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.

Without doubt there must be many—­very many—­who agree in finding a fuller enjoyment in ‘A Tramp Abroad’ than in the ‘Innocents’; only, the burden of the world’s opinion lies the other way.  The world has a weakness for its illusions:  the splendor that falls on castle walls, the glory of the hills at evening, the pathos of the days that are no more.  It answers to tenderness, even on the page of humor, and to genuine enthusiasm, sharply sensing the lack of these things; instinctively resenting, even when most amused by it, extravagance and burlesque.  The Innocents Abroad is more soul-satisfying than its successor, more poetic; more sentimental, if you will.  The Tramp contains better English usage, without doubt, but it is less full of happiness and bloom and the halo of romance.  The heart of the world has felt this, and has demanded the book in fewer numbers.—­[The sales of the Innocents during the earlier years more than doubled those of the Tramp during a similar period.  The later ratio of popularity is more nearly three to one.  It has been repeatedly stated that in England the Tramp has the greater popularity, an assertion not sustained by the publisher’s accountings.]



The reader has not failed to remark the great number of letters which Samuel Clemens wrote to his friend William Dean Howells; yet comparatively few can even be mentioned.  He was always writing to Howells, on every subject under the sun; whatever came into his mind —­business, literature, personal affairs—­he must write about it to Howells.  Once, when nothing better occurred, he sent him a series of telegrams, each a stanza from an old hymn, possibly thinking they might carry comfort.—­["Clemens had then and for many years the habit of writing to me about what he was doing, and still more of what he was experiencing.  Nothing struck his imagination, in or out of the daily routine, but he wished to write me of it, and he wrote with the greatest fullness and a lavish dramatization, sometimes to the length of twenty or forty pages:”  (My Mark Twain, by W. D. Howells.)] Whatever of picturesque happened in the household he immediately set it down for Howells’s entertainment.  Some of these domestic incidents carry the flavor of his best humor.  Once he wrote: 

Last night, when I went to bed, Mrs. Clemens said, “George didn’t take the cat down to the cellar; Rosa says he has left it shut up in the conservatory.”  So I went down to attend to Abner (the cat).  About three in the morning Mrs. C. woke me and said, “I do believe I hear that cat in the drawing-room.  What did you do with him?” I answered with the confidence of a man who has managed to do the right thing for once, and said, “I opened the conservatory doors, took the library off the alarm, and spread everything open, so that there wasn’t any obstruction between him and the cellar.” 
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Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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