The Twain-Cable Tour Narrative

Title

The Twain-Cable Tour Narrative
It is not true that this recording was produced by enhancing wax cylinders, said to have been made in 1895, found in the vaults of the Hotel Brighton, Paris, France. The narration is derived from letters and interviews from the time of the tour. Production was done with Audacity and Kdenlive. Background maps are from Google Maps made from KLM files of railway routes of 1870 and imported into Google Earth. They are consequently 14 years out of date. Banjo music provided by the Heftone Banjo Orchestra, ogg files published under the Creative Commons ShareAlike License.
 

[Preface]
I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told.
There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.
The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.
The humorous story is strictly a work of art—high and delicate art—and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story—understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print—was created in America, and has remained at home.
The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through. And sometimes, if he has had good success, he is so glad and happy that he will repeat the "nub" of it and glance around from face to face, collecting applause, and then repeat it again. It is a pathetic thing to see.
Very often, of course, the rambling and disjointed humorous story finishes with a nub, point, snapper, or whatever you like to call it. Then the listener must be alert, for in many cases the teller will divert attention from that nub by dropping it in a carefully casual and indifferent way, with the pretence that he does not know it is a nub.
Artemus Ward used that trick a good deal; then when the belated audience presently caught the joke he would look up with innocent surprise, as if wondering what they had found to laugh at. Dan Setchell used it before him, Nye and Riley and others use it to-day.
But the teller of the comic story does not slur the nub; he shouts it at you—every time. And when he prints it, in England, France, Germany, and Italy, he italicizes it, puts some whooping exclamation-points after it, and sometimes explains it in a parenthesis. All of which is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life.
[Introduction]
In the month of November, 1884, the day after election day, I embarked on a tour of cities, towns and assorted burgs along with Mr. George Washington Cable, a writer and essayist of some renown in the New Orleans area. Also along, to manage business affairs, was Major James Burton Pond.
My original idea was a full-on minstrel show, a menagerie of talent: William Dean Howells, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Charles Dudley Warner (I had co-authored a book with Charles Dudley Warner, I would never do that again), George Cable (who had shown me around the hidden places of New Orleans while I researched my Mississippi book), and the shy but brilliant Joel Chandler Harris. I would procure our own railroad car, complete with our own personal chef. I would pay them all a salary and I would assume all the risk and of course take all the profit if there was any to take. We would travel all the way to California. I was concerned that my new book, just about ready to be published, did not have the audience it needed. Taking to the road was the only solution. My previous publisher had suggested I do that for Life on the Mississippi but I had previously resigned from public lecturing.
[Chapter 1]
The tour that took place was not nearly so grandiose as I had envisioned. Cable agreed to a contract of $450 per week plus expenses. Those expenses meant food, lodging and travel costs. If he should become unmanageable and go to thrashing people, I should not want to have to pay his daily police court expenses. And it would have been just like him to do that.” I would never tour with another speaker again.
Our first two shows were quite successful but I found that merely reading my material was not satisfactory. In New Haven, Connecticut, the audience was large and cultivated and Livy was there. The second show was in Orange, New Jersey to a crowded house. But the third at Gilmore's Opera House in Springfield, Massachusetts was rather a disaster. I had chosen to forgo the printed program. The audience was also quite distracted by the activities outside the hall, fireworks, brass bands and a cannon. We received good reviews from the paper but I was quite dissatisfied with the results.
[Chapter 2]
Saturday, in Providence, Rhode Island, we presented a matinée to a two-thirds house and a full house for the evening show. We stayed in Providence through Sunday and traveled to Boston, Massachusetts on Monday. We took rooms at the Parker House. That evening we did a show in Melrose, Massachusetts. The show at the Town Hall was well sold and additional chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the overflow. The reviews described me as “dry and purely American” but found George to be “foreign”.
Tuesday at Huntington Hall, Lowell, Massachusetts, and Rumford Hall, Waltham, Massachusetts, Wednesday. Thursday was to be our first show before a large audience, all previous presentations as rehearsals. Twenty-two hundred people at the Boston Music Hall.
Our day proved to be rather eventful prior to the show, Mr. Cable and I were walking along Beacon Street, along the waterfront, when we came across a woman would had just been rescued from a suicide attempt. She did not wish to give up with only a single attempt. I dogged her steps in an effort to prevent a second plunge in the river. George raced off to procure a carriage and a police officer. After much effort we managed to get her into the custody of a police officer and removed to the police station. Our presence was required at the police station to make a report.
[Chapter 3]
When we arrived, we found the captain entirely at his ease.  His feet were on his desk, and our appearance really seemed a sort of intrusion upon his comfortable leisure.  The statement made by the officer that the woman had tried to commit suicide appeared to be a matter of hardly passing interest to him.  He seemed absorbed in reading a book, and interrupted himself only to ask the stereotyped questions as to her age, birthplace, condition, married or single, etc., seeming to pay no attention to the fact that she was evidently insane, and incapable of giving intelligent replies.  As for my friend and myself he appeared oblivious of our existence, and we began to feel that we had really committed some criminal act in our efforts to save the woman.  She was utterly exhausted, but when the door opened, and a man was brought in charged with theft or some such crime, the captain waved the woman aside, as if at last he found something of interest.  I finally suggested that we might be more comfortable sitting down inside the rail, and the idea seemed to meet with his approval. Having taken our testimony in the matter, a consultation was had between the officer and the captain as to the disposition of the woman, which ended in the former being instructed to take her to the Tombs.  This frightened me; I couldn't see that our efforts had been so very commendable after all, if the woman was to be buried anyway—dead or alive.  I began to think how we could best save the woman again, when the official kindly explained that the Tombs was a sort of central office, where physicians were in attendance who would decide upon the disposition of the case.  I don't want to save any more women from drowning—in Boston.”
[Chapter 4]
Later, at the hotel, a reporter came to interview me, prior to our show. He had been advised by the bellboy to be careful as we had just tried to drown a crazy woman. So rumors begin.
The show at the Music Hall was quite a success. Mr. Cable sang Creole songs and read selections from his novel, Dr. Sevier; I read passages from Huck Finn and commented on the German language and its unreasonable genders. I also described an incident described in A Tramp Abroad and threw in examples of “odd humor”. The audience “applauded frequently.”
I was elected a member of the Montreal Snow Shoe Club.
[Chapter 5]
Friday, our show in Brockton, Massachusetts received almost no advanced publicity, consequently few people attended. We did get good reviews, though. We did a Saturday afternoon matinée in Boston then Mr. Cable went home to Simsbury and I went to Providence then home to Hartford.
[Chapter 6]
Monday morning I departed Hartford and traveled to New York and booked rooms at the Everett House. Then, on to Plainfield, New Jersey for a show at the Stillman Music Hall.
Again we were plagued by outside attractions, making for a small turnout. In opening, Mr. Cable requested any among the audience who might be carried away by the Democratic demonstration outside to leave whatever sky rockets or Roman candles they might have about them at the door.
Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (the 18th and 19th of November, 1884) we read at Chickering Hall in New York. The papers published mixed reviews of the shows. The New York Sun published some of the dialogue and some that they made up, including the phrase “Nigger Jim”, a phrase I never used in my book. The New York Times preferred Mr. Cable. Allow me to quote:
“The management, in its newspaper advertisements, spoke of the entertainment as a "combination of genius and versatility," but neglected to say which of the gentlemen had the genius and which the versatility. Some of those who were present last evening may have felt justified in coming to the conclusion that Mr. Cable represented both these elements, while Mr. Clemens was simply man, after the fashion of that famous hunting animal one-half of which was pure Irish setter and the other half "just plain dog." Mr. Cable was humorous, pathetic, weird, grotesque, tender, and melodramatic by turns, while Mr. Clemens confined his efforts to the ridicule of such ridiculous matters as aged colored gentlemen, the German language, and himself.”
[Chapter 7]
After lecturing, I was walking homeward. It was a rainy night and but few people were about. In the midst of a black gulf between lamps, two dim figures stepped out of a doorway and moved along in front of me. I heard one of them say, “Do you know General Grant has actually determined to write his memoirs and publish them? He has said so today, in so many words.” That was all I heard—just those words—and I thought it great good luck that I was permitted to overhear them.
The next day, Thursday, November 20, 1884. I called on General Grant at his New York City home on East 66th Street to offer to publish his memoirs. I was convinced that the general would give Charles L. Webster & Co. the rights.
[Chapter 8]
We then traveled along the Hudson River, crossing on the ferry between Beacon and Newburgh.
The Opera House in Newburgh, where the entertainment was given, was only half filled. This may be accounted for by several reasons: Weather—several other largely attended first class entertainments on preceding evenings that week—the price of reserved seats—another reading in town the same evening—the night on which several church organizations hold weekly service, etc. But the gathering was select and appreciative.
[Chapter 9]
Friday, November 21, a show at the Association Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We had a most noble big audience, & a most prodigious good time.
Saturday, November 22, we traveled to Brooklyn for two performances at the Academy of Music. The Brooklyn Eagle called it “The Literary Event of the Season”
I read a scene from my new play, in which Colonel Mulberry Sellers having failed in everything else tackles science as a last resort, and proposes to utilize the wasted energies of the present race of human beings in rehabilitating those who had gone over to the majority. His friend Lafayette Hawkins, of Missouri, thinks that there is no money in it, but the colonel takes policemen and shows that model and best of all immortal patrolmen can be furnished at nine cents apiece, and an exceptionally good article at $120 a gross. A permanent set of dead Congressmen was suggested, and it was said that Europe could be furnished with kings who could actually eat dynamite. Charlemagne and Solomon could be sold at auction, and the dead heroes of Greece and Rome would be worth millions. "We will make a good sale," the colonel continued, "but I must insist on no higgling about a million or two either way."
A Miss Copelin from St. Louis sent me a note and I went to see her. She was the daughter of a young girl I once knew. Miss Copelin was 21 and her mother was only fifteen when I knew her. It made things seem a long time ago, & also made me feel very old & useless.
[Chapter 10]
Monday, November 24, 1884 at the Congregational Church, Washington D.C.: Splendid times, A Congregational church packed with people—$750 in the house. The most responsive audience you ever saw. We did make them shout, from the first word to the last. I say “we,” for the honors were exactly equal—as they pretty much always are, now. I worked the ghost story right, this time, & made them jump out of their skins.
On Tuesday night, when Cable walked off after his second number he found three congratulatory visitors in the retiring room -President Chester A. Arthur, a daughter of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Arthur's Secretary of State, and "another lady" whose name Cable missed. A little later Frederick Douglass came in. Cable was quite flabbergasted to meet a real run-away slave.
[Chapter 11]
On Wednesday, November 26th we spoke at the Association Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of my yarns contemplated the reform of the human race by preventing the habit of profanity among men. The reform was to be accomplished by substituting mechanical swearing through the means of the phonograph. The effect of this contrivance on shipboard, colored by all the possibilities of swearing in foreign languages, and swearing backwards and multiplying the force of it by placing as many as one hundred and fifty phonographs in different parts of the ship was too much for the most serious audience in the world, and there was a continuous burst of laughter. Unfortunately, I felt like I was demeaning myself, allowing myself to be a mere buffoon. It's a ghastly feeling, one I couldn't endure any longer. That night I began to search for material which worked both as humor and as literature and art.
[Chapter 12]
Thursday, Thanksgiving, we traveled to Morristown, New Jersey and spoke at the Lyceum-Library. I missed Livy's birthday – again. We spent the night at the home of Thomas Nast, just before he was to begin his own tour. They served us Oysters on the shell as a little repast. I ate five plates full, and then asked for an apple. I occupied his eldest daughter’s room—Miss Julia Nast, aged about 20—the most remarkable room I was ever in—a curious & inexhaustible museum. Not an inch of the four walls could be seen—all hidden under pictures, photographs, etchings, photographs, Christmas cards, menus, fans, statuettes, trinkets & knick-knacks in all metals—little brackets everywhere, with all imaginable dainty & pretty things massed upon them & hanging from them—the most astounding variety of inexpensive & interesting trifles that was ever huddled together upon four walls in this world .
We were to leave early the next morning, and Mrs. Nast agreed to see that they were up in time. When she woke she found us still asleep and every clock in the house stopped. “Wal, those clocks were all overworked, anyway. They will felt much better for a night’s rest.
[Chapter 13]
Friday morning, November 28, we departed Morristown and took the train to Baltimore, Maryland. We gave a show that night, and matinée and evening shows on Saturday. In the midst of “A Trying Situation” during the first show there was a rustle in the gallery. It grew louder and louder, until the sounds of hustling feet and women's dresses were heard coming down the stairway. I stopped the reading and took out my watch. Time to catch a train I expect. Just then the principal of a female college near the city appeared at the south doorway and led the troop of thirty or forty girls across the hall, right in front of the stage. The audience applauded. You can't always tell the customs of the country. In Boston once it was customary for the people to catch the train at 9:05 o'clock. One night I was reading there, and at that hour everybody in the hall got up and left.
I believe George headed back to Simsbury, Connecticut after the last show, I returned to Hartford.
[Chapter 14]
Monday morning I took the whole family to Cable's place in Simsbury. Mr. Cable and I continued on to Adams, Massachusetts for a show that evening in the Town Hall.
The next day Mr. Cable and I arrived at Albany, New York at noon. Governor and President-elect Cleveland requested an audience and we had a quite jolly & pleasant brief chat. He remembered me easily, had seen me often in Buffalo, but I didn’t remember him, of course, & I didn’t say I did. He had to meet the electors at a banquet in the evening, & expressed great regret that that must debar him from coming to the lecture; so I said if he would take my place on the platform I would run the banquet for him; but he said that that would only be a one-sided affair, because the lecture audience would be so disappointed. Then I sat down on four electrical bells at once (as the cats used to do at the farm,) & summoned four pages whom nobody had any use for. Later, we gave a reading to “an enormous audience” in Music Hall, Troy, New York.
I was half sick with a cold—hoarse and weak-voiced, and the evening’s success was feeble; but the audience thought it was great. The Ghost Story fell almost flat by reason of persons rising in the audience just at the critical moment. It was outrageous and I became quite angry.
We were given a nice little supper & got to bed at the neat hour of two o’clock, at peace under the influence of our solemn pledge to each other henceforth to stop our reading and poke unmerciful fun at any one who dares to rise in the audience while we are speaking. It is our only defense against this double imposition on the audience and us.
[Chapter 15]
We read at the Wilgus Opera House in Ithaca, the evening of Wednesday, December 3rd, Thursday, at the Grand Opera House of Syracuse, and Friday, at the Utica Opera House.
On Saturday we rose at 4:30 A.M . and took the train to Rochester, New York, arriving at 10 A.M . We gave a 2 PM matinée reading at the Academy of Music for a small, but “appreciative to a degree” audience, who fought a downpour to hear us. The evening performance was to “a large house and great fun.”
Mr. Cable persuaded me to buy a copy of Malory's Morte d' Arthur. You all know what happened because of this.
[Chapter 16]
Sunday was a sour, bleak, windy day...with trifling flurries of snow. I was homesick and stayed in bed all day reading and smoking.
Cable and I had been studying this thing across the street from the hotel but neither of us could get a satisfactory conclusion as to what it was. A reporter arrived at about 4pm and as part of our conversation I asked about this thing. “That, sir, is the Cogswell fountain”. Well, the man looks like he'd been nine days drowned. It has a putrid, decomposed sort of a look that is offensive for a delicate organism.
That evening, however Major Pond and myself were invited to the Elks Lodge at the New Osburn House. Mr. Cable and myself were on separate floors in the hotel and I do believe he stayed put for the evening.
[Chapter 17]
We arrived in Toronto, Canada at 4:30 P.M ., Monday, December 8, on the Great Western train from Niagara Falls. Ozias Pond accompanied us but was not acting as manager. We all stayed at the Rossin House, Toronto’s first luxury hotel. In the evening Mr. Cable and myself gave a reading to a sold out Horticulture Gardens Pavilion, a 2,500 seat hall only six years old.
The second show, on Tuesday, was also a rousing sold-out affair. The entertainment was given under the auspices of the Ladies' Aid Society of the Metropolitan Church, which fact must have had something to do with making the audience so large. As might have been expected at such an entertainment, the people there were of the very highest class.
[Chapter 18]
On Wednesday, December 10, the Dawson Brothers in Canada and Chatto & Windus in London published Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I needed to satisfy the copyright requirement for Canada by staying in the country until the end of the business day, so I stopped in Fort Erie, while Cable and Pond continued on to Buffalo, New York. I caught up with them later for a show at Concert Hall. I had to talk above steam pipes banging. The Thursday show was equally satisfying, however, in the evening I met with the Hartford Club of Buffalo for dinner, but, “...ate not a bite, & spent 2 of the infernalist weariest hatefulest hours that ever fell to my lot”.
[Chapter 19]
Friday, December 12, I took a train from Buffalo at 12:30 A.M . and arrived at Ann Arbor, Mich. at 10 A.M. went straight to bed, declining President Angel’s [Buffalo University] invitation to dinner & meet ex-President Hayes’s wife & others at 6 this evening. It will be a long time before I sample anybody’s hospitality again.
The show that evening was at University Hall. The students generally, of whom the audience was largely composed, abandoned themselves to the most thunderous laughter every time I appeared on the stage; staid members of the University Faculty, who always maintained a twenty degrees below zero countenance in the classroom, laughed till they were out of breath; law professors, wrapped up in ponderous legal volumes, and who have not been known to smile in twenty-one years, fairly rolled off their seats from laughter. Even a couple of Japanese students, who, although having a fair command of English, could not readily see the incongruities, felt duty bound to join in the general feeling, and undoubtedly did their best, although several times they broke forth in the wrong place to the astonishment of those about them.
[Chapter 20]
Saturday, December 13th: spent the whole day on the train and rested in bed an hour before the reading at Power's Opera House in Grand Rapids, Mich . I was homesick again, and ate chestnuts the children had left in my overcoat pockets. Cable visited a Baptist church where he was called on to talk to the Sunday school.
After the reading, we went to Professor and Mrs. Rogers’ reception given to Mrs. Rutherford Hayes, wife of the ex-President. Cable wrote she was “a fine looking woman.” but we “...got away very early & went to the tavern & to supper. A deputation of students waited to see us in the parlor. Rec’d them standing and after some pleasant exchanges parted from them & went to bed...”
Charles Webster wrote: “We brought out the book all right and the copyright on Huck Finn is perfect” Good sales were coming in from agents, though the depression hampered.
[Chapter 21]
On Sunday, I left Grand Rapids and spent the night in Jackson, Michigan. On Monday, we got up at 5 & took the train. All the way, in the cars, was a mother with her first child—the proudest & silliest fool I have struck this year. She beat the new brides that one sees on the trains.
We gave a reading at the Wheeler Opera House in Toledo, Ohio that evening.
[Chapter 22]
Tuesday, December 16 , we gave a reading in Whitney's Grand Opera House, Detroit, Michigan. Wednesday, December 17: Case Hall, Cleveland, Ohio. I begged off an interview with a reporter from the Detroit Post. If he truly wished an interview I told him to see Cable. “Whatever he says you can put in my mouth and I’ll be responsible.” We now retired for a Christmas break. A good thing, too. I had grown tired of George Washington Cable. I wrote to Major Pond about this:
You were right, when you said in the Brunswick hotel last summer that I would draw better all by myself. It is true. I thought Cable would be a novelty, but alas he has been everywhere, & is a novelty nowhere. I wish I could pay him $200 a week to withdraw, & pay the little Russian musician a reasonable sum to take his place. I would do it in a minute. Personally I like Cable immensely; & in his right place he ought to be a good card—but he is not in his right place now.
He draws a sixteenth part of the house, & he invariably does two-thirds of the reading. I cannot stand that any longer. He may have 35 or 38 minutes on the platform, & no more.
[Chapter 23]
Sunday, December 28. I took the train from New York in the morning and traveled all day, arriving in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 9:30 P.M. Cable had arrived the day before. On the train I had some difficulties with the head conductor attempting to curtail my liberties I insisted the man report me, because he was going to “drag it in the dirt all day.” Of course he couldn’t do anything, so he had to leave me alone—to the joy of all the passengers. They said they had often seen the rule applied, but had never seen it resisted before. I wonder if we shall have any liberties left, by & by, if we keep up our American habit of meekly submitting to every imposition that is put upon us.
I heard a wonderful banjo player, George Cable accompanied him on the guitar. Sometimes it seemed to me it was almost the most inspiring music I ever heard; & his Way Down upon the Swanee River, with soft, fine variations was singularly tender & beautiful. He is self-made, self-taught. I liked his “Golden Slippers” —in fact I enjoyed everything he played, & he must have played forty & fifty pieces in our rooms.
We had a good time in Pittsburgh; & so we did. Not the best sort, however. Monday, we pleased our audience at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church thoroughly & it was a large & cultivated audience. The newspapers, however, must have taken some grudge against us; for they made offensive reports of the affair”
I read a new piece & it’s the biggest card I’ve got in my whole repertoire. I always thought so; It went a-booming; & Cable’s praises are not merely loud, they are boisterous. Says its literary quality is high & fine—& great; its truth to boy nature unchallengeable; its humor constant & delightful....It took me 45 minutes to recite it (didn’t use any notes) & it hadn’t a doubtful place in it, or a silent spot. Tom and Huck free Jim from his prison in high style, according to all the authorities.
[Chapter 24]
Tuesday, December 30 we got up at 7 this morning & traveled all day, arriving in Dayton, Ohio an hour after dark. We read at the Grand Opera House. On Wednesday, December 31, 1884, we were in Hamilton, Ohio.
A man with creaking shoes stalked out of the hall in the midst of one of my numbers. So I called out in my most benevolent & persuasive tone, “Take your shoes off, please; take your shoes off” — to the great delight of the applauding audience
[Chapter 25]
January 1, 1885: Cincinnati, Ohio then a show that evening in Paris, Kentucky. When we came to put out our washing Mr. Cable piled out a whole trunkful—all saved up since we were on the road last. I called Pond’s attention to it, & he said he would not permit that; he would make Cable pay for that wash out of his own pocket, I speak but the truth when I say I like Cable better & better; but his closeness is a queer streak—the queerest he has got.
We had a most pleasant evening at the Court House—in a region familiar to Ma when she was a girl, some seventy or eighty years before. Wherever we strike a Southern audience they laugh themselves all to pieces. They catch a point before you can get it out—& then, if you are not a muggings, you don’t get it out; you leave it unsaid. It is a great delight to talk to such folks.
[Chapter 26]
January 2, Friday in Odeon Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio: A beautiful new hall. Major Pond departed for New York. His brother, Ozias took over as tour manager. I gave Ozias a notebook of my own invention. Ozias commented “I will make my twenty-fifth attempt to keep a diary.” On Saturday, Ozias recorded in this diary that I was examined by a phrenologist and that ‘There was nothing in it’. Feeble.
We had three good shows in Cincinnati, one on Friday and two on Saturday. When you talk twice in the same day. It is a dreadful pull on a body’s muscle.
There was a young college girl from the music college where the hall was, that asked if the readings were over and if Mark Twain was going to read again, and would “he read something good?” I took the girl back stage, giving her a seat off-stage. When other girls came looking for her I gave them seats with the first girl. Then I went on the stage & shouted away, for the delectation of 1200 women in front, & this little group in the rear. Take it all around, we had a mighty rousing time, & a most pleasant afternoon.
[Chapter 27]
Sunday, I breakfasted with the Halstead family at noon; spent 3 hours in the pottery. I bought several pieces and had them shipped to Hartford. Dined at Mrs. Geo. Ward Nichols’s; spent a most shouting good lovely 3 1⁄2 hours at Pitts Burt’s fireside; & then he brought me home.
Monday, January 5, 1885: I rose at 6 AM and took the 8:15 train to Louisville, Kentucky. We stayed at the Galt House. At 4:30 there was a reception at the Louisville Press Club, and a stop at the Pendennis Club. In the evening, a reading at Leiderkranz Hall.
The next day, Tuesday we had a second reading at the Leiderkranz Hall. After the readings, We went again to the Pendennis Club with Colonel Henry Watterson, my second cousin by marriage and editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal. I enjoyed a “2-hour supper full of delightful conversation, & tropic enthusiasm over the readings”. Cable wrote home that Watterson “didn’t please” him, “Talks shamelessly about getting drunk &c &c.”
In a discussion of the “negro question” at the Press Club, Cable observed, “Freedom of speech has yet to come to us of the South”
In truth, Baltimore, Washington & Louisville prove that none but a Southern audience can bring out the very best that is in a man on the platform. There is an atmosphere of affection for you, pervading the house, that you seldom feel, at least in a strong inspiring way, in a northern audience. If you make a miss-fire, they are troubled about it, not glad of it, & jump eagerly at the very first excuse they get to wipe it away & shout the memory of it out of your mind. One feels as if he were in front of his own family, & every individual personally anxious for his success.
[Chapter 28]
Wednesday, January 7th: Ozias made me happy by playing billiards and Cable was made happy, no doubt, by testimony on the front page of the Indianapolis Journal to his growing reputation as a champion of civil rights for the Negro. He toured the Louisville High School with Prof. Allmond and others, as well as the Colored High School—both schools singing “America” for him. Cable pled fatigue and I went alone to dine at Watterson’s home. We took the train from Louisville to Indianapolis, Indiana and that evening the reading at Plymouth Church was so crowded that “Pond turned people away”.
[Chapter 29]
Thursday, January 8th: We were up at 7, this morning, with a 9-hour journey before us & no parlor car. But we are getting along all right. The train stops every half a mile. By 1 p.m. this car has been filled & emptied with farmer-people some 300 times. They are a constant interest to me—their clothes, their manners, attitudes, aspect, expression—when they have any. A small country boy, a while ago, discussed a negro woman in her easy hearing-distance, to his 17-year old sister: “Mighty good clothes for a nigger, hain’t they? I never see a nigger dressed so fine before.” She was thoroughly well & tastefully dressed, & had more brains & breeding than 7 generations of that boy’s family will be able to show.
At 3 PM we’d got on the wrong train but noticed it at the last moment, “just time enough to snatch on our wraps & overshoes & skip aboard the right train.”
That evening we had a good show at Chatterton's Opera House in Springfield. I got a laugh just by peeking out from behind the stage curtain before my entrance.
[Chapter 30]
January 9 Friday – We left Springfield for St. Louis at 6:35 AM but were delayed by a train accident. The engine and baggage car derailed at the bridge over the Big Muddy.
"We had just reached that portion of the bridge which overhangs the crystal waters of the Mississippi River when a misunderstanding arose between the forward and rear portions of the train. The engine conceived the intention of leaving the track upon which the rest of the train was and moving upon another one, while the remainder of the train decided to remain where it was. The result was that one of the forward passenger cars was switched diagonally across the track. If we had not been going very slowly at the time, the whole train would have left the track. It would not have discommoded me in the least to have been tossed into the Mississippi. I know the river thoroughly. It was the other people I was thinking of. There was a continuous kind of jolting which became more and more ominous and suggestive as the train advanced. A sense of crumbling-- something crumbling beneath us, where stability was of the highest importance to us all personally, became very prominent. I fully expected the bridge to break down--I always have done so when I crossed it--and my anxiety for the safety of the other passengers led me to leap quite hastily from my seat and make a rush for the nearest exit. I wanted to get out and see what was the matter so that I could intelligently supply the required relief. I got there but unfortunately, too late to be of any service. The train had stopped of its own accord. There were not many people hurt in the accident. They happened to be in front when I was going out. I went out in a good deal of a hurry and they were in the way. I'm sorry I can not furnish you with a list of the wounded and a statement of where they came from and the nature of their injuries. I did think of getting up such a list and giving the names of prominent men, but it don't do, after all, to play a practical joke on a newspaper. There are so many people who don't understand a joke, however plain it may be, that the possibility of serious results stands in the way of their perpetration."
We walked across the bridge, took a car to the Southern Hotel, and were set for the evening’s performance. That evening and on Saturday evening we spoke at the Mercantile Library Hall. Not much of a crowd but those there seemed to have enjoyed the show. Ozias says Saturday night is “not popular in St. Louis ‘with the better element’.
Sometime during our brief stay in St. Louis, my cousin James Lampton, visited my hotel room. I left the door ajar to Cable’s adjoining room and let James talk away. After Lampton left, Cable stuck his head through the door and said, “That was Colonel Sellers”.
[Chapter 31]
Monday, January 12: We left the Southern Hotel in St. Louis early. I was accosted by a refractory window. We took the 9:40 train to Quincy, Illinois. Mr. Cable and myself stayed with relatives by marriage, the widow of Erasmus Mason Moffett and her daughters. Our show, that evening was a packed house at the Opera House. One newspaper in town liked us and the other did not.
[Chapter 32]
Tuesday, January 13, we left Quincy, Illinois in the morning and traveled to Hannibal, Missouri. Mr. Cable and myself stayed with some friends and Ozias put up at the Park Hotel. Our show that evening in the Opera House was seen mostly by old friends. The visit to Hannibal—you can never imagine the infinite great deeps of pathos that have rolled their tides over me. I shall never see another such day. I have carried my heart in my mouth for twenty-four hours.
[Chapter 33]
Wednesday was spent in Keokuk, Iowa with a show that evening in the Opera House. Thursday, Cable rose at four in the morning to catch a train, reaching Burlington, Iowa at a quarter to seven. I stayed behind in Keokuk to spend more time with my mother. I was further delayed by a storm and Cable held that evenings' audience for more than an hour and one half. The storm was so heavy that I walked clean off the depot platform and fell into a snowbank. When I finally appeared In Burlington, my first task was to explain the delay. My mother was eighty-two years old; she was the only mother I had; our homes being a thousand miles apart I might never see her again. I thought I could trust the St. Louis train, but it started from Keokuk an hour late, and had been getting an hour later ever since. On the way they broke something. A dispute arose as to what it was that was broken. It took forty minutes to decide the dispute, and five minutes to repair the damage.
[Chapter 34]
We did three shows at the Central Music Hall, Chicago, Illinois. The first, on Friday evening, I created a great deal of merriment by failing to find the proper exit leading to the waiting-room. I crossed the stage twice, tried every door. Amazing, the number of wrong doors I found. Guess I rehearsed with the wrong door.
We had an immense time with these three big audiences in the noble Central Music Hall. But for the fearful storms, we would have turned people away from the doors. It is a beautiful place, & you should have seen that alert & radiant mass of well-dressed humanity, rising tier on tier clear to the slope of the ceiling. Last night was the greatest triumph we have ever made. I played my new bill, containing The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (cut it down & told it in 13 minutes—quickest time on record) & Tom & Huck setting Jim free from prison—25 minutes—but it just went with a long roll of artillery—laughter all down the line...& after a thrice-repeated crash of encores, I came back & talked a ten-minute yard—on the state 35 minutes, you see, & no harm done—encored again after the encore, & came back & bowed. I told the old Jumping Frog, swept the place like a conflagration. Nothing in this world can beat that yarn when one is feeling good & has the right audience in front of him.
[Chapter 35]
Monday, Evanston, Illinois; Tuesday, Janesville, Wisconsin; Wednesday, Madison, Wisconsin. It was seven days since the thermometer had risen above zero; it was ten below at the time I noted this, but I was in my “bag, in bed, & unspeakably snug & comfortable. That bag is the greatest thing in the world.
Thursday, La Crosse, Wisconsin. I was asked by an old West Point friend, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, why I never poke fun at Jews. I have never felt a disposition to satirize the Jews. I have no reason to offer for I think it is a matter of feeling not a conscious intellectual impulse. Hang it, what I am trying to say is, that I have never had the disposition....But the intellectual origin of the disposition lies mainly in two facts, I think; (and they long ago deeply impressed me) that I have never seen a Jew begging his bread; and have never seen one procuring it by manual labor. The one fact must mean that the Jews take care of their unfortunates with a fidelity known to no other race; and the other fact must mean that the Jews are the only race with whom brains are a universal heritage. We do not satirize people we singularly respect—one would do it but indifferently well, and be ashamed of it when it was done.
I received this back:
Morris W. Fechheimer wrote from Portland, Ore.
Dear Sir, My sole apology for obtruding in this manner consists in the fact of my having suggested to Mr. Wood the inquiry which you have kindly taken some pains to answer. As you are doubtless aware the Jews for centuries furnished a field upon which every amateur satirist did “flesh his maiden blade,” and each veteran wield his trenchant sword, even Heine, himself one of “The Lords Body Guard” only quitted it with his last breath, so that no sooner had the thought occurred to me that I had found a distinguished exception, than with it came a curiosity to know the reason for such a marked singularity. At the same time I was surprised that this had not been noticed before, for I have noticed comments at various times upon the fact that Scott in Ivanhoe and Lessing in Nathan the Wise were the first authors in their respective countries, who in modern times had represented a Jew in other than the most contemptible light. Now, to me it seems that what under the circumstances you failed to do, is equally as noteworthy as what they did do. Please accept my thanks for your trouble to satisfy my curiosity and explain what, as it would appear, you had not been requested to do before.
[Chapter 36]
Friday, St. Paul, Minnesota; Saturday, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sunday, January 25, 1885 still in Minneapolis. I ought to have staid at home & written another book. It pays better than the platform.
Monday, we read at the Philharmonic Hall, Winona, Minnesota. Tuesday, Madison, Wisconsin at the First Methodist Episcopal Church. Ozias seems to have had a heart attack at Madison; nevertheless he accompanied us to Milwaukee, where he took to his bed.
We read Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Academy of Music in Milwaukee. Thursday was a third rate effort on my part, it must have been the warm bath I'd taken before the show. I'll never take another.
Friday, January 30, 1885: We gave a reading in Rockford, Illinois. Ralph Emerson and wife wanted me to camp in their house, which is the best one in town, but I had to leave at 11 P.M . in a freight train. Ozias Pond remained in Milwaukee, and his brother James was at the Everett House in New York City. James wrote Cable arguing that he shouldn’t be expected to travel back, that he could send a “perfectly honest, industrious man,” but I would have none of it—this had been explicit in our contract—either James or his brother Ozias, no substitutes.
[Chapter 37]
Saturday, after leaving Rockford, we struck a sleeping-car train at 12.30 [A.M.], but did not go to bed, as we had to change cars at 2. 40. Did it, slept till 6, when we reached Rock Island; then Cable & I walked up through the town & over toward this place, when a sleigh overtook & we rode. That evening we read at the Burtis Opera House, in Davenport.
We made a great triumph before a great Davenport audience. At 7. 45 I was old & seedy & wretched from traveling all night & getting no sleep; but then I drank a big cup of black coffee & went on the stage as fine as a fiddle; answered an encore; was uproariously encored again, immediately; was encored again, straightway, & went on & made a happy excuse, & did the same after another encore at 9. 45. I guess we sent that multitude home feeling jolly. It was the only big audience that has assembled in that town since 1875.
It was announced that unless we left (Davenport) that night at 11, we could not meet our Chicago engagement Monday evening [Feb. 2]. Cable calmly said “I cannot travel on Sunday.” I was furious. I said “You will travel on Sunday, just the same,—this time.” He said, “It is in my contract that I am not to travel on Sunday, & I shall not do it.” I said, Damn your contract. This is the accident of a change of RR service since the appointment was made; & your contract cannot cover accidents, & has got to yield. I am not going to be made a plaything of in order to humor the corpse of a superstition of the Middle Ages”
Better information settled the fact that he could start Monday morning at 8 & have abundance of time. If he had missed that engagement, I was going to deliver a lecture about him to the Chicago audience....I do not believe that any vileness, any shame, any dishonor is too base for Cable to do, provided by doing it he can save his despicable Sabbath from abrasion. He's just a Christ-besprinkled psalm-singing Presbyterian.
[Chapter 38]
Took the train half an hour after midnight—had then been mainly without sleep for 2 days & nights—so we got a stateroom & I slept the night through. When I am in such trim as I was last night, I would rather be on the platform than anywhere in the world.
Monday and Tuesday at the Chicago Central Music Hall, a large audience with only a few vacant seats. Major Pond is still trying to manage remotely but it is unsatisfactory.
In this hotel, (the Grand Pacific) there is a colored youth who stands near the great dining room door, and takes the hats off the gentlemen as they pass into dinner & sets them away. The people come in shoals & sometimes he has his arms full of hats and is kept moving in a most lively way. Yet he remembers every hat, & when these people come crowding out, an hour, or an hour & a half later he hands to each gentleman his hat & never makes any mistake. I have watched him to see how he did it but I couldn’t see that he more than merely glanced at his man if he even did that much. I have tried a couple of times to make him believe he was giving me the wrong hat, but it didn’t persuade him in the least. He intimated that I might be in doubt, that that he KNEW.
[Chapter 39]
Mr Cable and I telegraphed from Chicago to Ozias W. Pond, Plinkinton House, Milwaukee, Wisc., who was ailing and we feared near death. I had given Ozias a copy of Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, and addressed it to “Sir Sagramore le Desirous”—a nickname that stuck:
 Now wit you well, Sir Sagrarmore, thou good knight and gentle, that there be two that right wonderly do love thee, grieving passing sore and making great dole at thy heavy travail. And we will well that thou prosper at the hand of the leech, and come lightly forth of thy hurts, and be as thou were tofore 
We were in Chicago until about 4pm Wednesday, February 4th when we boarded the train for South Bend, Indiana for a show at the Opera House.
Thursday, February 5, 1885, we travel to Fort Wayne for a show at the Academy of Music. We are grinding out the days pretty fast, now that we are at last fairly into the last month & unquestionably on the homestretch. Major Pond is with us, now. He wanted to send his brother Edward, but we needed an expert, not a novice.
[Chapter 40]
I do not believe that any vileness, any shame, any dishonor is too base for Cable to do, provided by doing it he can save his despicable Sabbath from abrasion. In him this superstition in lunacy--no idiocy—pure & unadulterated. Apart from this & his colossal self-conceit & avarice, he is all great & fine: but with them as ballast, he averages as other men & floats upon an even keel with the rest.
Friday, February 6, we rose at 5.45 this morning & took a train which ought to have had us to Lafayette by 10.30, but it lost 2 hours on the road. I was interviewed in Lafayette. I particularly admired the grand canal, drawn to it by some invisible influence the moment I arrived. In fact, before I left the train I knew there was one there. It reminded me forcibly of Venice. Anyhow, there was something familiar about it. Perhaps it's the odor.
I had slept a couple of hours on the way, & I felt rusty & seedy. I had not eaten for 12 hours & it would be another 12 before I did eat; for I got up with a sour stomach. Pond came in, mad. He went in to dinner with Cable, who was shown to a table where some children sat; & he whirled on his heel & marched out before everybody in grandiose style & told Pond to have his dinner sent to his room. Pond was deeply mortified at this fantastic exhibition of petty magnificence.
[Chapter 41]
We read that evening and twice on Saturday at the Plymouth Church in Indianapolis. Black coffee again helped me through the evening reading, 
We spent Sunday in Indianapolis. It is Cable’s fault that I have done inferior reading all this time. He has hogged so much of the platform-time that I have always felt obliged to hurry along at lightning speed in order to keep the performance within bounds; but now I take my own time, & give 25 minutes to pieces which formerly occupied but 15. If this show were new, I would cut a third of him out of the program....I am paying Cable $450 a week & expenses. He isn’t worth a penny over $200. He is not a novelty anywhere...his same old stuff...doesn’t prepare himself with untried matter....He will find a sickly way of making a living.
Cable interrupted an anecdote at a Saturday evening reception to tell me he was leaving (due to the Sabbath). Cable is insulting & insolent with servants. It is Major Pond’s opinion that the “servants of the Everett House all hate him,” and that he would starve himself if on his own expenses, but his “appetite is insatiable” if “somebody else is paying....” Cable wouldn’t even cross a bridge on a Sunday, though he’d wanted to hear Beecher. This is the most beggardly disease, the pitiful, the most contemptible mange that ever a grown creature was afflicted withal.
[Chapter 42]
On Monday, we gave a reading at the Comstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio. We rode all day in a smoking car, stopping every 30 yards, arrived here in a rain storm about 2 hours after dark, jumped into evening dress in a desperate hurry & came before a full Opera house of the handsomest people you ever saw, & made them shout, & tore them all to pieces till half past 10, & not an individual deserted till the thing was over.
After the show & a hot supper, Pond & I did play billiards until 2 a.m., & then I scoured myself in the bath, & read & smoked till 3, then slept till half past 9, had my breakfast in bed, & having finished that meal I felt fine as a bird. Cable was keeping “his program strung out to one hour, in spite of all” I could do. I was especially sick of Cable’s piece, “Mary’s Night Ride,” a sentimental episode at the end of Cable’s novel, Dr. Sevier, where Mary Richling crosses Confederate lines to reach her dying husband. And it is in every program. This pious ass allows an “entirely new program” to be announced from the stage & in the papers, & then comes out without a wince or an apology & jerks that same old Night Ride on the audience again.
[Chapter 43]
Tuesday, February 10 at the Opera House in Delaware, Ohio. Wednesday at the First Congregational Church in Oberlin, Ohio. We got mixed reviews from the Oberlin show. In fact the Weekly News charged that I had humbugged and swindled the people of Oberlin. It seems they expected readings to “combine the improving with the pleasing”, whatever that might mean. I'm told that many citizens of the town of Oberlin believe I modeled Hadleyburg after their town. I will make no comment either way.
Thursday, February 12th we gave a reading to a packed house at Whitney's Opera House, Detroit, Michigan. Even though there was a scheduling conflict with a high society event, the Light Guard’s Grand Levee Honors for Governor Russell A. Alger, and even though the thermometer had plummeted to 20 to 30 degrees below zero, “Luke Sharp” of The Detroit Free Press reported the following Sunday that the audience was large and pleased. I found myself as heavy as lead although the audience showed some heartiness of appreciation, yet I was disheartened, vexed & full of lamentations.
[Chapter 44]
I wrote to George Iles of the Montreal Snow Show Club. My Dear Iles: I am so driven that I am obliged to cut correspondence down to telegrams; but I must drop just a line to thank you for your kindnesses & courtesies, {O, h—l, it’s platform time} —— Midnight.—P.S. I got your other telegram a while ago, & answered it, explaining that I have only a couple of hours in the middle of the day for social life. I know it doesn’t seem rational that a man should have to lie abed all day in order to be rested & equipped for talking an hour at night, & yet in my case & Cable’s it is so. Unless I get a great deal of rest, a ghastly dullness settles down upon me, on the platform, & turns my performance into work, & hard work, whereas it ought always to be pastime, recreation, solid enjoyment. Usually it is just this latter; but that is because I take my rest faithfully, & prepare myself to do my full duty by my audience. I am the obliged & appreciative servant of my brethren of the Snow-Shoe Club, & nothing in the world would delight me more than to come to their hours without naming time or terms on my own part—but you see how it is. My cast-iron duty is to my audience—it leaves me no liberty & no option. With my kindest regards & compliments to the Club & to you.
[Chapter 45]
Friday, February 13, 1885: I took the train to London, Canada. In the audience at the Y.M.C.A. Hall were 151 girls from Helmuth Female College. After the lecture, I met many of the girls as well as the principal, who offered to send a sleigh in the morning to visit the college.
The next day, Saturday, February 14, 1885: I was introduced to tobogganing by 74 young ladies from the College, 2 1⁄2 miles out from town. It was twelve below zero. You sit in the midst of a row of girls on a long broad board with its front curled up, & away you go, like lightning....the sport was so prodigiously exciting & entertaining that it was well for us it was cut short by telephonic message that the train was being held for us; otherwise we should have tired ourselves to death...Tobagganing is very violent fun.. That evening we gave a reading in Toronto, again at the Horticultural Gardens Pavilion. This time the audience was only half as large as the sellouts a few weeks before.
[Chapter 46]
Monday, February 16, 1885: On the train all day, Cable asked to borrow my writing pad. Though it was “pretty thin,” I thought there’d be enough. Cable wrote eight letters and used up the pad. I was so disappointed & so mad that I spoke my mind rather freely—at least in manner, though not so much in words. (He has never bought one single sheet of paper or an envelop in all these 3 1⁄2 months—sponges all his stationery ... from the hotels.) His body is small, but it is much too large for his soul. the 'pitifulest human louse' I have ever known.
In the evening we gave a reading in Grand Opera House, Brockville, Canada.
Tuesday, February 17, 1885: Ottawa, Canada--Opera House.
[Chapter 47]
Wednesday, February 18, 1885: Montreal, Canada—Queens Hall
Afterward, I gave an impromptu speech at Tuque Bleue Snowshoe Club in Montreal Canada. “Husky young club members seized myself, Cable, and the huge major [Pond] and tossed us repeatedly to the ceiling. Each of us made speeches, Cable sang “Pov’ Piti Momzel Zizi,” club members sang a snowshoe song, and, finally, all joined in “God Save the Queen”
Thursday we read again at Queen's Hall, which was, if possible, even more crowded than on the preceding night.
Friday, February 20th I sent a toboggan for the children but cautioned, “They better not try to use it till I come.”
Past Lake Champlain, you look miles & miles out over the frozen snow—white floor of the Lake, with the dazzling sun upon it, & huge blanket-shadows of the clouds gliding over it, & here & yonder a black spec on the remote level, & away on the far further shore a dim & dreamy range of mountains rises gradually up & disappears in a ragged, low-hanging leaden curtain of clouds.
[Chapter 48]
Friday evening, we gave a reading in Town Hall, Saratoga, New York. The Town Hall was so cold that the audience wrapped in ulsters and capes.
Upon arriving in New York, Saturday February 21, Cable and I breakfasted with Ozias Pond and his wife, Nella. I inscribed a copy of the newly published Huck Finn for Ozias, whose health had improved. I then immediately made my way to the home of General Grant. The General confirmed that he, his son, and George W. Childs had been negotiating with Webster, since my last call. “I mean you shall have the book—I have made up my mind about that,” Grant said. The bad news was the doctors gave Grant “only a few weeks to live.” I directed Charles Webster to finish the details on the contract and deliver it to his home. I hired a stenographer to help finish the work. Noble E. Dawson was chosen—he’d been with Grant in Mexico.
[Chapter 49]
We gave a reading in the Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York. Leaving Brooklyn, we had stops in New Haven, Connecticut, Orange and Newark, New Jersey, then traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for show Thursday, February 26th at the Academy of Music. Friday at the Oratorio Hall in Baltimore and our final show of the tour, Saturday, February 28, 1885 at the Congregational Church, Washington D.C.
Total gross receipts, $46,201, from which Cable’s salary and expenses took more than $20,000. Cable earned $6,750, I made approximately $15,000, and Pond’s commissions “a modest $2500 to $3000.
It has been a curious experience. It has taught me that Cable’s gifts of mind are greater & higher than I had suspected. But— That “But” is pointing toward his religion. You will never know, never divine, guess, imagine, how loath-some a thing the Christian religion can be made until you come to know & study Cable daily & hourly. Mind you, I like him; he is pleasant company; I rage & swear at him sometimes, but we do not quarrel; we get along mighty happily together; but in him & his person I have learned to hate all religions. He has taught me to detest the Sabbath-day & hunt up new & troublesome ways to dishonor it.

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