The Boys’ Life of Mark Twain
by Paine

Presented by

Public Domain Books

LV. A Prophet At Home

New York tried to outdo Vienna and London in honoring Mark Twain. Every newspaper was filled with the story of his great fight against debt, and his triumph. “He had behaved like Walter Scott,” writes Howells, “as millions rejoiced to know who had not known how Walter Scott behaved till they knew it was like Clemens.” Clubs and societies vied with one another in offering him grand entertainments. Literary and lecture proposals poured in. He was offered at the rate of a dollar a word for his writing–he could name his own terms for lectures.

These sensational offers did not tempt him. He was sick of the platform. He made a dinner speech here and there–always an event–but he gave no lectures or readings for profit. His literary work he confined to a few magazines, and presently concluded an arrangement with “Harper & Brothers” for whatever he might write, the payment to be twenty (later thirty) cents per word. He arranged with the same firm for the publication of all his books, by this time collected in uniform edition. He wished his affairs to be settled as nearly as might be. His desire was freedom from care. Also he would have liked a period of quiet and rest, but that was impossible. He realized that the multitude of honors tendered him was in a sense a vast compliment which he could not entirely refuse. Howells writes that Mark Twain’s countrymen “kept it up past all precedent,” and in return Mark Twain tried to do his part. “His friends saw that he was wearing himself out,” adds Howells, and certain it is that he grew thin and pale and had a hacking cough. Once to Richard Watson Gilder he wrote:

“In bed with a chest cold and other company.

“DEAR GILDER,–I can’t. If I were a well man I could explain with this pencil, but in the cir–ces I will leave it all to your imagination.

“Was it Grady that killed himself trying to do all the dining and speeching? No, old man, no, no!

“Ever yours, MARK.”

In the various dinner speeches and other utterances made by Mark Twain at this time, his hearers recognized a new and great seriousness of purpose. It was not really new, only, perhaps, more emphasized. He still made them laugh, but he insisted on making them think, too. He preached a new gospel of patriotism–not the patriotism that means a boisterous cheering of the Stars and Stripes wherever unfurled, but the patriotism that proposes to keep the Stars and Stripes clean and worth shouting for. In one place he said:

“We teach the boys to atrophy their independence. We teach them to take their patriotism at second hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter– exactly as boys under monarchies are taught, and have always been taught.”

He protested against the blind allegiance of monarchies. He was seldom “with the largest crowd” himself. Writing much of our foreign affairs, then in a good deal of a muddle, he assailed so fearlessly and fiercely measures which he held to be unjust that he was caricatured as an armed knight on a charger and as Huck Finn with a gun.

But he was not always warlike. One of the speeches he made that winter was with Col. Henry Watterson, a former Confederate soldier, at a Lincoln birthday memorial at Carnegie Hall. “Think of it!” he wrote Twichell, “two old rebels functioning there; I as president and Watterson as orator of the day. Things have changed somewhat in these forty years, thank God!”

The Clemens household did not go back to Hartford. During their early years abroad it had been Mrs. Clemens’s dream to return and open the beautiful home, with everything the same as before. The death of Susy had changed all this. The mother had grown more and more to feel that she could not bear the sorrow of Susy’s absence in the familiar rooms. After a trip which Clemens himself made to Hartford, he wrote, “I realize that if we ever enter the house again to live, our hearts will break.”

So they did not go back. Mrs. Clemens had seen it for the last time on that day when the carnage waited while she went back to take a last look into the vacant rooms. They had taken a house at 14 West Tenth Street for the winter, and when summer came they went to a log cabin on Saranac Lake, which they called “The Lair.” Here Mark Twain wrote “A Double- barreled Detective Story,” a not very successful burlesque of Sherlock Holmes. But most of the time that summer he loafed and rested, as was his right. Once during the summer he went on a cruise with H. H. Rogers, Speaker “Tom” Reed, and others on Mr. Rogers’s yacht.


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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