Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,890 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete.

I am 18 Alta letters behind, and I must catch up or bust.  I have refused all invitations to lecture.  Don’t know how my book is coming on.

He worked like a slave for a week or so, almost night and day, to clean up matters before his departure.  Then came days of idleness and reaction-days of waiting, during which his natural restlessness and the old-time regret for things done and undone, beset him.

My passage is paid, and if the ship sails I sail on her; but I make no calculations, have bought no cigars, no sea-going clothing—­have made no preparations whatever—­shall not pack my trunk till the morning we sail.
All I do know or feel is that I am wild with impatience to move —­move—­move!  Curse the endless delays!  They always kill me—­they make me neglect every duty, and then I have a conscience that tears me like a wild beast.  I wish I never had to stop anywhere a month.  I do more mean things the moment I get a chance to fold my hands and sit down than ever I get forgiveness for.

    Yes, we are to meet at Mr. Beach’s next Thursday night, and I
    suppose we shall have to be gotten up regardless of expense, in
    swallow-tails, white kids and everything ‘en regle’.

I am resigned to Rev. Mr. Hutchinson’s or anybody else’s supervision.  I don’t mind it.  I am fixed.  I have got a splendid, immoral, tobacco-smoking, wine-drinking, godless roommate who is as good and true and right-minded a man as ever lived—­a man whose blameless conduct and example will always be an eloquent sermon to all who shall come within their influence.  But send on the professional preachers—­there are none I like better to converse with; if they’re not narrowminded and bigoted they make good companions.

The “splendid immoral room-mate” was Dan Slote—­“Dan,” of The Innocents, a lovable character—­all as set down.  Samuel Clemens wrote one more letter to his mother and sister—­a conscience-stricken, pessimistic letter of good-by written the night before sailing.  Referring to the Alta letters he says: 

    I think they are the stupidest letters ever written from New York. 
    Corresponding has been a perfect drag ever since I got to the
    States.  If it continues abroad, I don’t know what the Tribune and
    Alta folk will think.

He remembers Orion, who had been officially eliminated when Nevada had received statehood.

I often wonder if his law business is going satisfactorily.  I wish I had gone to Washington in the winter instead of going West.  I could have gouged an office out of Bill Stewart for him, and that would have atoned for the loss of my home visit.  But I am so worthless that it seems to me I never do anything or accomplish anything that lingers in my mind as a pleasant memory.  My mind is stored full of unworthy conduct toward Orion and toward you all, and an accusing conscience
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Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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