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Add to My Citations To Charles Warren Stoddard
9 January 1874 • Liverpool, England
(MS: NN-B, UCCL 01037)
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1

Explanatory Notes

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1 Clemens’s note reads:

We’re done with this, Caharles, forever!

Yrs

Mark Twain.

Liverpool, Jan. 9, 18caret74caret 4. 10 30 PM.

He wrote it on his prompt notes (reproduced here) for “Roughing It on the Silver Frontier,” which he delivered for the last time in England on 9 January, the first of two Liverpool lectures (for reviews of both, see 12 Jan 74 to Finlay, n. 1). His icons can be identified with passages in Roughing It or glossed by London notices of the lecture. Reading from top to bottom in the left-hand column (the citations are to RI 1993): Lake Tahoe (147–57); “How I Escaped Being Killed in a Duel” (SLC 1872); the genuine Mexican plug, the “3” on its side apparently a reminder of the number of times it bucked Clemens off (158–65); alkali dust (137, 354), with the words “Dust” and “Physicall, Nev. does not resemble England.”; Mono Lake, with its “belt of flies an inch deep and six feet wide . . . clear around” (247); sagebrush (13–17); the exorbitant cost of “Hay.” (164, 170); the characteristic Nevada lake or “sink,” having a river flowing into it but none flowing out, yet remaining “always level full” (130–31); the “Z W. Zephyr.” or Washoe Zephyr, the daily Nevada windstorm (138–40), here with a small inverted hat blowing in it. And from top to bottom in the right-hand column: one of the escaped tarantalas that “could straddle over a common saucer” (144–46); a canceled “jackass rabbit” (12–13); the homely “cayote” (30–34); the “sage hen,” supposedly Nevada’s greatest delicacy; Nevada’s lack of rain during eleven months of the year (383); the absence of lightning, dew, and twilight (209); “6,000 Injuns,” who ostensibly fed on grasshoppers and other unappetizing fare (33–34, 126–29, 247); Virginia City, which “roosted royally midway up the steep side of Mount Davidson”—the pyramid-shaped “Mt. D.” here (282); and the September 1863 duel in which Joseph T. Goodman, editor of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, wounded Thomas Fitch, editor of the rival Virginia City Union (see ET&S1, 263–64; “Mr. Mark Twain’s New Lecture,” London Morning Post, 9 Dec 73, 2; “Mr. Mark Twain,” London Times, 12 Dec 73, 5). Here is a partial summary of one London lecture based on these notes. “Mark Twain” was

eloquent in his description of the magnificent Lake Tahoe, . . . situated high up amid the lofty mountains covered with everlasting snow. . . . An amusing account of a duel in which he was engaged occupied some time in the recital without taxing for a second the attention of the listeners. . . . How here were only three kinds of birds in that district—the magpie, the raven, and the “sage hen,” a species of grouse which feeds upon the sage bush, not apparently to the advantage of its flavour; how it never rains at Nevada for eleven months in the year, but during the other month the clouds supply an abundant equivalent; how there is no thunder and lightning, no dew and no twilight in that singular country; and how the six thousand Indians who inhabit the territory feed chiefly upon grasshoppers, which are not popularly regarded as a nourishing diet. . . . Mr. “Mark Twain” hoped at the termination of his discourse that he had said nothing which might lead to the depopulation of England by a flood of emigration setting in towards the country he had described. (“Hanover Square Rooms,” London Telegraph, 9 Dec 73)

For a later, similar page of prompt notes, see 6 Mar 75 to Seaver, n. 2.



glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations (NN-B).

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L6, 17–18; MTL, 1:213; Papantonio, lot 58, excerpt.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphSometime before 1939 the MS was purchased by businessman William T. H. Howe (1874–1939); in 1940 Dr. Albert A. Berg bought and donated the Howe Collection to NN.