Joe Twichell preached morning and evening here last Sunday; took midnight train for Boston; got an early breakfast and started by rail at 7.30 A.M. for Concord; swelled around there until 1 P.M., seeing everything; then traveled on top of a train to Lexington; saw everything there; traveled on top of a train to Boston (with hundreds in company), deluged with dust, smoke, and cinders; yelled and hurrahed all the way like a school-boy; lay flat down, to dodge numerous bridges, and sailed into the depot howling with excitement and as black as a chimneysweep; got to Young’s Hotel at 7 P.M.; sat down in the reading-room and immediately fell asleep; was promptly awakened by a porter, who supposed he was drunk; wandered around an hour and a half; then took 9 P.M. train, sat down in a smoking-car, and remembered nothing more until awakened by conductor as the train came into Hartford at 1.30 A.M. Thinks he had simply a glorious time, and wouldn’t have missed the Centennial for the world. He would have run out to see us a moment at Cambridge but he was too dirty. I wouldn’t have wanted him there; his appalling energy would have been an insufferable reproach to mild adventurers like you and me.
Concluding “Tom Sawyer”—Mark TWAIN’s “Editors”
Meantime the “inspiration tank,” as Clemens sometimes called it, had filled up again. He had received from somewhere new afflatus for the story of Tom and Huck, and was working on it steadily. The family remained in Hartford, and early in July, under full head of steam, he brought the story to a close. On the 5th he wrote Howells:
I have finished the story and didn’t take the chap beyond boyhood. I believe it would be fatal to do it in any shape but autobiographically, like Gil Blas. I perhaps made a mistake in not writing it in the first person. If I went on now, and took him into manhood, he would just lie, like all the one-horse men in literature, and the reader would conceive a hearty contempt for him. It is not a boy’s book at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for adults.
He would like to see the story in the Atlantic, he said, but doubted the wisdom of serialization.
“By and by I shall take a boy of twelve and run him through life (in the first person), but not Tam Sawyer, he would not make a good character for it.” From which we get the first glimpse of Huck’s later adventures.
Of course he wanted Howells to look at the story. It was a tremendous favor to ask, he said, and added, “But I know of no other person whose judgment I could venture to take, fully and entirely. Don’t hesitate to say no, for I know how your time is taxed, and I would have honest need to blush if you said yes.”
“Send on your Ms.,” wrote Howells. “You’ve no idea what I may ask you to do for me some day.”