“It is a cozy nest, and just room in it for a sofa, table, and three or four chairs, and when the storm sweeps down the remote valley and the lightning flashes behind the hills beyond, and the rain beats on the roof over my head, imagine the luxury of it!”
He worked steadily there that summer. He would begin mornings, soon after breakfast, keeping at it until nearly dinner-time, say until five or after, for it was not his habit to eat the midday meal. Other members of the family did not venture near the place; if he was wanted urgently, a horn was blown. His work finished, he would light a cigar and, stepping lightly down the stone flight that led to the house-level, he would find where the family had assembled and read to them his day’s work. Certainly those were golden days, and the tale of Tom and Huck and Joe Harper progressed. To Dr. John Brown, in Scotland, he wrote:
“I have been writing fifty pages of manuscript a day, on an average, for some time now, .. . . and consequently have been so wrapped up in it and dead to everything else that I have fallen mighty short in letter-writing.”
But the inspiration of Tom and Huck gave out when the tale was half finished, or perhaps it gave way to a new interest. News came one day that a writer in San Francisco, without permission, had dramatized “The Gilded Age,” and that it was being played by John T. Raymond, an actor of much power. Mark Twain had himself planned to dramatize the character of Colonel Sellers and had taken out dramatic copyright. He promptly stopped the California production, then wrote the dramatist a friendly letter, and presently bought the play of him, and set in to rewrite it. It proved a great success. Raymond played it for several years. Colonel Sellers on the stage became fully as popular as in the book, and very profitable indeed.
THE NEW HOME
The new home in Hartford was ready that autumn—the beautiful house finished, or nearly finished, the handsome furnishings in place. It was a lovely spot. There were trees and grass—a green, shady slope that fell away to a quiet stream. The house itself, quite different from the most of the houses of that day, had many wings and balconies, and toward the back a great veranda that looked down the shaded slope. The kitchen was not at the back. As Mark Twain was unlike any other man that ever lived, so his house was not like other houses. When asked why he built the kitchen toward the street, he said:
“So the servants can see the
circus go by without running into the
But this was probably his afterthought. The kitchen wing extended toward Farmington Avenue, but it was a harmonious detail of the general plan.