Mark Twain, a Biography Part 2 1866-1875 Page 01
MARK TWAIN, A BIOGRAPHY
By Albert Bigelow Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1907-1910, by Albert Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1900-1907, by Albert Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1886-1900, by Albert Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1875-1886, by Albert Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1866-1875, by Albert Paine
Mark Twain, A Biography 1835-1866, by Albert Paine
VOLUME I, Part 2: 1866-1875
It was not easy to take up the daily struggle again, but it was necessary.--[Clemens once declared he had been so blue at this period that one morning he put a loaded pistol to his head, but found he lacked courage to pull the trigger.]--Out of the ruck of possibilities (his brain always thronged with plans) he constructed three or four resolves. The chief of these was the trip around the world; but that lay months ahead, and in the mean time ways and means must be provided. Another intention was to finish the Hornet article, and forward it to Harper's Magazine--a purpose carried immediately into effect. To his delight the article found acceptance, and he looked forward to the day of its publication as the beginning of a real career. He intended to follow it up with a series on the islands, which in due time might result in a book and an income. He had gone so far as to experiment with a dedication for the book--an inscription to his mother, modified later for use in 'The Innocents Abroad'. A third plan of action was to take advantage of the popularity of the Hawaiian letters, and deliver a lecture on the same subject. But this was a fearsome prospect--he trembled when he thought of it. As Governor of the Third House he had been extravagantly received and applauded, but in that case the position of public entertainer had been thrust upon him. To come forward now, offering himself in the same capacity, was a different matter. He believed he could entertain, but he lacked the courage to declare himself; besides, it meant a risk of his slender capital. He confided his situation to Col. John McComb, of the Alta California, and was startled by McComb's vigorous endorsement.
"Do it, by all means!" urged McComb. "It will be a grand success--I know it! Take the largest house in town, and charge a dollar a ticket."
Frightened but resolute, he went to the leading theater manager the same Tom Maguire of his verses--and was offered the new opera-house at half rates. The next day this advertisement appeared:
MAGUIRE'S ACADEMY OF MUSIC PINE STREET, NEAR MONTGOMERY
THE SANDWICH ISLANDS
(HONOLULU CORRESPONDENT OF THE SACRAMENTO UNION) WILL DELIVER A LECTURE ON THE SANDWICH ISLANDS
AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC ON TUESDAY EVENING, OCT. 2d (1866)
In which passing mention will be made of Harris, Bishop Staley, the American missionaries, etc., and the absurd customs and characteristics of the natives duly discussed and described. The great volcano of Kilauea will also receive proper attention.
A SPLENDID ORCHESTRA is in town, but has not been engaged ALSO A DEN OF FEROCIOUS WILD BEASTS will be on exhibition in the next block MAGNIFICENT FIREWORKS were in contemplation for this occasion, but the idea has been abandoned A GRAND TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION may be expected; in fact, the public are privileged to expect whatever they please.
Dress Circle, $1.00 Family Circle, 50c Doors open at 7 o'clock The Trouble to begin at 8 o'clock
The story of that first lecture, as told in Roughing It, is a faithful one, and need only be summarized here.
Expecting to find the house empty, he found it packed from the footlights to the walls. Sidling out from the wings--wobbly-kneed and dry of tongue--he was greeted by a murmur, a roar, a very crash of applause that frightened away his remaining vestiges of courage. Then, came reaction-- these were his friends, and he began to talk to them.