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Add to My CitationsTo Jane Lampton Clemens and Family
20 November 1867 • (1st of 2) • New York, N.Y.
(MS: NPV, UCCL 00155)
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New York, Tuesday,
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceNov. 19.

Dear Folks—

W The Quaker City arrived at 10 this morning—I suppose the passengers have been worrying all day, but I got off at once—got introduced to the head Customs Inspector & he passed my trunks without opening them.1 I have been bumming around the newspaper offices all day—the Herald folks got me at 6 o’clock, & notwithstanding I had an engagement to dine at the s St Nicholas with some ladies & take them to the theatre, I sat down in one of the editorial rooms & wrote a long article that will make the Quakers get up & howl in the morning. I did not get through till 10 PM—didn’t go to the theatre, of course.2 I have been trying to get home to the Westminster ever since—just accomplished now, after [midnight. ]—have seen a good many friends, you bet you. When Charles Dickens sleeps in this room next week, it will be a gratification to him to know that I have slept in it also.3

I sent a package to you by Julius Moulton, but have forgotten to give him your address.4 I leave for Washington [to-morrow].

Yrs aff

Sam.

[written across previous paragraphs:]

We were in the Bermudas during the whole of the late awful storm—fortunate, wasn’t it?5

Send the enclosed article to the Republican6


Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 John L. Von Buskirk had been supervisor since 1831 of the two hundred inspectors at the New York Custom House. Although he was nearly eighty years old, his “extraordinary physical health” enabled him to attend to his duties from “sunrise to sunset, all the year round, seven days in the week.” Since he visited “every ship under his charge in the harbor of New York,” he probably met Clemens on board the Quaker City (Wilson 1867, 1049, and “City Register,” 5; Thorpe, 20).

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2 Clemens mentioned elsewhere that he planned to dine at the St. Nicholas Hotel—on Broadway at Spring Street—with Mary Mason Fairbanks and Charles Langdon; his other companions have not been identified. The article he spent the evening writing for the New York Herald, “The Cruise of the Quaker City,” was published on the morning of 20 November. It incorporated an earlier draft, an “old article” he happened to have in his pocket, which Mrs. Fairbanks had evidently read (2 Dec 67 to Fairbanks; 22 Nov 67 to Young; James Miller, 67; SLC 1867).

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3 On the evening of 19 November, just a few hours before Clemens wrote this letter, Dickens arrived in Boston to begin a five-month lecture tour of the eastern United States. George Dolby, his agent had stayed at the Westminster the previous week and presumably arranged for Dickens’s stay there during his New York performances. The New York Herald reported him enjoying the “quiet, elegant and comfortable appointments of the Westminster Hotel” upon his arrival on 7 December (Moss, 331–33; New York Times: “Arrivals in the City,” 14 Nov 67, 8; “Arrival of the Steamship Cuba and of Charles Dickens,” 20 Nov 67, 1; “Arrival of Mr. Dickens,” 8 Dec 67, 5; “Dickens,” New York Herald, 10 Dec 67, 8).

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4 It is not known whether Moulton delivered this package, or what it contained, but Clemens may well have entrusted to him the Bible he purchased for his mother in Jerusalem (see 24 Sept 67 to Esais).

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5 The excursionists arrived at St. George, Bermuda, on the morning of 11 November, planning to depart for New York on 14 November. They had fair weather for most of the Atlantic crossing, including their first two days in Bermuda, but according to Captain Duncan, on 13 November a “hard gale from SW to North West” momentarily imperiled the ship and postponed departure until 15 November. Clemens evidently assumed that this gale represented the passage northward of an unusually severe hurricane which had caused extensive damage in the West Indies on 29 October, more than two weeks before, and which his family had presumably read about in the St. Louis newspapers (Denny, entries for 25 Oct–15 Nov; Charles C. Duncan 1867, entries for 25 Oct–13 Nov; New York Times: “The West Indies,” 16 Nov 67, 1; “Tortola” and “St. Domingo,” 19 Nov 67, 1; “West Indies,” 21 Nov 67, 5).

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6 The original enclosure has not been found, but it was almost certainly a clipping of the article in the New York Herald mentioned in the first paragraph, comprising Clemens’s letter to the editor introduced by the newspaper’s additions: descriptive subtitles, an explanatory paragraph, and an incomplete passenger list. Clemens’s letter, with the Herald’s subtitles but without its added paragraph and passenger list, appeared in the St. Louis Missouri Republican—with the title “Mark Twain on the Quaker City Pilgrimage”—on 24 November (page 4), and again the next day (page 2). Unlike the Herald printing, which carried no by-line or signature, the Republican letter was signed “Mark Twain,” perhaps because Clemens supplied the name on the clipping he enclosed in this letter (see the next letter). The text of the Herald article is given in full in Enclosure with 20 November 1867 to Jane Lampton Clemens and Family.



glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Jean Webster McKinney Family Papers, Vassar College Library (NPV). The MS is written in pencil on both sides of a single leaf subsequently torn from Notebook 10 and sent. Clemens evidently turned to a part of the notebook not yet used for notes, and he wrote with the notebook inverted (CU-MARK; see N&J1, 453–95). For further details, see the commentary for the next letter.

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L2, 103–105; MTBus, 94–95.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphSee McKinney Family Papers, pp. 512–14.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph


midnight. • mid-ǀnight. [deletion implied]

to-morrow • to-ǀmorrow