Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,512 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete.
owed a large debt of gratitude to Mark Twain’s wife, who from the very beginning—­and always, so far as in her strength she was able—­inspired him to give only his worthiest to the world, whether in written or spoken word, in counsel or in deed.  Those early days of their close companionship, spiritual and mental, were full of revelation to Samuel Clemens, a revelation that continued from day to day, and from year to year, even to the very end.

The letter to Bliss and the proofs were full of suggested changes that would refine and beautify the text.  In one of them he settles the question of title, which he says is to be: 

                  Theinnocents abroad
                         or
                the new pilgrim’s progress

and we may be sure that it was Olivia Langdon’s voice that gave the deciding vote for the newly adopted chief title, which would take any suggestion of irreverence out of the remaining words.

The book was to have been issued in the spring, but during his wanderings proofs had been delayed, and there was now considerable anxiety about it, as the agencies had become impatient for the canvass.  At the end of April Clemens wrote:  “Your printers are doing well.  I will hurry the proofs”; but it was not until the early part of June that the last chapters were revised and returned.  Then the big book, at last completed, went to press on an edition of twenty thousand, a large number for any new book, even to-day.

In later years, through some confusion of circumstance, Mark Twain was led to believe that the publication of The Innocents Abroad was long and unnecessarily delayed.  But this was manifestly a mistake.  The book went to press in June.  It was a big book and a large edition.  The first copy was delivered July 20 (1869), and four hundred and seventeen bound volumes were shipped that month.  Even with the quicker mechanical processes of to-day a month or more is allowed for a large book between the final return of proofs and the date of publication.  So it is only another instance of his remembering, as he once quaintly put it, “the thing that didn’t happen.”—­[In an article in the North American Review (September 21, 1906) Mr. Clemens stated that he found it necessary to telegraph notice that he would bring suit if the book was not immediately issued.  In none of the letters covering this period is there any suggestion of delay on the part of the publishers, and the date of the final return of proofs, together with the date of publication, preclude the possibility of such a circumstance.  At some period of his life he doubtless sent, or contemplated sending, such a message, and this fact, through some curious psychology, became confused in his mind with the first edition of The Innocents Abroad.]

LXXI

THE GREAT BOOK OF TRAVEL

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Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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