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Add to My CitationsEditorial narrative following 1 November 1871 to Olivia L. Clemens
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No letters are known to survive between 1 and 9 November 1871. Clemens’s next three lectures—at Exeter (New Hampshire), on 2 November, at Andover (Massachusetts), on 3 November, and Malden (Massachusetts), on 6 November after a weekend respite—kept him in the Boston vicinity. Critical reaction continued to be mixed: the lecture disappointed, while Clemens’s manner sometimes pleased. The Exeter News Letter complained:

[Mark Twain] lacks almost every element of humor, and is lamentably deficient in originality; and it passes our comprehension how any man with such a reputation as he has acquired should barter it away on the lecture platform for, comparatively, a mere pittance. . . . We further hope that the press everywhere may be so severe in its censures as to force this plagiaristic lecture off the platform; for we believe that Mark Twain is capable of better things. (“Mark Ward on Artemus Twain,” 13 Nov 71, no page)

The Lawrence (Mass.) American and Andover Advertiser admitted that the lecturer’s “quaint” locutions “often brought down the house,” but concluded that a “curiosity is felt to see and hear one who is highly commended in the papers, but frequently there is more pleasure . . . in anticipation than in participation” (“The second of the course . . . ,” 10 Nov 71, no page). In Malden, the Mirror remarked that the “so-called lecture” was “well worth $15, or even $20” of the $100 fee Clemens received (“Mark Twain’s Lecture,” 11 Nov 71, 4; Redpath and Fall 1871–72, 4). The Malden Messenger voiced the recurrent complaint that “it was difficult to tell which was Ward and which was Twain,” but nevertheless judged that Clemens kept the “large audience in good humor, and whatever verdict each listener gave as to the merits or de-merits of the lecture, they were all gratified to see ‘Mark Twain’ ” (“Mark Twain’s Lecture,” 11 Nov 71, no page).

On Tuesday, 7 November, with no lecture scheduled, Clemens headed home to Hartford, about one hundred and twenty-five miles away, where he lectured on 8 November at Allyn Hall. Having become a Hartford resident, he was no doubt especially anxious to equal the success of his first lecture there, on 23 November 1869 (L3, 407–8 n. 8). The Hartford Courant heralded his coming, predicting an “overflowing house” and reporting that “everybody is expecting to get a good deal of genuine fun from the lecture to-night” (“Mark Twain To-Night,” 8 Nov 71, 2). The audience was not disappointed, according to the Courant’s review the next day: the lecturer was “infinitely droll in his manner of telling a story” and received the most “hearty welcome” of the lecture season from the “vast audience” (“Mark Twain’s Lecture,” 9 Nov 71, 2).