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Produced by Pat Castevans and David Widger





THE BOYS' LIFE OF MARK TWAIN

By Albert Bigelow Paine



CONTENTS

PREFACE
I. THE FAMILY OF JOHN CLEMENS
II. THE NEW HOME, AND UNCLE JOHN QUARLES'S FARM
III. SCHOOL
IV. EDUCATION OUT OF SCHOOL
V. TOM SAWYER AND HIS BAND
VI. CLOSING SCHOOL-DAYS
VII. THE APPRENTICE
VIII. ORION'S PAPER
IX. THE OPEN ROAD
X. A WIND OF CHANCE
XI. THE LONG WAY To THE AMAZON
XII. RENEWING AN OLD AMBITION
XIII. LEARNING THE RIVER
XIV. RIVER DAYS
XV. THE WRECK OF THE "PENNSYLVANIA"
XVI. THE PILOT
XVII. THE END OF PILOTING
XVIII. THE SOLDIER
XIX. THE PIONEER
XX. THE MINER
XXI. THE TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE
XXII. "MARK TWAIN"
XXIII. ARTEMUS WARD AND LITERARY SAN FRANCISCO
XXIV. THE DISCOVERY OF "THE JUMPING FROG"
XXV. HAWAII AND ANSON BURLINGAME
XXVI. MARK TWAIN, LECTURER
XXVII. AN INNOCENT ABROAD, AND HOME AGAIN
XXVIII. OLIVIA LANGDON. WORK ON THE "INNOCENTS"
XXIX. THE VISIT TO ELMIRA AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
XXX. THE NEW BOOK AND A WEDDING
XXXI. MARK TWAIN IN BUFFALO
XXXII. AT WORK ON "ROUGHING IT"
XXXIII. IN ENGLAND
XXXIV. A NEW BOOK AND NEW ENGLISH TRIUMPHS
XXXV. BEGINNING "TOM SAWYER"
XXXVI. THE NEW HOME
XXXVII. "OLD TIMES, "SKETCHES," AND "TOM SAWYER"
XXXVIII. HOME PICTURES
XXXIX. TRAMPING ABROAD
XL. "THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER"
XLI. GENERAL GRANT AT HARTFORD
XLII. MANY INVESTMENTS
XLIII. BACK TO THE RIVER, WITH BIXBY
XLIV. A READING-TOUR WITH CABLE
XLV. "THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN"
XLVI. PUBLISHER TO GENERAL GRANT
XLVII. THE HIGH-TIDE OF FORTUNE
XLVIII. BUSINESS DIFFICULTIES. PLEASANTER THINGS
XLIX. KIPLING AT ELMIRA. ELSIE LESLIE. THE "YANKEE"
L. THE MACHINE. GOOD-BY TO HARTFORD. "JOAN" IS BEGUN
LI. THE FAILURE OF WEBSTER & CO. AROUND THE WORLD. SORROW
LII. EUROPEAN ECONOMIES
LIII. MARK TWAIN PAYS HIS DEBTS
LIV. RETURN AFTER EXILE
LV. A PROPHET AT HOME
LVI. HONORED BY MISSOURI
LVII. THE CLOSE OF A BEAUTIFUL LIFE
LVIII. MARK TWAIN AT SEVENTY
LIX. MARK TWAIN ARRANGES FOR HIS BIOGRAPHY
LX. WORKING WITH MARK TWAIN
LXI. DICTATIONS AT DUBLIN, N. H.
LXII. A NEW ERA OF BILLIARDS
LXIII. LIVING WITH MARK TWAIN
LXIV. A DEGREE FROM OXFORD
LXV. THE REMOVAL TO REDDING
LXVI. LIFE AT STORMFIELD
LXVII. THE DEATH OF JEAN
LXVIII. DAYS IN BERMUDA
LXIX. THE RETURN TO REDDING
LXX. THE CLOSE OF A GREAT LIFE




PREFACE

This is the story of a boy, born in the humblest surroundings, reared
almost without schooling, and amid benighted conditions such as to-day
have no existence, yet who lived to achieve a world-wide fame; to attain
honorary degrees from the greatest universities of America and Europe; to
be sought by statesmen and kings; to be loved and honored by all men in
all lands, and mourned by them when he died. It is the story of one of
the world's very great men - the story of Mark Twain.




I.

THE FAMILY OF JOHN CLEMENS

A long time ago, back in the early years of another century, a family
named Clemens moved from eastern Tennessee to eastern Missouri - from a
small, unheard-of place called Pall Mall, on Wolf River, to an equally
small and unknown place called Florida, on a tiny river named the Salt.

That was a far journey, in those days, for railway trains in 1835 had not
reached the South and West, and John Clemens and his family traveled in
an old two-horse barouche, with two extra riding-horses, on one of which
rode the eldest child, Orion Clemens, a boy of ten, and on the other
Jennie, a slave girl.

In the carriage with the parents were three other children - Pamela and
Margaret, aged eight and five, and little Benjamin, three years old. The
time was spring, the period of the Old South, and, while these youngsters
did not realize that they were passing through a sort of Golden Age, they
must have enjoyed the weeks of leisurely journeying toward what was then
the Far West - the Promised Land.

The Clemens fortunes had been poor in Tennessee. John Marshall Clemens,
the father, was a lawyer, a man of education; but he was a dreamer, too,
full of schemes that usually failed. Born in Virginia, he had grown up
in Kentucky, and married there Jane Lampton, of Columbia, a descendant of
the English Lamptons and the belle of her region. They had left Kentucky
for Tennessee, drifting from one small town to another that was always
smaller, and with dwindling law-practice John Clemens in time had been
obliged to open a poor little store, which in the end had failed to pay.
Jennie was the last of several slaves he had inherited from his Virginia
ancestors. Besides Jennie, his fortune now consisted of the horses and
barouche, a very limited supply of money, and a large, unsalable tract of
east Tennessee land, which John Clemens dreamed would one day bring his
children fortune.

Readers of the "Gilded Age" will remember the journey of the Hawkins
family from the "Knobs" of Tennessee to Missouri and the important part
in that story played by the Tennessee land. Mark Twain wrote those
chapters, and while they are not history, but fiction, they are based
upon fact, and the picture they present of family hardship and struggle
is not overdrawn. The character of Colonel Sellers, who gave the
Hawkinses a grand welcome to the new home, was also real. In life he was
James Lampton, cousin to Mrs. Clemens, a gentle and radiant merchant of
dreams, who believed himself heir to an English earldom and was always on
the verge of colossal fortune. With others of the Lampton kin, he was
already settled in Missouri and had written back glowing accounts; though
perhaps not more glowing than those which had come from another relative,
John Quarles, brother-in-law to Mrs. Clemens, a jovial, whole-hearted
optimist, well-loved by all who knew him.

It was a June evening when the Clemens family, with the barouche and the
two outriders, finally arrived in Florida, and the place, no doubt,
seemed attractive enough then, however it may have appeared later. It
was the end of a long journey; relatives gathered with fond welcome;
prospects seemed bright. Already John Quarles had opened a general store
in the little town. Florida, he said, was certain to become a city.
Salt River would be made navigable with a series of locks and dams. He
offered John Clemens a partnership in his business.

Quarles, for that time and place, was a rich man. Besides his store he
had a farm and thirty slaves. His brother-in-law's funds, or lack of
them, did not matter. The two had married sisters. That was capital
enough for his hearty nature. So, almost on the moment of arrival in the
new land, John Clemens once more found himself established in trade.

The next thing was to find a home. There were twenty-one houses in
Florida, and none of them large. The one selected by John and Jane
Clemens had two main rooms and a lean-to kitchen - a small place and
lowly - the kind of a place that so often has seen the beginning of
exalted lives. Christianity began with a babe in a manger; Shakespeare
first saw the light in a cottage at Stratford; Lincoln entered the world
by way of a leaky cabin in Kentucky, and into the narrow limits of the
Clemens home in Florida, on a bleak autumn day - November 30, 1835 - there
was born one who under the name of Mark Twain would live to cheer and
comfort a tired world.

The name Mark Twain had not been thought of then, and probably no one
prophesied favorably for the new-comer, who was small and feeble, and not
over-welcome in that crowded household. They named him Samuel, after his
paternal grandfather, and added Langhorne for an old friend - a goodly
burden for so frail a wayfarer. But more appropriately they called him
"Little Sam," or "Sammy," which clung to him through the years of his
delicate childhood.

It seems a curious childhood, as we think of it now. Missouri was a
slave State - Little Sam's companions were as often black as white. All
the children of that time and locality had negroes for playmates, and
were cared for by them. They were fond of their black companions and
would have felt lost without them. The negro children knew all the best
ways of doing things - how to work charms and spells, the best way to cure
warts and heal stone-bruises, and to make it rain, and to find lost
money. They knew what signs meant, and dreams, and how to keep off
hoodoo; and all negroes, old and young, knew any number of weird tales.

John Clemens must have prospered during the early years of his Florida
residence, for he added another slave to his household - Uncle Ned, a man
of all work - and he built a somewhat larger house, in one room of which,
the kitchen, was a big fireplace. There was a wide hearth and always
plenty of wood, and here after supper the children would gather, with
Jennie and Uncle Ned, and the latter would tell hair-lifting tales of
"ha'nts," and lonely roads, and witch-work that would make his hearers
shiver with terror and delight, and look furtively over their shoulders
toward the dark window-panes and the hovering shadows on the walls.
Perhaps it was not the healthiest entertainment, but it was the kind to
cultivate an imagination that would one day produce "Tom Sawyer" and
"Huck Finn."

True, Little Sam was very young at this period, but even a little chap of
two or three would understand most of that fireside talk, and get
impressions more vivid than if the understanding were complete. He was
barely four when this earliest chapter of his life came to a close.

John Clemens had not remained satisfied with Florida and his undertakings
there. The town had not kept its promises. It failed to grow, and the
lock-and-dam scheme that would make Salt River navigable fell through.
Then one of the children, Margaret, a black-eyed, rosy little girl of
nine, suddenly died. This was in August, 1839. A month or two later the
saddened family abandoned their Florida home and moved in wagons, with
their household furnishings, to Hannibal, a Mississippi River town,
thirty miles away. There was only one girl left now, Pamela, twelve
years old, but there was another boy, baby Henry, three years younger
than Little Sam - four boys in all.




II.

THE NEW HOME, AND UNCLE JOHN QUARLES'S FARM

Hannibal was a town with prospects and considerable trade. It was
slumbrous, being a slave town, but it was not dead. John Clemens
believed it a promising place for business, and opened a small general
store with Orion Clemens, now fifteen, a studious, dreamy lad, for clerk.

The little city was also an attractive place of residence. Mark Twain
remembered it as "the white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer
morning, . . . the great Mississippi, the magnificent Mississippi,
rolling its mile-wide tide along, .... the dense forest away on the
other side."

The "white town" was built against green hills, and abutting the river
were bluffs - Holliday's Hill and Lover's Leap. A distance below the town
was a cave - a wonderful cave, as every reader of Tom Sawyer knows - while
out in the river, toward the Illinois shore, was the delectable island
that was one day to be the meeting-place of Tom's pirate band, and later
to become the hiding-place of Huck and Nigger Jim.

The river itself was full of interest. It was the highway to the outside
world. Rafts drifted by; smartly painted steamboats panted up and down,
touching to exchange traffic and travelers, a never-ceasing wonder to
those simple shut-in dwellers whom the telegraph and railway had not yet
reached. That Hannibal was a pleasant place of residence we may believe,
and what an attractive place for a boy to grow up in!

Little Sam, however, was not yet ready to enjoy the island and the cave.
He was still delicate - the least promising of the family. He was queer
and fanciful, and rather silent. He walked in his sleep and was often
found in the middle of the night, fretting with the cold, in some dark
corner. Once he heard that a neighbor's children had the measles, and,
being very anxious to catch the complaint, slipped over to the house and
crept into bed with an infected playmate. Some days later, Little Sam's
relatives gathered about his bed to see him die. He confessed, long
after, that the scene gratified him. However, he survived, and fell into
the habit of running away, usually in the direction of the river.

"You gave me more uneasiness than any child I had," his mother once said
to him, in her old age.

"I suppose you were afraid I wouldn't live," he suggested.

She looked at him with the keen humor which had been her legacy to him.
"No, afraid you would," she said. Which was only her joke, for she had
the tenderest of hearts, and, like all mothers, had a weakness for the
child that demanded most of her mother's care. It was chiefly on his
account that she returned each year to Florida to spend the summer on
John Quarles's farm.

If Uncle John Quarles's farm was just an ordinary Missouri farm, and his
slaves just average negroes, they certainly never seemed so to Little
Sam. There was a kind of glory about everything that belonged to Uncle
John, and it was not all imagination, for some of the spirit of that
jovial, kindly hearted man could hardly fail to radiate from his
belongings.

The farm was a large one for that locality, and the farm-house was a big
double log building - that is, two buildings with a roofed-over passage
between, where in summer the lavish Southern meals were served, brought
in on huge dishes by the negroes, and left for each one to help himself.
Fried chicken, roast pig, turkeys, ducks, geese, venison just killed,
squirrels, rabbits, partridges, pheasants, prairie-chickens, green corn,
watermelon - a little boy who did not die on that bill of fare would be
likely to get well on it, and to Little Sam the farm proved a life-saver.

It was, in fact, a heavenly place for a little boy. In the corner of the
yard there were hickory and black-walnut trees, and just over the fence
the hill sloped past barns and cribs to a brook, a rare place to wade,
though there were forbidden pools. Cousin Tabitha Quarles, called
"Puss," his own age, was Little Sam's playmate, and a slave girl, Mary,
who, being six years older, was supposed to keep them out of mischief.
There were swings in the big, shady pasture, where Mary swung her charges
and ran under them until their feet touched the branches. All the woods
were full of squirrels and birds and blooming flowers; all the meadows
were gay with clover and butterflies, and musical with singing
grasshoppers and calling larks; the fence-rows were full of wild
blackberries; there were apples and peaches in the orchard, and plenty of
melons ripening in the corn. Certainly it was a glorious place!

Little Sam got into trouble once with the watermelons. One of them had
not ripened quite enough when he ate several slices of it. Very soon
after he was seized with such terrible cramps that some of the household
did not think he could live.

But his mother said: "Sammy will pull through. He was not born to die
that way." Which was a true prophecy. Sammy's slender constitution
withstood the strain. It was similarly tested more than once during
those early years. He was regarded as a curious child. At times dreamy
and silent, again wild-headed and noisy, with sudden impulses that sent
him capering and swinging his arms into the wind until he would fall with
shrieks and spasms of laughter and madly roll over and over in the grass.
It is not remembered that any one prophesied very well for his future at
such times.

The negro quarters on Uncle John's farm were especially fascinating. In
one cabin lived a bedridden old woman whom the children looked upon with
awe. She was said to be a thousand years old, and to have talked with
Moses. She had lost her health in the desert, coming out of Egypt. She
had seen Pharaoh drown, and the fright had caused the bald spot on her
head. She could ward off witches and dissolve spells.

Uncle Dan'l was another favorite, a kind-hearted, gentle soul, who long
after, as Nigger Jim in the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn tales, would
win world-wide love and sympathy.

Through that far-off, warm, golden summer-time Little Sam romped and
dreamed and grew. He would return each summer to the farm during those
early years. It would become a beautiful memory. His mother generally
kept him there until the late fall, when the chilly evenings made them
gather around the wide, blazing fireplace. Sixty years later he wrote:

"I can see the room yet with perfect clearness. I can see all
its belongings, all its details; the family-room of the house, with
the trundle-bed in one corner and the spinning-wheel in another - a
wheel whose rising and falling wail, heard from a distance, was the
mournfulest of all sounds to me and made me homesick and low-
spirited and filled my atmosphere with the wandering spirits of the
dead; the vast fireplace, piled high with flaming logs from whose
ends a sugary sap bubbled out but did not go to waste, for we
scraped it off and ate it; . . . the lazy cat spread out on the
rough hearthstones, the drowsy dogs braced against the jambs,
blinking; my aunt in one chimney-corner, and my uncle in the other,
smoking his corn-cob pipe."

It is hard not to tell more of the farm, for the boy who was one day
going to write of Tom and Huck and the rest learned there so many things
that Tom and Huck would need to know.

But he must have "book-learning," too, Jane Clemens said. On his return
to Hannibal that first summer, she decided that Little Sam was ready for
school. He was five years old and regarded as a "stirring child."

"He drives me crazy with his didoes when he's in the house," his mother
declared, "and when he's out of it I'm expecting every minute that some
one will bring him home half dead."

Mark Twain used to say that he had had nine narrow escapes from drowning,
and it was at this early age that he was brought home one afternoon in a
limp state, having been pulled from a deep hole in Bear Creek by a slave
girl.

When he was restored, his mother said: "I guess there wasn't much danger.
People born to be hanged are safe in water."

Mark Twain's mother was the original of Aunt Polly in the story of Tom
Sawyer, an outspoken, keen-witted, charitable woman, whom it was good to
know. She had a heart full of pity, especially for dumb creatures. She
refused to kill even flies, and punished the cat for catching mice. She
would drown young kittens when necessary, but warmed the water for the
purpose. She could be strict, however, with her children, if occasion
required, and recognized their faults.

Little Sam was inclined to elaborate largely on fact. A neighbor once
said to her: "You don't believe anything that child says, I hope."

"Oh yes, I know his average. I discount him ninety per cent. The rest
is pure gold."

She declared she was willing to pay somebody to take him off her hands
for a part of each day and try to teach him "manners." A certain Mrs. E.
Horr was selected for the purpose.

Mrs. Horr's school on Main Street, Hannibal, was of the old-fashioned
kind. There were pupils of all ages, and everything was taught up to the
third reader and long division. Pupils who cared to go beyond those
studies went to a Mr. Cross, on the hill, facing what is now the public
square. Mrs. Horr received twenty-five cents a week for each pupil, and
the rules of conduct were read daily. After the rules came the A-B-C
class, whose recitation was a hand-to-hand struggle, requiring no
study-time.

The rules of conduct that first day interested Little Sam. He wondered
how nearly he could come to breaking them and escape. He experimented
during the forenoon, and received a warning. Another experiment would
mean correction. He did not expect to be caught again; but when he least
expected it he was startled by a command to go out and bring a stick for
his own punishment.

This was rather dazing. It was sudden, and, then, he did not know much
about choosing sticks for such a purpose. Jane Clemens had commonly used
her hand. A second command was needed to start him in the right
direction, and he was still dazed when he got outside. He had the
forests of Missouri to select from, but choice was not easy. Everything
looked too big and competent. Even the smallest switch had a wiry look.
Across the way was a cooper's shop. There were shavings outside, and one
had blown across just in front of him. He picked it up, and, gravely
entering the room, handed it to Mrs. Horr. So far as known, it is the
first example of that humor which would one day make Little Sam famous
before all the world.

It was a failure in this instance. Mrs. Horr's comic side may have
prompted forgiveness, but discipline must be maintained.

"Samuel Langhorne Clemens," she said (he had never heard it all strung
together in that ominous way), "I am ashamed of you! Jimmy Dunlap, go
and bring a switch for Sammy." And the switch that Jimmy Dunlap brought
was of a kind to give Little Sam a permanent distaste for school. He
told his mother at noon that he did not care for education; that he did
not wish to be a great man; that his desire was to be an Indian and scalp
such persons as Mrs. Horr. In her heart Jane Clemens was sorry for him,
but she openly said she was glad there was somebody who could take him in
hand.

Little Sam went back to school, but he never learned to like it. A
school was ruled with a rod in those days, and of the smaller boys Little
Sam's back was sore as often as the next. When the days of early summer
came again, when from his desk he could see the sunshine lighting the
soft green of Holliday's Hill, with the glint of the river and the purple
distance beyond, it seemed to him that to be shut up with a Webster
spelling-book and a cross teacher was more than human nature could bear.
There still exists a yellow slip of paper upon which, in neat,
old-fashioned penmanship is written:

MISS PAMELA CLEMENS

Has won the love of her teacher and schoolmates by her amiable
deportment and faithful application to her various studies.

E. HORR, Teacher.


Thus we learn that Little Sam's sister, eight years older than himself,
attended the same school, and that she was a good pupil. If any such
reward of merit was ever conferred on Little Sam, it has failed to come
to light. If he won the love of his teacher and playmates, it was
probably for other reasons.

Yet he must have learned somehow, for he could read, presently, and was a
good speller for his age.




IV.

EDUCATION OUT OF SCHOOL

On their arrival in Hannibal, the Clemens family had moved into a part of
what was then the Pavey Hotel. They could not have remained there long,
for they moved twice within the next few years, and again in 1844 into a
new house which Judge Clemens, as he was generally called, had built
on Hill Street - a house still standing, and known to-day as the Mark
Twain home.

John Clemens had met varying fortunes in Hannibal. Neither commerce nor
the practice of law had paid. The office of justice of the peace, to
which he was elected, returned a fair income, but his business losses
finally obliged him to sell Jennie, the slave girl. Somewhat later his
business failure was complete. He surrendered everything to his
creditors, even to his cow and household furniture, and relied upon his
law practice and justice fees. However, he seems to have kept the
Tennessee land, possibly because no one thought it worth taking. There
had been offers for it earlier, but none that its owner would accept. It
appears to have been not even considered by his creditors, though his own
faith in it never died.

The struggle for a time was very bitter. Orion Clemens, now seventeen,
had learned the printer's trade and assisted the family with his wages.
Mrs. Clemens took a few boarders. In the midst of this time of hardship
little Benjamin Clemens died. He was ten years old. It was the darkest
hour.

Then conditions slowly improved. There was more law practice and better
justice fees. By 1844 Judge Clemens was able to build the house
mentioned above - a plain, cheap house, but a shelter and a home. Sam
Clemens - he was hardly "Little Sam" any more - was at this time nine years
old. His boyhood had begun.

Heretofore he had been just a child - wild and mischievous, often


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