thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught,’
and blamed if he didn’t down with another right bower! Emerson claps his hand on his bowie, Longfellow claps his on his revolver, and I went under a bunk. There was going to be trouble; but that monstrous Holmes rose up, wobbling his double chins, and says he, ’Order, gentlemen; the first man that draws I’ll lay down on him and smother him!’ All quiet on the Potomac, you bet!
“They were pretty how-come-you-so by now, and they begun to blow. Emerson says, ‘The noblest thing I ever wrote was “Barbara Frietchie."’ Says Longfellow, ‘It don’t begin with my “Bigelow Papers."’ Says Holmes, ’My “Thanatopsis” lays over ’em both.’ They mighty near ended in a fight. Then they wished they had some more company, and Mr. Emerson pointed to me and says:
squalid peasant all
That this proud nursery could breed?’
He was a-whetting his bowie on his boot—so I let it pass. Well, sir, next they took it into their heads that they would like some music; so they made me stand up and sing, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ till I dropped—at thirteen minutes past four this morning. That’s what I’ve been through, my friend. When I woke at seven they were leaving, thank goodness, and Mr. Longfellow had my only boots on and his’n under his arm. Says I, ’Hold on there, Evangeline, what are you going to do with them?’ He says, ’Going to make tracks with ’em, because—
of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.’
“As I said, Mr. Twain, you are the fourth in twenty-four hours and I’m going to move; I ain’t suited to a Littery atmosphere.”
I said to the miner, “Why, my dear sir, these were not the gracious singers to whom we and the world pay loving reverence and homage; these were impostors.”
The miner investigated me with a calm eye for a while; then said he, “Ah! impostors, were they? Are you?”
I did not pursue the subject, and since then I have not traveled on my ‘nom de guerre’ enough to hurt. Such was the reminiscence I was moved to contribute, Mr. Chairman. In my enthusiasm I may have exaggerated the details a little, but you will easily forgive me that fault, since I believe it is the first time I have ever deflected from perpendicular fact on an occasion like this.
THE ADAM MONUMENT PETITION
(See Chapter cxxxiv)
To the honorable Senate and
house of representatives of the
in congress assembled.
Whereas, A number of citizens of the city of Elmira in the State of New York having covenanted among themselves to erect in that city a monument in memory of Adam, the father of mankind, being moved thereto by a sentiment of love and duty, and these having appointed the undersigned to communicate with your honorable body, we beg leave to lay before you the following facts and append to the same our humble petition.