Redpath read his despatch to a lecture audience, with effect. Howells made immediate preparation for receiving two way-worn, hungry men. He telegraphed to Young’s Hotel: “You and Twichell come right up to 37 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, near observatory. Party waiting for you.”
They got to Howells’s about nine o’clock, and the refreshments were waiting. Miss Longfellow was there, Rose Hawthorne, John Fiske, Larkin G. Mead, the sculptor, and others of their kind. Howells tells in his book how Clemens, with Twichell, “suddenly stormed in,” and immediately began to eat and drink:
I can see him now as he stood up in the midst of our friends, with his head thrown back, and in his hand a dish of those escalloped oysters without which no party in Cambridge was really a party, exulting in the tale of his adventure, which had abounded in the most original characters and amusing incidents at every mile of their progress.
Clemens gave a dinner, next night, to Howells, Aldrich, Osgood, and the rest. The papers were full of jokes concerning the Boston expedition; some even had illustrations, and it was all amusing enough at the time.
Next morning, sitting in the writing-room of Young’s Hotel, he wrote a curious letter to Mrs. Clemens, though intended as much for Howells and Aldrich as for her. It was dated sixty-one years ahead, and was a sort of Looking Backwards, though that notable book had not yet been written. It presupposed a monarchy in which the name of Boston has been changed to “Limerick,” and Hartford to “Dublin.” In it, Twichell has become the “Archbishop of Dublin,” Howells “Duke of Cambridge,” Aldrich “Marquis of Ponkapog,” Clemens the “Earl of Hartford.” It was too whimsical and delightful a fancy to be forgotten.—[This remarkable and amusing document will be found under Appendix M, at the end of last volume.]
A long time afterward, thirty-four year, he came across this letter. He said:
“It seems curious now that I should have been dreaming dreams of a future monarchy and never suspect that the monarchy was already present and the Republic a thing of the past.”
What he meant, was the political succession that had fostered those commercial trusts which, in turn, had established party dominion.
To Howells, on his return, Clemens wrote his acknowledgments, and added:
Mrs. Clemens gets upon the verge of swearing, and goes tearing around in an unseemly fury when I enlarge upon the delightful time we had in Boston, and she not there to have her share. I have tried hard to reproduce Mrs. Howells to her, and have probably not made a shining success of it.
“Old times on the Mississippi”
Howells had been urging Clemens to do something more for the Atlantic, specifically something for the January number. Clemens cudgeled his brains, but finally declared he must give it up: