“I will torment the people
if I want to. It only costs them $1
apiece, and, if they can’t stand it, what do they stay here for?”
He promised positively to sail on July 6th if they would let him talk just this once.
There was a good deal more of this drollery on the bill, which ended with the announcement that he would appear at the Mercantile Library on July 2d. It is unnecessary to say that the place was jammed on that evening. It was probably the greatest lecture event San Francisco has ever known. Four days later, July 6, 1868, Mark Twain sailed, via Aspinwall, for New York, and on the 28th delivered the manuscript of “The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrim’s Progress,” to his Hartford publisher.
THE VISIT TO ELMIRA AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Samuel Clemens now decided to pay his long-deferred visit to the Langdon home in Elmira. Through Charlie Langdon he got the invitation renewed, and for a glorious week enjoyed the generous hospitality of the beautiful Langdon home and the society of fair Olivia Langdon—Livy, as they called her—realizing more and more that for him there could never be any other woman in the world. He spoke no word of this to her, but on the morning of the day when his visit would end he relieved himself to Charlie Langdon, much to the young man’s alarm. Greatly as he admired Mark Twain himself, he did not think him, or, indeed, any man, good enough for “Livy,” whom he considered little short of a saint. Clemens was to take a train that evening, but young Langdon said, when he recovered:
“Look here, Clemens, there’s a train in half an hour. I’ll help you catch it. Don’t wait until tonight; go now!”
Mark Twain shook his head.
“No, Charlie,” he said, in his gentle drawl. “I want to enjoy your hospitality a little longer. I promise to be circumspect, and I’ll go to-night.”
That night after dinner, when it was time to take the train, a light two-seated wagon was at the gate. Young Langdon and his guest took the back seat, which, for some reason, had not been locked in its place. The horse started with a quick forward spring, and the seat with its two occupants described a circle and landed with force on the cobbled street.
Neither passenger was seriously hurt—only dazed a little for the moment. But to Mark Twain there came a sudden inspiration. Here was a chance to prolong his visit. When the Langdon household gathered with restoratives, he did not recover at once, and allowed himself to be supported to an arm-chair for further remedies. Livy Langdon showed especial anxiety.
He was not allowed to go, now, of course; he must stay until it was certain that his recovery was complete. Perhaps he had been internally injured. His visit was prolonged two weeks, two weeks of pure happiness, and when he went away he had fully resolved to win Livy Langdon for his wife.