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Add to My Citations To Orion Clemens
21 April 1870 • Buffalo, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCCL 00457)
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Buffalo, Apl. 21

My Dear Bro—

I enclose ([ I ] if I do not forget it, after writing it,) a letter of introduction to Col. Knapp. I do not know Mr. Garrett. , & so of course I cannot introduce you to him. It isn’t never good [ judgment ] to deal with understrappers anyhow. A word from the chief is worth a pa a chapter from them. 1

Ma arrived this afternoon & is with us now. s She seems to have come through without extraordinary fatigue. She has a cold which she says has been upon her for a month, & is not worse than usual. Pamela, Mollie Margaret & Sammy got off at Dunkirk at noon, as they came along, & are in Fredonia, now. I am going to write them, presently, to come up & stay over Sunday with us. They will find it unsettled & forlorn in Fredonia just yet.2

I wrote you a [ le little ] note the other day in which I said $50,000 was w more than our land is worth, & I guess it is a deal more. If the man’s [title ] to his property is good, I think I would take it at once, if I were Mellen. I wouldn’t fool away any time about it. Providence will not deliver another lunatic into our hands if we slight this present evidence of his beneficent care for us.3

Ma is wool-gathering fearfully, if I may be so bold. When we were riding up from the cars she said Pamela & Sammy & Margaret got off the cars at Dunkirk today. Afterward, at dinner, about 5 or 6 o’clock, she said they didn’t come on with her & didn’t get off at Dunkirk. Now, an hour later, she says they are coming here, [tonight ], & says she hasn’t mentioned them previously, to-day. She is laughing, & so are we—but what does Pamela think of the joke if she is waiting for an escort now, down yonder at the depot?

We all send love to you & Mollie.



It [ would was ] simply heedlessness, my not mentioning Mollie—it was never intentional.


Orion Clemens Esq | 1114 Locust st | St Louis | Mo. [across envelope end:] If not taken[received ] please return to “Mark Twain,” Buffalo. | [rule] [postmarked:] [buffalo n.y.] apr 21

Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 In January 1870 Orion had described himself as “penniless, and working for my daily bread on a daily morning newspaper (the [St. Louis] Democrat) reading proof at $25 a week” (OC to R. W. Taylor, 3 Jan 70, in “Territorial Letters Received,” transcription in CU-MARK, courtesy of Robert D. Armstrong). Evidently he had now asked his brother for help in finding a better job. Clemens’s letter of introduction (now lost) was addressed either to George Knapp (1814–83), a proprietor since 1837, and the senior proprietor since 1854, of the St. Louis Missouri Republican, or to his brother, John (1816–88), a proprietor as well as business manager of the paper since 1855. George Knapp had served in the Mexican War, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and later helped organize the Missouri Republican Guards for service with the Union forces during the Civil War. John Knapp was a colonel in the Missouri militia, and had served in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Thomas E. Garrett was an assistant editor and the drama critic of the Missouri Republican (Edwards 1870, 65, 223, 348; Scharf, 1:914–15; Stevens, 1:172).

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2 Dunkirk was a busy commercial port and railroad terminus on Lake Erie, about forty miles southwest of Buffalo and three miles north of Fredonia. Transportation between Dunkirk and Fredonia was by horsecar. Jane Clemens remained in Buffalo until 23 May, noting in her ledger for that date a train fare of $1.25 “from Buffalo to Dunkirk” (JLC, 12). It is not known if Pamela, her son, and the family maid came to Buffalo to stay through Sunday, 24 April. Pamela’s daughter, Annie, was not with the family, having remained in St. Louis with friends while she finished the school year. She arrived in Fredonia in July (John Homer French, 214; 20 Jan 70 to OLL; 1 Apr 70 to the Langdons; 22 May 70 to Langdon; and, in CU-MARK: PAM to OC and MEC, 14 June 70, 23 June 70; PAM to Annie E. Moffett, 28 June 70).

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3 John S. Mellon worked for J. E. Merriman and Company of St. Louis, the real estate agency Orion had commissioned in 1869 to sell the Clemenses’ Tennessee land. The firm’s exclusive option on the property had been due to expire at the beginning of April 1870. Orion must have renewed it, however, for Mellon was still acting on his behalf in the summer of 1870 (L3, 272 n. 4, 279–80 n. 1; Edwards 1870, 607, 609, 1069; PAM to OC and MEC, 14 June 70, CU-MARK; JLC to OC and MEC, 25 June 70, CU-MARK; 1 Aug 70 to OC).

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L4, 114–116.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphsee Moffett Collection in Description of Provenance.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph

I[partly formed]

judgment[false ascenders/descenders]

le little • leittle

title • titlee [‘tl’ crossed; malformed ‘e’ confused with ‘l’]

tonight • to- | night

would was • wouldas [‘d’ partly formed]

received • receive[d] [torn]

buffalo n.y.buff [awhite diamondwhite diamond] n.y [white diamond] [cut away]