The Boys’ Life of Mark Twain
by Paine

Presented by

Public Domain Books

XL. “The Prince and the Pauper”

They went directly to Quarry Farm, where Clemens again took up work on his book, which he hoped to have ready for early publication. But his writing did not go as well as he had hoped, and it was long after they had returned to Hartford that the book was finally in the printer’s hands.

Meantime he had renewed work on a story begun two years before at Quarry Farm. Browsing among the books there one summer day, he happened to pick up “The Prince and the Page,” by Charlotte M. Yonge. It was a story of a prince disguised as a blind beggar, and, as Mark Twain read, an idea came to him for an altogether different story, or play, of his own. He would have a prince and a pauper change places, and through a series of adventures learn each the trials and burdens of the other life. He presently gave up the play idea, and began it as a story. His first intention had been to make the story quite modern, using the late King Edward VII. (then Prince of Wales) as his prince, but it seemed to him that it would not do to lose a prince among the slums of modern London– he could not make it seem real; so he followed back through history until he came to the little son of Henry VIII., Edward Tudor, and decided that he would do.

It was the kind of a story that Mark Twain loved to read and to write. By the end of that first summer he had finished a good portion of the exciting adventures of “The Prince and the Pauper,” and then, as was likely to happen, the inspiration waned and the manuscript was laid aside.

But with the completion of “A Tramp Abroad"–a task which had grown wearisome–he turned to the luxury of romance with a glad heart. To Howells he wrote that he was taking so much pleasure in the writing that he wanted to make it last.

“Did I ever tell you the plot of it? It begins at 9 A.M., January 27, 1547 . . . . My idea is to afford a realizing sense of the exceeding severity of the laws of that day by inflicting some of their penalties upon the king himself, and allowing him a chance to see the rest of them applied to others.”

Susy and Clara Clemens were old enough now to understand the story, and as he finished the chapters he read them aloud to his small home audience–a most valuable audience, indeed, for he could judge from its eager interest, or lack of attention, just the measure of his success.

These little creatures knew all about the writing of books. Susy’s earliest recollection was “Tom Sawyer” read aloud from the manuscript. Also they knew about plays. They could not remember a time when they did not take part in evening charades–a favorite amusement in the Clemens home.

Mark Twain, who always loved his home and played with his children, invented the charades and their parts for them, at first, but as they grew older they did not need much help. With the Twichell and Warner children they organized a little company for their productions, and entertained the assembled households. They did not make any preparation for their parts. A word was selected and the syllables of it whispered to the little actors. Then they withdrew to the hall, where all sorts of costumes had been laid out for the evening, dressed their parts, and each group marched into the library, performed its syllable, and retired, leaving the audience of parents to guess the answer. Now and then, even at this early day, they gave little plays, and of course Mark Twain could not resist joining them. In time the plays took the place of the charades and became quite elaborate, with a stage and scenery, but we shall hear of this later on.

“The Prince and the Pauper” came to an end in due season, in spite of the wish of both author and audience for it to go on forever. It was not published at once, for several reasons, the main one being that “A Tramp Abroad” had just been issued from the press, and a second book might interfere with its sale.

As it was, the “Tramp” proved a successful book–never as successful as the “Innocents,” for neither its humor nor its description had quite the fresh quality of the earlier work. In the beginning, however, the sales were large, the advance orders amounting to twenty-five thousand copies, and the return to the author forty thousand dollars for the first year.


Preface  •  I. The Family of John Clemens  •  II. The New Home, and Uncle John Quarles’s Farm  •  IV. Education Out of School  •  V. Tom Sawyer and His Band  •  VI. Closing School-Days  •  VII. The Apprentice  •  VIII. Orion’s Paper  •  IX. The Open Road  •  X. A Wind of Chance  •  XI. The Long Way to the Amazon  •  XII. Renewing an Old Ambition  •  XIII. Learning the River  •  XIV. River Days  •  XV. The Wreck of the “Pennsylvania”  •  XVI. The Pilot  •  XVII. The End of Piloting  •  XVIII. The Soldier  •  XIX. The Pioneer  •  XX. The Miner  •  XXI. The Territorial Enterprise  •  XXII. “Mark Twain”  •  XXIII. Artemus Ward and Literary San Francisco  •  XXIV. The Discovery of “The Jumping Frog”  •  XXV. Hawaii and Anson Burlingame  •  XXVI. Mark Twain, Lecturer  •  XXVII. An Innocent Abroad, and Home Again  •  XXVIII. Olivia Langdon. Work on the “Innocents”  •  XXIX. The Visit to Elmira and Its Consequences  •  XXX. The New Book and a Wedding  •  XXXI. Mark Twain in Buffalo  •  XXXII. At Work on “Roughing It”  •  XXXIII. In England  •  XXXIV. A New Book and New English Triumphs  •  XXXV. Beginning “Tom Sawyer”  •  XXXVI. The New Home  •  XXXVII. “Old Times,” “Sketches,” And “Tom Sawyer”  •  XXXVIII. Home Pictures  •  XXXIX. Tramping Abroad  •  XL. “The Prince and the Pauper”  •  XLI. General Grant at Hartford  •  XLII. Many Investments  •  XLIII. Back to the River, With Bixby  •  XLIV. A Reading-Tour With Cable  •  XLV. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”  •  XLVI. Publisher to General Grant  •  XLVII. The High-Tide of Fortune  •  XLVIII. Business Difficulties. Pleasanter Things  •  XLIX. Kipling at Elmira. Elsie Leslie. The “Yankee”  •  L. The Machine. Good-By to Hartford. “Joan” Is Begun  •  LI. The Failure of Webster & Co. Around the World. Sorrow  •  LII. European Economies  •  LIII. Mark Twain Pays His Debts  •  LIV. Return After Exile  •  LV. A Prophet At Home  •  LVI. Honored by Missouri  •  LVII. The Close of a Beautiful Life  •  LVIII. Mark Twain at Seventy  •  LIX. Mark Twain Arranges for His Biography  •  LX. Working With Mark Twain  •  LXI. Dictations at Dublin, N. H.  •  LXII. A New Era of Billiards  •  LXIII. Living With Mark Twain  •  LXIV. A Degree From Oxford  •  LXV. The Removal to Redding  •  LXVI. Life at Stormfield  •  LXVII. The Death of Jean  •  LXVIII. Days in Bermuda  •  LXIX. The Return to Redding  •  LXX. The Close of a Great Life

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The boys' life of Mark Twain: The story of a man who made the world laugh and love him
By Albert Bigelow Paine
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