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