam felt unable to attend. The reason is unknown [Fatout, MT Speaking 38-40].

June 8 Tuesday Though in Elmira, spending days and nights until 10 PM with Livy, Sam wrote her a note after he got in bed. In part:


It is the sweetest face in all the world, Livy. To-day in the drawing-room, & to-night on the sofa when Miss Mary was playing—& afterward when you were sewing lace & I saw you from the front yard, through the window—these several times to-day this face has amazed me with its sweetness, & I have felt so thankful that God has given into my charge the dear office of chasing the shadows away & coaxing the sunshine to play about it always. It is such a darling face, Livy!—& such a darling little girlish figure—& such a dainty baby-hand! And to think that with all this exquisite comeliness should be joined such rare & beautiful qualities of mind & heart, is a thing that is utterly incomprehensible. Livy, you are as kind, & good, & sweet & unselfish, & just, & truthful, & sensible and intellectual as the homeliest woman I ever saw (for you know that all these qualities never existed before in any but belong peculiarly to homely women.) I have so longed for these qualities in my wife, & have so grieved because she would have to be necessarily a marvel of ugliness—I who do so worship beauty [MTL 3: 262]. Note: Miss Mary not identified.


June 9 Wednesday Sam, Livy and Jervis Langdon left Elmira for New York, en route for the June 17 wedding of Alice Hooker and John Calvin Day.


June 10 Thursday Sam, Livy and Jervis Langdon arrived at the St. Nicholas Hotel in New York City. Within a day or two, Livy and her father left for Hartford. Sam followed on June 16 [MTL 3: 266n1].

June 15 Tuesday John Russell Young had resigned from the New York Tribune, and Whitelaw Reid (1837-1912) took on Young’s duties in mid-May 1869. Sam wrote from New York to Reid. Sam thanked Reid for “that paragraph this morning about Memphis,” which was a spur to the city of Memphis, Tennessee to make payment on street paving work for which Jervis Langdon was owed $500,000 [MTL 3: 264-5].

June 16 Wednesday Sam left New York for the Hooker-Day wedding in Hartford.

June 17 Thursday – Sam, Livy and Jervis Langdon attended the wedding of Livy’s childhood friend, Alice Hooker to John Calvin Day [Willis 50]. Livy and her parents left Hartford on June 21 and New York on June 22. Livy spent three days visiting with Fidele Brooks [MTL 3: 267n5].

Sam introduced the Langdons to Elisha and Frank Bliss sometime before June 21 [MTL 3: 266n1].

During this stay in Hartford, Jervis Langdon made Sam an offer. As his future son-in-law, Jervis offered to front money for Sam to buy an interest in a newspaper [A. Hoffman 157].

June 21 Monday Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy the day she left Hartford with her family.

“I don’t think I shall accomplish anything by tarrying here, & so I shall be in New York tomorrow evening” [MTL 3: 265-6]. Note: Sam had talked to Charles Dudley Warner about part ownership of the Hartford Courant, but the results were negative.


June 22 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield, (Mass.) Daily Republican asking if he would sell part interest in the paper. Sam went to New York and arrived at 5 PM. He then went to Fidele Brooks home, where Livy was visiting and stayed until 10 PM [MTL 3: 268].

June 23 Wednesday Sam wrote from the Everett House in New York City to Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon. Sam told Livy’s mother all was well with her daughter. He spent from 11 AM until 2 PM at the Brooks’ home [MTL 3: 268-9].

Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett, letting her in on the offer Jervis had made in Hartford around the time of Alice Hooker’s wedding:

“I mean to go to Cleveland in a few days, to see what sort of an arrangement I can make with the Herald people. If they will take sixty thousand dollars for one-third of the paper, I know Mr. Langdon will buy it for me. This is strictly private—don’t mention my affairs to ANYbody.”

Sam also counseled his sister to take $30,000 for the Tennessee Land, as their mother was “growing old, & I do wish I could see her in liberal circumstances” [MTL 3: 270-3].

Sam also wrote Livy a letter, to be slid under the door at Mrs. Brooks’ house, relating the six-page letter he’d sent her mother.

I walked down to the St Nicholas Hotel at 6.30 this evening, but Charley hadn’t come, nor had he telegraphed for a room. And so, whether he comes to-night or not, I am going shopping with you to-morrow. If he comes, all right—we will both go with you….I have spent two hours in the Academy of Design, this afternoon, & I would have enjoyed it rarely if I had had company….It is a quarter after eleven, & I must hurry up to Mrs. Brooks’s’s [sic] with this. I shall call on you at 10 in the morning… [MTL 3: 273-5].


June 24 Thursday Sam and Livy probably spent the day together, shopping and visiting the Academy of Design.

June 25 Friday – Sam and Livy returned to Elmira [MTL 3: 277n2].

Sam’s mother wrote him hell about sending his trunks but not yet visiting [MTL 3: 277n4].

June 26 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, and sister Pamela. Sam notified them that he’d shipped his trunk and valise from New York on June 24. Between June 23 and 26 Sam had received word from Abel Fairbanks raising the amount for only one quarter of the Cleveland Herald, and Sam expressed doubts that he would work out a deal with them. He still expected to go to Cleveland in a day or two, but did not [MTL 3: 276].

Sam also wrote Whitelaw Reid, thanking him again for the lines in the Tribune and the response of the Memphis Daily Appeal [MTL 3: 278].


July – Sam’s article, “Mark Twain’s Eulogy on the Reliable Contraband” ran in the July issue of Packard’s Monthly [Camfield, bibliog.].


July 3? Saturday Sam wrote from Elmira to his brother Orion Clemens. Sam conveyed Jervis Langdon’s offer to buy the Tennessee Land for $20,000 cash and $10,000 canal stock [MTL 3: 279-80]. (See July 7 entry).


July 5 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks with excuses why he had not yet come to Cleveland. He was writing next winter’s lecture; he “unexpectedly got aground here,” etc. [MTL 3: 280-1]. Sam had been away from Livy for a few weeks, and it’s most likely that he simply did not want to leave again so soon. Also, the long distance negotiations with the Herald did not promise much. In past letters Livy expressed reservations about living in Cleveland. All of these may have played a part in Sam’s lingering in Elmira. He did not go to Cleveland until July 15, after he investigated a partnership in the Buffalo Express.

July 7 WednesdayOrion replied to Sam’s July 3? Letter:

[Jervis Langdon] must not buy blindfold, or until he sends his Memphis agent there to examine….Neither you nor Ma nor Pamela know anything about the land….I have laboriously investigated the titles, localities and qualities and I would put its present value at about five thousand dollars, though Ma and Pamela would not be willing to take that.

Orion pointed out problems with the titles, provisions of law, etc. He suggested Mr. Langdon enter into an equal co-partnership, which would try to solidify the family’s title by leasing the land “in 160 acre tracts and settling immigrants on them with seven or eight years’ leases…” [MTL 3: 279n1]. Note: Langdon’s response is not known and the deal never came together.

July 9 Friday Sam, still in Elmira, responded to a letter from James Redpath and agreed to lecture in Boston [MTL 3: 282].

July 12 Monday In Elmira, Sam wrote to Elisha Bliss, complimenting the promotional circular for IA and requesting that some be sent to his agent, James Redpath [MTL 3: 283].

Elisha Bliss wrote to Clemens.

Yours rec’d. Our Pros will be out in 2 or 3 days We are binding books also. We have deemed it best not to open our batteries right in the heat of haying

We shall commence in course of a week or so. We shall ship Books to California on the steamer of 24th inst—Prospectus will go on 16th so you see the Books will be there by the time you are—We shall do all in our power to make a big thing out of this. Unfortunately we have been delayed too long to make a summer Book of it—but unavoidably We propose to make a fall book of it with every advantage of full preparation & an early start— / Truly/ E Bliss Jr Scy [MTPO].

John J. Murphy wrote from NYC, that he was waiting for Huntington to get Twain a pass on the Central RR [MTP].

July 14 WednesdayDavid R. Locke (Petroleum V. Nasby) wrote from Toledo, Ohio .

My good friend Clemens:—your letter came duly to hand[.] As I had no idea of going to the Pacific this season your proposition takes my breath away. If I had my new lecture completed I wouldn’t hesitate a minute, but really isn’t “Cussed be Canaan” too old? You know that that lemon, our African brother, juicy as he was in his day, has been squeezed dry….Give me a week to think of your proposition. If I can jerk a lecture in time I will go with you [MTP]. Note: no recent letter from Twain is extant, but it would seem from Locke’s reply that Sam had proposed a joint lecture tour in California.

July 15 Thursday Sam went to Buffalo, New York and on to Cleveland to investigate and negotiate an interest in the Cleveland Herald with Abel Fairbanks. Note: Sam would purchase a third interest in The Buffalo Express. Jervis Langdon would loan Sam half of the $25,000 needed to purchase the interest. Sam had previously tried to acquire part ownership in the Cleveland Herald, since Mary Mason Fairbanks husband Abel was one of the owners. He’d also made similar efforts for the Hartford Courant, that city being the home of Sam’s agent Elisha Bliss and many influential contacts.

In Buffalo, Sam stayed at the Tifft House on Main Street. He would report on Prince Arthurs’ luncheon there a few weeks later [Reigstad 33].

Sam wrote several letters to Livy on this trip that have been lost [MTL 3: 290n1].

July 1620 Tuesday Sam returned from Cleveland to Elmira during this period, after Abel Fairbanks increased the purchase price for a share of the Herald [MTL 3: 287n2].


July 17 SaturdayFrank Bliss wrote to Sam, sending “a very few of the circulars all that we have today…we send a few to Redpath…will send more in a short time” [MTP].

July 20 Tuesday Date of publication for Innocents Abroad [MT Encyclopedia, Dickinson 400]—Hirst gives this as the date the earliest copies arrived from the bindery [“A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. By early August the book was becoming a best seller. It sold 30,000 copies within three months; 85,000 within sixteen months. Sam’s royalties on the book came to nineteen cents a copy [Willis 51]. Sam had written perhaps the greatest travel book ever penned by an American. With the backing of Jervis Langdon, and his success with Innocents Abroad, more lectures lined up. Things were coming together. He was about to marry into wealth and status, but not without “paddling his own canoe.”


July 22 Thursday Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss, sticking it to him for the delay in publication, excuses by Bliss about other books ahead of Sam’s, and objecting to any further delays. “I cannot think I have been treated just right.” This letter puts into question July 20 as a publication date. Bliss’ letter of July 12 promised to ship books to California on the steamer July 24. His response of July 30 acceded to Sam’s impatience and agreed to send copies to the newspapers at once. Bliss enclosed three copies for Sam. It is therefore unclear as to the exact date of publication—was it July 20, 28, or 30? [MTL 3: 284-7].

July 25 Sunday – Sam’s LETTER FROM “MARK TWAIN dated New York, July 1869, ran in the San Francisco Alta California. Subtitles: A First Visit to Boston; Modern Cretan Labyrinth; Boston Antiquities; Boston Politeness; Nasby [Schmidt].

Jane Clemens wrote to Sam.


My dear son / I have been waiting, waiting, for you, your trunks have been here more than a month. Suppose I send you my trunks and a letter telling you I will be along in a week or so, and then I stay over four weeks what would you think of me especially if I had not been to see you for six or seven times years but one time—would you conclude I was weaned from you and cared but little for you and how would you feel to think I had forgotten my own child. seven years ago all the people I know could not have made me believe that one of my children would not think worth while to come and see me. There is no excuse for a child not to go and see his old mother when it is in his power. I met Bixby yesterday he asked me where you was and what you was doing, I was sorry I could not tell him what you are doing, we have not heard from you lately.

I did not tell you I recivd the check the money and all right, because we have looked anxously ever since the trunks came for you. If a carrige or omnibus comes near the gate we are shure it is Sam. You can immagine the rest. To my dear son. / Your mother [MTPO].


July 26 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Abel Fairbanks asking about the Cleveland Herald’s assets and the increase in Fairbanks’ asking price [MTL 3: 287-8n2].

July 27 TuesdayAbel W. Fairbanks, part owner of the Cleveland Herald and husband of Mary Mason Fairbanks, wrote to Sam proposing $50,000 for a quarter interest in his newspaper—a price and that Sam and Jervis Langdon thought too high for too low a share [MTL 3: 287-8n2]. (See this note for the text of Abel’s letter.)

July 28 Wednesday Elisha Bliss registered Innocents Abroad with the copyright office [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford Edition, 1996]. The book was published in a first edition of 20,000 copies. Over 100,000 copies would sell by three year’s end, for about a $19,000 royalty.

The Hartford Times was first out of the chute with a review of IA:


It is a lively, laughter-exciting book, such as one rarely meets among volumes of travels; yet the fun is not the only feature of the book. It abounds in interesting information, conveyed in a wide range of facts, adventures, and personal experiences….Mr Clemens contrives to give us new views of old scenes, many new facts, and decidedly new impressions (“New Book” in the Hartford Times, p2) [Budd, Reviews 35].


July 29 Thursday – Sam’s article, “A Mystery Cleared Up” ran in the Cleveland Herald. An unsigned article attributed to Clemens ran in the Buffalo Express: “To the Velocipede” [Camfield, bibliog.].


July 30 FridayElisha Bliss replied to Clemens’ July 22 about the delay in publication.

Your communication is rec’d. I cannot to day reply to it as I wish, I will do so in a day or two. In meantime I have the honor to send you 3 Vols of “The Innocents,” one for yourself, & one each for the 2 papers in Elmira which please deliver with the extra sheets also— We did not propose to send to the press until next month for valid reasons, but we shall send at once, hoping that the effects may not all be lost by the notices appearing at a most inauspicious time when most people are busy or away from home—

Any notices of the press that may come to your eye please send me with name of paper [MTPO].

July 31 Saturday – The Hartford Times ran a review under the heading “The New Pilgrims’ Progress / Mark Twain on His Travels,” p.1:

That the odd genius who described the “Jumping Frog,” should go to see and describe the art treasures of Europe and the ruins of Egypt and the Holy Land, has something in it very comical. Out in California they don’t care much for tradition, and they respect a thing for what it is, nor for what somebody has said it is. They pride themselves on being sharp and incapable of being humbugged. As the latest born children of time, they have the accumulated cuteness of ages. They are wanting in reverence and a good many other of the undoubted virtues. Mark Twain is a true Californian, with the original, quaint and not always refined humor of the Pacific; a very shrewd observer, not by any means unpoetical, but yet delighting to take the traditional poetry out of things [Budd, Reviews 35-6].

July, lateJervis Langdon had business connections in Buffalo. His executive John Slee (John De La Fletcher “Fletch”; 1837-1901) negotiated for Sam a piece of the Buffalo Express. Sam had gone to Buffalo on July 15 to look the paper over and aid in negotiations [MTL 3: 290n1].


August “Personal Habits of the Siamese Twins” was published in Packard’s Monthly [Camfield, bibliog.]. Sam inscribed a copy of Innocents Abroad: Miss Ida Clark/ August 1869/ Compliments of The Author [McBride 7].

James Redpath’s journal, The Lyceum, listed Mark Twain at a $100 price among dozens of other speakers [Lorch 101].

August 1 Sunday – Sam, apologetic for his letter of July 22, wrote again from Elmira to Elisha Bliss. “I have been out of humor for a week. I had a bargain about concluded for the purchase of an interest in a daily paper & when everything seemed to be going smoothly, the owner raised on me” [MTL 3: 287]. Note: the owner referred to was Abel W. Fairbanks; the paper the Cleveland Herald.

LETTER FROM “MARK TWAIN” dated Hartford, July 1869, ran in the San Francisco Alta California. Subtitles: Romance in Real Life; the “Overland Monthly”; Blind Tom; How is your Avitor? [Schmidt].

August 4 Wednesday Sam and the Langdons took a three day trip to Niagara Falls and stayed at the Cataract House Hotel. Also along were Charles J. Langdon and his fiancée Ida Clark, her parents, as well as Livy’s friend Fidele Brooks and husband Henry Brooks and son of New York, and neighbors of the Langdons, Dr. Henry Sayles and wife Emma Sayles. Cousin A. Langdon was also in the hotel. The trip allowed Jervis to inspect the finances of the nearby Buffalo Express. Sam had received an offer to consider—one-third share of the Buffalo Express for $25,000 [MTL 3: 288n2; MTL 3: 300n4; Reigstad 59-62]. Note: this trip previously pinned to 3 days in late July; thanks to Reigstad’s scholarship it is here corrected.

Elisha Bliss wrote from Hartford to Sam.

Friend Clemens / Yours of 1st is at hand, enclosing communication from Trumbull. That is all O.K. He has been in to see me 2 or 3 times. We shall use the letter in a very quiet way occasionally—privately not publicly…I enclose a few of our Circulars” Bliss believed the book would be a success and explained the delays: “Now lets let the thing drop & sell the Book. That’s what we want to do” [MTP].

August 5 ThursdayAt Niagara Falls, NY. Sometime during the 3 day stay Jervis Langdon and Sam made a side trip to Buffalo, where Jervis likely visited the branch of his coal company at 221 Main Street, as well as a waterfront coal-yard operation. The pair also searched records in the Buffalo Express office to “confirm the soundness of their upcoming investment.” A few days later (Aug. 14), Twain complained about ‘the bore of wading through the books & getting up balance sheets’” [Reigstad 60-61]. Note: the Aug. 14 letter was to Mary Mason and Abel W. Fairbanks: “As soon as Mr. Langdon saw the books of the concern he was satisfied” [MTL 3: 298].


August 6 FridayThe last day of the business/pleasure trip to Niagara Falls.


August 7 Saturday – Sam accompanied the Langdon family on a return trip to Elmira. By Sunday AM he was back in Buffalo [Reigstad 62].

The San Francisco Evening Bulletin, p.1, ran a positive review of IA, observing that “America has, within the past few years, developed a new type of humor.”

…the book is one of the most fresh, breezy, stimulating, and delightful we have read in many a day. It is full of vigorous vitality—full of brawn and marrow. The humor is often exquisitely rich in quality….But Mr. Clemens is not only a humorist, but a master of descriptive writing. Occasionally we detect a fine poetic vein (“Mark Twain’s Pilgrimage”) [Budd, Reviews 37-8].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       Chang and Eng, the Siamese twins, have an aggregate of seventeen children, but most of them belong to Chang, because Eng was absent part of the time.

·       The river Nile is lower than it has been for 150 years. This news will be chiefly interesting to parties who remember the former occasion [Reigstad 232].

August 8 Sunday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Livy, apologizing for hurting her and finishing the letter at 9 PM. During this period, Sam was shuttling between Elmira and Buffalo, scrutinizing the books and balance sheets of the Express. Sam wrote “my obligations to him [Jervis] almost overshadow my obligations to Charley, now…” Jervis Langdon had advanced half of the purchase price for the Express and guaranteed the balance [MTL 3: 289-91]. Following this letter, ten letters (Livy’s numbers 91-100), probably daily from Aug. 9 to 18, are lost [MTL 3: 290n1].

August 11 Wednesday Sam was in Elmira and first saw the published book, Innocents Abroad. He signed a gilt-edge copy for Livy [MTL 3: 291-2].

The Buffalo Period


Reigstad’s 2013 work, Scribblin’ for a Livin’ greatly informs and fills in the Buffalo years of Mark Twain. Destroying the myth that the Buffalo years were bleak, friendless and full of tragedy—a view initiated by Paine and piled on by others—Reigstad identifies Twain’s Buffalo social connections, a town that was thrilled when Clemens took over the editorship of the Buffalo Express in August 1869. Reigstad writes:

…the drumbeat of slighting Buffalo, initiated by Paine, rolled on. In 1943, Delancey Ferguson perpetuated the “friendless” theory…and introduced a new spin toward disrespecting Twain’s Buffalo stay—that is, its weather. …The Mark Twain Handbook, published fourteen years after Ferguson’s book, also commented on Buffalo as a place lacking social companionship for Twain and Olivia, with an entry on Buffalo as “uncongenial and gloomy; somehow they had never really managed to feel themselves a part of the community.” …Justin Kaplan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain reiterated the one-two punch of dull society and bad weather as two reasons for Twain’s ultimate discontent with the city: “At best Buffalo had been a city of only mild social diversions for Clemens.” Then a few pages later Kaplan calls Twain’s Buffalo a “city of cold winds and hard luck.” Since that time, into the 1990s, Twain scholars have not departed from the dominant critic’s line. [20]

Reigstad presents many names from a stroll through Forest Lawn Cemetery:

“In the mid-1890s, during a brief stopover in Buffalo, Twain took a quick carriage tour through the winding lanes of Forest Lawn. Today the list of those whose remains are in the cemetery reads like a who’s who of Twain’s surprisingly extensive Buffalo social network.”

Earl D. Berry – Cub reporter on the Express “whom Twain trusted to carry out his myriad of editorial innovations.”

James N. Johnston – Member of the Nameless Club, “a vibrant literary club to which Twain belonged…”

Mary A. Ripley – ditto. “Approximately twenty additional Nameless Club members who spent pleasant evenings with Twain sharing their writings and reading their poetry can be found throughout the cemetery.

James Howells – “…contractor and Delaware Street neighbor with whom Twain was acquainted.

Thomas A. Kennett “Kennett reported bragged about having ‘done’ Twain in, selling him his one-third share of the Express in 1869 at $10,000 above its market value. Ironically, Kennett later lost his fortune and died penniless.”

Augusta Moore Graves – “…a talented young sculptor, who was commissioned to create a bust of baby Langdon Clemens from his death mask in 1872.”

Rev. Grosvenor W. Heacock “a spiritual advisor to Twain and his wife, Olivia. Heacock, of Lafayette Presbyterian Church, was their favorite preacher in Buffalo.”

Andrew Simson and Jefferson Upson – “brothers-in-law at whose Main Street studio Twain posed for a photograph shortly after arriving in Buffalo.”

George Brewster Mathews “As a young clerk in 1869, he lived in the same boarding house as Mark Twain and occupied a seat directly across the dining table from him. Mathews grew up to be one of the wealthiest men in Buffalo.”

US President Millard Fillmore. “Fillmore was a distinguished elder citizen of Buffalo whom Twain encountered at least twice during his stay in the city.

Dr. Cornelius Cox Wyckoff “a physician and recent widower when he was Twain’s next-door neighbor on Delaware Street.”

Josephus Nelson Larned and wife Frances Larned. “Larned co-owned and coedited the Buffalo Express with Twain. He and his wife remained lifelong friends of Twain and Olivia.”

Victor Tiphane “…whose Main Street saloon Twain frequented.”

Dennis Bowen and Sherman S. Rogers – “…whose law firm handled the paperwork when Twain purchased one-third ownership of the Express for $25,000 in August of 1869.”

George H. Selkirk and wife Emily Selkirk – “Twain’s other Express co-owner….The couple socialized with Twain and Olivia, and Selkirk kept in touch with Twain for years concerning Express business matters.”

Dr. Andrew R. Wright “a physician who delivered Twain’s premature son, Langdon, in Buffalo and looked after the sickly baby and Twain’s equally ailing wife for weeks after the birth.”

Rev. John C. Lord and wife Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord – “Twain was very fond of both of them.”

David Gray and wife Martha G. Gray “whom Twain and Olivia adored and called ‘Miss Mattie’…” Twain continued a life-long friendship with the Grays.

Charles Munson Underhill, wife Anna Underhill, and son Irving Underhill “…remained close to Twain his entire life.”

John D.F. Slee and wife Emma Slee – “Underhill’s dear brother-in-law…. Slee was in charge of the Buffalo coal office for J. Langdon and Co. and helped Twain with personal and financial affairs. He and his wife were trusted lifelong companions of Twain and Olivia, too.”

John Joseph Albright and wife Harriet Albright Harriet was a first cousin to Olivia.

William G. Fargo “cofounder of Wells-Fargo Express and president of the Buffalo Club when Sam was admitted in 1871.”

William Pryor Letchworth “another fellow Namless Club member.”

Jane Meade Welch “As a teenager she charmed Twain by sprinkling the dusty road in front of his Delaware Street home with a watering can. Welch, her mother, and her grandmother…were Delaware Street neighbors of Twain, and he paid them a cordial visit after the watering-can episode.”

George Wadsworth and wife Emily Wadsworth “Emily Wadsworth paid social calls at Twain’s 472 Delaware Street home.”

Andrew Langdon “…wealthy Buffalo businessman and another first cousin of Twain’s wife.”

John J. McWilliams and wife Esther McWilliams “McWilliams, bookkeeper for the Buffalo branch office of Langdon’s coal company, and his wife lived in the same boarding house as Twain during his weeks as a bachelor in Buffalo. They provided companionship for Twain and stayed friends for years afterward” [Reigstad 16-19].

John Harrison Mills “…in his late twenties when Twain first came to the Express. He was the composing-room artist, responsible for converting drawings into woodcuts capable of being reproduced in print. Mills was also a poet, a painter, and a member of the Nameless Club…. Mills painted a portrait of Twain from studies that he made in 1870. The portrait captured Twain’s ‘reddish yellow bush of hair towering above his broad white forehead and dark eager eyes.’ …During Twain’s first weeks at the Express, he and Mills worked closely together on the third floor. Twain either sketched or suggested ideas for illustrations to accompany four of his stories, and Mills engraved them in woodcut.”

William Gatchell and Horace Wilcox press operators in the basement.

Francis Wardell “…worked under Selkirk as head of circulation.”

George A. Martin – commerce editor.

Chester A. Wilcox – general editor.

George Leader – “…a clerk who became a reporter after Twain left, was a star player on the Express baseball team.

Jimmie Brennan 14 year old office boy (Francis Wardell’s nephew).

W. Landsittel – printer’s devil.

Philip Lee – Negro janitor and coal shoveler at the Express, whom Twain wanted to fire for insolence [49-54].

Charles Gerber – brewer. Sam frequented Gerber’s home at 821 Main Street, “where he would pop in unannounced in the winter saying he was a burglar ‘come to steal some heat.’ In the summer, Twain would visit Gerber, a brewer, for a glass of fresh, chilled water from a nearby spring” [140].

Henry G. White – neighbor of Twain’s [178].


Note: some of these names may be found in the index for this and other volumes. Some are newly added and great thanks is offered to Thomas Reigstad for their inclusion and also for the correction of past slights of the Buffalo period. While it is true that the Clemenses lost a son in Buffalo, and also had a close friend of Livy’s (Emma Nye) die in their home, the picture is not the imbalanced gloom and doom one so long presented. Reigstad’s book gives us more of a balanced view.

Reigstad also furnishes more names of the Buffalo literati, the Nameless Club members: Captain John Wayland, Jerome B. Stillson, Otto Besser, William P. Letchworth, Thomas Kean, James N. Johnston, Mrs. C.H. Gildersleeve, and Amanda Jones. The agenda included dinner, debates, and poetry and essay readings. Evenings were capped off by late-night toasts (as many as nine), a favorite being, ‘Lager Beer, a great civilizer!’” [52-53].

August 12 Thursday – The first date showing Sam living in Buffalo. Sam replied from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss’ of July 30.


Your splendid letter has arrived, & I confess I owe you one. I was in an awful sweat when I wrote you, for everything seemed going wrong end foremost with me. I had just got mad with the Cleveland Herald folks & broken off all further negotiations for a purchase, & so I let you & some others have the benefit of my ill nature. But that is all gone by, & now we will smoke the pipe of peace & bury the hatchet. …


He then related buying a third interest in the Buffalo Express, and seeing the finished book the day before in Elmira.


It is the very handsomest book of the season & you ought to be proud of your work. It will sell” [MTL 3: 292].

Reigstad gives Mrs. J.C. Randall’s boarding house at 39 East Swan Street as Sam’s living quarters for his last bachelor days (Aug-Sept) in Buffalo, writing “Her fashionable boarding house attracted lodgers a cut above the usual class of laborers and tug men.” Also:

On his first night there [Aug. 12?], Mrs. Randall formally presented Twain to some of the other guests, including Major and Mrs. James Dickie, who saluted and curtsied, respectively; William E. Foster, managing editor of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser; Mrs. Kitty Blanchard, a widow; Blanchard’s young son, Arthur; and George Brewster Matthews, a twenty-one-year-old bookkeeper with L. Enos and Company [81]. Note: editorial emphasis.

August 13 Friday Sam received a letter from John Slee, agent for the Anthracite Coal Association in Buffalo, informing him that Jervis Langdon’s check was on the way, and that Slee would add another check totaling $12,500. The papers might be exercised that day [MTL 3: 294n2]. Note: Jervis Langdon’s check for $12,500 plus Twain’s $2,500 went toward the down payment with Langdon guaranteeing the balance.

August 14 Saturday At the law offices of Bowen & Rogers, 28 Erie Street, papers were signed on the purchase of Sam’s one-third interest in the Buffalo Express, 14 East Swan Street [Reigstad 37]. Note: see pictures of the Express building in Reigstad 40-41.

This is the likely day that Sam first entered the offices of the Buffalo Express and sprung his little joke on the staff there, who had not yet met him. See Reigstad p. 29-31 for recreation of the event. Upon seeing staff lounging around in all the chairs, Twain’s sarcastic remarks about allowing the new editor a seat sent them scattering. Reigstad quotes Earl D. Berry, reporter in the office at the time, as giving the following persons involved: Rodney W. Daniels, Dan Post, and DeWitt Clinton Welch, a foreman at Pierce and Company lumber [290n1].

Sam met the Buffalo press at a press dinner in the evening (Reigstad [35] claims it was an afternoon dinner, though in his letter to Bliss Twain gives it as “evening.” It’s likely such a dinner ran several hours, so both are correct). The dinner was given at “Willow Lawn,” the country estate of Elam R. Jewett (1810-1887) former publisher of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser [MTL 3: 297n3; Reigstad 36]. Newspapermen represented “papers like the Courier, the Commercial Advertiser, Christian Advocate, the Commercial Report and Market Review, the Demokrat, the Freie Presse, the Evening Post, as well as Twain’s Buffalo Express [Reigstad 35]. Clemens may have “entertained his new colleagues by reading selections from the book [IA]—his first public reading in Buffalo. At some point, Twain strolled the grounds at Willow Lawn, picking flowers and making impromptu boutonnieres for himself and other guests” [37].

Later he wrote from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss of the dinner and announced: “I entered upon possession to-day & made the first payment” [MTL 3: 295].

Sam also wrote James Redpath.

I feel compelled to beg off & withdraw from the lecture field entirely for this season, certain unforeseen events having conspired to change all my plans. To wit: I have just purchased one-third of the Buffalo Express & gone pretty largely in debt to accomplish it. I wish to confine myself closely to my work, now, for some time, & do the best I can to increase the paper’s income. Consequently, I shall not go to California. Moreover, the party of the second part & myself have decided to be married about the close of December, & I am informed by parties of large experience that one requires two months to get ready to marry & three more to get used to it. This just about covers the entire lecture season & rules me out [MTL 3: 297-8; The Autograph 1.3 (Jan-Feb. 1912): 53].

Sam also notified Mary and Abel Fairbanks of his purchase of the Buffalo Express, of Jervis approval of their financial books, and of plans to wed “the last of December or the first week in January” [MTL 3: 298-9].

 “Sorosis,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [Camfield, bibliog.].

The Newark Advertiser, p.1, called IA “one of the most quaint and characteristic specimens of American humor” (“Literary”) [Budd, Reviews 40].


August 15 Sunday – Sam officially became a writing editor of the Express, offering sketches and editorials. This began a period of eighteen months in Buffalo that marked a transition from sometime journalist to celebrated author.

Sam wrote from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss, and Whitelaw Reid about his new book:

“…this is to ask you if you won’t get your reviewer to praise the bad passages & feeble places in it for me. They are the only ones I am worrying about, you know—the meritorious parts can get along themselves, of course” [MTL 3: 301-3].


See addition in Globe literary magazine, Buffalo, N.Y. for Apr. 1873.

Twain modified the typographical look of the Express, which resulted in “two days of consulting with layout foreman, John J. Hall,” and “pumped new life” into the “People and Things” column [Reigstad 43-44].

During his time at the Express, Sam was followed to and from the office and his boarding house by a “large, tawny, scarred office cat” [Reigstad 79].

August 16 Monday – Lydia Thompson’s Blonde Burlesque Troupe opened this evening at the Academy of Music in Buffalo. “A standing-room-only throng at the opera house waited three hours for the featured sparring exhibition between Ned ‘The Irish Giant’ O’Baldwin and Mike McCoole to finally begin” [Reigstad 35]. Did Clemens attend this performance of the Blondes? Perhaps. He must have seen it sometime because he published a story on the act in the Express on Feb. 28, 1870. Reigstad surmises: “He certainly would not have admitted seeing the scandalous Blondes to Olivia, to whom he had sworn strict, morally upright behavior in his remaining bachelor days. However, Twain’s Express story is filled with authoritative details about the Blondes’ stage routines, which suggests his firsthand knowledge” [291n2].

August 17 Tuesday “Removal of the Capital,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 7]. Note: see also Feb. 16, 1864.

August 18 Wednesday – “Lady Byron – Mrs. Stowe’s Revelations,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 8].

August 19 Thursday “Inspired Humor,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 9].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       One of those venerable parties, a pre-Adamite man, has been dug up from a depth of ninety-eight feet, in Alabama. He was of prodigious stature, and is supposed by savans to have existed twelve thousand years ago. Life was entirely extinct when they got him out.

·       An Alexandria (Egypt) merchant, ruined by the Viceroy’s heavy taxes, recently sold his son to a slave dealer to obtain yet another 900 piastres for the tax gatherer. It would have been far better to have sold him short for double the amount, and then run off before he was worth it.

·       The Brown family are assembling in convention at Simpson’s Corners, R.I., to form a plan of action with regard to their immense estates in England. So the telegram is worded. This is bad enough as it is—but will it stop here? Those Smiths will be at it next. It would be more generous in these two families to club themselves together in a joint convention and hire one of those ample western deserts to hold it in, and not be discommoding a helpless little State like Rhode Island which has never done them any harm.

·       A correspondent of the Cleveland Herald reports that a Mrs. Birney, 62 years of age, living near Tippecanoe, Harrison county, Ohio, has for twenty years been in the habit of falling into a state of unconsciousness at about ten o’clock on Sunday mornings, during which she delivers ungrammatical religious discourses. Of course, when a woman does anything remarkable, it must be published far and wide, but acres and acres of poor clergymen can go on doing such things all their lives and a subsidized press takes no notice of it. A mean partiality ill becomes journalism [Reigstad 234-6].

Sam wrote from Buffalo to Livy about his work on the Express:

“I have been consulting with the foreman of the news room for two days, & getting him drilled as to how I want the type-setting done—& this morning he has got my plan into full operation, & the paper is vastly improved in appearance.”

Sam gave the paper a “quiet & respectable” look, so that when real news happened, a “grand display of headings” would make folks notice.

“We are not astonished to hear a drunken rowdy swear, because he does it on great & trivial occasions alike—but when we hear a staid clergyman rip out an oath, we know it means something” [MTL 3: 303-4].

August 20 Friday Sam, in Buffalo, began a letter at nearly 2 AM to his sister Pamela. He’d sent his luggage to St. Louis on June 24, but never made the trip, so apologized. With his wedding planned for Christmastime or New Year’s, Sam felt for his mother, and sister to travel across the country would be “equivalent to murder & arson & everything else,” not to mention a cost of some $500. Sam already felt the burden of his debt to Jervis. He wrote that his new schedule including rising at 7, with breakfast at half past. He finished the letter on Aug. 21 with a PS about Bliss sending the family a copy of his book [MTL 3: 311-3].

In the evening Sam went rowing with John J. McWilliams [Aug 21 to Livy].

“The Monopoly Speaks,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 11].

August 21 Saturday – Sam’s first signed sketch, “A Day at Niagara,” appeared in the Buffalo Express. Also an introductory piece he titled, “Salutatory”:


I shall always confine myself to the truth, except when it is attended with inconvenience.

I shall not write any poetry, unless I conceive a spite against the subscribers.

I shall not often meddle with politics, because we have a political editor who is already excellent, and only needs to serve a term in the penitentiary to be perfect [McCullough 5].


From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       What goes on with the worn-out bank notes, if there be such things, and what becomes of the dead mules, if any?

·       The Fat Men’s annual clam-bake came off at Gregory’s Point, Conn., yesterday. Nobody was allowed to participate who could not turn the scale of 200 pounds. Scant-weights were given a year to make up their deficiency.

·       Two travelers, stopping at a Des Moines hotel, came near losing their lives last week, by blowing out the gas on retiring to bed. One of them, when asked if he smelt anything wrong, said yes, but he thought it was the other fellow’s breath.

·       During the stay of Bailey’s Circus in Aurora, Ill., last week, Squire Van Nortwick united in bonds matrimonial one of the Albino boys, Amos Rockman, weight about one hundred and twenty pounds, and the “fat girl,” Julia Hutleston, whose weight is four hundred and ninety-five pounds. This is well. What the country has long needed is a monster pleasantly combining albino hideousness and imbecility with fatty vastness and skeleton deformity. We shall await the advent of the fruit of this marriage with frenzied impatience [Reigstad 237-40].

As a journalist, Sam had arrived—and with a financial interest; he was having a great time of it. Sam responded to a letter sent by Henry Abbey (1842-1911) of Kingston, New York, who he probably met on his lecture tour in 1868. Sam was unable to lecture; “business will compel me to stick to my post.” Sam named a wedding date of Jan. 10, which was later changed [MTL 3: 314-5].

Another letter apologizing for being unable to lecture went to Henry M. Crane of Rondout, New York.

Sam also wrote James Redpath, letter not extant but described in the letter to Livy below.

At 9 PM Sam wrote Livy.


Darling, it is 9 o’clock, now, & you are aware that there are no kisses for us to-night. I feel more than half sorry I did not go to you, for I have not succeeded in doing the mass of work I had laid out for myself, for sitting up so late last night has kept me stupefied all day. It is the last time I shall be out of bed at midnight. And this night I mean to catch up. I shall be in bed, Puss, before your dainty little figure is tucked between your sheets, this evening. Bless your precious heart, I wish I could see you. I am afraid this is going to be a pretty long week, without a glimpse of my darling. But then (D. V.,) I shall put my arms about you next Friday evening & stay till Monday morning. You see I ought to be at my post by 8 o’clock every morning, & fresh—so I would have to return on Saturday night—& that was partly why I put off my visit this week. But Larned says don’t bother about that—he will do the work of both of us from 3 P.M. Friday till Monday noon whenever I want to go to Elmira—which is equivalent to getting out two editions of the paper alone. He is not a very bad fellow.

      McWilliams & I went down to the Lake after supper & had a row. I needed the exercise.

      His wife sorts out my soiled linen, takes a list of it, delivers it to the washerwoman in my absence, returns it again & attends to the settlement of the bill—& Mac tells me she will cheerfully do me do any mending I may need. She is a very excellent young lady, & I like her very much. Thanks to my darling’s busy fingers, however, I haven’t any mending to do, at present.

      Among the books sent us to review was one called “Wedlock,” which I siezed & read, intending to mark it & take it to you, but it was nothing but a mass of threadbare old platitudes & maudlin advice shoveled together without rhyme or reason, & so I threw it away & told Larned to embody that opinion in his notice (he was reviewing the books.)

      I wrote Redpath to-day, asking him to let me off entirely from lecturing in New England this season, for if I would rather scribble, now, while I take a genuine interest in it, & it I am so tired of wandering, & want to be still & rest.

      That thief that wrote about the dead canary & sends me so much execrable music has found me out & is writing publishing extravagant puffs of me & mailing the papers to me, duly marked, as usual. I shall offer a bounty for his scalp, yet. He is one of the most persistent & exasperating acquaintances I was ever afflicted with.

      Larned & I sit upon opposite sides of the same table & it is exceedingly convenient—for if you will remember, you sometimes write till you reach the middle of a subject & then run hard aground—you know what you want to say, but for the life of you you can’t say—your ideas & your words get thick & sluggish & you are vanquished. So occasionally, after biting our nails & scratching our heads awhile, we just reach over & swap manuscript—& then we scribble away without the least trouble, he finishing my article & I his. Some of our patch-work editorials are of this kind are all the better for the new life they get by crossing the breed.

      Little dearie, little darling, in a few minutes, after I shall have read a Testament lesson & prayed for us both, as usual, I shall be in bed. And I shall dream, both before & after I go to sleep, of the little flower that has sprung up in the desert beside me & shed its fragrance over my life & made its ways attractive with its beauty and turned its weariness to contentment with its sweet spirit. And I shall bless you, my darling, out of the fulness of a heart that knows your worth beyond the ken of any, even those that have been with you always; & out of the depths of a gratitude that owes to you the knowledge of what light is, where darkness was, & peace where turbulence reigned, & the beauty & majesty of love where a loveless soul sat in its rags before & held out its unheeded hand for charity. Better than all others I understand you & appreciate you, for this it is the prerogative of love to attain to alone, & therefore better than all others I can love you, & do love you, & shall love you, always, my Livy.

      Good night darling—& peaceful slumbers refresh you & ministering angels attend you. / Sam [MTL 3: 316-20]. Note: John James McWilliams (1842–1912); see earlier note on for Buffalo period. The “execrable music” was “The Dead Canary” by George W. Elliott.

August 23 Monday “Uncriminal Victims,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 18].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       Children in Iowa bite rattlesnakes in order to prevent toothache. Probably the cure would be more permanent if the rattlesnakes bit the children.

·       Mourning relatives visited the grave of a friend in Des Moines to find it a burrow of gophers. The mourners went for him, but instinct had suggested to those other creatures to gopher him previously.

·       Mr. Eddes, an octogenarian, residing in Dover, Me., never saw but two steamboats—Fulton’s original and a small one on Sebec lake. He has not been in Bangor, his nearest city, in thirty-eight years. His mind is said to be richly stored with lack of information [Reigstad 241-2].


August 24 Tuesday – “The Byron Scandal,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 19].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       The Blondes will expose themselves in Elmira to-night.

·       Peach kernels contain hydrocyanic (or prussic) acid, and are dangerous nutriment. Fifteen hundred of them taken on an empty stomach will kill a man.

August 25 Wednesday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Charles Warren Stoddard, poet and contributor to the San Francisco Overland Monthly. Stoddard became Sam’s personal secretary/companion in London in 1872.

Dear Charlie: / Thank you heartily for all your good wishes—& you must accept of mine in return. I have written Bret that we must have the “Overland”—see that he sends it, will you?

You speak of Mr. Stebbins. He came within an ace of breaking off my marriage by saying to the gentleman instructed by “her” father to call on him and inquire into my character, that “Clemens is a humbug—shallow & superficial—a man who has talent, no doubt, but will make a trivial & possibly a worse use of it—a man whose life promised little & has accomplished less—a humbug, Sir, a humbug.” That was the spirit of the remarks—I have forgotten the precise language. It was not calculated to help my case in an old, proud & honored family who are rigidly upright & without reproach themselves, & would necessarily be chary of strangers who were deliberately pronounced “humbugs” by high ecclesiastical authority. The friends I had referred to in California said with one accord that I got drunk oftener than was necessary, & that I was wild, & godless, idle, lecherous & a discontented & unsettled rover & they could not recommend any girl of high character & social position to marry me—but as I had already said all that about myself beforehand there was nothing shocking or surprising about it to the family—but I had never said I was a humbug, & I had never expected anybody who knew me to say it—& consequently there was a dark & portentous time for a while—till at last the young lady said she had thought it all over deliberately & did not believe it, & would not believe it if an archangel had spoken it—& since then there has not been flaw or ripple upon my course of true love & it does run smoothly & always will—no fear about that.

About lecturing. The only way to do it is to get into “the field”—the regular lyceum field. Individual enterprise cannot but fail—even Nasby cannot lecture on his own hook, as I do in California. James Redpath, 20 Bromfield Street, Boston, commands the New England lyceums & makes appointments for lecturers & lays out their routes for them for 10 percent on the fees. His lecturers get from $50 to $200 a night, according to their popularity. A man must be known & well known—though a decided hit made in Boston will topple all the other New England bricks to the earth. Such a hit the subscriber would have made there on the 10th of next November, but I have written to cancel all my engagements for this year. And I have done the same with the West—all the West is in the hands of the “Secretary of the A.W.L.S., Ann Arbor, Mich.” I do not talk for less than $100 a night, the N.Y. Evening Post to the contrary notwithstanding. The lecture “season” proper, begins Nov. 1 & closes Feb. 28—21 months, & is worth to me $10,000—never less, & can easily be made more—I have the run of all the fields.

You are too late for this year. What you need to do is to tackle Redpath & that other fellow (the latter charges no percentage, but is paid by the massed societies & is their servant) as early as next May & get on their lists. Popular lecturers are hard to get, in the west—& I love to lecture there. If you make a hit there you’ve a good livelihood before you always afterward. Next year I shall enter the field again east & west, & for the last time. I shall use my old first lecture on the Sandwich Islands, but that will not in the least interfere with you, for it is a topic that has seldom or never been used—in fact it will be all the better for you if I should kick up an interest in the subject (& I will.) Write the two men I have spoken of—they are the ones to make you or break you, the first time. If you make a hit, they will go for you, afterward. I am not yet formally released from my New England crusade, but they must release me—I must rush this newspaper for a while & make it whiz.

I told publishers to send books to you & Bret.

In a thundering hurry,

Yr friend always

             Sam Clemens.

Du Chaillu, with all his puffing, is not required to lecture a second time in western towns—he fails with his first broadside—ditto Billings [MTPO; MTL 3: 320-21]. Note: Sam replied here to a non-extant from Stoddard. Horatio Stebbins (1821-1902), San Francisco clergyman.

Sam wrote Livy about nearly capsizing in a small boat on Lake Erie with Josephus N. Larned (1836-1913) and William H. Johnson, both of the Express [MTL 3: 322-3]. Note: “Larned was six months younger than Clemens, had a sense of humor and was a rowing and card-playing crony of Twain’s” [Reigstad 45].

“A Fine Old Man,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 21].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       John Wagner, the oldest man in Buffalo—104 years—recently walked a mile and a half in two weeks. He is as cheerful and bright as any of these other old men who charge around so in the newspapers, and is in every way as remarkable. Last November he walked five blocks in a rain storm without any shelter but an umbrella, and cast his vote for Grant, remarking that he had voted for forty-seven Presidents—which was a lie. His “second crop of rich brown hair” arrived from New York yesterday, and he has a new set of teeth coming—from Philadelphia. He is to be married next week to a girl 102 years old, who still takes in washing. They have been engaged 89 years, but their parents persistently refused their consent until three days ago. John Wagner is two years older than the Rhode Island veteran, and yet has never tasted a drop of liquor in his life, unless you count whiskey [Reigstad 246].

August 26 Thursday – Sam finished a letter of Aug. 25 from Buffalo to Livy of his plans to be home in Elmira about 8 PM Friday. He enclosed notices of the Innocents Abroad [MTL 3: 322-3].

“Only a Nigger,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 22].

Spoofing an attempt by one Professor Jenkins to cross Niagara Falls on a bicycle, Sam wrote the following “telegram,” which ran in the Express. As a new editor of the paper, he couldn’t put his own name to such a piece, since he’d been heralded as a literary lion.

To the Editor of the Express:

I borrowed Jenkins’ velocipede and tried the slack rope performance over Niagara, but it is only a partial success. I have got to the middle, two hundred and twenty feet above the river, as well as Jenkins or any other man could do it, but I cannot get any farther. I stopped like that other ass to have my picture taken, and I can’t get her started again. I cannot back up or go ahead. I have been roosting between heaven and earth for a matter of eighteen hours now. My position is exceedingly ridiculous, not to say uncomfortable. Near-sighted English sportsmen are practicing on me with shot-guns and such things because they take me for some sort of a curious bird —and I am — I am a rooster. They have torn my clothes a good deal. How am I going to get out of this? I have been suspended long enough — I wish to suspend the exhibition for a while, now. But if this thing is going to be permanent, please send me an umbrella. It is warm here.

P.S. — Does my salary go on? Because I was instructed to try this atrocious experiment by one of the Express firm. He said it would be a good card for the paper if I succeeded — but this wretched thing won’t budge, you understand. I was to have been married to-day. I wish I was out of this.

Yours, in great suspension.

MICHAEL J. MURPHY, Reporter, Express [The Twainian, Feb 1945 p3].

August 27 Friday Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune published the first review of Innocents by a metropolitan daily, a positive and even-handed appraisal [MTL 3: 343n1; Powers, MT A Life 275]. Any good word from the Tribune was momentous and important to Sam.

August 28 Saturday Sam’s article “English Festivities. And Minor Matters. Fishing” appeared in the Express [McCullough 23].

September – Sam wrote an untitled burlesque letter from Lord Byron to Mark Twain, which was published posthumously [Camfield, bibliog.]. The impetus for the letter was no doubt Harriet Beecher Stowe’s bombshell article in the Atlantic, “The True Story of Lady Byron’s Life,” which exposed an affair by Lord Byron with his half sister, Augusta Leigh. Significantly, the article ran during James T. Fields(1817-1881) European vacation, with Howells in charge. This was a clear blunder, one of the few by Howells, and probably an attempt to placate Stowe. The British took the article as a national insult [Goodman and Dawson 131-2].


September 1 Wednesday Sam’s article “The Prodigal Son Returns” appeared in the Express [McCullough 28]. Sam wrote from Buffalo to Alphonso Miner Griswold (1834-1891), who wrote under the pen name, “Fat Contributor,” of his desire to get out of all lectures for this season. Griswold was reviewed as a “colorless copy of Mark Twain” [MTL 3: 324]. Sam also wrote to Livy.

September 2 Thursday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss about securing agents in the Buffalo area for sales of Innocents Abroad. All sales were by subscription, with traveling agents advertising and soliciting the book [MTL 3: 327]. Sam sent a note of acknowledgement to Stephen C. Massett (1820-1898) another lecturer, who’s stage persona was “Jeems Pipes[MTL 3: 328]. Massett was an English author who dabbled in acting and real estate before editing the Marysville Herald and contributing to The Pioneer and the Golden Era. He wrote an autobiographical account of early California theater entitled “Drifting About”; or What “Jeems Pipes, of Pipesville,” Saw-and-Did (1863).

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       Byron collars are in vogue again.

·       Sheridan is not married again yet.

·       Brigham Young has lost his family Bible, and is in trouble to find out how many children he has or what their names are.

·       The wonderful two-headed girl is still on exhibition in New England. She sings duets by herself. She has a great advantage over the rest of her sex, for she never has to stop talking to eat, and when she is not eating, she keeps both tongues going at once. She has a lover, and this lover is in a quandary, because at one and the same moment she accepted him with one mouth and rejected him with the other. He does not know which to believe. He wishes to sue for breach of promise, but this is a hopeless experiment, because only half of the girl is guilty of the breach. This girl has two heads, four arms, and four legs, but only one body, and she (or they) is (or are) seventeen years old. Now is she her own sister? Is she twins? Or, having but one body, (and consequently but one heart), is she strictly but one person? If the above named young man marries her will he be guilty of bigamy? This double girl has only one name, and passes for one girl—but when she talks back and forth at herself is she soliloquising? Does she expect to have one vote or two? Has she the same opinions as herself in all subjects, or does she differ sometimes? Would she feel insulted if she were to spit in her own face? Just at this point we feel compelled to drop this investigation, for it is rather too tangled for us [Reigstad 247-8].

September 3 Friday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss about the New York Herald’s favorable notice for his book. The review argued that it was not too irreverent, a criticism some reviewers made [MTL 3: 329].

Sam also wrote to Henry Crane, who had kept requesting Sam to lecture, and to Livy.

I am so disappointed, Redpath says he can’t get me free from Boston & 2 or 3 other places—& so I submit, & have written him to let me out to lyceums far & near, & for half the winter or all of it…It isn’t worth the bother of getting well familiarized with a lecture & then deliver it only half a dozen times…And yet the distress of it is, that the paper will suffer by my absence…

Sam argued against putting the wedding off until spring [MTL 3: 330-5].

From the Buffalo Express “People and Things Columns” by Mark Twain:

·       Geo. Francis Train has ceased to be a sensation in California, and sighs for another foreign jail or some reliable way of making a fresh noise in the world. It is strange that with his fertility of invention in this respect it does not occur to him to swallow a torpedo and jump out of the window.

·       It is estimated that more copies of Lord Byron’s works have been sold in this country within the last fifteen days than in seven years previously. And what is particularly aggravating, is, that people read the book now, whereas they used only to buy it for Christmas presents and centre-table ornaments [Reigstad 250].

September 4 Saturday Sam’s story of comic mayhem, “Journalism in Tennessee,” was printed in the Express. It was about Mark Twain taking a journalism job in Tennessee as associate editor of the Morning Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop and being shot at so much he decided frontier journalism wasn’t for him [Wilson 37]. A second article by the same name, “The Byron Scandal,” and a follow up article, “The Byron Question” are attributed to Sam [McCullough 28-30].

September 6 Monday Sam wrote from Buffalo (“In Bed Monday Night”) to Livy about a flap over poetry/song with George W. Elliott, who Sam referred to as the “Dead Canary.”

“[The] Cincinnati, Toledo & other western papers speak as highly of the book as do the New York & Philadelphia papers” [MTL 3: 335-7].

September 7 Tuesday – Another article attributed to Sam ran in the Express: “More Byron Scandal.”

“The aching desire that some people have for notoriety, to be talked about, even to be cursed rather than not to be noticed at all, can be the only possible excuse that I can imagine for this woman to lug into view family secrets in which the world can find nothing but the nastiest interest” [McCullough 37].


In Buffalo, Sam wrote two letters to Elisha Bliss, vouching for Mrs. William H. Barstow of Fredericksburg, Virginia (Kitty or Kate D. Barstow) to have the Virginia agency for Innocents Abroad [MTL 3: 339-41]. Note: William H. Barstow was helpful to Sam in obtaining his position with the Territorial Enterprise in 1862. Kitty was unable to pay for all the books ordered, so Sam had to pay Bliss. As a result of her debt, she did not write Sam for a decade, and then for financial help. See later entries on Kitty.

Sam also responded “With pleasure” to a request for autograph from John H. Gourlie, Jr. (1853-1904) [MTL 3: 341].

Sam also wrote to Whitelaw Reid thanking him for the positive notice in the New York Tribune. Sam wrote, “the book is selling furiously.” Reid had invited Sam to use the Tribune office as his own while in New York. Sam likewise invited Reid whenever he was in Buffalo or Elmira.

“—half of me is at Mr. Langdon’s in Elmira, you know, & so I am really writing over a fraudulent & assumed name when I sign myself Twain” [MTL 3: 342-3].

Lastly, Sam again wrote Livyabout love, her letters, the sermon she’d sent, his work, and Kitty Barstow [MTL 3: 344-5].

September 8 Wednesday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Henry M. Crane about lecturing:

“No, your ‘persistence’ don’t annoy me a bit—it is complimentary to me. I am only going to lecture till the middle of January, anyhow.”

Sam noted that his wedding had been postponed until the first week in February, due to lecture dates he was unable to cancel. Sam’s intention at this point was to “get out of the lecture-field forever” [MTL 3: 346-7].

Sam started a letter to Livy, finished the next day. “Livy, my precious little darling, I am as happy as a king, now that it is settled & I can count the exact number of days that are to intervene before we are married. I am full of thankfulness, & the world looks bright & happy ahead” [LLMT 109]

Bret Harte wrote from San Francisco:

My dear Clemens, / Bancroft sent me no book; more than that he refused, outright, to send me one even on the shaming of your letter. He took the Bulletin’s copy from them after they had noticed it, and sold it. Enterprising as [two lines (about 10 words torn away] your relation to the affair—and my sole reason for stating it—is that I do not intend to subscribe to the volume for the rare pleasure of reviewing it in the Overland. It is enough for me to read it again; friendship even of a more romantic kind than ours could not ask more [two lines, probably closing and signature, torn away] [MTP]. Note: Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918), historian and ethnologist. .

September 9 Thursday “Butler on the Byron Scandal,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Express [McCullough 38].

Sam finished the letter to Livy, begun the previous day. He wrote about Feb. 4 being the wedding date (it turned out to be Feb. 2,) his writing to Redpath of that fact, and about Charles Langdon, who had left for a trip around the world [MTL 3: 348-9].

Sam sent “PERSONAL” notice to the Lyceums about fulfilling lecture dates until Jan. 10. The notice was printed in the Buffalo Express on Sept. 11 [MTL 3: 351].

September 10 Friday Sam’s letter to Livy of Sept. 8 shows he proposed to start for Elmira “Friday night at 11—& start back at same hour on Monday night.”

September 11 Saturday “The Last Words of Great Men,” and “Personal,” both signed by Sam ran in the Express. In the former piece, Sam claimed that the last words of Joan of Arc were “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching.” Other pieces ran in the Express: “Mr. And Mrs. Byron,” signed by “Figaro” is attributed to Sam. In “Personal,” Sam announced that after withdrawing from the lecture season, he entered it again, unable to cancel all dates [McCullough 44-51].

September 13 Monday “The Gates Ajar,” attributed to Sam, was printed in the Express [McCullough 51].

Sam left Elmira for Buffalo.

September 17 Friday Sam wrote from Elmira to James Ausburn Towner (1836-1909) (“Ishmael”), somewhat piqued at Towner’s column in the Sept. 11 Elmira Saturday Evening Revue [MTL 3: 352].

September 18 Saturday “The ‘Wild Man’,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Express [McCullough 53].

September 21 Tuesday Sam wrote a short note from Buffalo to Henry M. Crane confirming his lecture in Rondout, New York on Jan. 12, 1870 [MTL 3: 353].

He also wrote to George E. Barnes, the editor and co-owner of the San Francisco Morning Call, who had hired and fired Sam in 1864. Sam introduced Charles Langdon, who would be leaving for a world trip and would go through San Francisco with Professor Darius R. Ford (b.1825), Livy’s old tutor [354-5].

Sam also wrote Elisha Bliss, commenting on Hubert Bancroft’s refusal to supply Bret Harte with a copy of Innocents Abroad for review. Bancroft was a book dealer and West Coast agent for the book [MTL 3: 355].

He also wrote to Silas S. Packard, declining to write another article for Packard’s Monthly [356].

He also wrote to George L. Hutchings, the chairman of the Clayonians for Newark [MTL 5: 684].

September 23 Thursday Sam wrote from Buffalo to William P. Carpenter (1853-1936), responding to a request to lecture and forwarding his name to Redpath for a date [MTL 3: 356].


September 24 Friday Sam wrote from Buffalo to Mathew B. Cox, Sam’s friend and cabin mate during the 1868 voyage from New York to San Francisco. Cox was superintendent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co.’s docks in San Francisco. The letter was a reminiscence of some of the fun on that trip [MTL 3: 357].

September 25 Saturday – Sam’s signed article, “Rev. H.W. Beecher – His Private Habits,” ran in the Express. By this date, The Buffalo Express had published six pieces signed “Mark Twain.” These pieces appeared nearly every Saturday and paid Sam $25 each [McCullough xxii]. Sam would publish over 50 pieces in the Express [Wilson 177]. A poem, “The Last Word,” ran in the Express signed by Sam, “Some of the Little Women” [Gribben 14].

Sam inscribed a copy of IA to Abraham R. Jackson:


A.     Reeves Jackson

The imperturbable “Doctor” mentioned in this

Volume and one of the most companionable

Pilgrims that graced this well-nigh graceless


            From his friend and comrade

Mark Twain

Buffalo, Sept 25, 1869 [MTP, drop-in letters].

September 26 Sunday Sam was in Buffalo. He began a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, saying he couldn’t come see her until spring due to lectures, but “if Livy invites you you will come to our wedding, won’t you?”  He wrote also about Charles Langdon’s planned trip [MTL 3: 358-9].

Reigstad amplifies Clemens’ week:

For Mark Twain, the week beginning Sunday, September 26, 1869, his sixth at the Express, was hectic. At week’s end he started an extended hiatus from Buffalo. Before leaving town, he hustled to fulfill his many Express responsibilities. Monday’s edition saw the last of his People and Things compilations. That same day he followed Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria’s seventh child, around Buffalo during a last-minute visit and wrote a report on it. By the middle of the week, he found himself alone in charge of editorial matters. Joe Larned had departed for Wednesday’s state Republican convention in Syracuse [57].

Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:

Dear Mr. Clements [sic],

I don’t see what excuse you had for sending me such a great big book, which would have cost me ever so many dollars, but I assure you it was very welcome in spite of that—more welcome than you could have guessed it would be, for independently of the pleasure I have had from your other writings, and the agreeable recollection of your visit to my house in company with Mr Locke, some parts of your travels had a very special interest for me. I may mention especially your visits to Palestine and Egypt. You looked at these two countries in a somewhat different way it is true, from Dr Robinson, or Lepsius, but I always like to hear what one of my fellow-countrymen who is not a Hebrew scholar or a reader of hieroglyphics, but a good humored traveller with a pair of sharp twinkling Yankee (in the broader sense) eyes in his head, has to say about the things that learned travellers often make unintelligible and sentimental ones ridiculous or absurd. Not long ago I read Hepworth Dixon’s book about the Holy Land and since that Lady Herbert’s. What a different way they had of looking at things to be sure. I am tolerably familiar with other books on the East and I have a large collection of stereographs of Egypt and Palestine—one of the largest I think that anybody has about here. So you can imagine with what curiosity I followed you through scenes that were in a certain sense familiar to me and read your familiar descriptions and frequently quaint and amusing comments, from such an entirely distinct and characteristic point of view.

I was rather surprised and much pleased to find how well your ship’s company got on together. I had an idea they got sick of each other. I once crossed the ocean with another human being occupying the same stateroom—a German, who was well enough, I don’t doubt—but didn’t I loathe the sight and smell of him before our forty two days passage was over!

Well, I hope your booksellers will sell a hundred thousand copies of your Travels—don’t let them get hold of this letter for the rascals always print everything to puff their books—private or not—which is odious but take my word for it your book is very entertaining and will give a great deal of pleasure.

Yours very truly

O W Holmes [MTPO].


Notes from source: Holmes alluded to: William Hepworth Dixon (1821–79), English historian, author of The Holy Land (1865); Edward Robinson (1794–1863), American philologist, geographer, and biblical scholar, author of Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea (1841); Karl Richard Lepsius (1810–84), German explorer and philologist, author of a number of books on Egypt; and Mary Elizabeth Herbert (1822–1911), Baroness Herbert of Lea, translator, novelist, travel writer, and religious biographer, author of Cradle Lands (1867), an account of travels in Egypt and the Holy Land. Clemens and David Ross Locke had visited Holmes in Boston on 14 or 15 March 1869. [Editorial emphasis.]

September 27 Monday In Buffalo, Sam finished the letter to Mrs. Fairbanks, mentioning the brief visit to Buffalo of Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria’s third son.

“…none of his acts in Buffalo were noisy enough for future historical record. It was Veni, Vidi, Vici, with him. He came—he saw that lunch—he conquered it” [MTL 3: 356, 361n8].

Sam also wrote Elisha Bliss about printing notices for the book. He informed him that he’d be in Elmira on Nov. 1 [MTL 3: 362].


Sam wrote on Express Printing Co. letterhead, to unidentified “Gentlemen”:

“I am going to lecture 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” [EAC Gallery auction June 16, 2009, Lot 461]. 

Nineteen-year-old Prince Arthur came to Buffalo and lunched at the Tifft House, then toured the city. Clemens covered the visit. Reigstad [78] writes Sam “was put off by the prince’s haughtily regal bearing.” Twain’s sketch, “Arthur” poked fun at the Prince. While at the Tifft House, Sam observed Millard Fillmore dining [78]. Reigstad adds in a footnote the irony that Clemens would stand next to the Prince at his 1907 Oxford ceremony [296n37].

September 29 WednesdayThe New York State Republican convention met in Syracuse. Josephus N. Larned telegraphed Sam with the results of the convention, “the slate of nominees for nine Republican posts for November’s nongubernatorial election. Twain had only to write it up. Knowing nothing about state politics, and swamped with supervisory chores, Twain crafted a humorous ‘noncommentary’ on the Republican choices that Buffalonians remembered for years afterward” [Reigstad 57]. Note: see Sept. 30 entry, and source p. 58.


September 30 Thursday “The Ticket—Explanation” a signed article ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 59]. Note: this referred to by Reigstad in Sept. 29 entry.

Sam replied from Buffalo to Oliver Wendell Holmes, responding to his complimentary letter of Sept. 26 about Innocents Abroad. Sam thanked Holmes and added a compliment or two about Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. In the evening, Sam left Buffalo for Elmira [MTL 3: 364-5].

October – The text of an interview with ex-Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, and Attorney General Brown. The supposed discussion was the Alabama question, but Sam was present and wrote the real discussion was about the most effective way to remove warts. Attributed to Twain in the Oct. 1869 issue of Wood’s Household Magazine [Tenney 162; Neider, MT Life as I Find It 36-7; Gale 409].


October, early In Elmira, Sam rewrote his “Sandwich Islands” lecture and decided not to give the “Curiosities of California” talk, which he had composed earlier [MTL 3: 363n2].

October 1 Friday “Engineer Griffin,” attributed to Sam, appeared in the Express [McCullough 60].

October 2 Saturday Sam’s signed article ran in the Express: “The Latest Novelty Mental Photographs.” A list of questions were received that were to “ferret out the most secret points of a man’s nature.” Here are a few: What is your idea of Happiness? – Finding all the buttons on. / Your idea of Misery? – Breaking an egg in your pocket. / What do you believe to be your Distinguishing Characteristic? – Hunger. / What is your Aim in life? – To endeavor to be absent when my time comes. / What is your Motto? – Be virtuous and you will be eccentric [McCullough 62-3].

October 7 Thursday Sam wrote from Elmira to an unidentified person about a humorous article sent burlesquing Baron Alexander von Humboldt. Sam wrote he would lecture in Pittsburgh on Nov. 1 and then lecture in New England until Jan. 15 [MTL 3: 366-7].

October 8 Friday Sam wrote to the Polar Star Mason Lodge of St. Louis, asking for a “demit,” an official release of membership to non-affiliate status [Jones 366]. Note: this letter not found in the MTP letters, and specifies Sam wrote from Buffalo, when he was in Elmira on this date, so the date is suspect.


The Waltham, Mass. Sentinel gave Sam’s IA a front page review under the heading “Mark Twain.” The review referred to Twain as “this much respected humorist,” and to IA as “unquestionably one of the most interesting works of the day.” Perhaps influenced by this good press, Sam would lecture in Waltham on Dec. 16. [eBay 280374360670 July 22, 2009]. 

October 9 Saturday Sam wrote from Elmira to Schuyler Colfax, vice president under Grant. Colfax was returning to Washington from a visit to the Pacific states. Sam asked for letters of recommendation for Charles Langdon and Darius Ford, who were traveling to the West Coast.

“I have no compunctions about asking this favor, for you know Prof. Ford a little, & Mr. Langdon senior, also, I believe—& the Langdons knew your first wife well, both there at the water-cure & in Washington some 7 years ago. This almost makes you kin” [MTL 3: 368].

October 11 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to the California Pioneers regretfully passing on their invitation to a banquet at Delmonico’s in New York City. About 200 Californians had traveled across country from Sacramento a week before [MTL 3: 371-2].


October 14 Thursday – Sam’s letter to the California Pioneers of Oct. 11 ran in the New York Tribune [Camfield, bibliog.].


October 16 Saturday “Around the World – Letter No.1” dated Oct. 10 ran in the Buffalo Express. “I am just starting out on a pleasure trip around the globe, by proxy.” Charley and Professor Darius Ford’s trip was to be coordinated and written up by Sam. This was the first installment [McCullough 65-71]. An unsigned review of William Frank Stewart’s Pleasant Hours in an Eventful Life also ran in the Express and is attributed to Sam [Gribben 665].

October 19 Tuesday Mark Twain – His Greetings to the California Pioneers of 1849” was printed in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 71].

October 23 Saturday Sam’s article, “The Legend of the Capitoline Venus,” was published in the Express. This is one of Sam’s earliest in the paper. The title was shortened to “The Capitoline Venus” upon reprinting in Sketches, New and Old (1875) [Wilson 177]. This story was similar to his Innocents Abroad material involving the public’s gullibility to artistic hoaxes.

October 27 Wednesday Sam wrote from Elmira to Emily A. Severance in Cleveland. The Severances had been cabin mates on the Quaker City. Sam had sent them a copy of Innocents and answered her thanks. Sam wrote he expected to be in Cleveland the next day on the way to Pittsburgh, but a derailment on Oct. 26 forced him to find another route [MTL 3: 374-5].

George L. Fall (1837-1875), partner of James Redpath, wrote, listing Sam’s lecture appointments until he “reached this city” and would give other dates then. Five cities are listed with pay from $75 to $120 [MTP].

October 28 ThursdayJames Redpath wrote to Sam: “We offered the date indicated by your telegram, by telegraph: but it did not suit / There is therefore no change in the schedule given before” [MTP].


October 29 Friday Sam left Elmira for Pittsburgh. See locket picture of Livy dated this day by MTP.

October 30 Saturday Sam arrived in Pittsburgh in the afternoon, for his Nov. 1 lecture. He was the guest of honor at a banquet at McGinley’s Dining Saloon, on Wood Street, given by the lecture committee of the Mercantile Library Association [MTL 3: 382n2]. Lorch says it was an “oyster supper” [105].

Sam began a letter to Livy at 11 P.M. He wrote that he went to Steubenville, Ohio to “give those people a taste of my quality,” but he saw no posters announcing him. No one showed, Sam wrote, except the janitor and he didn’t pay, so Sam “closed the lecture.”

“Around the World – Letter no. 2” appeared in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 78].

October 31 Sunday Sam continued the Oct. 30 letter to Livy:

“I walked around town this morning with a young Mr. Dean, a cousin of Wm D. Howells, editor of the Atlantic Monthly. He kindly offered to give me a letter of introduction to Mr. Howells, but I thanked him sincerely & declined, saying I had a sort of delicacy about using letters of introduction…”

Sam had a photograph made by Upson & Simson of Buffalo [MTP].

Sam received visitors “one after the other all day long,” and went to church in the evening. He disliked the “frozen, monotonous, precise & inflectionless” sermon, but loved the “very ecstasy of harmony” of the music. Sam finished the letter at 1 AM, Nov. 1 [MTL 3: 375-81]. Lorch includes O.T. Bennett of the Commercial among the visitors, someone Sam found “a good fellow, modest & pleasant” [106].

November – Sometime during the month (probably in the first half), G.M. Baker of Boston made a formal group photograph of Sam, Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw 1818-1885) and Petroleum V. Nasby (David Ross Locke 1833-1888) [MTP].


November 1 1869 to January 21, 1870 Lecture Tour: At least 49 engagements under the management of James Redpath (All but Brookville and Johnstown are listed courtesy of Barbara Schmidt’s TwainQuotes website, designated as [Schmidt].)

Sometime during this period Clemens wrote to an unidentified man, his photo enclosed:

“All right—will smoke with you, if Redpath can arrange a night that will suit all around. Confound that ferry!” [MTPO: Sales catalog, Thomas R. Madigan, 1935, item 67].

“Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands” ; One version of this speech is published in Mark Twain Speaking, p.4-15. See [MTL 3: 483-6] for sources and more information

November 1 Monday Sam gave his “Savages lecture in Pittsburgh, Pa., Academy of Music [MTPO].

Elisha Bliss wrote: “We want to pay up. Shall we forward statement & check to you at Elmira or await your arrival here?…Can’t you send us list of engagements so far made. … Are you married? We hear of it so often & have contradicted it…Post us up!” [MTP].

James Redpath wrote a one liner: “we have nothing between second and eighth” [MTP].

November 2 Tuesday Sam lectured in Brookville, Pennsylvania As reported by the Pittsburgh Gazette [MTL 3: 385].

November 3 Wednesday Sam lectured in Johnstown, Pennsylvania [MTL 3: 385].

Note: It is possible that Sam did not speak in Brookville or Johnstown – more newspaper evidence might confirm. Letters Sam wrote Livy between Nov. 6 and 9 (Livy’s numbers 129-132) are lost [MTL 3: 391n4].

November 7 to 13 Saturday sometime during this week Horatio G. Smith of Boston photographed Clemens with Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) and Petroleum V. Nasby (David Ross Locke) and titled the photo “American Humorists” [MTL 3: 406, 408n10]. The “V” for “Vesuvius.”

Sometime during this second week of November in Sam’s lecture-hub of Boston, Sam, Billings, and Nasby attended a lecture by R. J. De Cordova, a newcomer humorist to the lecture circuit. No one told the young man that the last cars left at 9 P.M., and to his horror, at five minutes before the hour, much of the audience rose en masse and headed for the doors. Sam wrote, “I think De Cordova did not appear again in public” [MTA 1: 151-3]. Note: Sam was wrong on this last count—a check of the New York Times for this period reveals that De Cordova spoke before and after this week in New York, at Steinway Hall and at the Cooper Institute [Oct. 25, 1869 p5; Nov. 25, 1869 p8]. Sam thought De Cordova might have had another name, which was possibly “RJ of Cordova,” the “R.J.” standing for some Spanish given name too long to print here.

November 9 Tuesday Sam lectured in Harrington’s Opera House, Providence, Rhode Island. Sam spoke to 1,800 there and later wrote: “Gave good satisfaction.” He wrote from Boston to his sister Pamela:

. . . Tomorrow night I appear for the first time before a Boston audience—4,000 critics—and on the success of this matter depends my future success in New England. But I am not distressed. Nasby is in the same boat. Tonight decides the fate of his brand-new lecture. He has just left my room—been reading his lecture to me—was greatly depressed. I have convinced him that he has little to fear.

I get just about five hundred more applications to lecture than I can possibly fill—and in the West they say “Charge all you please, but come.” I shan’t go West at all. I stop lecturing the 22 of January, sure. But I shall talk every night up to that time. They flood me with high-priced invitations to write for magazines and papers, and publishers besiege me to write books. Can’t do any of these things [MTL 3: 387].

Henry George (1839-1897), at this time editor of the Oakland Calif. Transcript, wrote to Clemens:

“Dear Sir: / I send you a copy of the Transcript, and will hereafter send it to the Express. Can you send us an exchange, as I wish to publish your matter first-hand if possible” [MTPO].

“The Paraguay Puzzle,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 84].

November 10 Wednesday Sam lectured to a full house of 2,600 in Music Hall, Boston, Mass. Sam’s letter of Nov. 9 to his sister was no exaggeration—the Boston lecture was critical to Sam’s continued success on the lecture circuit. Boston was the literary capital of the country, and success there meant easy sledding elsewhere in New England. Sam wrote from Boston to Livy his plans to spend New Year’s Day at home.  

“A Good Letter – Mark Twain’s Idea of It” appeared in the Buffalo Express. Sam’s niece, Annie Moffett’s letter was the object of Sam’s admiration [McCullough 86].

November 11 Thursday Sam lectured at Trinity Church, Charlestown, Mass. [MTPO].

Sam wrote from Boston at midnight:

“…bought full wedding outfit to-day (haven’t got a cent left) & occasionally the packages will arrive by express directed simply to J. Langdon, Elmira. Now your mother must unpack them & put them away for me & be sure not to let Mr. Langdon go wearing them around. I tell you, they are starchy.”

The reviews from Boston newspapers confirmed that Sam’s lecture had been an overwhelming success. This from The Boston Daily Advertiser:

Mark Twain is a very good looking man. He is of medium height and moderately slender build, has light brown hair, a reddish brown moustache, regular features and a fresh complexion; and he has a queer way of wrinkling up his nose and half closing his eyes when he speaks. The expression of his face is as calm and imperturbable as that of the sphinx. Looking at him you feel it to be an impossibility that he should ever hurry or ever be out of temper, and you might suppose him to be incapable of a joke, if it were not for the peculiar twinkle in his merry eyes. His voice is remarkably light and remarkably dry—like some German wines—and it seems to be modulated to only two keys. His style of speaking is unique to the last degree. It is all of a piece with the quality of his humor, and fits him like a glove. He delivers his sentences without haste, and in a tone of utter indifference, marking the highest waves of his thought only by a strong flavor of nasality, and knowing for the most part only the rising inflection at the beginning, middle and end of his sentences. The rising inflection is not native here, nor is it born in the manner of any of our own speakers. Mr. Dickens first taught us how it might be used to advantage; and Mark Twain, doubtless without borrowing a leaf from Mr. Dickens’s note-book, has found out for himself how effective an adjunct it is to humorous speech. In short, the platform manner of Mr. Clemens is the exact reflection in speech of his peculiar style of composition. The fun of both is genuine enough; but the perception of the fun is unmeasurably heightened by the apparently serious intention of the general discourse, and at times by an air of half seriousness in the joke itself. The audience gets into a queer state after a while. It knows not what to trust; for while much is meant to be seriously taken, the fun is felt to be the real life of the thing; and yet they never know where the fun will come in. Even when Mr. Clemens has made a really fine period, or introduced a brilliant descriptive passage, he takes pains to turn the affair into a joke at the end.

And this example from the lecture itself:

“Hanging to Slow Music,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam, ran in the Express [McCullough 88].

November 12 FridayThe New York Press Club sent a circular letter inviting Twain to a Press Club dinner Sat. Nov. 27, 5 p.m. at Delmonico’s. Tickets cost $3 [MTP].

November 13 Saturday Sam lectured in Norwich, Conn. “Around the World Letter No. 3” ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 89].

November 14 Sunday – Clemens stayed another night in Norwich. See Nov. 15 to Livy.

November, mid Sam, visited unannounced the offices of The Atlantic Monthly at 124 Tremont Street in Boston to thank the unsigned reviewer of Innocents Abroad for a very positive review. This is the famous first meeting between William Dean Howells (who wrote the review) and Sam Clemens. Sam first saw James T. Fields, who had hired Howells. Howells recalled the day as chilly, “well toward the winter” [Howells 4]. Two other respected sources note the day as either “later in November or in December,” or “a chilly mid-November afternoon” [MTL 3: 382-3n6; Powers, MT A Life 1]. The exact date is conjecture. Sam stood out among Boston, or even eastern folks—he wore the famous sealskin coat with the fur out, which on the street Howells observed won “immense publicity.” It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

November 15 Monday Sam lectured at Clinton Hall, Clinton, Mass.[MTPO].

He began a letter from to Livy that he finished on Nov. 16.

Livy Darling — / I had to submit to the customary & exasperating drive around town in a freezing open buggy this morning [at Norwich] to see the wonders of the village

(Mem.—They always consist of the Mayor’s house; the ex-mayor’s house; the house of a State Senator; house of an ex-governor; house of a former Member of Congress; the public school with its infernal architecture; the female seminary; paper mill or factory of some kind or other; the cemetery; the Court house; the plaza; the place where the park is going to be—& I must sit & shiver & stare at a melancholy grove of skeleton trees & listen while my friend gushes enthusiastic statistics & dimensions. All towns are alike—all have their same stupid trivialities to show, & all demand an impossible interest at the suffering stranger’s hands. Why won’t these insane persecutors believe me when I protest pleadingly that I don’t care two cents for all the thrilling wonders the village can boast.

(How I gloat in secret when one of these people regrets that I cannot “remain over” & see his accursed village! And how unblushingly I repeat the threadbare lie that I am sorry!

(After the natural wonders are all visited, then we have to call on other inanimate wonders with dull faces, but with legs to them that show them to be human: the mayor; the richest man; the wag of the village (who instantly assails me with old stale jokes & humorous profanity); the village editor—& a lot more of people I take no possible interest in & don’t want to see. And when by some divine accident one of them isn’t at home, what a fervent prayer of thankfulness rises up in my heart!)

I only have to submit to these inflictions when I am the guest of somebody & cannot refuse to suffer in return for his hospitality. When I am paying my own bills, at a hotel, I talk out & say No Sir—not any village wonders for the subscriber, if you please.

Here I am in a hotel—the Clinton House—& a villainous one it is—shabby bed, shabby room, shabby furniture, dim lights—everything shabby & disagreeable [MTL 3: 395]. Note: This letter shows that Sam stayed over in Norwich two nights.


Harriet H. Pearce (Mrs. William W. Pearce) wrote to Sam—an early autograph request that survives:


Honored Sir / I trust you will excuse the liberty I now take in thus intruding on your notice as I wish to ask you for your Autograph also Nom de plume

      I am getting a Collection and should be very much pleased to receive yours, for I should prize it highly, as I admire your humorous Lectures and Writings.

      They contain so much genuine wit, and such fine ideas, your description of Places and Persons being so correct and expressed so prettily. A few lines with your Name would be very acceptable.

      With many kind wishes for your continued Success and hoping you may be pleased to grant my request, / I remain Sir, very respectfully / Mrs. Wm. W. Pearce / Providence, R.I. [MTP].


November 16 Tuesday Sam finished the letter to Livy. Later that evening he lectured in Holyoke, Mass.  


Livy Darling—

I got your little letter a while ago & am therefore glad & happy—happier & more & more grateful for your love with every day that goes over my head. I would not know what to do or whither to turn to give life a value if I were to lose my darling now. I am so wrapped up in you, I so live in you, that to lose you would be equivalent to losing life itself.

I left Boston without baggage, thinking I would go back there from Norwich the same night—but the trains left at such inconvenient hours that I went from there to Clinton—found a similar state of things — came straight here. But as I am clear out of shirts (wore this one yesterday) I shall take an early train to Boston tomorrow before I go to Danvers.

Loving kisses, darling.


P. S.—The photograph was Josh Billings.

This is the way to spell a certain word, little sweetheart—“pretty”—do you see, honey? I have not looked to see whether any others are misspelt or not, because I don’t care whether they are or not—but that one just happened to fall under my eye at this moment.

I am so dead stupid, from getting up so early this morning, that I fairly dread going on that stage to-night. Come, my darling, check that cold immediately, & look out for the sore throat—don’t you dare to go out with only one shawl.

I cured my cold with two long & severe Turkish baths taken in immediate succession, with cold shower baths between—next morning I was entirely well. /   Sam [MTL 3: 396-7].


November 17 Wednesday Sam lectured in Gothic Hall, Danvers, Mass. [MTPO].

November 19 Friday In Boston prior to his lecture, Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

My Dear Mother— / Why mercy! were you expecting me? Do you know, I just thought you would be looking for me—but bless you, I couldn’t help it. If it were only Livy’s fault—but there isn’t anybody to saddle it on—I guess it was my distress about those Railways—which is funny, because formerly I would just as soon have been smashed up on one of those railroads as any other way. But my life has grown very precious—to Livy. Well, I’m coming right along, now, in the spring—I am indeed, & I shall bring my wife. Then you can scold us both, & all of us will enjoy it the more [MTL 3: 398].

He also sent Livy his photograph, taken by James Wallace Black (see MTL 3: 399) with a note on the back:

Boston, 19th—Livy dear, I believe I am to talk in one corner of Brooklyn Dec. 1, & repeat in Plymouth Church Dec. 4. Have a call from New York for Dec. 3, but don’t know yet whether we shall take it or not. I am indifferent—just as soon not.2 I have no paper up here, & in a few minutes I start out to talk in the a suburban city (Jamaica Plains.) It is now 6 P.M—lecture begins at 7.45.

Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Town Hall, Jamaica Plain, Mass. [MTPO].

November 20 Saturday – Sam wrote from Boston to James K. Medbery, declining to write a Christmas book for the American Literary Bureau [MTL 3: 400].

Sam also wrote to his Buffalo Express partner, George H. Selkirk about an exchange with Henry George, editor of the Oakland, California Transcript. Give him a Weekly exchange, Col.” Written on George’s Nov. 9 note, this might have been sent anytime from Nov. 20 to Nov. 28 [MTL 3: 401].

“Civilized Brutality,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam ran in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 93].


Sam also wrote to a Mr. Davis, supplying a requested autograph on an unused portion of Davis’ letter: 

“Mr. Davis — / Dear Sir — / Having no paper at hand at the moment, I take the liberty of dividing your note & pressing its blank page into service. / Yrs Truly / Saml L. Clemens / Mark Twain” [Bonham’s Oct. 17, 2006 auction; sale 14243, Lot 3303]. 


November 23 Tuesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Allyn Hall, Hartford, Conn. The Hartford Courant (Nov. 25, p2) review summarized both traditional the traditional lecture audience “class” and expectations, and Sam’s unique “conversational” approach which mixed both serious and comedic:

THE HUMOROUS LECTURE—MARK TWAIN.—It is very difficult to define what humor is, so much depends upon attendant circumstances, upon peculiar phrases, upon manner. The unexpected is a prime element in all wit and humor. No matter how good a story is, and told by the prince of narrators, if we know the “point” beforehand, it does its effect upon us. This is one reason why what Shakespeare says is true:—

                       “A jest’s propriety lies in the ear

                        Of him that hears it, never in the tongue

                        Of him that makes it.”

This is only a half truth. A clean stroke of wit is good the world over. Humor depends largely upon the person who creates it. It may be much in the voice and manner (as it does in nearly all comic actors), but it is note the less genuine humor. The moment you attempt to analyze a joke its essence evaporates, its flavor is gone; it is only an incongruous association of ideas, and when we put reason to it, it ceases to be funny. We know no better test of a funny thing than its power to make the hearer laugh. If it does not make you laugh, it is not funny to you, and that is the end of it. To get a joke into a Scotchman’s head is said to require a surgical operation. That is very funny, but probably a Scotchman wouldn’t see it.

There is room for some one to write a readable essay on the “humorous lecture” as contrasted with the ordinary “lecture.” The Lecture is, especially in New England, a peculiar institution. We are almost warranted in saying that lecture-goers are a peculiar class. Everybody understands what you mean when you say a “lecture audience.” There is none more respectable in the world…..

But the humorous lecture is a different production, and properly speaking, is not a lecture at all. Albert Smith, who kept all London laughing for a decade over his story, illustrated with drawings, of the ascent of Mt. Blane, called it an “entertainment.”

The hall had not been so crowded, on any occasion, for a long time. And the vast audience sat for over an hour in a state of positive enjoyment, in a condition of hardly suppressed “giggle” and expectancy of giggle, with now and then a burst of hearty, unrestrained laughter. The laughter was never forced; people laughed because they could not help it. And what was it all about?

Mr. Clemens, a self possessed gentleman, with a good head and a face that led one to expect humor, with an unembarrassed but rather non-chalant manner, was walking about the stage, talking about the Sandwich Islands; talking, and not repeating what seemed to be a written lecture. It was a conversational performance. His stories, his jokes, his illustrations, were told in a conversational way, and not “delivered.” With a half lingering hesitation in his speech, and a rising inflection of voice, he talked exactly as he does in private; …

The art of the lecture consisted in the curious mingling of grave narration and description with the most comical associations, and with occasional flashes of genuine wit. And the whole was leavened by a manner that would make the fortune of a comedian.

Sam wrote from Boston to Hiram J. Ramsdell (1839-1887), Washington correspondent for the New York Tribune and the Cincinnati Commercial. Sam had known Hiram when they were in Washington in the winter of 1867-8. Hiram had asked for a lecture before the Washington Correspondent’s Club [MTL 3: 403].

November 2425 Thursday Sam wrote late from Hartford to Livy, who was in New York City at the St. Nicholas Hotel with her father, sister Susan Crane, and John Slee and wife making wedding preparations.

We have had a pleasant day & a pleasant evening, child. I called at Mr. Hooker’s a moment & saw him—then went over to Warner’s & visited with him & his wife an hour…this evening at Twichell’s, in another long private conversation, I told him I would not leave the Express unless the boys were willing, & I felt sure they would not be…Livy darling I guess we couldn’t pull loose all the Buffalo anchors easily, & so we may as well give up Hartford—but my gracious, wouldn’t I like to tilt that Courant against the complacent Springfield Republican & make that journal sick? I think so….I have ordered Twichell to stand by & assist Mr. Beecher to marry us, & I told him you wanted it so. It’s powerful expensive, but then we’ll charge him for his board while he is there [MTL 3: 403-5].

Sam wrote another letter at midnight on Nov. 25 to Livy, revealing that Josh Billings had just left his room after a “quiet, pleasant, conversational evening. Showed me his photographs—has two enchanting daughters, both married & mothers” [MTL 3:409-410]. Note: see source for daughter info. 

November 25 ThursdayGeorge L. Fall, partner of James Redpath, sent Sam another lecture schedule for December with 16 cities [MTP].

November 26 Friday Sam lectured in an unidentified town, as cited by his letter to Livy the next day.

November 27 Saturday Olivia Louise Langdon’s 24th birthday, her last as a single woman. Sam wrote her a short note from Boston: “Had a big house last night, as usual. Didn’t make a brilliant success otherwise, though.” The town has not been identified [MTL 3: 410].

“Browsing Around,” an article by Sam which included a humorous spoof on having his fortune told, was printed in the Buffalo Express. Note: Budd reports this as “Getting My Fortune Told” and says it was in later collections as “Lionizing Murderers” [“Collected” 1009].

“At the age of nine you stole sugar. At the age of fifteen you stole money. At twenty you stole horses. At twenty-five you committed arson. At thirty, hardened in crime, you became an editor. Since then your descent has been rapid” [McCullough 98].

November 28 Sunday Sam wrote from Boston to Livy about her 24th and his 34th birthday:

“I have kept the day alone, my darling—we will keep it together hereafter, God willing. My own birthday comes Tuesday, & I must keep that alone also, but it don’t matter—I’ve had had considerable practice in that” [MTL 3: 413].

Sam recommended Charles Reade’s The Cloister and the Hearth (1861), a book Twichell had recommended and one Sam was unable to find fault with [Gribben 571].

November 29 Monday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in the Congregational Church, Newtonville, Mass. Though Sam did not like lecturing in churches as he felt it more difficult for the audience to laugh, the Newton Journal however, reported that Sam “elicited shouts of laughter” [MTL 3: 414n2].

Sam wrote from Boston to Livy, sending his schedule [MTL 3: 415].

November 30 Tuesday Sam’s 34th birthday. He lectured (“Savages”) in Thompsonville, Conn.

James Redpath wrote to advise Sam that Mr. Alfred Reed extended his hospitality for the stop in Trenton, and had increased the fee to $100 [MTP].

December William Dean Howells published a very positive review of IA in the Atlantic Monthly:

“It is no business of ours to fix his rank among the humorists California has given us, but we think he is, in an entirely different way from all the others, quite worthy of the company of the best.”

December 1 Wednesday Sam lectured (“Savages”)  for Brooklyn Library Society, at the Bedford Avenue Reformed Church, Brooklyn, New York. Sam’s lecture schedule allowed him to spend most of Dec. 1 to 6 with Livy in New York City [MTL 3: 428n1].

December 3 Friday Sam lectured  (“Savages”) in Collingwood’s Opera House, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Sam wrote from Brooklyn, New York to the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, that a “misunderstanding” had resulted in canceling his second Brooklyn lecture [MTL 3: 417].

“The Richardson Murder,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam, was printed in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 101].

December 4 Saturday Sam telegraphed from New York to James Redpath about the “infernal mite society, a pure charity speculation” and the mix-up for the second Brooklyn lecture [MTL 3: 418]. Note: this in reply to the following Redpath telegram sent to the home of Henry and Fidele Brooks:

“Please see Miss Wason, Brooklyn.

“Not speculators but regular Course. This engagement was made at your own written request.

James Redpath” [MTPO]. Note: undated, but likely this day or Friday.

“Browsing Around ‘BACK FROM YURRUP’,” an article of Sam’s which included a spoof at Josh Billings, was printed in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 102].

December 6 Monday Sam’s article “MARK TWAIN’S IDEA OF A GOOD LETTER” was reprinted in the Grass Valley, California, Daily National. Sam’s niece, Annie Moffett’s letter was the object of Sam’s admiration [Fatout, MT Speaks 58-9].

William F. West, Horatio C. King & Lorin Palmer wrote:

Dear Sir,

As you will perhaps remember, the lecture committee of the “Plymouth Young People’s Association” desired to secure your services, for a lecture to be delivered, during the present month, in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn. Your agent in Boston wrote us some two weeks ago, that you were to lecture in Brooklyn, Dec. 1st and again Dec 6th, and would prefer not to engage yourself for a third time. Seeing your card, however, in the Brooklyn evening papers of Saturday last, we thought you might, perhaps, be induced to change your answer previously given us.

If you can lecture for us any night of this or next week, we would be pleased to have you communicate with either of us, as below.

Yours truly,
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceWm. F. West
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem space31 Mercer St, near Grand
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceHoratio C. King
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem space38 Wall St.
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceLorin Palmer 170 Water St

Sam wrote from New York to James Redpath about the above letter:

I talked with Horatio C. King about this but I didn’t want to lecture in Brooklyn any more, & so I told him I had no night open.

This is the very society I thought that infernal woman was representing. This is the Society I have long been wanting to talk for & King & I have often tried to fix a date & never could before.

But I’ve got enough. I never will lecture outside of New England again—& I never will lecture in Brooklyn at all. I’m just beat out with that most infernal Mite Society. I published a card in the Brooklyn papers saying I would not be present at the Brooklyn Atheneum to-night. I am to blame from the very start—& NOBODY ELSE. I have done all this on my own responsibility—I shoulder it all.


Suspend judgment, Redpath, till you see me. We were both mistaken about that Miss Wason’s Mite Society. If she writes complainingly to you, tell her you are authorized by me to pay the expense she has been at if it is not over fifty dollars—& that is all the reparation you know how to make. (She did no advertising, & that was one thing I was so outrageously mad about. She put in one square (marked eod ie. “every other day”) in the least circulated Brooklyn paper, & not a line in any other—& she made that ad. read as if I was talking on my own hook & for no society—a public independent mountebank in an unused barn of a theatre up a back street.) Excuse me from talking in any such place.


Snowing & blowing—this is the worst night you ever saw—I am glad I just saved myself [MTL 3: 419-20; MTPO].

By the evening of this day, Sam was in Boston, at the annual dinner of the Boston Press Club. After dinner, Sam went with others to Selwyn’s Theatre, where he saw Lady Audley’s Secret from a novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1862), her most successful work. Sam used Boston as his base during November, while lecturing in New England.

Sorin Palmer wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: Vic Fischer at MTP says this is a “ghost letter,” that is, referred to somewhere but with no known text. It is included in case the text should ever surface.

December 7 Tuesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pa. [MTL 3: 414n1].

George L. Fall, partner of James Redpath, wrote to Sam with upcoming lecture details [MTP].

December 8 Wednesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Lincoln Hall, Washington, D. C. [MTL 3: 415].

December 9 Thursday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Germantown, Pa. [MTL 3: 415].

December 10 Friday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Mount Vernon, New York [MTL 3: 415].

This day or the next, Sam wrote a letter of thanks to Schuyler Colfax, Vice President under Grant, for his “Open Sesame” letter written for Charles Langdon and Professor Darius Ford on their world trip [MTL 3: 421]. Sam spent part of Dec. 10 and 11 with Livy in New York City [MTL 3: 428n1].

December 11 Saturday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Town Hall, West Meriden, Conn. [MTL 3: 415].

“Around the World Letter No. 4” was printed in the Buffalo Express. The article included humorous sketches on the early days in California [McCullough 108].

December 13 Monday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Union Hall, New Britain, Conn. [MTL 3: 415].

Afterwards, Sam took a train for Springfield, Mass., where he spent the night. He wrote from Springfield to James Redpath about changing the advertisement of his lectures, which has been printed up “The Curiosities of California,” instead of “Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands.” Sam had been forced to apologize to audiences [MTL 3: 422].

December 14 Tuesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Warren, Mass. [MTL 3: 415].

He wrote from Springfield to Livy about the packed house in New Britain, some creative changes he’d made to an anecdote, and a dream about losing Livy to a rival [MTL 3: 423-4]. Sam had witnessed Steve Gillis breakup before his wedding, and also possibly feared he wasn’t good enough for the idealized “vision” he had constructed.

December 15 Wednesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Armory Hall, Pawtucket, R.I. [MTL 3: 415].

He wrote a short note from Boston to his mother and family about his lecturing, Livy’s trousseau, which Jervis Langdon called her “trowsers,” and his contracting a cold; he was feeling too low to answer Pamela’s letter [MTL 3: 425].

Sam began a letter from Pawtucket to Livy that he finished Dec. 16. He mentioned having a talk with Frederick Douglass:

He told the history of his child’s expulsion from Miss Tracy’s school, & his simple language was very effective. Miss Tracy said the pupils did not want a colored child among them—which he did not believe, & challenged the proof. She put it at once to a vote of the school, and asked “How many of you are willing to have this colored child be with you?” And they all held up their hands! Douglass added: “The children’s hearts were right.” There was pathos in the way he said it. I would like to hear him make a speech. He has a grand face [MTL 3: 426-29].

December 16 Thursday Sam lectured (“Savages”) at Rumford Institute, Waltham, Mass. [MTL 3: 415]. See Oct. 8.

Sam finished his Dec. 15 to Livy: “I did not write you to-day—my cold has reduced me to a spiritless state. I wouldn’t be writing you now, only I love you so, Livy, that I can’t help it. I have to commune with you, even if it be in simply a few sentences scratched with a vile, blunt pencil. I was afraid something was the matter, but I am content, now that I have heard from my darling” [MTL 3: 427]

December 17 Friday Sam wrote from Boston to his sister, Pamela Moffett. Sam was “killed up with a cold, & shall not lecture to-night—so there goes a few weeks board.” The canceled lecture was for Abington, Mass. Sam related that Livy’s “heart is thoroughly set upon” Pamela and Annie coming for the wedding. “We shall go to Buffalo the day after the marriage & never stir another peg till we are compelled to do it” [MTL 3: 429-30].

December 18 and 19 Sunday The lecture planned for Lynn, Mass. was also canceled due to Sam’s cold [MTL 3: 485n16]. Sam wrote from Boston to Livy about Joe Goodman coming to Elmira for the wedding and other matters. Sam went with Joseph R. Hawley to a dinner in honor of Francis W. Bird (1809-1894). Sam then went to bed at 8 PM on Dec. 18 but was visited by Joseph R. Hawley and then Lyman Beecher and so was up till 1 AM [431].

On Dec. 18, “Around the World Letter No. 5” was printed in the Buffalo Express, and included “’Pocket’” Mining, and “Baker’s Cat,” about a feline who loved to pocket mine, later known as “Dick Baker and His Cat” or “Remarkable Sagacity of a Cat” in the Californian, 1865 [McCullough 114].

December 20 Monday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Canton, Mass. [MTL 3: 415]. 

December 21 Tuesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Hudson, Mass. [MTL 3: 415].

Sam wrote from Boston to Livy.

I talked last night in Canton, & had the hospitalities of Mr. Ames, (son of Oakes Ames the P.R.R. Mogul) inflicted on me—& it is the last time I will stop in a New England private house. Their idea of hospitality is to make themselves comfortable first, & leave the guest to get along if he can. No smoking allowed on the premises. The next New Englander that receives me into his house will take me as I am, not as I ought to be [MTL 3: 433-4]. Note: Oakes Ames (1804-1873), American capitalist and member of the House of Representatives from Mass. (1863-73). His oldest son, Oakes Angier Ames (1829-1899) also a wealthy industrialist.

December 22 Wednesday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Mercantile Library, Portland, Maine [MTL 3: 415].

Letters Sam wrote to Livy on Dec. 21 and 22 (letter numbers 161-2) are lost [MTL 3: 437-8n1].

December 23 Thursday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Town Hall, Rockport, Mass. [MTL 3: 415]. 

December 24 Friday Sam lectured (“Savages”)  in New Hall, Slatersville, Rhode Island. Sam had been scheduled to lecture in Salem on this Christmas Eve, but changed to Slatersville to fill in for his sick friend, Josh Billings [MTL 3: 438n3].

December 25 Saturday Christmas Sam wrote from Boston to Livy wishing her a happy Christmas.

“I shall expect a letter in the loved & familiar hand in New Haven day after tomorrow, though—& a month after that, we shall close our long correspondence, & tell each other what our minds suggest, by word of mouth. Speed the day!” [MTL 3: 435].

Sam’s article, “Ye Cuban Patriot – A Calm Inspection of Him” ran in the Express [McCullough 117].

December 27 Monday Sam lectured (“Savages”)  in Music Hall, New Haven, Conn. [MTL 3: 416].

Sam wrote from New Haven to Livy just before the lecture.

“I stopped two hours in Hartford today & Twichell & I bummed around together…Twelve thousand copies of the book sold this month. This is perfectly enormous. Nothing like it since Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I guess” [MTL 3: 440].

Sam left New Haven on a coastal steamer for New York City.

J.D. Slee on Anthracite Coal Association letterhead wrote from Buffalo to advise he’d reserved rooms in Buffalo for Twain. “Yours of Dec. 13th came duly to hand. … I have found you a place on one of our most pleasant streets not unreasonably far from your briefings … $20 per week” [MTP].

December 28 Tuesday Sam wrote from New York to Joseph Twichell sending him a rail ticket he didn’t need. He also wrote to Elisha Bliss, about sending Dan Slote more books at a discount to sell to his friends.

In the evening, Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Taylor Hall, Trenton, New Jersey [MTL 3: 441-3].

December 29 Wednesday Sam lectured (“Savages”)  in Opera House, Newark, N.J. [MTL 3: 416].

 “An Indignant Rebuke,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam, was printed in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 120].

The Boston Evening Transcript ran a letter by Sam about pretentious Americans, returning from Europe:

To use their pet and beloved expression, they were a ‘nahsty’ family of American snobs, and there ought to be a law against allowing such to go to Europe and misrepresent the nation. It will take these insects five years now, to get done turning up their noses at everything American, and make damaging comparisons between their own country and ‘Yurrup.’ Let us pity their waiting friends in Boston in their affliction [Vogelback, “Contributor” 111].

December 30 Thursday Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Landmesser Hall, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. [MTL 3: 416].

 “The Hyenas,” an unsigned article attributed to Sam, was printed in the Buffalo Express [McCullough 121].

December 31 Friday Sam telegraphed Whitelaw Reid on or about this day. The dispatch is not extant but mentioned in Reid’s letter of Jan. 1, 1870.

Sam lectured (“Savages”) in Opera House, Williamsport, Pennsylvania [MTL 3: 416].